Extreme Advertising

The topic I wanted to talk about today was similar to my last topic about proofreading advertisements. Inappropriate advertisements are all around us. We see them every day, but most of the time we don’t fully understand the line that many of these ads cross. The picture I have attached is from LICRA, an organization that aims to stop racism and anti-Semitism in the world. While an organization that has noble causes, sometimes their marketing material can be seen as inappropriate.

            The picture I have attached is one that was published by them. It shows a number of babies in the nursery supposedly soon after birth. However, the inappropriate aspect of this picture is the black baby in a janitor outfit. This advertisement suggests that black people are doomed to work dead end jobs that do not pay very well. While extremely as inappropriate and condescending as this may seem, the text sheds some light on the true intention of this picture. The text reads “Your skin color shouldn’t dictate your future”. With that context it is quite clear that the advertisements intentions were to state that even though you might be a minority, it should have no impact on your will to succeed.

            At first glance this advertisement is very inappropriate, and that is what goes wrong with this picture. Most people won’t spend the time to look for the text and think about what they are trying to say. From the first glance it seems racist, and that is the opinion that most people will have about this advertisement and their organization. Companies and organizations like LICRA need to be sure to take the time to guarantee that their message is conveyed and conveyed very clearly without any confusion.

– Brittany Smith


Proofreading Signs and Marketing Material

         I’ve included a photograph of a sign for a company that didn’t quite turn out the way they expected to say the least. Advertising mishaps like these are actually more common than you might think, although not many are as exaggerated as this one or as easily noticed. The problem with advertising is that mistakes like these can leak through proofreading and make it in to production. Advertising mistakes like this can ruin your businesses appeal or make people think less of what you have to offer.

            You might think that advertisements like this that don’t convey meaning are not very common. Think about the last time you saw a commercial on TV that no one else you know liked? Why would a company publish an advertisement that the majority of people don’t like? Perhaps it is because that advertisement was not properly scrutinized before it was published. Companies should thoroughly read through and examine any marketing material that they plan to publish in order to ensure their ad will be well received. If they showed this ad to a large group of people within their company and tested it before they published it these mishaps would not happen.

            Megaflicks should have used a different font. I think we can all agree on that. However, there is more than just an unfortunate font at fault. Too many businesses, large and small, publish advertisements without proper proofreading and criticizing. If more companies went through the proper steps before publishing their advertisements, we would all see more polished ads that appeal to many more people.

– Brittany Smith 



goodbadcontrastWe have talked a lot about the importance of contrast in class as it is the first letter in the CRAP principle but you never really notice how important it is until you see two of the same picture. One with good contrast one with bad. A lot of my posts recently have been related to our creative audit but lets be honest that consumes most of my time and that’s where most of my ideas are generated. I was playing around with colours because unfortunately my organization requires me to focus on one particular colour. Creating a picture so that it is still interesting when you only want to use one or two colours requires good contrast. Colours that are complimentary are more likely to look appealing. Do not use two colours that are close to each other on the colour circle as they will be too similar and your design might get a washed out look.</p><p>Try different things. If you have your font blue and your background yellow and it doesn’t quite look right, try changing it up. Put our background yellow and your font blue. Trying differing things is the best way to create a masterpiece Also if you like your colour contrast but your words seems to be getting lost in the background, right click on your text layer and go to blending options and select stroke. It will outline your words making them more defined without requiring you to change your chosen colours. Enjoy</p><p>-Holly</p>

Creative Audit

When I was working on creating my creative package for our final project a few things came to my mind. How am I going to get attention with my work? Will my point get across? Where should this advertisement be displayed?

Let’s go on a little side note. Spy Kids. I was watching Spy Kids when they explained that kids can do things that adults cannot because adults over think things and look beyond the basics. They always think a problem must be more complicated then it has to be.

Now take a step back and think about your project. Don’t over think it. Go inside the box for a minute and think of what ‘elevator door message’ you want to get across and the simplest way to do this. Once you have your base idea that is when you can add in your creativity. Sometimes all the stress gets to us and we try to create some masterpiece by spending day in and out drawing out plans when all we need to do is step back and apply the basic principles. Don’t forget your CRAP (composition, repetition, alignment, proximity). Make sure you know your target audience and remember to think like a kid because sometimes the most brilliant idea is right under your nose but you’re too busy overthinking every step of the project. Relax.

