Flipping E-Cards for the Holidays—Ditch the Same Old Greeting Card

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25+ years of experience creating materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

What a better way to reach your client base and to thank them for their support this year than an innovative and interactive e-card.  Don’t waste time running to buy cards, writing messages, addressing envelopes, purchasing postage and driving to the post office. Why not create a new and innovative solution?  Try an e-card that includes flipping pages, animation, audio, video and/or music. It’s not only a great way to send holiday wishes but it’s a great way to reach your contact list and to highlight your skills in promotions. You might even just foster a chuckle or a smile from a contact that has never used your services or it might provoke a client to call you with a new project or a desire to create a similar card for their client list.

Here’s a sample of a card that we created for our holiday greeting. We mixed some fun infographics that we developed along with some fresh imagery for the holiday season.  We placed this in the framework of a flipbook and added a holiday jingle at the front and back of the booklet.  We also created a responsive design format so that our card works properly on all mobile devices.

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Click the image above to see an example of an interactive e-card.

 

Revel in the festivity.  Create your own holiday card and break out of the mold of the same old tired greeting cards and white elephant gifts.  It’s about time.  Enjoy!

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If your company or organization needs an innovative or unique solution for a promotion or marketing campaign, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more, please visit westdesign.com.

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for nearly 30 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes. HWDS and Associates, Inc. has been in business for 26 years and is an award-winning creative firm.

A New Year Design Manifesto

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Here’s a list of resolutions to help you start out designing a successful New Year:

I WILL print less, digitize more…In this age of green, we can only move to greater use of online e-publications that have little impact on the environment. That does not mean that we should abandon print completely, but rather we should use it were we can have the greatest impact. Such effective uses include annual reports, car catalogs or product brochures and some direct mail pieces.
I WILL produce sustainable events that employ digital invitations, reusable directional signage, recyclable tableware, hand-printed nametags. Attendees might also be encouraged to use ridesharing or alternative fuel vehicles to reach the event.  Include commute options with the invitation.
I WILL design for cell phones, tablets and desktops with responsive design that adjusts to the device.
I WILL not print 2-color materials. Four-color printing gives so much more bang for the buck especially with the widespread use of digital printing.
I WILL design with clean, uncluttered and simple layouts with lots of white space.
I WILL use infographics to display data and I will skip the boring charts, graphs and tables. No one reads them.
I WILL refuse to use clipart.
I WILL refrain from using stock photos that have not been customized or altered. This consists of modifying photos so that they are unique to your publication or website.  This prevents them from reappearing in another publication and avoid the use of a stale prefabricated, canned image.
I WILL try to use PowerPoint less frequently for my presentations. In my opinion, it is dated and trite. I will try other programs such as Adobe Keynote or programs such as Adobe Muse to provide interactivity. Simple talking points with a few visuals are often enough. Why put the audience to sleep? If I do use PowerPoint, I will limit my presentations to five words per slide, and I will not repeat what is already visible on the screen. Try something new and original.
I WILL design websites that are informational and functional, rather than complex works of art. The days of websites driven by special effects and animated graphics are long gone.
I WILL create communications that show diversity and inclusivity in the use of photos.
I WILL strive to create publications that have a localized feel to better tie products and services to the community
I WILL strive develop publications which promote giving back to the community or that have a charitable component.
I WILL print on recycled papers using vegetable-based inks.
I WILL, I CAN AND I PROMISE to create better and more enriching communications.

Make 2016 the best it can be. Art makes life livable.

Silver Marketing—75 Bold Ideas to Make Your Publications More Successful

By Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

I am proud to commemorate the publication of 75 blog posts! Celebrate with us by continuing to read our blog and encouraging your friends and colleagues to subscribe as well.  Here’s a list of the last 25 blog posts on our site. These constitute 25 unique ideas for making your marketing publications (online and print) more effective and hence successful.

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Here’s 25 fabulous reasons since our 50th blog to keep reading, rereading and forwarding.  Each one of titles contains a link to the original article on our blog at  successfulcorporatecommunications.com.

75. Make Your Marketing Grow Green

74. A Great New Visual Effect for Beautifying Corporate Reports: Pairing Grayscale with Color Images

73. This Mothers Day, Give Mom Flowers—By Design

72. Marketing Materials are More Effective When you Paint with Your Content

71. 23 Tips for Developing an Effective Park District/Recreational Catalog

70. Delivery: Too Often an Overlooked Piece of the Marketing Package

 69. Using the Influence of Art Deco Architecture to Add Elegance to a Publication

 68. Fashionable Design

 67. Avoid Milk Toast Marketing for the Masses

66. Why Retail is Dying a Slow and Painful Death

65. The Benefits of Press-Checking a Printed Publication

64. Flying Off the Web Press with 50,000 Quantity

63. Political Campaigns: Dont Throw Your Hat in the Ring Without Effective Branding

62. A Well-Designed Interview About Design—Part II

61. A Well-Designed Interview About Design—Part I

60. Refreshing Your Newsletter is Like Getting a Car Wash

59. Why Small Businesses Need Newsletters for Effective Marketing

58. Why Doctor Groups and Healthcare Professionals Need Newsletters

57. Fly Higher with an Airline Newsletter

56. The Value of Transit Industry Newsletters

 55. How the Printing Industry Has Become Environmentally-Friendly

54. Look No Further for Inspiration

53. Paper Adds Weight to Your Marketing

52. Happy Halloween from Successful Corporate Communications!

51. 50 Reasons to Follow the Successful Corporate Communications Blog

Use these great ideas to grow your corporate marketing, design more effective publications, gather inspiration, use paper effectively, refresh your newsletter, develop effective recreational catalogs, make delivery services run smoothly, and to try new photo treatments.

Like silver, a precious metal which symbolizes a “75th anniversary, these 75 blog posts are precious tips for building successful corporate communications

 

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If your company or organization needs an innovative or unique design solution for an invitation, corporate report, newsletter or website, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

 

Why Doctor Groups and Healthcare Professionals Need Newsletters

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

Have you ever gone into a doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment only to be forced to wait an hour or more?  Yes, we all have had this unfortunate experience. Doctors seem to think that their time is more Doctor's-officephotovaluable than the average person’s. True, emergencies do come up and some patients take much longer to examine and diagnose than others.

Now, we all know how doctors tend to fill their waiting rooms with stacks of dated magazines that often contain technical content or  boring articles about such unexciting topics as a golf stroke. C’mon, let’s get with the times!

In this world of constantly evolving healthcare procedures,  policies and regulations, doctors, more than ever, need to better communicate with their patients.

Below is a sample newsletter design we created to be used in a doctor’s office waiting room.

Making-Your-Life-Healthier-NewsletterThere are several important reasons why a newsletter can be beneficial to a physician or a medical group:

1) As mentioned above, it’s a great way to connect with patients and staff. These new letters are a great way to introduce new associate doctors, office staff or clinicians to the patient.

2) Newsletters placed in the waiting room will most likely have a very high readership rate. Similar to onboard rail newsletters that I discuss in previous posts, physician newsletters can be strategically placed in the waiting room to take advantage of a captive audience. Indeed, patients are sitting waiting and watching the clock with nothing to do. They are just trying to l time until they are called to come back into the examination room. They are very likely to pick up any attractive and interesting reading material in front of them. Try a more “home-baked” yet at the same time professional approach to the newsletter.  With such an approach, patients may feel more relaxed.

3) Newsletters can help take away some of the depersonalization of today’s healthcare. Too often we feel like just a number in a heard of cattle. This is especially true where doctors groups, medical groups or HMOs are involved. Stories about doctors, their staff, new services, billing policies, new procedures or medical innovations can help put patient’s fears at ease. Articles about patient success stories can also increase the comfort level.  But, be careful not to divulge patient information without their prior consent.  Due to privacy concerns, it is essential to leave out names and actual photos.

4)  Newsletters can also be a great medium for building awareness on the importance of fitness, exercise and healthy eating.  Try including stretching exercises that can be done at home or in the office.  Generic photos of active “boomers” living a healthy lifestyle are great additions to help perk up the newsletter. With a regular newsletter, healthcare practitioners can more easily “preach” to their patients about such hard-to-discuss topics as weight loss, proper hygiene, cancers and sexually transmitted diseases.

5) A regular monthly newsletter can allow a doctor to show a more compassionate side even if he or she does not have a great “bedside manner.”  Articles about the  physician and how he or she is helping patients receive the best care can go along way to bridging this gap. In other words, a physician newsletter can show a new side of the doctor, even, if in person, he is not a very compassionate individual.

6) Providing a newsletter keeps the dialogue focused on the patient rather than just the doctor. Patient-centered is the essential to succeeding in today’s healthcare maze. Knowing as much as possible about the patient will allow doctors to share valuable information can really add to the success of the care experience and treatment. In a newsletter, patients can find valuable resources and web links to the doctor’s website, other practitioners, pharmacies and such preventative care as flu vaccines, nutritional guidelines and fitness regimens. Newsletters are also a way that patients can learn about other ways to stay connected with the doctor’s office.  Other useful resources including e-mail contacts, online e-newsletters, the office website and social media could be easily included in the regular newsletter

A physician newsletter can make for a healthy patient doctor care experience!

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If your company needs an innovative physician, healthcare, fitness or nutritional newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

50 Reasons to Follow the Successful Corporate Communications Blog

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

I am proud to commemorate the publication of 50 blog posts! Celebrate with us by continuing to read our blog and encouraging your friends and colleagues to subscribe as well.

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Since we just completed our 50th blog post, here’s 50 fabulous reasons to keep reading and rereading:

  1. Take advantage of valuable design tips for your newsletter.
  2. Use color to make a more effective publication.
  3. Learn how to create effective mastheads.
  4. Escape the pitfalls of staff meetings.
  5. Learn ways to deal more effectively with your clients.
  6. Discover how to create more effective bilingual publications.
  7. Find valuable tips on advertising.
  8. Learn about effective branding.
  9. Gain valuable information about e-publications.
  10. Increase your knowledge of printing techniques.
  11. Increase your appreciation of elegant paper stocks.
  12. Learn how to create effective event promotions.
  13. Discover ways to include effective infographics, charts and diagrams in your publications.
  14. Learn about ways to find employment as a skilled graphic designer.
  15. Unearth new ways to promote healthcare events.
  16. Invent new ways to illustrate your newsletter with the use of graphical icons.
  17. Find ways to develop an effective logo for your company.
  18. Learn about ways to add a mascot or cartoon character to your newsletter or publication.
  19. Differentiate your company’s product and service from the competition.
  20. Produce beautiful maps that provide more than just directions.
  21. Explore new ways to be more responsive to your clients.
  22. Recognize how to find a quality print vendor.
  23. Realize the beauty that nature can add to a publication.
  24. Originate the use of iMags for your company’s publications.
  25. Learn how to save $1,000’s on publication costs.
  26. Conceive of new ways to use patterns in your publications.
  27. Innovate the use of online publications in your company’s publication requirements.
  28. Discover ways to add navigational elements to a newsletter.
  29. Lean how to use photos for maximum impact.
  30. Make the best use of typestyles to increase the legibility of a publication.
  31. Find new ways to maintain quality control.
  32. Learn how outsourcing the design of your publications can save the company money and can increase the return on investment (ROI).
  33. Find out why it is important to use a marketing firm that specializes in your industry sector.
  34. Learn what makes your client “tick.”
  35. Discover the importance of having a corporate newsletter.
  36. Explore new reasons why corporations should outsource their marketing efforts.
  37. Unearth the ultimate checklist for developing successful marketing materials.
  38. Invent new ways to harness the power of the word of mouth.
  39. Explore how color defines your brand and shapes your newsletter.
  40. Find out how silhouetted graphics can shape your newsletter.
  41. Invent beautiful patterns and graphics through the use of shadows.
  42. Learn how metallic pins can make great promotional items or giveaways to honor anniversaries, celebrations, or facility openings.
  43. Discover how to use fruits and vegetable shapes to craft an unusual masthead or headline.
  44. Learn how to create healthy designs for healthcare marketing.
  45. Pioneer new ways to include graphical portraiture in your publication.
  46. Benefit from testimonials and how they can create great “buzz.”
  47. Discover how to make your newsletter soar to new heights by adding architectural elements.
  48. Find out how to add edgy border treatments that will make your articles jump off the page.
  49. Recognize the importance of type and how it impacts the look, feel and legibility of the publication.
  50. Discover ways to “tune-up” your marketing without ever getting your hands dirty.

These topics and more can be found on our blog.

Happy reading!  But remember to ask yourself the following question: “Why just be a reader when you could also be a leader?”

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If your company needs an innovative newsletter, e-publication, meeting presentation or  advice on communicating, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com.

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundreds of publications for both print and online purposes.

Why Internal Staff Meetings Should be Replaced

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

In the name of successful corporate communications, I strive to provide the best tips for how to effectively communicate. Holding internal office meetings is not among the strategies that I recommend. In fact, monotonous meetings are one of my pet peeves.  Meetings almost always, are a waste of valuable productive time.

Years ago, I worked for an employer that held meetings followed by more meetings.  Rarely was anything accomplished. EaMeeitngburnoutch week, one of the managers used to inconvenience his colleagues while he went on a long diatribe about how much his staff accomplished during the previous week.  He used the time to toot his own horn for nearly 20 minutes while others suffered through the agony. As a result, the staff, including myself, came to dread meetings. This example demonstrates a complete failure in attempting to communicate effectively. It’s one that we can all learn from and become better communicators, as a result.

Here’s some suggestions to avoid meeting burnout:

1) Keep meetings on point.  Don’t stray from the reason you called the meeting!  Don’t allow a participant to hold the meeting hostage by going off on a tangent. Look to old cartoons and know when to get the cane in order to pull them off stage. Continue reading

How Our Innovative iMags Can Save Your Company Thousands

harlanwestblogphoto By Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

We have developed a service whereby we convert your newsletter into an interactive, flipping page online publication. The ultimate result are iMags,  Below, we have included some demo videos that how iMags work.

iMags are dynamic publications which can save your company thousand of dollars in print, mailing, fulfillment and distribution costs. Here’s how:

Skip the printer.
Fire your printer and save a forest. Let’s face it the average 4-color newsletter, 1,000 copies, 4 pages, 8.5 ×11″ can cost $1,000 – $1,300.

Skip the post office.
Stamp out costly postage charges.  You could be paying $460 to mail 1,000 pieces at a 1st class rate. A bulk rate permit might save 20-30% but why not save the carrier pigeon?

Continue reading