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Eight Pro Tips on How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Next Event


Are you organizing an event for your business or organization? Are you working with a short timeline and penny-pinching budget? Keep on reading my friend! This article will give you EIGHT (not ten, because everyone chooses ten) pro tips on how to start using social media to spread awareness for your event! To bring in some expertise, we brought in Kayla S. Clemons to give us some great tips for your event promotions.

Kayla is the Director of Social Media at S&L Hospitality in Verona, WI. She loves all things social media, event planning, and bicycling!

 

 


 

Eight Pro Tips on How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Next Event

Create ONE #hashtag for your event.

Make sure it is simple, easy to spell, scalable (#event2017, #event2018, #event2019), and original. Optimize and update all of your marketing pieces to include your event’s website and #hashtag. Also consider including the #hashtag in email signatures, bio’s, cover photos, etc. If your audience doesn’t know the specific hashtag, they may create their own causing confusion. Make it well-known so when your attendees Tweet or snap pics on Instagram, they know what to use.

Create a Facebook Event page.

Include enticing photo’s, link to purchase tickets, event details, a link to your website, sponsors, etc. After the Event page is created, “share” it to all social media platforms being sure to include the Event #hashtag. PRO TIP: Instagram/Facebook “Stories” and LIVE videos are SUPER effective. Post short clips about the event and encourage your followers to RSVP on the FB Event page.

Team up with complementary businesses and run contests on social media.

For example, Three Bears Resort is a Northwoods themed Indoor Waterpark Resort. A complimentary business for Three Bears would include an adventure tour company, local cranberry growers, museum etc. A contest for them could be “Post a photo of your favorite summer memory and tell us about it for a chance to win a free night stay at Three Bears and an ATV Tour!” Both of the businesses would post the contest to their social networks to reach each other’s audiences. This is FREE.

Create a Facebook Ad for your event.

Be sure to include enticing photos and keep the description short and sweet. Facebook Ad’s allow you to target specific demographics and behaviors. If your event is local, you have a great opportunity to target the audiences in your area.

Join Facebook Groups that are relative to your target market, and talk about the event within the group.

For instance, Madison Mom Blogger’s has a large online community that hosts events once a month where their members bring their children and they do a variety of activities. Three Bears Resort is a family resort. Three Bears Resort should engage with the Madison Mom Blogger’s groups and pages to draw attention to the Resort.

Another option is for Three Bears Resort to donate a “Beach Basket” or even a one night stay to Madison Mom Bloggers in exchange for them to run a contest on their social media pages.

Build anticipation by sharing photos and videos of last year’s event.

If this is a recurring event, hopefully, you have some great pictures from last year to share. You can even plan to post on a Thursday and use the hashtag #throwbackthursday!

Share behind the scenes content.

People love to see behind the scenes look into the action. Share pictures to gain some hype such as the venue, previews of performers, main guests, prizes, décor, surrounding area, etc. This can also set the stage for attendees to know what to expect.

Invest in stickers to promote your event.

Be sure they have your Event’s #hashtag on them! Why? People love stickers. They WILL stick them somewhere, and depending on how cool your stickers are they will stick them somewhere important! (Not to mention, they’re totally Instaworthy.) A great place to order stickers is Sticker Mule and they have a lot of options and will even send you samples.

 

Are you ready to promote your next event!? Thank you to Kayla S. Clemons for all the fabulous tips!!

 

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About Sprout Studio’s Web Design Process

Ever wonder what the web design process is like? We’ll walk you through what our main steps are. Get to know how we’ll build your site.

WordPress Website Process

1. We’ll kick off with a website questionnaire.

This is some simple homework for you to get a feel for what you’re looking for. This will allow you to answer some questions for us so that we can provide you with a great website. (Some sample questions… Who is your audience? How do people typically get to your site? What are they looking for when they get there? Etc.)

2. We’ll ask you for some websites that you like for inspiration.

There are so many websites out there, and because everyone has different wants/needs/styles, we ask for these to help us narrow in on who you are and what your goals for the website are.

3. We’ll create a mockup of your website’s homepage.

Using a design program, Adobe Illustrator, we can lay out what we’ve envisioned for your site. This is where we can lay out things such as where’s the logo placed, what links are in the menu, or what’s in the footer. Sprout will design it and you will have a chance to provide feedback before we get into the development of the site. Typically we’ll do one revision before heading to WordPress.

