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Get Inspired with Our End-of-the-Year Selling Ideas

November

World Kindness Day (Nov. 13th)  

Every year, November 13 marks World Kindness Day, when people all over the world perform simple and sometimes extraordinary acts of kindness. World Kindness Day encourages people to lend a helping hand, whether complimenting someone, picking up litter or adopting a pet. Businesses can celebrate World Kindness Day by advertising ways they honor the holiday:DonationCan2HC1212_S_72_C_R

  • Suggest advertisements that encourage customers to donate food, clothes, books and other items. Include discounts to people who donate.
  • Book stores, schools and churches can announce that they are hosting a week of pen-pal writing so that the local community can write letters to people around the world. For example, letters of support to members in the military.
  • Studies show that kindness is linked to health. Health clubs, gyms, nutritionists, grocery stores, vitamin shops and other health-related businesses might want to host and advertise an activity to raise money for a cause.
  • Play with a pay-it-forward theme by inspiring businesses to publish how they plan to use a productive day of sales to give back to the community. For example, they might sponsor a neighborhood block party or other party-themed event.
  • A newspaper can feature a few pages of “kindness coupons” where businesses can choose to offer unique discounts that haven’t been done before, such as “pick a free item under $20 with any blue jeans purchase.”

 

Thanksgiving (Nov. 27th)

Businesses are looking for ways to compete with the turkeys, pilgrims and Black Friday deals swallowing up every newspaper on and around Thanksgiving. Try pitching these ideas for ads that pop:

  • Thanksgiving and Black Friday can be very stressful for people hosting parties, cooking or anticipating family drama. Focus on the concept of relaxation by targeting businesses that sell bath
    Cornucopia3FSHC1302_S_72_C_R and body treatments, candles, pajamas, teas or music. Suggest that these products come with discounts that accompany a slogan such as “You need it most” or “Don’t forget to relax this holiday.”
  • While many companies wait until Christmas to send out thank-you gifts to customers, businesses can get a head start on this task this year. They can offer giveaways to customers entering the store the week prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Grocery stores, restaurants, food specialty stores and other food-related businesses can stand out among the crowd by featuring ethnic food instead of the traditional turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Who wouldn’t notice an ad with a photo of a duck stuffed with candied oranges?

December

Christmas Day (Dec. 25th)

Along with the usual sales, businesses can increase foot traffic with unique holiday promotions.

  • If a business’ target audience is active on Facebook, for example, they might offer a 12 days of Christmas social media promotion. A holiday photo competition is another idea, and themes can run the gamut from “Best Christmas Tree” to “Best Snowman” to “Best Christmas Destination.”
  • Since Christmas is the season of giving, Snowman2HC1312_S_72_C_Rbusinesses might want to partner with a nonprofit organization. Businesses can set a goal of how much they want to raise and publish a series of advertisements that chart their progress.
  • Think about how businesses can host promotions or rewards without lowering their prices.  For example, craft stores, schools, churches, bakeries and flower shops could hold a holiday craft workshop for children to make ornaments, presents, baked goods or other holiday decorations. This helps draw parents in the door and could entice them to make a purchase.

 

New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31st)

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Get businesses excited to advertise in the New Year by offering up selling ideas that shine.

  • The cold winter months and New Year’s resolutions get people excited to be fit and live healthier lifestyles, especially after eating loads of yummy holiday food! Gyms, health and nutrition stores can promote a healthier lifestyle by offering discounted memberships and merchandise. They could also sponsor a weight loss contest and feature the winner in the newspaper!
  • Businesses can announce their own New Year’s resolutions in a series of ads, describing how they plan to improve their products, services or even the community. For example, they might announce that they are the first in the area to feature a new technology and follow this with a list of products or services incorporating that technology.
  • Rental and housing companies are typically in a lull during the winter months. It could be beneficial for them to offer discounts to new customers who rent or buy in December.

Did You Know You Can Request Custom Art – for Free?

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Ever think you’d need a giant pie cascading atop one of your employees stuffing their face with it? Maybe not, but someone else did and our guess is that there are times when you are designing an ad and need something specific, unique or custom. There are also times when it’s not that specific but you simply can’t find the right image. There’s a solution for times like these!

Creative Outlet provides an art service called, We’ll Create It, so you can get exactly what you’re looking for. No matter how off-the-wall it is, our talented in-house illustrators will go the extra mile to ensure you get what you need. And guess what?! With a subscription to Creative Outlet, you are entitled to a new art request every month, for FREE! That’s twelve free art requests per year and twelve ways to stand out among the crowd.

To get started, just submit your art request by clicking here or by following the steps below.

1.) Sign in to www.creativeoutlet.com.

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2.) Under the Products drop-down menu, select Ad-Builder.

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3.) Under the “Additional Content from Ad-Builder” heading, click on the tile that says “We’ll Create It.”

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4.) Fill out the request form and hit submit at the bottom.

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5.) Please note that the turn-time for these requests is five to seven business days. For more details, please review the Rules and Guidelines at the top of the request form.

1-Minute Workshop: Simulated Depth

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Creating Simulated Depth in Adobe Illustrator

Step 1

Simulated depth, or imitation 3D, can be created in Illustrator in a few quick steps. This method is best when you’re working with playful, stylistic cartoons. To start, draw a jack-o-lantern and duplicate its shape.

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Step 2

Select the duplicated shape and go to Effect>Pathfinder>Unite. This will merge all the paths within the pumpkin into one path. Adjust the color of the second pumpkin to a darker orange with a brownish tone.

