Online Marketing Blog

Our DeCarlo Studios online marketing blog – learn about SEO, Website Design, Graphic Design, and Inbound Marketing here!

How to Work with Your Graphic Designer to Get the Results You Want

How to Work with Your Graphic Designer to Get the Results You Want

If you are reading this, you may be thinking about hiring a graphic designer to create your logo, design your website, or design some marketing materials and are wondering how to get the best results. Here are 5 tips for a winning experience!

  1. Identify your target market. Before you meet with your designer, identify your target market. This is basically your Buyer's Persona. What is their age and gender? What are their interests and values? What problems can you help them solve? This information is very important - it will be your graphic designer's roadmap for all of your marketing.
  2. Think through your goals and ideas before meeting with your designer. Business owners are usually very busy, with many tasks on their plates. The first impulse is to tell the designer, "I don't have time to do this project. Just give me a few ideas".  This leaves your designer with a very broad spectrum of possible concepts. When you see the first proofs, they may not hit the target. A graphic designer does not know your business as well as you do. Think through your goals and be sure to mention specific ideas that you may have. Share as much information as possible upfront, to avoid costly rounds of revisions later.
  3. Find samples of similar projects that you like and don't like. This is really valuable information for your graphic designer to know. It's a great starting point for research and automatically weeds out any ideas that you will not like, saving both time and money for you and your designer. Now that your designer knows what to avoid and what you love, the doors to creativity are open!
  4. Answer questions from your designer promptly and provide needed materials. If your designer needs artwork or text, provide these items promptly. Otherwise, it will hold up your project and push deadlines out further. If you do not understand their request due to a lack of knowledge, do not be afraid to ask for help! There are often many answers that your designer can provide to concerns that you may consider roadblocks. They have probably dealt with your issue many times before and can quickly answer your questions or offer their help.
  5. When you review your graphic designer's work, review it thoroughly the first time. Don't expect everything to be perfect on the first proof. But do look over everything carefully and compile a thorough list of changes. Making a small change here and there every time you look at the project is much more time consuming than taking the time to to provide an organized list of changes that can be done all at once.

When you connect with that great graphic designer, be sure to refer others to them and spread the word!

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How to Work Through a Creative Block: Tips From an Artist

How to Work Through a Creative Block: Tips From an Artist

If you are working on a creative project and are having trouble coming up with an idea, don't worry, you are not alone. Many artists have encountered what is known as a creative block, or "the inability to access one's flowing stream of inspiration and creativity". Relax, creative blocks are temporary and there are many strategies to get those ideas flowing again. Here are a few:

  1. First of all, plan time to complete your project, so that you are not rushed. Don't wait until the last minute to start your project – unless you are one of those people who thrives on the pressure of deadlines. If you are one of these people, then this strategy probably won't matter to you. For the rest of us, working on a planned timeline reduces anxiety and promotes creativity.
  2. Take a break and enjoy a change of scenery. Sometimes our minds get "stuck" into one way of thinking and simply changing our environment does a world of good. Go for a walk, work in a different room, or work on another project for a little while. After a relaxing break, new ideas often come easily.
  3. Brainstorm ideas. Write or draw every idea that comes into your mind, even the ones that seem crazy. This will often set off a new train of thought that will spark some "out of the box" ideas. Brainstorming with and bouncing ideas off of another person can often be helpful too.
  4. Research others who have had success with your type of creative project. Try googling words or phrases to find some samples. Browse through photo libraries to get visual inspiration. On a regular basis, be a "collector" of samples, photos, and prints of nice ideas and creative designs that you like and can refer back to when you are having a creative block. But don't copy someone else's work – use their work to inspire some new ideas of your own.

Are you feeling better? Remember, creative blocks are temporary. Often, a good night's sleep will take care of everything. Don't give up - remember Thomas Edison's quote, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration"!

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5 Reasons Why Art is Good for Your Health

5 Reasons Why Art is Good for Your Health

What is Art?

Our beloved art teacher from high school taught us early on that in the most basic terms, art is defined as "anything man-made". This can be anything from painting, drawing, photography and crafts to music, theater and writing – any many other forms of art in between.

Art is also good for your health. It's good for adults, kids and the elderly.

Here are 5 reasons why art is good for your health:

  1. Creating art gives one a positive feeling of accomplishment. We develop skills, discover joy in our work and enjoy the response it elicits in others.
  2. Art can be used to express and release thoughts, feelings and emotions.
  3. Time disappears when you are being creative. It encourages problem solving, imagination, and develops the brain. We look at things and see details we didn't notice before.
  4. Creating and enjoying art increases relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. Studies show that art improves our health and well being.
  5. Art improves our atmosphere and environment and sets a mood. It improves communication and it connects us with other cultures.

It doesn't matter if you think you are talented at the type of art you perform or not, what matters is the process. Create art because you enjoy it! Why not embrace your artistic side, expand your creativity and improve your health along the way!

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Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Here are a few tips to follow to get the most out of your images in print and on the web:

Image Resolution

Image resolution is also referred to as "DPI" (dots per inch). It tells us how many dots or pixels a digital image contains per inch. The more dots per inch, the higher the detail and quality of the photo, and the larger file size. Different type of output devices require different types of resolution. Always discuss the DPI requirements of your project with your printer or graphic designer if you are unsure of the DPI requirements. If you are going to use a variety of devices, it's best to create your images as high as possible, around 300 DPI as a starting point.

Image Quality and Size

Is it okay to attempt to res-up an image to 300 DPI?
If your original image is less than 300 DPI and will be used at 100 percent or more, increasing the resolution up to 300 DPI will generally degrade the photo and make it look pixellated or blurry.

What about downsizing?

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