Good luck everyone on your creative audit!!!


Do you have a great idea but don’t really know the tools used to create it. This website will definitely help (http://www.howtogeek.com/98103/30-of-the-best-photoshop-tips-and-tricks/)

I often find in class I have these ideas in my mind that I am unsure how to go about. Last week I asked Kyle to show me how to have your words go around the edge of an image. I wanted to words to wrap around a light bulb instead of just continuing in a straight line. Of course he successfully showed me how to do this and has many neat tips and tricks up his sleeve but unfortunately our classmate, Kyle, will not always be sitting behind you when your great idea comes to mind.

Not only will this site refresh or teach you things you didn’t really understand in class, this site has some tutorials along with great ways to do neat things. Have you ever wondered how to colorize a black and white vintage photo? Or how to make your picture or person look like a pencil drawing? This website has you covered.

When making your projects don’t be afraid to step outside class material. Take a few minutes to look through sites like this one and learn new tools that will make your design stand out in a crowd. It’s not like you are just using this software for a class project, you are going to be a public relations professional and you are going to need to know how to use Photoshop for the rest of your career.

Besides your professional life, do you know how cool of a Valentine’s Day or Birthday card you can make in ten minutes? Add a personal touch in your Christmas cards this year instead of buying them at the dollar store. 5 minutes of your time to learn a new technique will put many smiles on your face.


A day full of questions!


Sitting in my room I was looking around at the different pictures and posters and noticing isometric unique colour mixes. One example, I have a picture of Kellan Lutz on my wall wearing a white tank top. What’s strange about that? The backgroundGetAttachment.aspx of the picture is white. I believe this technique was used because the only thing that’s not white I’d his face, part of his chest and his muscular arm. It draws you to the features they want you to focus on but still gives you the 3-D human characteristic.

Another poster on my wall is actually one I would like some answers to. The only white space on the poster is the writing. But would that really be considered white space because it isn’t just empty space. It’s the space used to create the message.

Lastly I would like to finish with a question. There are many rules in creating pictures and designs such as alignment, repetition, the rule of thirds, etc. If these rules are what makes a good design or the perfect photograph then why is it considered artistic to stray outside these rules? Some of the best work created is different than these rules because in order for something to me memorable, it needs to be different


“Just Do It” Again and Again

Nike markets possibility opposed to products. It relies on symbolic signs of individuals to ignite desire in potential customers. How? Nike sponsors “big time” athletes to endorse their brand. These athletes are chosen for their journey to success.

For example, Nike has never been in the business of making bikes but it sponsored Lance Armstrong (until he admitted to doping). They sponsored him because he fought cancer, survived, and then went on to win the most grueling race on the planet. He is an inspiration to all young athletes across the world (or he was). He symbolizes certain characteristics that Nike wants to associate with their brand.

Another example is Tiger Woods. When the company signed Tiger back in 96′ Nike didn’t make golf clubs. It signed  him because he was on pace to shatter a huge racial boundary in the world of golf – a “white man’s” sport at the time. Again he is a symbolic sign of success and change. Nike wants that associate with them.

Nike’s strategy is built upon with symbols that its endorsers are. Recently, with Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius having issues this system doesn’t seem to safe but over their 50 year existence it has being instrumental in developing the company into the most successful sporting store worldwide.

– Chris G

Winter Blues


During the winter months, I always browse Google images for warm and comforting photos to put as my desktop background. While I was searching Google to take away the winter blues I found this tropical beach photo.

The vibrant colours and soft wispy clouds drew me in. The photo follows the rule of thirds with the two chairs in the bottom left hand corner. The other islands in the photo make it seem like it goes on forever. I love the different shades of blue, and greens. As well as the white sandy beach which that leads into the ocean.

I feel that the photo gives off different textures with each element such as, the chairs on the beach would be made of wood, the grains of the soft sand between your toes, the warm soothing water, and the fluffy marshmallow clouds. All the different elements in the photo make it easy to wish you were on that beach.