4. We will set up a development site on WordPress.

During this time, we’ll keep your current site live until the new site is finished. We will develop the new site on our server and make changes there. As soon as we’re ready for the launch. We will migrate your new site into your domain and it will be live for the world to see.

5. After the launch, we will get together for a WordPress training.

We will take you behind the scenes and teach you how to do some basic edits to your site. During this time, we’ll also teach you some basics about SEO and keeping Wordpress up to date as well.

6. From here, our job is done.

You should have a beautiful new site and what you’ll need to attract customers as well as sign in and make edits as needed.

Learn more on our http://sprout-studio.com/services/wordpress-web-design/

Looking for a Cheap Graphic Designer?

Looking for a cheap Graphic Designer in Madison, Wisconsin? Well, graphic design is probably not the area you want to skimp out on. I mean, we’re talking about your business right?! You should have a professional face to your brand. So, if you’re looking for someone working for $10/hour out of their grandma’s basement, you’ve probably stumbled upon the wrong site. We value the work we do and you may not find us “cheap”… HOWEVER, we are here to tell you a few of our best tips to save money when working with a graphic designer.

 

5 Tips to Saving Money Working with a Graphic Designer

Ready to get started on your new project with your graphic designer? Hooray and good for you for investing in a professional to elevate your brand. Working with a graphic designer is a great way to create a really professional brand

 

Avoid vague descriptions.

Have you had to answer one of those questionnaires where there are a million questions and you’re wondering why it’s important? Well, truth be told, those questions most likely have a purpose. They’re trying to get to know more details. At the start of a project, there’re so many things we as designers need to know to create a design that serves you best. Be sure you’re clear about all the details to avoid back and forth questions, and even worse, having to redesign something that you didn’t specify at the project kickoff.

Minimise revisions.

A. Know what you’re looking for ahead of time. It can be extremely beneficial to have your project going in the right direction from the start. The further you get down in the process, the more work it is to pivot or start fresh. (We know that sometimes this does happen, but we need you as the clients to understand that we can often step back and reanalysis, but this will affect the budget with additional revisions and change of scope.)

B. Do you work with a group or committee that will be reviewing the work? If you’re looking to keep your costs down and also need to a few people to review a project, be sure you’re reviewing together so you can hash out revisions at once. It adds a lot of time and revisions when clients send over a couple revisions at a time. It’s more efficient for us to make 10 revisions at once than to make 2 corrections, 5 times around.

Use the same designer for all your projects.

Working with someone on a consistent basis allows you to get all “extra stuff” out of the way (contracts, emails, estimates, deposits, etc), and lets you focus on the job at hand. You’ll begin to create an impressive workflow and can get to know each other’s style and preferences when it comes to their marketing collateral. Similarly, both parties will get to know standard processes, preferred file setup, communication style, and the brand as a whole. A more effective workflow means a better price for you.

Have the logos you need handy (and vector).

Most importantly, you will need your business’s logo in vector format which you should hopefully have! If not, you might have to have the designer recreate your logo in the format you need (click here for the logos you should have for your business). If your designer needs to recreate any logos, it’s going to cost extra money.

Additionally, some projects might have multiple logos involved, such as event branding where there will be sponsor logos. Save your designer time by having that ready for them. If your designer has to hunt down sponsor logos, this will add time to the clock. Be sure you also have the best quality you can get access to. If you provide a low-res pixeled version you snagged from there twitter account, that probably won’t work and your graphic designer will have to get involved to get something better.

Have your copy and photos ready to go.

We run into this a lot where clients are ready to start a project but they don’t have all their ducks in a row or their copy (the text for the website or marketing piece) finalized. It’s actually quite challenging to design a piece without knowing whether we’re working with one line of text or three paragraphs. This is really critical to efficiency… If we don’t have a basic understanding of what content will be used, we could be designing and redesigning and it can exceed your revision time. (Oh. We should probably mention, basic test edits and swapping pics here and there is not what we’re referring to, it’s the big edits that we’re referring to. That makes a large difference.)

