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Grass Root Marketing Gone Wild! (a.k.a Social Media)

July 26, 2009
j0438872By now the words “Social Media” are in your vocabulary and you are aware of the hype and worth of it to you and your business. It truly is a wonderful thing that has happened to small businesses across the globe. Here are a few reasons why it’s so powerful and why you should take part:
1: Social Media Creates a larger COMMUNITY from the roots up! It allows portals of contact all over the globe to open. These portals allow businesses (big and small) to learn from one another at a faster rate, while virtually marketing for FREE.
2: Businesses become more ACCOUNTABLE for the products and services they offer. One mistake could be deadly to a campaign or products future. Social Media forces businesses to face the music or makes them worthy of more customers – vital to the company’s existence.
3: The availability of custom items are more readily available and easily attained via social media – Grass Roots Gone Wild! Artists, custom manufacturers have a greater, wider audience then ever
4: Where grass root marketing once would move a campaign slowly from location to location – businesses can market by word of mouth in virtually one day!
Check out Twitter.com, Facebook.com, Wiki, tons of smaller niche groups can be found easily via google search! Open those portals and let Grass Root Marketing Go Wild for your business today!
Kristine Sheehan

 

TheMerryBird.com

 

“Your Stationery in Flight”

3 Common Characteristics of Type

May 27, 2009

Recently I was reading about the evolution of typefaces.  I thought this was an interesting piece of information to share from Designing with Type, by Craig. It is how we identify Old Style, Transitional and Modern Typography.

 

Variation in Stress

 

From the early pen and ink fonts drawn by scribes,  a distribution of weight in the letters which creates “ STRESS” can be seen. The example of the letter “O” is shown here to illuminate the differences of Old Style fonts to the most Modern fonts.  See the diagonal stress line as it changes over the centuries?

 STRESS

 

Variation in Strokes

 

“The degree of contrast between the thick and thin strokes of letters is VARIATION.”

The example below shows Garamond which has little contrast between the weight of the thick and thin strokes vs. Helvetica which has no variation at all.

 

 

Variation

 

 

 

 Variation in Serifs

Serifs are the ornament that decorates the stroke of a letter. Serifs vary in the way the serif meets the vertical stroke of the letter.  You can see the weight difference in the example here:

 SERIF Variation

 

 

 

Next time you choose a new font – ask yourself — is this old style, transitional or Modern? Notice the subtle differences that make the characteristics of the new font stand out. Is it easy to read and comfortable to follow across the page? Will you use it in your design or layout?

 

 

 

Kristine Sheehan

TheMerryBird.com

“Your Stationery in Flight”

203-551-1155

A Color Theory Reference

May 15, 2009

Almost 20 years ago, while in college, I was required to read ITTEN, The Elements of Color. It wasn’t until recently that I pulled it off my shelf again to brush up on his version of color theory systems. 

 

Itten explored color use all through art and its history.  From Egyptians colored symbols, Byzantines polychrome mosaics, early medieval illuminations (noteworthy leaves in the Book of Kells), Middle Ages stained glass (Chartes Cathedral  Rose Window), Early Gothic murals, and the list germinates through time emphasizing the growth and the power of color use by contemporary  Masters of art.

 

Reaching for knowledge of color and how color effects and differs for Impressions (visual), Expressions (emotions) and Constructions (symbols) can be found in Ittens contribution to the art of color — “The Seven Color Contrasts”.

 

  1. Contrast of Hue
  2. Light-dark contrast
  3. Cold-warm contrast
  4. Complementary contrast
  5. Simultaneous contrast
  6. Contrast of Saturation
  7. Contrast of Extension

 

 

Each of the seven contrast theories is broken down and explained in Itten, The Elements of Color with a visual representation of mixing and matching colors to exemplify 1-7.

 

I could re-write a color theory book here for you but I won’t.  This worthy reference should suffice and bring you to study color aesthetics along with noting valuable information for your design career.

– Kristine, TheMerryBird.com

A “Quick” Basic in Design Theory

May 4, 2009

So little time and so much to soak in! Ok design sponges – here are 3 Theories all Designers depend on.  Most of these tips should be in your design background already but it never hurts to revisit them to awaken your inner designer again and again:

 

 

1:  A Brief on Color Theory

 

Every designer has at some point in time seen a color wheel. It is basically the history of color making in one place.

 color-wheel

It starts with the Primary Colors: Blue, Red and Yellow.  Strong and versatile each color when mixed with one of the others creates a Secondary Color. i.e.- Blue + Red make purple, Red + Yellow make orange, and Blue + Yellow make green.  My child loves to mix colors – it’s amazing to him.  If I stop to think about it, color creation by mixing is Amazing!