Overall I love the how this picture follows the rule of thirds, the photo is easy to look at and not over crowded or distracting. Also I love how the main cloud has a shadow below it, because it looks like the cloud is so close to the ocean, almost as if you could reach out and touch it. This photo was by far my favourite one this winter.


Semiotics & The Days Of the Week!

Today, you are in for a treat… WE’RE GOING TO LEARN THE DAYS OF THE WEEK IN JAPANESE! What?! THAT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH VISUAL DESIGN, YOU SAY?! On the contrary, it has everything to do with semiotics!

Alright, let’s start with a quick breakdown! In Japan, there are three writing systems:
1. Katakana – カタカナ(used in cases whre you are spelling words taken from English and spelling someone’s name for the most part)
(1.5 Romaji – This one doesn’t really count in my opinion, it is japanese words written with the latin script, so our alphabet)
2. Hiragana – ひらがな (The basic writing system that is primarily used)
3. Kanji – 日本 (Borrowed Chinese symbols used to differentiate Japanese homonyms in sentences)

Looks pretty cool, eh? Anyways, we’re going to focus on the kanji!

Now, as we learned from semiotics, you have the three categories: Iconic, indexical, and symbolic. Well, kanji is very much iconic because they are quite literally symbols that represent something, in some cases a direct representation of the object. Though, before I explain further, let’s look at them!
* 曜日 translates to ‘yobi’, which means ‘day of the week’

日曜日 (nichiyobi) – 日 – this is the kanji for Sunday, with the lone icon meaning ‘sun’, and while the sun is indeed not square, it is believed to come from a squared out circle.
月曜日 (getsuyobi) – 月 – Monday, and the lone icon means ‘moon’, nearly identical to the ‘sun’, but smaller and with extended roots to show what I believe to be it ‘rising’.
火曜日 (kayobi) – 火 – Tuesday, with the icon representing ‘fire’. This is a clearer kanji where you can see the origins with the shape of the flame and sparks flying out.
水曜日 (suiyobi)- 水 – Wednesday, or the day of the ‘water’. This kanji is said to represent a waterfall.
木曜日 (mokuyobi) – 木 – Thursday, ‘wood day’, with the kanji looking strikingly like a tree. In fact, putting three of those symbols together actually creates the kanji for forest.
金曜日 (kin’yobi) – 金 – Friday, ‘gold day’ and while I can’t readily remember the exact meaning behind the symbol, I always thought it looked like a home where one invests their wealth.
土曜日 (doyobi) – 土 – Satuday, ‘Earth day’, with the kanji showing a cross coming out of the ground, possibly a sprout.

As you can probably gather, they all derive from either elements or major parts of daily life! So, as you can see, these iconic symbols actually went so far from simple meanings to actually becoming part of day-to-day vocabulary.

So that is it for now! I hope you enjoyed the quick dive into Japanese as well as information as to how semiotics can actually be quite close to what they are meant to represent and how they can assimilate into major parts of vocabulary.

Stephen Andrews

Burlesque Nail Design


My friend Adrianna has her own business called Burlesque Nail Design. As part of our assignment I had to analyze three ways she markets herself. The Facebook webpage is probably the most resourceful marketing tool of the business. It was created in 2009, around the same time as the business and now has over 2,600 likes. It is updated daily and frequently with different promotions or spots available. So the purpose is well executed but it’s the creative visual technique of her page and work that makes it a must see.

Her cover picture is a black background with Burlesque is big pink font, which is followed by nail designs in smaller white font. The contrast of white and black works well and the pink pops out. It also is classified as a feminine color so symbolically represents females. The actual word burlesque is used as over the top or exaggerated glitz and glam. When observing the images that are posting on a regular basis it is easy to see how perfectly it fits the nail designs. The images uploaded look as though they were taken professionally but they were really taken on Adrianna`s IPhone. This is an inexpensive way to demonstrate what she has created or been working on. It also makes it easy to tweet the images or post on instagram. The nails range from simple manicures to dramatic glamour topped with jewels.

 Other than just looking at the photographs of the nail art the page is well designed having bright colors that is attractive to the eye.  Although with an FB page there isn’t much external design the placement of her pictures and comments uses all of the space provided but does not crowd the page. It is strategically smart to have the recommendation box at the top of the page to the side so when users first glance at the page it is one of the first details they notice.