Related topic, if you’re not at the point where you can hire a professional photographer and will be using stock photography. It’s really helpful if you have an idea of the photos you’d like and some keywords for use to search for. Sometimes as designers, we need some examples of what to look for in stock photography. For example, if you are an interior design but only work residentially, we won’t want to include anything that involved commercial spaces (…granted as your graphic designer, we should already know that, but you get my point, right?)

 

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We hope you found this helpful! Let us know what you think and if you can implement any of these tips with your graphic designer to maximize your cost and save some money. Don’t skimp our for a cheap graphic designer… If you use these tips and think smart about your project, it will help you save $$$ in the end!

If you’re in Madison, WI and are looking for design help, feel free to reach out! Otherwise, just hang on tight to stay tuned for more great tips to come.

 

 

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What is a Vector?

If you’re in marketing, small business, or a creative field, you’ve probably heard the term VECTOR thrown around. You might have been totally lost by what this means. As a graphic design studio, we use vector EVERY DAY… not even exaggerating, we LOVE them.

BUT… What if you’re not a designer and you have someone telling you that you NEED a vector logo. Wel, in this case,e you might be totally confused, but rest assured you’ve come to the right spot! We’re here to help you learn what it is and why its important. It’s a tricky concept to digest, but we’ve created an infographic for you that should hopefully make it easier to understand.

I’ll run through the basics quickly before you dive into the graphic. Google Dictionary describes VECTOR as “a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another”. Similarly, in graphic design, we use the term “vector” to refer to a graphic created with anchor points, lines, and angles which work together to form shapes. The elements of the design use their relativity to one another to create the shapes of your design. Because of the geometry behind it, you can scale shapes as large as you want without losing quality. Whether your design is one inch or one mile long, these relative mathematic equations stay the same, allowing your lines and curves to stay crisp and clear.

There’s a lot of mathematics behind it, and although we loved math in high school, that knowledge has definitely diminished [probably to retain more knowledge about fonts, lol]. If you want to read the brainy details behind it, click on this link: https://www.intmath.com/vectors/math-vector-art.php.

So thanks to the fabulously smart people of the world, they figured out how to use their math skills to create vector graphics in programs like Adobe Illustrator. Praise the lord — this means we’re able to make awesome designs without thinking about math!

Let’s take a look at the graphic below.


As you may have already noticed, vectors are the type of thing that makes us giddy… yep, you can call us design-nerds, WE ARE.

What it comes down to is… A vector graphic is created with lines, curves, and points. These all combine together to make something that is completely scalable. As they grow and shrink, they don’t cause pixelation because they aren’t made of those pixels/dots. The lines, curves, and anchors create a mathematical relationship to each other, so as they scale, they maintain the same equations.

So the most important thing you take away from this post is this: VECTOR graphics are scalable!

This is why we ALWAYS tell our clients and pretty much everyone we know, you need to have vector logo files. They are so important… To read more about our post on what type of logo files you need, you can read our post, 6 Logo Types You Need.

 

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Get to know your file formats

Ever wondered why there are so many file formats? Each type has its own features and there’s a place for all of them in the design world.The reason we really wanted to share is because we often see people who don’t understand the differences between file types and/or are often not supplied with what they need. In today’s post, we’re going to go through six formats you will encounter most often and what the differences between them are.

Let’s dig in…

JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

All right, let’s start with the most common file type. This would be a JPEG. I’m guessing that you have heard of a JPEG before or maybe you’ve just seen those three or four letters at the end of your file. This is the most common type of file seen across the board. JPEG’s are often used in many ways… they can be for logos, images, infographics, and much more.

JPEG is a handy file type because it can be in CMYK or RGB. These different color types are important to know whether or not your graphic will be on the web, or printed. The advantage of the JPEG is it so versatile and anyone can open it. Another benefit of the JPEG’s that you can reduce the size of the graphic if you are using it for a website. You can have a very large image, reduce the quality, and this allows for a quicker page load on your website (good for user experience and SEO!).

The disadvantage is that it loses quality over time. Unfortunately, another disadvantage is a JPEG cannot be transparent. This is really important when you’re getting logo files because a JPEG cannot be placed onto a color background without the hideous white box around it. Please don’t do this! (This leads us to our next format…)

USE IF: You want some quick and easy, image quality isn’t as important.

