Design Terms 101

If you’ve been thrust into the world of
flash, CSS and animated gifs, you may be feeling a little like a fish
out of water. Often times, those of us who are in the peripherals around
the designers who actually know what these terms mean and do are left
to try to somehow understand them without appearing as if we don’t know
our business.

Creative Outlet to the rescue. Here are some commonly used design terms and their meanings:

Animation
The process of combining images to give the illusion of movement.

Bitmap
A
graphic file that is made up of square dots (pixels). Scaling these
images to larger sizes results in these pixels becoming larger which can
make the image look blocky with jagged edges.

CSS
Abbreviation
for Cascading Style Sheet. With CSS, both web designers and end users
can create style templates (sheet) that specifies how different text
elements (paragraphs, headings, hyperlinks, etc.) appear on a web page.

Flash
Multimedia technology developed by Macromedia to allow much interactivity to fit in a relatively small file size.

FTP
Stands
for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows you to copy or send files
(HTML-documents, graphic images, spreadsheets) from one computer to
another via the Internet.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
This
is a widely used graphics format for the Internet that allows
transparency and animation. The limitation of this format is that it the
maximum number of colors is 256.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
This is THE standard format for the Internet. Html pages can include text, images, animation, video, sound, and more.

JavaScript
This is a language used to do things on the Internet that html coding often cannot.

JPEG  (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
This
is the main format used on the Internet (and elsewhere) for
photographic/continuous toned images. Because the Jpeg format uses
compression, you can often obtain much smaller file sizes and still
maintain photographic quality.

Meta-tag
Meta-tags are
HTML tags that can be used to identify the creator of a web page, what
HTML specifications a web page follows, the keywords and description of
the page, etc. The most common use of a meta-tag in online marketing is
the keyword and description tags, which tell the search engines that
index meta-tags what description to use in their search query results.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
This
format developed by Adobe makes it possible to keep the exact fonts,
format, and layout of a document across any platform. These files can be
created in Adobe Acrobat, or any program that can output to PDF. An
Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view these files.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics format)
This
is a lossless compression format that is used on the Internet to
display high color graphics like photographs. You can also have
transparency with PNGs, but the file sizes can be larger.

Royalty-Free Photos or Images
Photos,
graphic images, or other intellectual property that are sold for a
single standard fee and may be used repeatedly by the purchaser.

Thumbnail
A small version of a graphic image.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
An
address referring to a document on the Internet. In other words, it is
the address of an individual web page element or web document on the
Internet.

Direct Mail Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Use a good mailing
    list. Make sure it’s targeted and up-to date. These days you can customize
    them by dozens and dozens of criteria, from age and income all the way to the
    car they drive and how many pets they own.
  • Keep the message
    simple.  You have a second to
    capture the reader’s attention, and only a few precious seconds after that.
    Make your words count by being succinct.
  • Include an offer or
    incentive. If it’s a direct mail letter vs. a postcard, include a P.S.
  • Code the mailing.
    Sometime called a key-code, these allow you to track how many leads, phone
    calls and customers the mailing produced; that is, if you have someone keep
    track of it.
  • Mail more than once.
    Many business owners think that a one-time mailing is enough. In reality, it
    takes up to six to make an impact. 
    Repetition is key to true customer action and retention.

Don’ts

  • Don’t forget your
    existing customers. Make sure they’re on the list.
  • Don’t use a lot of
    copy. Highlight benefits, not features, and put them in bulleted form
    rather than sentences.
  • Don’t send out a mass
    mailing from the get-go. Start with a smaller, targeted, test-mailing in
    order to measure effectiveness and see if there’s anything in the piece or list
    that you need to tweak.
  • Don’t rely on direct
    mail as your total marketing campaign. Direct mail is most effective in
    conjunction with other marketing efforts, such as web presence, radio ads or
    telemarketing.
  • Don’t let the
    campaign end without conducting a post-direct mail analysis. Set up a
    system to keep tabs on how many leads and/or sales were generated by your
    efforts.
  • Direct mail is a medium that still remains a very effective
    method of selling a product or service if the time and effort is taken to
    implement the campaign in the right way.

