Which would you eat?


How appealing does this look? Maybe it isn’t if you’re a healthy person. The fast food industry does anything possible when it comes to selling their products. They will go to great lengths to promote their products to ensure the business gains and maintains consumers. It’s a tad unfortunate that when you order a burger, it never looks like it does in the ad.

It likely took hours of Photoshop and planning to get his photo looking print ready. As students, it’s important for us to be media literate and recognize when we are being misled due to marketing tactics. The designer made the burger look great by touching up the colors and rounding out the edges. It’s literally a perfect burger with minor imperfections.

The real versus fake image reminds me of doing our creative brief. It looks like someone took the real burger and re-worked it in Photoshop. The intended message is one to create brand and product consistency. Every store we go to, we should be able to order the same thing. Photoshop allows for the product to look appealing and visual in order to gain sales and consumerism.


Laugh it up Halifax!

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Laugh It Up is a local business providing fun photo booth services. It is owned and operated by a friend of mine and he is very talented. As a relatively new business in the HRM he’s been doing a lot of social media advertising.

Today I came across this ad and I thought it would be worthy of a post because it’s very well done. When I first saw it, my eye was immediately drawn to the logo. It’s clever to have the theater masks with the company name in bold and bright colors. To me, this is very eye catching and it makes me want to read on. This is a clear example of brand personality; it’s fun, vibrant and happy. All things that are necessary for photo booth services.

He shied away from using the classic white on black and went for more of a baby blue, a nice and cool color that leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. Just another important piece that is important for photo booth success. It’s meant to be fun, upbeat and silly.

When I first saw the ad, I noticed the price immediately. And generally for high end services, price would come at the end. The classic sales tip is to never lead with price but the way he has it displayed works. It’s in a bright yellow circle that resembles a sale tag. The ‘only’ part is very important here because it appears that we as consumers are getting a deal!

If you ever need any photo booth services for your wedding, birthday or any other event please visit www.laughitup.ca!

– SP


Leave website design to specialists!


Working as a website and marketing sales consultant, I have the pleasure of speaking to business owners from all over. Some are more established than others and some have larger budgets to work with for their online marketing campaigns. It’s tough sometimes because the quality of a website makes a huge difference when it comes to attracting new clients and for some odd reason, people just simply don’t understand that visual appeal is important. Forget about the search engine optimization and focusing strictly on design, there are a lot of common mistakes that business owners make.

First, they like to content dump. I don’t mean they literally dump their content; rather, they have a large paragraph with important information. It doesn’t work well for viewers because it feels like they are reading an article or a story. Instead, content needs to be listed as bullets or have headers to separate the information. It is very important to understand that the content is geared to the viewers and it needs to be easily readable.

Another common mistake I see with my clients is that they lack a Contact page. The whole point of the website is for clients to find them online for a product or service. The next step is actually calling the business to inquire and without a contact page, you’re elimination yourself from the potential business.

The most common misunderstanding when it comes to website design is that media and flash are good for the website. WRONG. Flash works against the website and actually makes it harder to view the website on various devices such as mobile phones. Google and other search engines do not recognize flash so it actually does no good to have it.

The whole point of having a professionally designed website versus business owners doing it themselves is that the design works in all aspects. The business owners often need to stick to their carpentry business or landscaping services while leaving the website design to specialists.



Do it on the Bus!


Halifax Transit put out a new campaign encouraging people to “Do it on the Bus”. In an effort to grow ridership and remain environmentally friendly, Halifax transit is hoping more people will complete their daily tasks while riding the bus. According to the ad, there isn’t much you can’t do on the bus. You can have a nap, read a book or newspaper and you can even make new friends on the bus.

The print campaign is what I want to focus on here. It’s colorful and vibrant while maintaining CRAP principals. The contrast works here. The print keeps to white and yellow which has a nice contrast to the background colors of light blue, nave and coral. The overall color scheme works and I think they make proper use of contrast throughout the print ad.

Repetition is definitely present in this ad. Each thing you can do on the bus is listed as a visual in a white circle. The circles are separated by yellow plus signs. This repetition keeps the message consistent and it keeps the eye flowing down the ad.

The rows of information are using the alignment concept. Everything is strategically placed on the ad to maintain proper alignment. The circles are listed in rows and the background grouping helps keep the information aligned.

All of the circles, the text even the images displaying what you can do on the bus are strategically placed beside each other to keep proximity in mind. The intro text is placed in a way so as to bring the eye to the next level. The circles are properly placed so we can clearly see the meaning.

– SP

Brand Bubble

factors-of-brandingBranding is probably the most important piece of your business. No matter why type of business it is, branding can be very effective and persuasive in gaining exposure and building your reputation. By having an effective branding strategy, it will give you a major edge in competitive markets.