PNG – Portable Network Graphics

Our next file is a ping, also known as a PNG. And the design we’re on some people refer to it as a ping file, while others use PNG. You may hear them both versions, but they are the same. It’s like a “bubbler” or a “drinking fountain”. A PNG is a really handy file type because it allows for transparency. As we mentioned before that hideous white box around your logo, can be avoided by using a PNG. They also tend to have higher file sizes compared to the same file as a JPG. So keep this in mind as you’re designing on the web if you don’t need transparency go ahead and use the JPEG. Another important thing to note is that PNGs are always RGB, because pings are often used as digital graphics, such as social media graphics, web elements, or PowerPoint presentations.

USE IF: You need a transparent background.

PDF – Portable Document Format

Our next most common file type you’ll encounter is the PDF. It’s possibly the most versatile file format in our opinion and used very often in our business. Often we will use a PDF to show proofs to our clients and often times these are the final files we send to a printer as well.  One of the really great things about PDFs is that you can save them at different qualities. When we send large files off for a client proof, we can reduce the size so that we can email them. (Pro Tip: Most email systems limit file scaring to 25 MB, If you have to send something larger, we suggest www.wetransfer.com) When it’s time to send the final art files to a printer, we can still save the same PDF as a high-resolution print file. Love technology!

PDF’s have so many great features, the list goes on. They are also great for applications and forms because you can have fillable fields that allow users to type in information. Another benefit of PDF’s is that you can embed links. This means if you’re sending a file to a customer, you can link your URL, your email address, a download button, and much more! One of the biggest features of a PDF that designers use daily is the markup capabilities. Clients are able to add little sticky notes to your files to note revisions and/or text corrections. It can be such a helpful tool to use.

Lastly, a PDF is SO VERSATILE that you can use almost any program and output as PDF.  This allows it to be so wide-spread and also allows for anyone to open it on their own computer.

USE IF: You want something easy to share or sending to someone for review.

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

The next file type we are going to discuss is an EPS. An EPS is a really important file type in the design world, because this saves your files with all the vectors. (Not sure what a vector is? New post coming soon!) And EPS is often used as the universal file for vector graphics. This file type can be opened only programs used to read vector files, but the importance of maintaining the vector art. If you’re sending a logo to a designer, this is what they will like to have. You’ll also use a vector file if you’re sending your logo to a printer for things like screen printing T-shirts, making promotional materials, or signage for your business. Another similar file type for designers is an .AI file. This is Adobe Illustrator’s version of the EPS and has a few more customizations within. However, it’s not a helpful file type for someone who does not have Adobe Illustrator.

USE IF: You want to maintain your vector points or need something that’s scalable.

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

Another file type is an SVG. This is another great web file because it allows for scaling on the website. In the world of responsive web design ability to scale a graphic is really important. And SVG is kind of like a blend of a JPEG and a EPS.  This file type is relatively new to the design world, and you’re starting to see it more and more.  Many web and graphic designers like to use SVGs on their designs so that they can scale without pixelization.

USE IF: You want vector graphics on the web.

TIFF – Tagged Image Format File

Another file type which will talk about is the TIFF. A TIFF file is similar to a JPEG, but is often used for higher resolution photos and can have more features. For example, a TIFF file can have layers in it. This is important for someone working in Photoshop and would like to maintain their file layers. (Sidenote: layers are used in Photoshop to layer elements on top of each other. For example, if you’re looking at a graphic it would have a background layer, content layers, perhaps text, and commonly some layers for color correcting and/or photo editing.) The TIF file type comes in handy when you want to send a file to someone who does not have Photoshop, but you still want to maintain the editable layers. Is “editable” a real word? IDK, but we use it a lot. lol…  And another file type that goes along with the TIFF, is a PSD file. This is basically an Adobe Photoshop file and can maintain it’s layers but can only be opened by those with Photoshop.

USE IF: You have a large photograph or layers.

So there you have it! Is your brain ready to explode? Sorry, we tried to make it as easy as possible, but there’s a lot to know. Hope this helps, happy designing!

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How did we get started freelancing? Our Story, Part 1

How did we get started?