Welcome

Welcome to Creative Outlet – your new resource for art, ads, photos, illustrations and much more.  We built this site with you in mind, bringing together the content you need with an easy-to-use interface.  By taking the artwork you love from AdBuilder.com and adding flexibility in your search and payment options, you now can design and sell with more efficiency.

Of course, we want to be more than your art service. We want to be the expert you turn to when you need design tips, the people you come to when you need selling ideas, the destination for inspiration. 

We want to create a dynamic environment where you can not only access artwork, but also share your successes among your colleagues. This blog will be the host to discussions on design, sales, industry news and many other provoking topics. We welcome your comments and ideas so that, as a community, we can grow and establish ourselves as a force to be reckoned with.

This is your Creative Outlet and we look forward to inspiring you.

Happy National Newspapers Week!

This week – October 3 through 9
– is National Newspaper Week, an annual celebration and recognition of the
important role of newspapers in their communities. This year’s theme is “Newspapers
— the print and online connector for today’s communities.”

Each year since 1940, the
Newspaper Association Managers from across the country have sponsored National
Newspaper Week. This year its sponsor is the Florida Press Association, Florida Society of News Editors.

The mission of National
Newspapers Week is to build the image of newspapers as a vital and vigorous
news medium in the past, present and future as our industry uses all the changing
technology to remain the leading gatherer, editor and dispenser of news in the
this nation.

If you haven’t downloaded your
promo kit containing ads, crossword puzzles, editorials and columns, you can do
it now at www.nationalnewspaperweek.com.

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The Best Time of Year to Advertise

Whether you’re a seasoned
sales manager or a new account exec, it’s important to know the best times of
year to approach your clients for ad sales. Here are some points to take into
consideration:

The product and/or service

– The target market

External influences

 

That said, some products and
services have a seasonal ad life – we’ll call them “no-brainers”. Lumped into
this category could be floral,
holiday, or back-to-school supplies. Others,
like real estate or car sales, have specific highs and lows during the year.
Real estate is big in the spring, and then drops off toward Christmas. Car
sales are big at the end of the year, but may lag during those new year winter
months. Then there are the ambiguous markets – medical, financial (minus tax
season), entertainment, business opportunities, etc.

On the other hand, sales
people need to convince their advertisers that running a couple of ads during
their “busy season” isn’t enough. They still need a presence during those other
months of the year – after all, they’re still in business, aren’t they?

So sell the off-season.
Suggest special promotions for that tax place such as “self-employment taxes
are due quarterly – get yours done here”, realtors offering home staging
services in the dead of winter to get the seller ready to put that house on the
market in the spring, or car dealers throwing in some sort of free service plan
to increase traffic during the winter months when no one wants to be out
shopping for cars.

Remind your clients, too,
that if their competition isn’t advertising, then that’s all the more reason
for them to get on the stick. The more presence they have during the off-season,
the more likely consumers will turn to them when the time is right.

Keywords – floral, holiday, back to school, real estate, car sales, medical, financial, taxes

5 Tips for Creating Better Newspaper Ads

Whether you’re a seasoned advertising designer
or the new kid on the block, these tips are always helpful to refer to when
designing that next newspaper ad:

1.  Hit ’em with your headline.
Probably the most important aspect of your ad is the first thing they read –
the headline. It should catch their eye and draw them into the rest of the
copy. Poor headline: “Answers to your questions.”  Better
headline: “Got a question about used cars?” Best headline:
“Where can you go in a used car?” with copy to support that the money
saved by buying a used car leaves the consumer with more money to travel.


2.  Less is more. That goes for text AND graphics.
Remember: white space is your friend. Don’t clutter your ad with too many
graphics or lines and lines of copy. Clean and simple = readability.


3.  Don’t forget the contact information. More often
than you might imagine, ads leave off critical information such as addresses,
phone numbers or websites.


4.  Profread. Oop, we mean “proofread”. Not
just once. Not just twice. And not just by you. Have another pair of eyes look
it over before it goes to press.


5.  AIDA –

Try to remember this acronym
. AIDA stands for Attention, Information, Desire,
Action. Get the consumers attention, give them the information and desire for
your product, then give them a call to action.

Keyword – headings

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Ideas to increase local advertising!