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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 that 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Why it took a year to develop our new site

As some of our closest friends know, we have been working on our site for about a year.

Sounds crazy right? Yep, it is.

You’re probably thinking, Carly, you make websites for a living how can it take so long? The problem is it’s so hard to design for yourself. It’s so easy to be critical and analyze everything and lose yourself in the design process. Most designers know the challenge of designing for themselves, it’s 300% times more personal, vulnerable and harder.

We continually found ourselves saying, “We’re working on our site, it’s almost done.” Well, that “almost done” phase lasted a couple months, because we kept working on it, wanted it to be the best that it could be. (Notice I didn’t say “perfect”, because that’s never possible in design! haha)

So our hard work continued, however, as most entrepreneurs know, your own work comes last because you’re always working and focused on clients projects.

When push came to shove, I knew it was time! I’ve spent a long time knowing our site could be so much better. While I kept getting compliments on my site, we knew it wasn’t bad, but we felt ashamed knowing how much better it could be. This year we celebrated 4 years in business and we knew it was time to level up. We wanted to show off how we’ve evolved over the years with the launch our new site.

So Carly, why did it take so long?

Since we started developing our new site, we had a couple of things that held us up. One, it was hard to find the time to work on our site. We always put our clients first. Client work takes priority and sometimes that means setting our own development aside.

Secondly, we were lacking the confidence in writing our copy and how to market ourselves. Just like it’s hard to design for yourself, it’s also hard to write for yourself!! We know Sprout, we know who we are, but it was hard to put it into words. We spent a long time putting off the hard stuff (writing about ourselves) and procrastinating with other little design details (because that’s what we love). Finally, we realized we just have to be ourselves and it will be authentic, real, and informative.” It was so important that it sounded casual as if I was chatting with a friend. (Hopefully, that’s the case!) So in the end, all we needed to do was sit down, write, and be ourselves.

After tackling those 2 obstacles, we found ourselves nearing the end, and finally wrapping things up. And man, it feels good!

We are so happy with how it turned out and feel like it really speaks to who we are and shows the growth that Sprout Studio is all about.

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Now – its time to celebrate!
We’re pumped to have you here to explore the new site! Do you love the new site?

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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!

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Design Contest

Hi there friends! I’m so happy to have you here and I’m guessing you’re interested in our Design Contest. I wanted to host a fun challenge, to explore creativity and have a little fun. Please view all the details below and I can’t wait to see your entries.

There are 2 elements to this contest: An iPhone Wallpaper and an iPad Wallpaper.

NITTY GRITTY:
Artwork must be sized to the proper dimensions. iPad: 2048 x 2048px. iPhone: 640 x 1136. You must include iPad and iPhone wallpaper, both are required to make your submission count. ALL artwork submitted MUST be original, no stock photos or stock illustrations allowed. Any fonts used must be commercial free.

SUBMISSIONS:
To submit, post on our Sprout facebook page including both images. We will add your design to our Facebook album, where voting will take place. You may submit up to 3 entries.

WINNERS:
Yes… That is plural. We will be having 2 winners for this contest.
1. Sprout will be picking a winner based on the overall concept and design.
2. The other will be a “People’s Choice” based on Facebook *likes*. The design with the most *likes* will win the People’s Choice (share with friends to boost your chances).
Both winners will be featured in a blog post where anyone and everyone can download your designs to use on their Phones and iPads!

TIMELINE:
June 1st June 11th: All Entries are due.
June 16th: Facebook voting ends.
June 17th: Winners are announced.

EXTRA TIPS:
1. When creating your artwork, please keep in mind that iPads can be used in both horizontal and vertical formats — this is why the iPad dimensions are square — design accordingly.
2. The new iOS features a new opaque dock menu, when designing be aware of this element. Make sure when using your wallpaper, it doesn’t create an unappealing color.
3. Think about designing for a broad audience, our Facebook viewers are also voting. The more *likes* you get, the better your chances are to win!
4. Your designs must work as a set, but this doesn’t mean they have to be identical… Get creative! That’s part of the fun!

Cheers to Happy Designing!
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Social Media Workshop

AIGA has brought some amazing opportunities to my design. Last week, I attended a Social Media Workshop with social media experts Brad Cebulski (one of many experts from BConnected LLC) and Tara Rushmer (AIGA Wisconsin’s Social Media Chair). We covered some great topics like why social media is important, the right and wrong strategies, and how graphic designs play in social media. In our generation, we think we know Facebook and Twitter, but there’s so much more that goes into Facebook marketing than I knew before.

6 things to tackle in Social Media

What is needed to start the conversation?

1. Communications || How to say it… When to say it… Do it RIGHT 
2. Photography || Visually represent what you’re trying to say. Go OUT and get it with a photo.
3. Graphic Design || Everything should be branded and cohesive. Resemble your brand in every way. Visual Content is an important element in communication
4. Video || Take your social presence to a whole new level. Multiply your clickable rate.
5. Promotions || Easiest way to get people drawn in. You set it up but running promotions will get people talking! Everyone else is doing your work for you.
6. Marketing Knowledge || Working your social presence into the rest of marketing is huge. How are you getting the word out?

socialmedia-main

Social Media on Facebook is tricky. Creating content is important, but sharing it correctly is a key factor. Here’s a few tips on balancing marketing, communication, and the social aspect.

What is EdgeRank and why’s it important? This is the back end of what people on facebook see, more specificallys the algorithms that determine who sees what:

Affinity vs Weight vs Time Decay

What is Affinity? || The connection you have with a page or a person… The more you connect with them, the higher your affinity will be. The more you interact the more often they will see you, and vice versa. What shows up on your News Feed is what you like. I clearly like a lot of links because my News Feed is FULL of links… BuzzFeed Articles in particular ;-)
What’s your Weight? || How you are sharing your information matters, and certain things weight more than others. Here is a basic breakdown of post weights from high to low:
Photos with descriptions > Photo > Video > Status Updates > Links. However, your weight will increase with your post’s “likes” and “comments”.
How long will it live? || 3-5 hours before your posts it falls off the feed. (UNLESS you have a high Affinity or Weight)

Where do people fall short?

Lack of visuals.
Using links as crutch for content.
Not Engaging.
Overly Promotional. It should be 80 engaging / 20 stuff about you
They’re Not Original. “Be inspired, but be Original”

Who’s doing it right?

Starbucks is a great example of using Social Media well. Their Valentines post of “Buy one and Share one on us.” was a huge success reaching an astonishing 262,908 likes and 44,638 shares. Charmin and Dove are more awesome examples, they make people interested in things like toilet paper and deodorant!

SocialMediaEx

10 principals of good content

1. Informative
2. Emotional – Feelings build Loyalty (Dove – the beauty of you)
3. Transparent – Be Honest, Don’t fake it.
4. Be Useful
5. Amusing – Make people laugh. Be Clever. (Taco Bell, Charmin)
6. Transactional – Don’t promote too much.
7. Optimize
8. Relevant – (Super Bowl – Black out Oreo – You can still dunk in the dark)
9. Be Agile – Do what people are liking, Be free to bop around (Arbys & Pharell – “Y’all tryna start a roast beef?”)
10. Brand Driven

That’s all the notes we have for now! I hope you learned something new. This workshop has shown me how much more there is to learn about social media and all the social platforms. This is only the beginning, stay tuned for more on social media!

Be Sure to Like us on FACEBOOK!
Thank you to AIGA Wisconsin for our photos.