I don’t think I’ve ever received any question more than this one. So we’re here today to answer the question everyone’s been asking. Every entrepreneur or freelance graphic designer has a different story and that’s why we’re excited to share with you our story, and how we came to be. Read on to hear “part 1” of our story…

It’s funny, when I graduated college, I always used to dream about running my own shop. But I was in college, young, and had no clue what that meant… Our friends and classmates were always chatting about how cool it would be to run our own studios. We often thought about what life would be like and how much fun it would be to work on creative projects and run the show. It was always a dream, but never really knew how to execute it or where life would take us.

The college I attended, UWSP, had an amazing design conference every year called NowHere. Through NowHere our dreams starting to flourish. We got to see amazing designers across America (and Internationally) doing what they love and making a living at it. Some of these designers work for large well-known agencies while others were entrepreneurs and running their own business. It was always inspiring to see what creatives were doing in the real world and it was always something we looked up to.  I learned so much from the NowHere Conference (and UWSP in general)…we were just a small design school, but it was an amazing blessing that we were able to bring in famous designers. #unbelievable. This is where my entrepreneurial daydreaming began.

After graduation, I decided to take a little break and went on a mini vacation to see a good friend who lived in Reno, Nevada. Being fresh out of college the world was my playground.  I decided it was important to take some time to myself before I went out into the world. Knowing the time would come and I’d have no time for vacations and real life became all too real.  I took a three-week vacation to visit my friend Dorothy and we had so much fun hiking, my first (and only) time snowboarding, and visiting some really awesome spots. Yet, the best part of all was that I was going to see my good friend who happened to be a year older than me, and also a designer from UWSP. She was the best, and I had always looked up to her as a mentor and friend.

We had such a blast, and it was great spending time with another designer and close friend. I took the time to enjoy myself and didn’t think about job hunting until my return…

When I got back to Wisconsin, it was time to start filling out applications and sending out resumes. I was a bit selective in what I was applying for because I knew that I had a good talent and design strengths. (perhaps also a bit stubborn and didn’t want to settle :P)

I met with a talent agency called C2  that focuses on people in the creative field. As part of their process, I had to go in for an interview and also take a design program evaluation.  I’m naturally a pretty shy person so interviews always intimidated me,  however, I knew that to have the most success I had to be myself.  What I was really terrified of, was the design test. We went through a series of questions and different Adobe programs. When finished I found out that I was doing pretty good! The man who was running the test had said that students out of Stevens point always scored well on the program testing (yay, UWSP!).

I had gotten a couple inquiries about job positions through C2. One position, in particular, sounded really interesting, AND was in my hometown! The next week was a whirlwind… On Monday, I had heard about the job. Tuesday, I had sent in my application. Wednesday, was my interview. Thursday, I excepted the job.  And Friday, was my first day.

Having a full-time job was an interesting experience that I learned a lot from, but this company was just not for me. I got to work on some incredible projects, meet incredible people, but eventually knew I’d move on.

While freelancing on the side, I had always dreamed of something bigger, and something better…

Then one day, life changed forever. I got word that I was being let go.

Was I excited? Was I pissed? To be honest I wasn’t really sure.

But what I did know, is that this was meant to be, and I had no excuse but to launch myself headfirst into the freelancing world. Later discovering what would become my dream, Sprout Studio, LLC.

Was I terrified?  Heck yes. Did I know what I was doing? Not entirely.…

I begin building up my freelancing work and started to get the word out that I was freelancing full-time. Ideally,  it would have been really helpful to start building this up ahead of time and saving up for the leap of faith. (Not to mention I had just purchased a brand new car… not the smartest investment if I had known I’d be jobless months later.)

I started reaching out to people in the industry I already knew… a lot of them are still clients today and we love dearly.

After about a month, I was contacted by my good friend, Kayla, who is working in New York City. They were looking for a freelance designer to help with packaging for the NUK brand products. Seemed pretty crazy right? Could I really move to New York for a couple months and work for a national brand in The Big Apple? We were excited to try!

Within two weeks my bags were packed, and I was on my way to New York City!

I had never been, I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I was so excited for this experience and was so blessed that life had led me here.

Working with NUK, literally changed my life. It was the launching pad for my career. I was able to work directly with the marketing team and one of my best friends — A dream come true!! While navigating the ins-and-outs of product packaging, we jumped into some product graphics, which later became the first designs we had on the shelf. (see excited Carly photo below) Working with Kayla and NUK, I was also able to hone my skills in Illustrator. I quickly became obsessed with the program and honed my digital illustration and iconography abilities.