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Step 3

The next step is to position the darker colored shape behind the original. The farther away from the original, the deeper the depth will be.

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Step 4

Now, all you need to do is add a few points to create the effect. Using the pen tool, click on the path to add a point. Once a point is added, it can be dragged or moved. Simply move the points on the bottom pumpkin so they align with the points on the top pumpkin.

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Step 5

The final effect should look like the example on the right. To complete the effect, you may apply a gradient for contrast to the bottom layer.

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Enhancing Your Design with Textures

Textured images are popular in design because they integrate depth, interest and dimension to a print or digital project. The subtle utilization of a texture takes a design from being flat to fun and alive. Here are four different ways you can enhance your design with textures:

1. Textures as Backgrounds

Using a texture as a background in an image can really liven up the photo. But don’t over-use the texture because it might distract from the main content. Always keep the texture to scale with the rest of the image.

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2. Textures as an Overlay

Sometimes textures can be used as an overlay to give an image a vintage look.

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3. Textures in Text

Textures can also be placed inside text. If there is a texture or background that relates to the word or phrase, use that for added emphasis of the word or phrase.

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4. Textures in Illustrations

Vector illustrations are always very clean and crisp, and can be part of their charm. But there are times when you want to add a little texture to them to create a printed or worn look.

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Did You Know That My Library & Notes Enhance Team Productivity?

Did you know that Creative Outlet’s My Library and Notes features are invaluable tools that enhance team productivity? Users comment that My Library and Notes help them stay organized and prevent them from reusing the same image for different clients and/or reusing the same image twice in a short period of time. But My Library and Notes won’t do any good unless you know how to use them.

As many of you know, My Library allows you to save and organize a collection of your favorite photos. But you might not be aware that it has an additional feature made specifically for companies with multiple users. Every company with a Creative Outlet subscription has one parent account and multiple child accounts. Employees have their own child account where they can save and organize files privately, but they can also share files or entire folders with one or more people in a company using their default folder titled, “Shared.” Additionally, the Shared folder can house subfolders, which is helpful when organizing images specific to a project or a team. You are not restricted to saving Creative Outlet photos, as you can also save personal photos to your My Library.

The Notes feature proves vital to all users, whether you have an independent account or a child account that is part of a company, because detailed notes can be added to any image. You can view when it was used, what it was used for and other pertinent details. If you are short on time and do not want to open every image to see if there are notes, look for a colored indicator at the top left corner of each image. The indicator confirms right away that the image has notes on it or was recently downloaded. This way, you can quickly see if you want to use an image that has recently been used by yourself or another person. The indicators are in three colors: red, which means the notes were added in 30 days or less; yellow, which means the notes were added between 30-60 days; green, which means the notes were added over 60 days ago.

Here’s a quick run-down of how to use the My Library and Notes features:

1. First, log in to your account on Creative Outlet. If you don’t have any images in your My Library, search for an image and add it to My Library by clicking on the icon that looks like a file-box next to the image sizes.

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2. Click on the My Library icon at the top of the homepage on Creative Outlet.

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3. My Library shows what images you’ve saved, a default folder labeled “Shared” and any other subfolders you’ve created.

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4. To create a new folder, simply click the “New Folder” icon at the top right of your My Library page. Then type your folder name and select “Shared” if you intend to share it with others in your company.

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5. Notice that your Shared Folder displays how many folders and images are in it with a number next to the folder and page icon at the bottom left side. In the example below, the Shared folder contains two folders and eight assets.

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6. To save an image to your Shared folder or a subfolder that you’ve created, click the arrow at the top right of the image. This gives you options to download, add a note, move or copy, or delete. Click “Move or Copy.” The next window will allow you to choose what folder you’d like to put the image in. Select “Shared” or whichever subfolder you’d like. A third window will show what folder you’ve selected. Make sure it’s the folder you want and then select “Move.”

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7.  As previously mentioned, you can view whether or not an image has notes attached to it without opening the image by simply recognizing if there is a colored indicator at the top left corner of an image. In the example below, two images have a red corner which lets you know that notes were added 30 days or less from today’s date. If you open the image and view the notes, you’ll notice that the person who downloaded it, day and time are included in the notes section. As a reminder, the indicators are in three colors: red, which means the notes were added in 30 days or less; yellow, which means the notes were added between 30-60 days; green, which means the notes were added over 60 days ago.

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1 Minute Workshop- Colorful Textures

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Create flat, colorful textures in Adobe Illustrator with this 1-Minute Workshop.

Step 1

Flat, colorful textures can be applied to shapes in Adobe Illustrator to add interest and depth without having to work with gradients. The only tool needed is the Transparency effect. Begin with a basic shape, like a simple leaf. This will serve as the background for the effect.

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Step 2

Select a shape in the tool palette. For this example, a circle is used. You can use basically any pre-made shape or create your own unique shape using the Pen tool. Place the circle over part of the leaf and assign it an orange color. Now go to Window > Transparency. In the dialog box, change the mode from “Normal” to “Multiply.” This will mix the foreground color with the background color.

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Step 3

Now, create additional shapes filled with various colors and position them around your background shape until you are happy with the look. Select each shape and set the mode to “multiply” or experiment with other modes, such as “overlay” and “soft light.” Once you have all the shapes in the right position and the color is to your liking, select all the shapes and go to Effect > Pathfinder > Divide.

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Step 4

The shapes should now be separated into individual shapes everywhere they intersect one another. With the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), click on the shapes outside the original shape of the leaf and delete them (Example A). When you’re finished, the final effect will look like the leaf on the far right. This is a quick and simple technique for creating a flat, colorful effect within an illustration.

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