Posted on December 12, 2014
As the Creative Director for the Long Range Planning Committee (of Job’s Daughters International), it was my job to not only recognize the creative and marketing needs of Job’s Daughters International, but to address those needs with viable and beautiful solutions.
One of the most important tasks LRP took on was a new brochure, as there had not been a new one in nearly two decades! With declining membership, it was imperative that the organization invest in some new brochures to attract a fresh generation of members. (Because the organization is for girls ages 10 to 20, external promotion and marketing should always be a top priority. However, limited finances have often held the organization back in this regard.)
In the process of determining that a new brochure needed to be created, several ideas where offered. Brochures for young girls, brochures for older girls, brochures for parents, brochures for our organizations own alumnae, brochures for businesses. Huge beautiful brochures that were 12″ × 12″ folders full of goodies. A brochure that could be customized at the local or state level.
Certainly the ideas were lovely, but financial limitations at all levels of the organization proved that such ideas would have been cost-prohibitive. A 12″ square folder would have cost a ridiculous amount of money to mail. Full-color booklet brochures that could be customized, and only a few dozen printed for a small chapter? Never going to happen. A half-dozen brochures with language tailored to the reader was nice in concept, but how often were you going to be able to grab the exact one you needed in the moment? (Six custom one-pagers were created for this process, but they were designed to fit on a single letter-size piece of paper, and an individual chapter could easily print them out as needed (with custom contact information included).
In addition, recent insurance requirements demanded that the organization have media release forms for all individuals who were used in any promotional materials. Lots of the photos that we had on file were off-limits. (Which wasn’t a real loss—the photos were hopelessly dated anyway.) A photo shoot was in order, and I ensured that we included real members, of all walks of life, all races, all shapes and sizes. True diversity to represent our international organization.
- The brochure layout has two covers (to illustrate the many activities the organization offers), and thanks to a tent-design, can stand up easily to be more eye-catching.
- The brochure fits in a standard #10 envelope so that no extra postage would be required.
- The brochure’s language caters to both girls (fun, friendship, activities) and parents (poise, philanthropy, scholarships), and is a manageable length.
- The brochure’s photos feature a diverse array of members from all over the nation doing all sorts of things.
- The brochure can be customized via data merge fields on the covers (shown above with the <<Jurisdiction>> text), as well as on the center Contact Us page, and custom versions can be printed at no additional cost, when the total (bulk) order is placed. The brochure can also stand alone without the custom text, and still look striking.
- The brochure is affordable to print, even in full color, per quotes that I received from multiple vendors. This is especially important given the custom option—something that a small chapter could never afford without the benefit of bulk pricing.
Posted on December 11, 2014
One of the most common questions I get nowadays is, “Do you know responsive design?” (For those who are not familiar with responsive design, it is the notion that websites will be viewed on various devices. Gone are the days of browsing the web from a home computer with a minimum resolution…
Posted on September 10, 2013
Generally, the words “dynamic” and “print” don’t go together, but hear me out.
When it comes to marketing, companies will employ all sorts of methods to track data and effectiveness. One common way is to swap out different phone numbers on advertisements, to measure how many calls a particular ad generates.
As the Senior Graphic Designer (and Acting Creative Director) for ClearChoice Management Services (which created all marketing for the scores of ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers across the United States, it was my job to not only create ads, but also ensure that an ad could be used in multiple markets and multiple publications. This meant that the phone numbers, doctors, addresses, and publications likely would need to change.
As I learned from the outsourced graphic designers who had been tasked with the job prior to my start, the process of swapping out phone numbers wasn’t hard, but it certainly was time consuming—especially when a single ad must be recreated dozens of times. Even worse, if a typo was discovered after the design had been approved, and the custom phone numbers had been inserted, uh oh! There was no way to fix the typo once. It had to be fixed in every single file. This process was extremely inefficient (but lucrative for the outsourced graphic designers).
When it was time to begin a new campaign for a specific Center (The Woodlands, outside of Houston, Texas), I decided to, as they say, “build a better mousetrap.”
Using Adobe InDesign, I created several ads of varying sizes (including a billboard). For one particular newspaper campaign, we wanted to know which newspaper would yield the most calls, and so each newspaper was issued a different toll-free number. As the campaign would include a skybox ad (the ad space in the top right corner of the newspaper’s front page), a halfpage ad, and supplement ad (to go in a medical directory insert), it was important that each newspaper used a single toll-free number consistently.
Once the general designs were approved, I built a simple spreadsheet to assist me in creating the multiple versions of each ad. Of course the phone number (highlighted above with a red oval) had to be different. In addition, I also inserted the name of each newspaper (highlighted above with a blue rectangle) as a simple quality assurance measure. This ensured that the phone numbers would match up, but it also ensured that the ad manager at the newspaper would be sure to place the correct ad in the correct newspaper, as that was so important for our data collection.
Using Data Merge, I created several ads from a single file, saving significant time. Further, I used a special plug-in so that I could export the PDFs individually with custom file names from the data merge fields. (By default, InDesign exports data merge files into the unhelpfully named filename-1.pdf, filename-2.pdf, and so on.) This meant that when it was time to send the files to the newspaper, each newspaper was labeled within the file name, to minimize any chance of misplaced ads (as it was one company who managed all seven newspapers).
Inevitably, there was a change to the ads at the last minute, and instead of needing an extra day to recreate the 21 files (7 newspapers × 3 ads), I made the change, and re-exported the files in a matter of minutes.
Not only was this process extremely efficient with regard to time, storage space (one source file rather than several), quality and version control, it helped to eliminate a very mundane task. In my experience, it is during the mundane tasks that people are most likely to make a careless mistake.
All in all, I believe I succeeded in my efforts to built a better mousetrap.
Posted on October 1, 2009
The United States International Trade Commission publishes several investigation reports each year (primarily Section 332, 337, and 731 reports). Originally, it was part of the Printing Department’s job to create covers for all investigation reports. Continue Reading
Posted on June 30, 2007
As a Northrop Grumman Technical Services employee , I worked with a team of talented 3D graphics artists to create interactive training courses for soldiers to prepare them for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. The 3D graphic artists built vehicles, aircraft, and environments, while I, as the Flash expert, animated all computer screens, and incorporated all elements into complete Flash files. This animation teaches the soldier how to navigate the vehicle’s computer system to arm and fire a missile.
Posted on February 1, 2006
At IDSI I created numerous Flash animations that enhanced the learning experience for the students taking the courses.
This interactive animation shows how to fill in a common log correctly. Roll over the blue text to see which information goes in which column. Click on thie blue text to see sample information entered.
This interactive animation shows how to chart a ship’s projected path on a maneuvering board, or MOBOARD. Click on each step to see the MOBOARD filled in.
Posted on August 1, 2005