We loved working in the baby industry, even today, we love designing for children!

What happens next!? Stay tuned to find out!

6 Logo File Types Your Business Needs

New to business? Ready to launch a new venture? Are you looking to rebrand?

Looking for which graphic designer you’d like to hire to design a new logo can be a task in itself. There’s a lot of options out there and a wide variety of prices, skills levels, and logo packages. Whether its a recent design school graduate, a successful freelance graphic designer, or an expensive agency, you should always know what your final deliverables will be. Do a little research ahead of time to know that you’ll be receiving the files you need in the end. (Warning: cheap online services are often lacking in the deliverables arena. Beware.)

In our five years of business (and even prior to that) we’ve seen so many businesses unequipped with what they need. One time that we can vividly remember, we were asking a client for a vector format of their newly designed logo. It came as no surprise that they had no clue what we were talking about so they just sent us everything they had. (If you’re sitting here confused, it’s totally common for people not to know the term “vector”… That’s why we’re here to educate you!)

They sent us what they had and it was a folder full of variations of .jpg and .png files. NOT VECTOR FILES. Who is this designer that didn’t supply a vector file? What kind of training, or lack thereof, did the designer have? Puzzling… After the frustration wore off, we contacted the designer and were able to track down the vector file as needed. Fortunately, we didn’t have to recreate the vector logo… Unfortunately, it did require extra emails, jumping through hoops, and loss of productive time.

After this dreadful inconvenience, we thought it would be helpful to lay out the most important logo files you need for your business. So let’s hop to it… We’re counting down the 6 logos you should have for your business and why.

6. Horizontal and Vertical Formats (if applicable)

Some logos may or may not need 2 different logo variations. It just depends on what your logo looks like. If you have a really tall or wide logo, you may need a horizontal or vertical logo. With the example below, we showed why it is important to have the variation. Carrie Cullen‘s main logo is a circle and it looks beautiful! But what happens when we put it on the website and there’s a very short header? This is where the horizontal version becomes important… If we used the circle logo there, it would have had to be so tiny.

5. Transparent

Please, please, please, promise us you will never use your logo with an ugly white box around it. It looks so unprofessional. It’s clear you weren’t prepared with the logo file types you need (or knowledgeable in design). Using a transparent logo is a great way to solve this problem. Be sure you only place it over graphics or colors that allow full legibility, you want to be sure it’s easy to read and doesn’t strain your eyes. Another “sin” in design…don’t try to create your own transparent logos by deleting the white pixels around it. This can create an awful white, and often pixelated, blur around your logo. This can look even worse. Promise me you’ll avoid this tactic?

4. Color profiles

You may not need it often, but it’s important to always have a version of your logo that uses the original PMS, RGB, and CMYK colors. A PMS, also known as a Pantone color, is a universal color system that allows accuracy in colors across the world. This will be important for printers you use to match your brand well. Even if you aren’t printing with PMS color inks, you can still sthare these color codes with your printer to let them know what to match tones to. RGB files will be used for anything digital you are putting out into the world. RGB is referring to the Red-Green-Blue values on your screen that are used to create different colors. CMYK files will be used for anything you are using in print. These files are based on the ink colors, Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black, that a printer uses to create different tones.

3. Reversed Logo

Ever plan to put your logo on a dark background? Yea… you might have problems if you weren’t supplied with the right logos. You may not think of it at first, but you WILL need a white style of your logo at some point for various marketing collateral and you’ll probably use it somewhere on your site as well. With the example below, we were able to put The Granite Workshop’s logo on a light-colored marble or a dark-colored granite. Both look beautiful!

2. One Solid Color

This is where a lot of inexperienced designers hit problems. If you’re using multiple colors that overlap or gradient tones, it can be really hard to create a 1-color logo from it. It’s so important that designers (and you) understand that colors are really nice in a logo, but how will it look when it’s only one color? Are you thinking, “Nah, we probably won’t ever use a one color logo”? Think again! The most common uses for one-colored logos are in screenprinting (t-shirts, bags, etc.) and promotional products (pens, thumbs drives, mints, etc.). It’s super important. See how we were able to take this really colorful logo for Moonbeam Birth and also create a one-color version that still looks great standing alone in blue?