 

The next step in mixing colors brings in a series of color hues that depending on saturation can be a darker or lighter version of the original color.  

Ok – You get the idea.

 

Now there are Complimentary colors. These are the Colors that sit opposite from one another on the color wheel.  When these colors when placed together tend to “vibrate”

i.e. Red and Green, Purple and Yellow etc.

 

Analogous colors are three colors next to each other on the wheel. i.e. Blue Violet, Violet, Violet Red.

 

2:    Basics of Design

 Learning how line, color, shape, texture, scale and space work together is where design basics begin. Ask yourself some questions and you will see the psychology on a design page.

 

Line is an important piece of design. It sets a tone to the image or design page. Are the lines straight and organized? Wavey and smooth? Jagged and pointy? Line sets the stage for the feeling in the design.

 

Color is the mood descriptor. Are you feeling blue? Are you feeling Red Hot? Friendly yellow?

 

Like line, Shape also sets a stage for a feeling. Does the square design on the page exude safety? Does the circle create fluidity, natural curves? Triangular balance?

 

Texture in a design is a nice way to bring a tactile sensation to a design. Basket weaves, ropes, satin, wood. Textures that people understand can enhance the mood of the design.

 

Scale is another point in design that cannot be ignored. Size matters! Are you looking at a business card or a billboard?

 

Space, use it wisely and there are not limits!

 

 

3:    Typography

 

Here is a “Quick” on a very extensive topic, Typography. 

 

To begin, typography is everywhere! It is an arrangement of  fonts designs that you see in the newspaper, a magazine, on a billboard or a logo.

 

Typefaces are fonts like Arial, Times Roman etc. Fonts are a specific size or style of the font, i.e. Arial Narrow, 14pts.

 

Two types of font styles are Serif and Sanserif fonts.

 

Serif fonts are those with curls or ornate décor on the end of the letter stem:

 

 

 

 serifsandsherifs1

Image Ref: http://www.ilovetypography.com/2007/08/26/who-shot-the-serif-typography-terms/

SanSerif fonts are Basically a Serif Font without a serif! J  No flare or decoration on the letter stem.

 

 

 

How to utilize typography is up to the designer. Typography involves, spacing, kerning, sizing and arrangement.

 

Check out www.observin.com for more info. On typography.

 

 

 

 

Utilize theory to make your designs the best they can be. Theory is the basis of all design.

 

 

Kristine Sheehan

TheMerryBird.com

5/3/09

Copy Cats!

April 11, 2009

Reading up on a logo that GM presented as “New” for its Goodwrench product. Take a loogoodwrench_logo1k at this:

 

 

 

 

 

Ok – Now that I think about it, the New Goodwrench logo looks kinda familiar…..

Do you think this is a subliminal sales technique? Are they serious?

logo_qtlogo

We see technical icons and logos on our computers, internet as well as on product packaging daily. I wonder if the designer of Goodwrench made a boo boo or chose to make  this connection intentionally. After all, the Goodwrench  logo is now as common as Quicktime application users.

Verizon tried to Fly in the Clouds

April 1, 2009

I rarely comment negatively on any logo design.  I design them myself and know what it takes to develop one. But Verizon’s new choice of branding isn’t flying with me.

Bubbles? Clouds? Horrible Font choice… see here the new Cloudy Verizon logo.  It could suggest fun, it could suggest youth… but what about all the rest of the aging population that has to carry a phone with that logo or read it as their network provider?

http://tr.im/i5nh

Being frank, it reminds me of being 10 years old and writing my name in bubble letters….. Are those the feelings that are supposed to be evoked when viewing it?

Swimming with Logo Design

March 25, 2009

 

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The vast sea of logo designs found on the web today can be extremely intimidating. Some Logo’s of course are better than others and some just plain Rock!

 

While researching this ocean of design for inspiration, I realized that comparing logo designs was like comparing sharks to whales. I went surfing the web for logo design in which formal training could be detected. I hold the logos I found in some galleries in high regard. But, I reminded myself that many logo galleries presented online are “mapped” out to the advantage of the designer. This is a shark pool. Logos are put together for the purpose of learning and displaying expertise. Many logos found in these galleries are made up for a fictitious client, with parameters that fit the designers need and wants. A “real” client logo design would never fit a mold and is often the reason for a design challenge, therefore I see it as the Whale.

 

Keep swimming.

 

Coming up for air, I read a great article by