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Branding takes the form of business cards, websites, brochures and any ad campaigns. Literally, anything that you put out to the public for your business should be branded and done so consistently.

When doing research for my creative audit, I came across this thought bubble on branding. Everything that relates to the business including price and customer service all can be brought back to strategic branding. When you are the face of your company, your logo and company name are going to remain constant and they need to properly represent you and your business while being catchy and engaging.

When Matt came in to speak with the class, he stressed the important of branding and how it can both positively and negatively the product or company. He spoke about the consumer and how important they are in the whole process because the brand needs to be built around what the consumer wants or needs. When he mentioned the quote “If you’re not better or equal to the competition, you had better be cheaper”, it really made sense that there is such a competitive market and that it’s extremely important to stand out. That’s how the business world works.

– SP

Business Card Creation

Business Cards

A business card in most cases will be the first official point of contact to a business. It has the potential to make or break business deals, and is just as important as the way you present yourself during a first impression.

It is important to not clutter the card with loads of information. Text on the front generally consists of the contact info while less important information can appear on the back. Logo placement is a critical point in the overall design. In addition to layout, typography is extremely important. It needs to be consistant because too many type fonts can really be confusing.

The two business cards above (courtesy of Google) are poorly layed out and they have far too much information on the one side. EZ-Tops has alot of potential as we would just need to delete some of those cab pictures and redesign the layout. On the front, they should just have their logo, slogan and website and on the back should be all their contact information. They can drop all the cab tops as they are just clutter.

Pick-the-Lock Locksmith is a pretty basic card. Again, there is information that doesn’t need to be there. The logo with the keys  and the company name should be on the front. And on the back, there should be Manuel’s contact info along with a nicely layed out bullet list of his services. Maybe fix up the color and make it more consistant throughout.

– SP


Rule of Thirds


One of the guidelines for evaluating the composition of a photograph is known as the Rule of Thirds. This “rule” proposes that you divide a photograph into nine equal parts by drawing (or imagining) two vertical lines and two horizontal lines equally spaced over the image.

The Rule of Thirds suggests that important elements of a photograph should cross these grid lines or the intersections of these lines. This creates a more balanced photograph that allows the viewer to interact with it more organically. You’ll notice that most professional photographers apply this guideline when setting up their shot composition to create more compelling images with greater visual tension and energy.

This photo was taken by Ryan Gillis Photography (ryangillisphoto.com) and he applies the Rule of Thirds to this gorgeous shot of the Macdonald Bridge. The railway tracks fall along the bottom horizontal line and this give us a sense of distance and depth. The pillars of the bridge fall along the other vertical lines within the imagined grid. Overall, this is a beautiful shot and it is a perfect example of how the Rule of Thirds is practically applied.


Visual Mind Tricks


As I’m doing research for another course, I came across this picture. I first look at it and think this is definitely a real image. Take a look at the detailing, the trucks have their make information and the workmen standing around are detailed. Sure, the sky looks a little too blue and the crane is very yellow but I just figure it`s been Photoshoped. To me, this looks just like a real image with a couple of touch-ups.

Now that the image has gotten my attention, I decide the read the article which is about a pilot project for affordable “micro-unit housing“ in New York City and this image won the design and proposal bid. As I flip back to the photo, I can instantly notice that it in fact is not a real image, rather it’s a computer generated design. Once you notice the workmen`s shadows and the snow on the orange cones, I could definitely notice the difference.

It was crazy to think that my mind could be tricked like that. At first, there was no clear visual of what was real and what was not until after I read the information. The way the image is laid out and the content that is present really brought to light some of the emotional responses we have to visual stimuli. The colors, contrast and visual messaging came together to get me thinking about what really appeals to me as a consumer. Until next time…



Positive & Negative Space


As I flip through magazines, I breeze by this ad all the time without taking a second glance. But this time, the advertisement caught my eye immediately. I thought to myself, why all of a sudden am I noticing this ad? Normally, I always just think about messages when I see different print ads, except now, I’ve become visually involved.  I think to myself, what is the purpose of this layout and why is it important to me? Well, since we talked about the concept of positive and negative space, I’ve become attuned to various forms of advertising based on their visual appeal alone. As we discussed in class, this ad is a perfect display of positive and negative space since there are no features, just the silhouette that the black and pink make. The features of the women are laid out in black and my eye instantly goes to her hand. Although, not the main focus of the ad, the hand is the most detailed and it brings the eye back across the ad to the iPod.  Not only is space apparent here, but contrast as well. The pink and black complement each other very well and this allows for the white of the iPod to shine through. It is interesting to notice how I now notice different visuals rather than the message itself. It’s great to be able to think outside the box and really reflect on how various visuals affect me. Until next time….