1. Vector Logo (EPS)

MOST IMPORTANT… You neeeeeeeeeed to have a vector file. Your designer and other vendors you work with might jab their eyes out if you don’t have one… Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but please take me seriously when I say you NEED a vector logo. This will often come as an EPS file (occasionally an .ai, but less universal). Okay, so hopefully you’ve caught on that it’s major…

What makes a vector so important? 1. They are 100% scalable so the can be transformed from 1 inch to 20 feet and beyond. 2. You can pull elements from it to use in designing collateral. 3. You can edit the colors should you ever need a black and white version, end up changing your brand colors down the road. 3. You can edit it should you need a new variation down the road or your business pivots.

This graphic shows the “vectors” of a logo. They are made with all these blue squares which are called vectors (thus the name). All the vectors work together to create angles and shapes. Each one can be moved and manipulated if the need arises. Together, they make up the greatest thing in design!!

 

We hope this was helpful. We also hope you’re equipped with all the proper files you need! DI you find this beneficial? Are there any logos your business is missing? Anything you found surprising?

Let us know, we’d love to chat more!

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Sprout’s Process for Print Design Projects

Wondering what our process is like for our client’s graphic design projects?

You’ve come to the right spot. We’ve created this easy to follow roadmap just for you! Follow along as we walk through the steps of a graphic design process for print collateral and other marketing pieces. The process is pretty simple but this will at least give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Thanks for checking out our infographic on the design process for print projects. We hope it was informative and helped you understand the timeline.

Stay tuned for future posts where we will talk about the web design process.

4 Ways to Find Inspiration Daily

Where do we find inspiration?

We get this question a lot. As a creative studio its important to stay on top of our creativity and always thinking outside of the box. What if we get stuck? Where do we find inspiration daily?

I’m going to walk you through the four main ways we gain inspiration. Keep in mind we get it from everywhere. We even have creative inspiration when we sleep, when we’re shopping, and even when we least expect it.

The first spot we find inspiration is in one of our daily routines… Instagram. Are you on Instagram? We love to use Instagram to browse creativity. We’ve started to follow hashtags which are related to branding and design we love. Through this, we get a constant feed of inspiration, and the creativity hits us all the time. We love to follow other creative’s because we can bounce inspiration off of each other. It’s important to understand that following other creative’s doesn’t mean you’re copying their ideas. It’s super important to us that we stay original and even something little from someone else’s work might strike a bigger idea. Find us on Instagram. 

The second place we find creativity is on Pinterest. Yep, we know. Everyone loves Pinterest. Surprisingly, we were one of the originals on the Pinterest platform.… back then Pinterest wasn’t what it was today there was lots of creativity, but also less advertising, it was heaven. Back then everyone had new ideas and it was amazing for finding really original and authentic ideas.

However, Pinterest is still an amazing resource for any creative. We’ll use Pinterest for business ideas, design ideas, cookie decorating ideas, and of course DIY home decor. The creativity is all around and we cannot resist finding the inspiration from this incredible platform. You can follow us on Pinterest here.

Our third form of inspiration comes from print. That’s right you heard it here… print is not dead. We have a great, and ever-growing library of design books. You may have seen us talk about them before. We have a variety of books we love to peruse. We have books on design, logos, entrepreneurship, business cards, and so much more. Whenever we’re feeling stuck we can always go back to these books and get instant inspiration. The great thing about design books is that they are timeless. So you get a great variety of design styles, without the trendy design elements.  I love this because you can find inspiration from way back when to days like today.

Our favorite, favorite, favorite, part of finding inspiration from books is that the inspiration is right at your fingertips. You don’t need to go to Google or type on your phone for specific keywords. In design, you may not have specific keywords to search, and sometimes the results suck if you haven’t searched for the correct thing. Additionally, if you’re looking for business card inspiration Google might send you two sides the design business cards for you or give you the same images for business cards over and over again. When you have a book you don’t have to search for anything specific, you can just browse through and even if you’re looking at a web design book you can even find inspiration for a catalog. I love having all these books on hand, and we are continuing to grow our little design library every month.

