Where should I get my business cards printed?

We love it when we get this question, and honestly, it depends a lot on what you’re looking for. That said, we want to be a resource for all of you, so we’ve listed out our best advice for where you should get your business cards printed.

Here we go…

BUSINESS CARDS ON A BUDGET

Pass on Vistaprint

Those deals that seem too good to be true — Are too good to be true. Sorry, Vistaprint.

If you’re on a budget for business cards, it might be an option you’re thinking about. However, think twice, friends, you get what you pay for. VistaPrint’s cheapest business cards, look just that, really dang cheap. (Disclaimer: If you do order their cards, and they arrive and don’t look right, please get a hold of their customer service and get them reprinted)

If you’re thinking, great tips, but we’re still on a budget. Click here to order.

Got Print

Our second, budget-friendly option is Got-Print.com. If you’re looking to save money on your cards, our recommendation is to order from Got Print. We’ve noticed better quality in their cards, and have been happy with the results

BUSINESS CARDS THAT WOW

Our Top Choice – Moo

As graphic designers, we know a thing or two about marketing pieces that make you stand out in the crowd. Moo is hands-down our favorite spot for business cards. Even their “standard” cards will outshine the competition. 

Click here to get 25% off your first MOO order! 

PRINTING LOCALLY

Almost every printer around town will print business cards, so if you have a favorite printer, I would probably suggest you start with them.

If you’ve never worked with any print shops and have no clue where to start, we have a few places we’d recommend to get you started.

 

Econoprint has a great next day service for business cards which makes it really easy to get what you need fast. I would typically recommend a thicker stock, but this is a great option for the standard business cards. Plus, you can’t beat that turnaround time! :)

 

Minuteman Press

Another great local printer we love is Minuteman Press, located in Waunakee, Wisconsin. We have used them for several projects and love working with them, they always do a great job and have really affordable pricing.

 

Although they aren’t in the Madison area, Bay View Printing in Milwaukee isn’t too far, so we still consider them to be a great local option. They enter our list as an extra special addition for those who really want some premier cards! They are a letterpress printer and have some really exceptional work.

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Below is a project we did for a client where we got to create a custom logo and print them with a letterpress debossed effect. It was a graphic designer’s dream to see this project come to life! (Designers have a special place in our hearts for letterpress since this is where our industry all begin.)

Tips for seeking quotes and comparing:

When you ask for a quote from a printer, don’t forget to find out the thickness on your business cards. You might ask for a quote from 2+ businesses but one might quote you for a thicker paper that would look more expensive. Be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

 

 

Love what you see? Pin the image below and share with others!

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Our Favorite Go-To Sans Serif Fonts

It’s hard to believe I haven’t had a blog post about FONTS yet! It’s basically impossible for you to go about your day without looking at fonts. They are all around you, even for those non-designers out there! Well, maybe not last week when I was literally stuck in bed with the worst flu of my life. 🤔 But even then, there was text on my medication that I was taking… so I guess even when you’re sick you’re consuming type in some way.

There’s an insane number of fonts out there. Since there’s a lot of poorly designed options, we wanted to give you a hand. We thought we’d share our go-to san serif fonts that you’ll often find us using/suggesting with our clients. These typefaces might seem simple, but there’s a lot of power in simplicity. These subtle beauties would be great paired with a display font or your brand logo.

Roboto: A Versatile & Accessible Font

What we love about Roboto is how it works with just about every project (not that we actually use it that much, but we could). One of my favorite things about this typeface is that it comes with a Condensed Font. This means it’s a skinnier option and allows you to fit more letters on one line. Roboto is like my modern (and free!) version of Helvetica — beautiful and timeless.

Download Roboto here.

Open Sans: A Powerfully Simple Font

Similar to Roboto, Open Sans is another great option that can be paired with just about anything. While still very clean and simple, it has a little bit of whimsy. It comes with 10 styles which really gives you a lot of flexibility.

Download Open Sans Here.

Lato: A Sans Font with Character

Lato may be one of my favorite fonts because of the subtle character within the characters. 😉 When used in body copy, it’s a little tricky to see the nuances of the letterforms. However, if you have the opportunity for larger text, you can see that the corners are curved and show little modifications.

Download Lato Here.

Montserrat: A Modest Modern Font

Montserrat has a modern feel with the very circular forms, such as the O, C, G, and Q. Because of this, the font appears wider than other typefaces. When that O becomes more of a perfect circle and less of an oval, your overall width will reflect accordingly. With the most styles on our list, Montserrat is very versatile, just keep in mind your text will spread across more space. Sometimes this can be good and work in our favor, sometimes it’s not. (Sidenote: Think back to when you were in school and you had to use size 12 font, and it had to be 4 pages long. This would be the font you’d choose to get away with writing less, lol.)

Download Montserrat Here.

Raleway: A Quirky Yet Clean Font

Last but not least, we bring you a very popular font among many. Raleway is known for its quirkiness but still comes across very clean. What makes it quirky? 1. There’s little curls on the tails of the a and d. 2. The w’s are also very recognizable, which some may love and some may hate. 3. The letters are also a little goofy because they don’t follow along the same baseline. Again, some like that while others (like me) don’t. 

Overall, I think that Raleway is a great font for businesses that want to be a little casual, yet still professional.

Download Raleway Here.

What do you think? Are these some fonts you’d be interested in trying?

Next time you’re wondering what to use as your brand font, give one of these a try. Best of all, they’re designer approved! AND FREE!

 

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How to choose which LOGO file type to use

After creating a logo, you’ll receive tons of files! It’s GREAT, but you may be wondering — what on earth do I do with all of these? Why are there so many different formats? What’s a vector file?

Follow along to see how to choose which LOGO file type to use.

Check out our quick road map below.

 

When it comes to your logos, having the right file type is important. It’s easy to get confused about what is what. Using or sending the right files can be important to ensure your brand shines in all the right ways!Here’s a quick summary on common logo file types:

PNG

PNG files are a really great and versatile file format. The biggest benefit is its transparent capabilities. Extremely valuable for logos because they can be placed on colored backgrounds or on top of other images. (Always follow brand guidelines when placing your logo in different spots so it looks clean and professional)

EPS / AI / SVG

These file types are commonly known as Vector files. They are created using mathematical formulas of angles, curves, and points rather than individual pixels. Vector files will always look clear because they can be scaled at any size while still maintaining quality. They ROCK! The disadvantage of vector files is that you need certain programs that are able to use vector formats. We like to tell clients that they may not be using these files, but they should keep them on hand for when they’re requested.

JPG

JPGs are probably the most common file format out there. They are great because they can come in all shapes and sizes. Be sure to pay attention to your file sizes when choosing a JPG file. You want to use a smaller file when working in web so it loads quickly, however, when sending something to print, you want a high resolution for clear printing.

 

Hopefully, this is all helpful! Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions on how to choose which logo file type to use.
If you’re interested in learning more about our branding packages, feel free to explore our logo and branding page

 

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30 of the Best Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers on Etsy

We have been looking for things to add to this year’s Christmas list and we were struggling! Browsing the web, all the “top gift lists” seemed pretty boring and weren’t sparking any joy… We knew we had to rethink our strategy. That is when ETSY came in!

Do you remember when you were little and you circle pretty much everything in the toy advertisements? That’s how this list makes me feel! I hope you love it too.

Let’s dive in!

1. Pantone Enamel Pin

For only $8.00 you can bring your Pantone obsession to the next level with this fun Enamel pin. Pin it anywhere to sport your favorite Pantone color! Mine will definitely be going on my backpack!

⮕ Order one now.

 


2. Artsy Fartsy Comfy Tee

Did anyone else get called “Artsy Fartsy” all the time? I’m pretty sure that it could be my middle name! This cute comfy tee comes in a variety of colors and features hand-drawn type by Carly Wilkie. Spend over $35 and get free shipping!

⮕ Heck Yes, I need this!

 


3. Typography Ampersand Tee

Graphic designers LOVE their ampersands, so naturally, this had to make our list! This graphic tee features 30 variations of our favorite type character. Bonus points if you can name all the typefaces used.

⮕ Order it here.

 


4. Retro Microsoft WordArt Patch

Okay, this one genuinely makes us crack up. Perhaps your first look into “graphic design” was using these awful WordArt styles. I have to admit, my mom’s saved some of my old projects, and although advanced at my age, there were some hideous design choices I made back then. This is sure to make any designer giggle, making it the perfect gift for graphic designers.

⮕ Make everyone laugh with this patch

 


5. This is the FUTURA Tee

If you’re reading this list and you’re not a graphic designer, you could be confused by this one. FUTURA is a very popular typeface and it’s a classic design pun to say “This is the Futura”. A graphic designer would love to rock this tee!

⮕ Get your Futura Shirt Here

 


6. Handmade Ampersand Necklace

All these gifts make me SO HAPPY and this one is no exception! A handmade ampersand necklace could be the most adorable thing on this list of the best gifts for graphic designers. We love that it’s handmade too!

⮕ Order your Necklace Here

 


7. Making Cool Shit for A Living

Another funny gift that could actually appeal to more than just graphic designers, but artists and makers too! This one comes in the baseball style tee, but you could get it in a tank style too!

⮕ Order your “Making Cool Sh*t Tee”

 


8. Design-Nerd Tote Bag

Every designer needs a design-worthy bag to carry all their goodies, right? We just love illustration around here, so seeing how well this is designed makes us give it 2 thumbs up. What designer wouldn’t love receiving this at a gift? So Handy!

⮕ Order your Tote Here.

 


9. Graphic Design Nerdy Craft

Okay, we might be artsy fartsy around here, but we couldn’t resist this fun cross-stitch kit. It would be so fun to hang on the wall of your office and a real convo-starter. We feel like this is perfect for the quirky and/or crafty graphic designer.

⮕ Get your Kit here!

 


10. Overloaded on Tabs Travel Mug

Oh, Crap… maybe it’s time we come clean and admit that we have a bit of a cup/mug obsession. #sorrynotsorry. We love how this one uses an illustrative style and is actually etched into the mug. Be honest, how many of you constantly have too many tabs open and too many things “open” in your brain? Is that just a designer thing, or do a lot of people run into that? That said, we really like that it’s a travel mug which means we can add a reusable straw.

⮕ BRB, while I go order one this one in TEAL!

 


11. Photoshop Keychain

This is a great gift to be paired with something else on our awesome Graphic Designer gift idea list! It may be something small but it would definitely bring a smile to a graphic designer’s face. Heck, even a photographer would love this gift too! Everyone needs some Adobe swag in their possession.

⮕ Get it here!

 


12. Artist Power Lapel Pin

This is a great gift for an illustrator or graphic designer. It can be added to your computer bag or sport it on your pencil cases full of all your favorite pens and sketching materials. Artists unite with this ARTIST POWER pin!

⮕ I need this!

 


13. Pantone Coffee Glass Mug

Another mug that is TOTALLY worthy of our list. Both coffee-lovers and Pantone-lovers unite on this one. We also love that there’s some more options like a wine, mojito, and whiskey version. We challenge you to find a graphic artist that wouldn’t love this gift… maybe only if they don’t drink coffee!

⮕ I want it!


14. Lorem Ipsum Shirt

Lorem Ipsum is becoming a lot more popular these days. But when we were in college the concept was a little foreign! If you’re not familiar with Lorem Ipsum is placeholder text commonly used in the graphic, print, and publishing industries for previewing layouts and visual mockups. It’s a handy tool for graphic designers to layout mockups and definitely makes it a funny gift that a designer would appreciate.

⮕ Get it Here


15. These bags are designer comfy crew

This was a common phrase back when we were design students staying up all night working on projects. If you, or the designer you’re looking for a gift for, spent most days staying up working on design homework, this sweatshirt is relatable! It may also connect with those self-employed entrepreneurs out there working around the clock.

16. “I’m a designer” Hipster Tee

Classic “Graphic Tee”, right?! How fitting to have a hipster design nerd on a tee. I will say they character on this shirt is done really well! It’s pretty hipster, but also pretty spot-on!

17. Snarky Soy Candle

Now, this gift is for the sarcastic, funny, graphic designer who jokes that their job sucks (but actually loves it!). This would make a great gift for the office Christmas party or your best friend who laughs at that client who always seems to be asking for just. one. more. revision. Honestly, this gift would be hilarious for a lot of people, not just graphic artists.

⮕ Order your Snarky Soy Candle

 


18. Pantone-Inspired Muppet Decor

This particular gift would appeal to the graphic design parents out there. It’s such a fun way to decorate your child’s bedroom and starts the children off with a solid design foundation! You can select your favorite character or snag the whole set!

⮕ Take your decor next level, buy here.

 


19. Alignment Icons Poster

Here’s another pretty nerdy gift idea which some of you might not get, but a graphic designer definitely would! These are the icons used for aligning your objects in Adobe. Pretty much one of the MOST USEFUL tools in the entire Adobe toolbox. We probably use these hundreds of times in a day. What we love about this design decor is that it’s really abstract so you can nerd out about it without getting too cliche.

⮕ Aligning Print Poster

 


20. Pantone Enamel Pin

You might be sensing a pattern that we, in fact, most graphic designers, love their Pantone colors. So much so that we’ll drop 100+ on a Pantone swatchbook. Here’s a really great lapel pin the shows off your Pantone and LBGTQ Pride!

⮕ Pantone Enamel Pin

 


21. I’m Silently Judging your Font Choices Tote

A graphic designer knows this feeling all too well. The world is full of poor font choices… While some might call you out on it, others may keep their thoughts to themselves and silently judge your font choices! (Reminder: no more than 2-3 typefaces per design!)

