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.

 

 

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!

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.”

NowHere UW-Stevens Point 2015

It’s so fun to have the opportunity to speak at our alma mater. We’re so proud to be a Pointer… and even more proud to come from this outstanding program!

Big NEWS!

My third blog post and I already have great news to share! I just found out I’ll be moving to New York for 2 months and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve already been looking at things to do, planning my outfits, downloading apps, and thinking about it 24/7. I leave in one week! There’s so much left to figure out but the spontaneous side of me is loving every minute of it.

I will be a temporary designer at NUK USA where one of my best friends’ works. AND, what’s even better is I also get to live with her in her New York pent house suite! … Well, maybe that’s straying a little bit from the truth. She lives in the upper east side in this cute (and tiny) apartment, but that’s all part of this amazing experience. Stay tuned for more to come about my “new” roommate, new job, and new city!