Our last form of inspiration is a little bit vague. I apologize that we can’t be more specific, but that’s just how creatives work. We are so happy to live in a visual world. Everything around us is design. We get to see billboards, packaging, mailers, and other forms of design all day, every day. This means that we have creativity all around us 24/7. That’s right folks, our last form of inspiration comes from… The world. The great thing about the world of design is you can find great design, and you can find horrible design. Both or means of inspiration… both good and bad design can inspire what to do or what not to do.

My phone is filled with screenshots and quick snaps on my camera of things that I find really interesting. Additionally, Madison is a very creative city. It also allows a lot of entertainment for creative folk and inspirational events. We also have a lot of great design agencies in town who put out great work for local and national brands. Although we are a small shop we always strive to keep up with the creative agencies with full teams of designers.

And that’s the basic ways we find inspiration. Of course, there are many other ways but these are our for top ways of staying creative. Are you in the creative industry? Do you use these creative outlets as information? If so I would love to hear what you think is your top way to gain inspiration.

 

Comment below to share your thoughts.

What is “White Space” and why should we use it?

What the hell is white space and why do I need it?

What a great question… Designers loooooooooove white space — for real!

But what if you’re not a designer and you have no clue what we’re talking about?

We’re here to tell you all about what it is and why you should follow along with this classic trend… Well actually, it’s not really a trend, it’s simply just good design.

To begin, let’s define what “white space” means in the visual world.

White space is referred to all the blank space between the text and imagery. Commonly, also referred to as negative space, it can span from the large spaces of white to the teeny tiny spaces between letters. Now, the term is referred to as “white space”, but keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s white in color. The open and blank spaces are what we’re referring to… whether they are stark white or our favorite Pantone 563 CP. (to learn what Pantones are, click here)

Does that make sense? This white space is essential. Using space around your elements allows it space to breathe. In addition, using a lot or a little white space, can help balance out a design or assist to draw attention to certain elements.

3 Key Benefits of White Space

Space to breathe.

I good design, you want me make sure you give all your elements room to breathe. You don’t want to stack everything on top on one another and cramp the page. It’s like living downtown and practically being able to reach your hand out the window and touch your neighbor. That’s so not cool. Graphic design is the same. It’s important especially with logos to have space around your logo, many designers refer to that as “Sacred Space”. (If you’re interested in more we talk about this in our “what is a brand guideline and why should I have one” post.)

Balance.

We like to talk about balance all the time with our clients. It’s a HUGE part of design and it is something that separates good and bad design. Have you ever looked at something and it just seems off? That could be due to the balance of white space. (Granted, sometimes designers will intentionally throw you off. Sometimes that is the objective, but please leave this to the masters…) A lot of times when designs get overcrowded with content, this tends to take away from the balance and everything just looks cluttered.

Drawing attention.

Using a lot of white space is great for drawing people’s attention. Imagine you’re walking down State Street in Madison, WI and you are seeing all these posters for events, sales, fundraisers, etc. coming up. We’ve all seen these public boards where they are plastered with promotions. Using a large amount of white space can grab someone’s attention because it’s so different from everything else. You think to yourself. What’s this, and ass you get closer, you see a beautiful design that’s taken advantage of the blank space your eye needs.

 

Let’s look at some samples of White Space.

Nice white space can be seen in this promotion by Fakeson found on this article.

We’re so in love with the talent from DKNG and this poster for REGGIE Watts is a great example of white space. (it’s also is an amazing design/illustration in general)

Awesome Poster Designs by DKNG

Another great sample is this business card design for Miya Hirabayash. We love how she kept the whole top half open and it really gives the logo space to breathe.

Bring it! Business Card Inspiration | papernstitch

Business cards are a really great place to look if you want to see how well someone uses their whitespace. Matt Graif did a great job with these cards.

Image result for white space business cards

Packaging is another area of design where white space can be used really well (and unfortunately, also very poorly). Purelosophy has a great way of using minimalism and white space.

 

Lack of white space:

Here’s a good example of bad white space (not to mention too many fonts!!), but here you can really feel a difference.

Related image

Here’s some samples of “Mailer Design” (whatever that is?), that does not have a good use of white space. Almost every inch of space is covered but an image or text…

Image result for mailer design

So, have you learned anything?

HOPEFULLY.

We hope the most important take away is to not overcrowd your designs. If you’re a designer, keep this in mind while you design. If you’re a client, be sure to let your designers make conscious choices with the white space… You don’t need to say, “Make the logo bigger.”