⮕ Get your tote here!

 


22. Illustrator

We talked about bags already, but we didn’t talk about pouches to hold ALL. THE. THINGS. This little pouch is available in 3 sizes which is great and you can store all your drawing tools and/or charging cables. We hold our mouse in a little pouch like this and it’s great to know where it always is when we’re on the go!

⮕ Get your bag now!

 


23. Sweet tooth Pantone-Inspired Mug

Another Pantone gift? We know, we know… There’s just so many great options out there. This gift idea is perfect for the sweet tooth out there! Donuts, Candy, Cookies… All the yummy things!

⮕ I need this mug!

 


24. Pantone Sugar Cookies

For those of you who follow @pixelstosugar, you know that sugar cookies are Carly’s little passion project. While we’ve made a few “design” sets, we’ve never actually done Pantone cookies! (We’ll be sure to update this when we do) BUT you can now get the ultimate Graphic Designer cookies on etsy and it would make a perfect gift for any Pantone lovers out there.

⮕ Get some yummy Pantone Cookies

 


25. Pro-craft-inator Pin

We’re really digging enamel pins these days AND there are a few of our favorites in this list of gifts for graphic designers. This pun-ny pin makes us giggle thinking about all the designers who are procrastinators. Let me tell you, success under pressure really does exist!

⮕ I need this! I’m a Pro-craft-inator!

 


26. Creative Juice Enamel Pin

Let’s keep this enamel pin party going with this “Creative Juice” cutie. We love to add pins to our laptop bag to give it a little character, so we feel like you can never have enough pins. Or you could also use them as tacks on your bulletin board!

⮕ Get your Creative Juice flowing!

 


27. Ampersand – Risograph print

Another Ampersand piece that we love… This Risograph print is artfully done and will be a nice statement piece on your wall!

⮕ Order your Ampersand Print

 


28. Illustrator Street Sign

We think this would be a really great addition to your swanky agency flat, your in-need-of-a-refresh cubicle, or even your home office. Street signs can be seen everywhere, but wouldn’t it be cool to have an illustrator sign?

⮕ Get your Illustrator Street Sign

 


 

29. Creative Juice Wine Glass

A graphic designer can NOT live without their creative juices! Figuratively, but also… we love our wine! If you know a graphic designer who loves wine, this gift would be perfect for them!

⮕ Order yours here

 


29. Brass Letterpress Charm Necklace

All the typographers will flock when they see this fun and unique gift! Ya’ll we LOVE this necklace, we’ve never seen such a lovely thing in such a little package. You can choose which letter, or ampersand, you’d like and you can even get in customized if you’d like! If you buy one, please tag us so we can see how cute it is!

⮕ I need this Necklace

 


 

If you know of any good items we missed, let us know and we’ll add some bonus “Reader’s Picks” at the end!

 

Did you love our list? Be sure to Pin it to your Pinterest account!

 

 

 

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How to Add Illustration to Your Brand

 

Illustration is one of our favorite things about design. As we’ve developed our skillset over the years, we’ve found that we enjoy “doodling” more and more. Not only do we love to create the graphics, but we also love how it can really transform a piece or brand. Today, we’re going to share 6 ways for you to add illustration to your brand.

To demonstrate how you can add illustrations to your branding, we are going to walk you through these 6 ideas we brought to life with a local non-profit that we love, Box of Balloons.

 

1. Make a Scene, Paint a picture

Making a scene is a great way to add visuals without using photography. I some instances, photography isn’t an option or a good choice. This scene was created for the Box of Balloons Annual Birthday Bash. The excitement in the illustration gets people excited to attend the event while also featured this year’s theme of camping.

 

2. Make a Pattern

Patterns are such a fun way to add illustration and interest to branding. In fact, this may also be one of the easiest ways. We love patterns, and this one was created for Box of Balloons and it could be used in so many places, such as, social media, on the website, and even the business cards!

If we are really going all out, how cool would it be to have this printed on a table cloth at their donation table?!

 

3. Use icons to break up blocks of text.

Icons are a great way to add visual interest to a large area of writing and we highly recommend it! For example, here’s a way that illustrations could be used as icons…

When DIYing your brand, be cautious about loading up space with so much text and not enough visuals (AND whitespace). Using icons will help your eyes to flow through the page, and introduces a great opportunity to add illustration to your brand. I could have listed out these 5 ways to support Box of Balloons in a numbered list… but isn’t this way more fun? I used a different illustration for each number as a creative way to some 5 options. Any time you’re listing things out, think about if you could also add an illustrated icon to each one. We love doing this on websites too!

