Aurelian Design's Graphic Design Blog
I am pleased to offer a new service, customized maps with popup information. Try one out one this example page showing a custom interactive map with popups.
These maps have many uses:
Contact Aurelian Design to discuss creating a custom map for your business or organization.
This is from a project I worked on late last year. A senior housing facility on the Olympic Peninsula wanted the architectural floor plans turned into something that was less technical and more attractive and readable. Here's one of the results from that project.
There were five different floor plans which makes for a nice economy of scale when developing the style for the drawings.
I'm not an architect, but I can make drawings (and brochures, ads, and maps), that help increase sales for your development.
Business owners - do you know about the post office's Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program? It's a very cost-effective way to send a mailer to addresses in a zip code or area, and can target selected demographics. A variety of sizes can be used, and USPS mailing costs for these mailers are very reasonable! Give Aurelian Design a call to find out more about designing an EDDM piece to reach more local customers.
The mailer on the right, for example, that I designed recently, is 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches. The back side has some coupons, and a call to action. All EDDM pieces must have an "indicia" box in place of a stamp, and also a couple lines where an address would normally go indicating it is delivered to a set of addresses. You don't need to address any of the mailers when using this system, saving more time and money!
A common situation for a graphic designer working working with small, new businesses, is explaining to them that art or photos on websites are copyrighted. You can't use them in your marketing materials without getting permission. Yes, they are sitting there, tempting you. "But they put them on the web!" It doesn't matter. That's like saying a photograph in a book or magazine was put there for you to copy and use. You can't.
This came up twice today. First, the map I designed that is shown at right turned up on a "free illustration" website. They didn't ask me. Someone posted it. They stole it from me. So I had to send them an e-mail and maybe they'll remove it. Then later today, I had to revise a flyer and brochure because the person who it was for had used a picture they didn't have permission to use. They got a complaint and I had to update it quickly.
As a graphic designer, I'm here to help you understand (to the best of my knowledge, as I'm not a lawyer) what is generally permissible, and also what is best from design and print quality perspectives.
I saw one of these "spot the differences in the two photos" thing in a magazine today, so I thought I would use Photoshop to make one with a photo I took a couple years ago in Tallinn. Can you spot all 11 differences? If you don't have a very large monitor, it might help to print out the pictures. The answers are upside down at the bottom.
Recently I designed a logo and label for a local natural soap company, and I think it turned out very nice (though the label used for the picture was misaligned a little).
Designing a custom logo takes a little time. I draw concept sketches by hand, and usually do a few or more each day for 2-3 days. Often the first batch is too simple or cliche. For this one, I drew about a dozen sketches for the edge patten used on the logo and edge of the label, and the client chose the one you see here.
In case you missed it, here's a little animation I designed for the New Year.
And remember to write 2016 on your checks!
Thinking of giving away branded knick knacks to promote your business? Here's some quick thoughts on items that are often used.
Notepads Not a bad choice. I always use them when I get them. And each time you do use them, you see the company again. The only disadvantage is when they are used up, they're gone.
Magnets These are more hit or miss. If someone likes them, they could be around in a prominent fridge location forever. But for a business, the odds of that happening can be low. It won't be kept unless it's the type of business you want to keep in front of you. Best for restaurants (especially take out), and medical services (urgent care clinics).
Key Rings In the same category as magnets. Someone would have to really like your business to use one.
T-Shirts Ditto. And there's the whole issue with sizes.
Food Bag Clips An always useful device so a good choice for long-term visibility. But they may end up in a drawer or closet for long stretches of time, so they may or may not be viewed much.
Calendars Unless using a standard design, these would be expensive to design and produce. A single-sheet version is viable, though. Downside is they are only good for one year.
Pens Not high on my list. They are often low-quality, which doesn't promote your business well.
Chocolate Bars High impact: Who's going to throw away a good chocolate bar? Definitely use a high quality product. You'll make a splash, but it is a one-use item.
USB Thumb Drives A definite win if you can afford it. Great for businesses and services with high prices and fees.
I designed a set of playing cards with cats on them, and they are now for sale!
All the cards are specially designed for cat lovers. They are printed in the standard poker size (3.5" x 2.5") by DriveThruCards on high-quality stock, and fully useble for poker or other card games.
This was a fun project that I worked on in my spare time over the last ten months. The cat head drawings are based on real cats, and all the body designs are original - no two are alike!
More information is on the cat playing cards website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments!
Update: I also designed a tuck box (what playing cards usually come in) for the deck. These are not for sale with the decks on DriveThruCards, unfortunately.
For the fifth time, Google has changed its logo. This time, it's a much cleaner sans-serif font, and in my opinion is boring and lacks the character it had before.
But logo design is not just a simple science. There are practical reasons for the change, outline in their blog post about the change, though it really doesn't say that much. The more geometric font used would make it easier for programming animated version, I believe, and I suspect that's the major reason for the change.
Perhaps you are thinking about designing or re-designing a logo for your company? Feel free to contact me to discuss your requirements, and get a professionally designed logo for a lot less than Google paid for theirs.
This post is a bit more technical than normal and is about HTML image maps. There is an example of one of these on my home page near the bottom (currently a large green box) containing samples of my graphic design work. These image maps allow the viewer to click in different parts, and go to an appropriate page.
Where is all this going? Well, I recently design a real estate map for a client in Florida. The idea is that when placed on a website, you click on various properties and it goes to a page with the detail. The problem was that Adobe Illustrator does not properly scale the image map, so you couldn't click in the right place. So I wrote a tool to scale the numbers that define the map, and now have a new service: scaling HTML image maps. Please contact me if you need an image map scaled, which I will do for a nominal fee.
Graphic Design USA recently published the results of the 52nd survey on print design, and the results are interesting:
Some selected quotes:
Let me know what you think about print versus digital marketing, and the balance between the two.
Aurelian Design is now on Facebook. Please "Like" me over there.
For years I've had an external blog but going forward I am integrating it with my website.
I will integrate some of the older posts on here, but for the moment, here is a sampling of some of my recent design projects: