This Mother’s Day, Give Mom Flowers—By Design

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

 

The other day, I was at the car wash and discovered an interesting photography effect using closeups of flowers which appeared on greeting cards. I felt that this effect could be duplicated and modified using layering effects from Adobe Photoshop. It gave me an idea for this coming Mother’s Day.

Here’s (3) samples of what I came up with…

Yellow-Mothers-daypattern Pinkflowerpattern Purple-flowerspattern
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Marketing Materials are More Effective When you “Paint” with Your Content

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

This week I met an interesting landscape designer who creates drought-tolerant gardens with a wilder more natural feeling. While we were discussing a new garden at my home, she made a very interesting point. She arranges plants or as she says, “I paint with plants.”  In short, she creates a visual masterpiece by painting with the subject matter.

With respect to corporate communications, we basically paint with a non-paint medium. As designers, we paint with puzzles and pieces and patterns. You can try this by finding a natural resource that is related to the theme of your product or service and then “painting” or designing with it to give a lush feel to your publication.

PAINTING WITH PATTERNSPatternsSMALLER

Here’s some elements that provide great design enhancements:

 

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23 Tips for Developing an Effective Park District/Recreational Catalog

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

 

Little girl in the parkI often receive park district catalogs and recreational catalogs in the mail. Having designed several of these magazines, I would like to relay some suggestions to my readers:

 

 

In order to develop an effective park district/recreational catalog you should have: Continue reading

Delivery: Too Often an Overlooked Piece of the Marketing Package

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

 

Too often a publication can be beautifully designed and printed but the delivery goes a-rye and makes the project a complete failure. For instance, I once had a client use a very high-end marketing kit for a press conference on delivery-trucka huge federally subsidized underground railroad system.  We designed a beautiful promotional kit for the event. At the event were to be lots of VIPs including U.S. Congressmen, Senators and various other federal, state and local government officials.  All steps were taken to ensure that this was an exquisite piece with optimum print quality, a press check, aqueous coating and a special spot color plate.  No expense was spared and no corners were cut. The piece looked great.

Then came the delivery…

Unfortunately the final delivery was attempted but the driver took a wrong turn and arrived at the venue after the event occurred. Needless to say the client was quite embarrassed due to the actions of one individual in the mix. Luckily we did not hire the printer but had merely provided the names of several good local printers. Nonetheless, everyone looked bad since the end-product was basically rendered useless.

Here’s some very simple suggestions to avoid delivery disaster:

1. Be sure to ask the client, “Is there a hard deadline such as a conference, board meeting or other public gathering?” Always request projects back from a printer at least a day or two before the actual event.  Waiting till the morning of an event for the delivery is just too late.  You don’t want to end up with egg on your face!

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

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

 

At HWDS we often draw inspiration for our designs frochryslerm the art deco architecture of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Its craft motif style drew from the age of machinery and features symmetrically designed patterns of geometric shapes and intricate ornamentation. Repetition of graphical shapes is a key element of the art deco architectural movement.  Colors often consist of pastels including pinks and teals as well as the use of silver and platinum. Its rich patterning of repetitive lines and shapes make it  the source of wonderful elements for logo design and border treatments.

Here you will find some samples of art deco architecture, most notably seen in the Chrysler building, far right, in New York City.

southbeach

 

A great place to see art deco architecture is South Beach, Florida.  South Beach, also known as SoBe is actually a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach.  It probably has the largest number of remaining art deco buildings in the United States.  Certainly it has the largest number of art deco hotels in the northern hemisphere. The repeating shapes founds in some of these building can be wonderful elements for  corporaArt Deco Architecturete logo designs. A spectacular book of SoBe architecture is Deco Delights, Preserving the Beauty and Joy of Miami Beach Architecture by Barbara Baer Capitman with photographs by Steven Brooke. Prints from the book are available at Steven Brooke’s website.

Other examples of art deco architecture can bemosaic150 seen in intricate mosaic patterns in the architecture of Europe where majestic fortresses were built with curved  plaster patterns.

Art deco typically uses these design elements:

1) Symmetry—A very symmetrical, balanced design resonates through the architecture.  Doors and windows are arrayed uniformly, cohesively and identically throughout the structure.

2) Lines—Beautiful, strong lines flow though the exterior of the structure and often serve as a decorative motif.  These can often be seen in balconies and the fascia of the building.  Often these lines are decorated with bands of silver metal or platinum.

3) Repetition—Geometric shapes and lines are echoed throughout the building and often repeated several times. These can be both in the exterior and interior of the structure.  This repetition can also be seen in doorways, windows, balconies and decorative elements.

4) Rhythm—Here decorative elements are arranged in a symphonic harmony.  The art deco era is characteristic of a style with incredible energy with bold colorful, geometric shapes and intense rhythm where the repetition of elements crates an atmospheric harmony throughout the building.

5) Pattern—Art deco structures frequently have patterns of mosaics, waves and symmetry arrayed in the design.

6) Color—Art deco architecture frequently used light neutral colors with the addition of silver and gold accents that were combined with sand, gray, beige and peach walls.  Pastels were also frequently used.

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Fashionable Design

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

Create your next marketing piece in the best of fashion.

Here’s a great concept. Try drawing inspiration from the latest designs in fashion. pinstripe, polka a dots, plaids, turtlenecks, denim—these make wonderful design elements.

Fashionate3

 

Fashionate1Fashionate2

Fashionate5How about the stylish face of a watch? Watches have elegant ally designed stylish faces in rich platinum, gold or silver. I saw one watch in a magazine with a face in cobalt blue and hands in copper.  This would make quite a sharp graphical element.

Tie one on
Men’s ties, women’s scarfs and leather belts can make great backgrounds. Try scanning and colorizing the pattern.

It’s in the jeans
Even denim and the folds of cotton t-shirts can make for interesting textural elements.

Top it off with a little drama
Hats are like the cherry on a chocolate sundae. They provide dramatic angles for wrapping text around.

Look around you. Fabric stores, fashion magazines, clothing stores, accessory stores make great places to find patterns and new inspiration for artwork.
Here’s some samples of polka dots, paisley and plaids as aesthetic elements in a newsletter.

Is your marketing campaign in style?  Why not add a flair of fashion direct from a Paris runway?

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If your company needs an innovative or unique design solution, 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.

Avoid Milk Toast Marketing for the Masses

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

Why be boring when you can be exciting?  Effective design should be a means to creatively stand out from the crowd.

Do you often wonder why everyone has to drive basically the same mass-produced car and wear the same mass-produced clothes?  Cars, for instance, have become so blazae, with everyone driving basically the same milk-toast 4-door sedan. Even luxury vehicle manufacturers copy each other and offer little variation from the competition.  Milk Bottle,Glass, Egg and Bread on white BackgroundIt’s too bad that we don’t have more stylish models like the big finned cars of the 1950s or the sleek muscle cars of the 1960s.  Let’s face it, there are fewer and fewer choices today. Indeed, it seems that nearly every time I discover a unique product it is not there when I return to the store. Unusual and slow-moving products end up in the marketing graveyard. In short, there is little room for anomalies and variety. Continue reading