(NOTE: If you’re using something like canva or freepik.com, be sure all your icons have a similar style. This is really important that they all look cohesive otherwise it will look sloppy and unprofessional.)

 

4. Promos (shirts and buttons)

Adding illustrations to promotional products, aka SWAG, is always a good idea! Here are two examples of our favorite promos. We could make and design buttons for days, and it’s such a fun freebie to receive too. People love buttons and stickers, and what a great way to show their support!

 

5. Tell a Story

Share a story by using graphics that tell different parts of your brand. Here’s an example of how you could tell a story of children donating balloons and a gift for a little girl’s party. You can really get and complex or as simple as you’d like. Just imagine if your brand had its own comic book… what kind of story would it tell?

 

6. Social Media

Social Media is the last one because this is where your brand gets an overview. As you’re using illustrations throughout your marketing pieces, you should also be using them on social because this is where all your updates live. Creating graphics can be a way to add visual interest to your page without just using photographs. Here’s an example of what the Box of Balloons instagram account might look like using some of the ideas from above.

 

 

We hope you loved our ideas on how to add illustration to your brand. Be sure to tag us with the new things you create! We’d love to see!

If you don’t feel like you’re quite ready to tackle illustrating on your own, there are some great stock photography sites out there for you to use, just be sure all your graphics are done in a similar style and brand colors. If you’re not feeling quite ready to tackle it yet, that’s what we’re here for. Contact us if you’d like to add illustration to your brand!

 

 

If you love what you see, we’d love for you to pin the image below to Pinterest:

Why don’t images off the internet print well?

“I found this really great image on Google but it doesn’t look good when I print it!”

This can be a really frustrating problem, especially if you just spent a lot of money to get your marketing materials printed. How annoying! Sadly, printing internet images incorrectly is often an amateur mistake and one we can help you avoid…

Image quality on the internet is reduced to save server space and to load your website faster. So that graphic you’re pulling from the internet (We hope legally!!!) has been reduced to web quality and won’t look good on your printed material. Just because your images look awesome on your computer or mobile does not mean this will translate once printed. Images don’t need to be a high-resolution in order to look good on your screens, which is why we reduce them to load pages faster.

Let’s dig in more…

Your image is printing poorly because of one thing: PIXELS.

Pixels are the teeny tiny dots of color that are arranged together to form an image. The number of pixels, or dots, within a square inch, we call the resolution. The professional standard for printed images is 300 pixels per inch while photos on the internet are often only at 72/inch. That’s almost 4 times the quality! 

Here’s a graphic that shows you the difference. Look how sad our beautiful capitol looks on the right… blurry and pixelated. On the contrary, the left side is so beautiful, it would make anyone say, “Yes, I love Madison, Wisconsin!” The image looks sharp and in focus, perfect for your printers.

So we have established that the internet used images at a lower resolution for speed and file size. A web image at 72PPI is not enough to give us a sharp, professional look when printed. But why do the images we print have to be so much bigger?

What does 300DPI really mean, and why does it matter?

Printers use a higher resolution when printing, so when a web quality photo is printed, you can really tell the difference.

Printers work by applying ink or toner onto the paper. They have nozzles that spray tiny drops of ink – so the more dots of color you have within a square inch, the sharper your image will be. If you have a low-resolution photo, your printer may try to compensate causing your image to look worse. This is why you want to avoid printing internet images. Photoshop essentials compares it to spreading too little peanut butter over too much toast. It just doesn’t work.

Printing internet images:

We see this all the time with entrepreneurs and small businesses that try to DIY their designs. Beware, if you don’t know what you’re doing you may print a handout and the images look awful. This doesn’t give the professional look you’re probably looking for. We also see this problem with organizations that work with other company’s logos, for example, an event that lists their sponsor’s logos. People will say, “Just grab the logo off our website”. The problem is that the logo is probably optimized for web, not for print. So be careful!

If you’re using stock photography, be sure you are downloading an appropriate size. Often times you can save money or get free images by getting a low-res version, but don’t let them fool you, get the highest option you can so you’re prepared. We usually recommend at least 2000px wide for standard marketing materials like brochures or postcards.

(Bonus tip: Remember to keep your high-resolution images intact. Bigger is better, you can always go down in size, but you can’t go up!)

It’s a complicated concept to wrap your head around, however, it is important to know the difference. The key lesson here is to keep your web quality photos on your website and use high-resolution images whenever you plan to print.

We hope you learned something and feel free to explore more of our blog. You might be interested in this post about Raster vs Vector Images or the differences between File Formats.

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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 https://sprout-studio.com/services/wordpress-web-design/

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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.