Design

If you want a website and you need it tonight…Square Squared

“If you want a website and you need it tonight…Square Squared.”  Those are the famous first lines of our company theme song.  Not all companies have a theme song, but we are fun, innovative and creative team, and we thought, “Hey, why not make a theme song and music video to promote our brand?”

So, we wrote a song, performed it and recorded it along with produced a music video for you tube.  It’s a fun and different way to help get the message out.

Below are the complete set of lyrics, and a link for the video. Enjoy!  Give us a call if you need a creative way to get your message out there, either through a website, video, or if you want to brainstorm for something else that will fit your company and brand best.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/sd3CTdA1cgg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

If you want a website and you need it tonight…Square Squared.
If your site that was done, was by your neighbor’s son…call Square Squared.
Get it right. Get it right. Get it right…Square Squared

If your logo and brand were drawn with a crayon… Square Squared
If your graphics just suck or your marketing’s muck…Square Squared.
Get it right. Get it right. Get it right…Square Squared

Fair’s fair, call Square Squared
for digital graphics and website care.
Call us 24/7 and we might be there
burnin’ the midnight oil in our underwear
and say, “Have no fear, we’ll take care of that snare,
and get you up and running before daylight’s here.”

If your logo and brochures are just a mess,
Lynn will come to your office in a Pucci dress
and say, “We’ll take care of these items, but I must confess
there’s a little bit of money that you must invest –
and in no time flat you’ll be a lot less stressed
makin’ tons of loot with a look that’s fresh.”

But that’s not all that we can help you do
Social media, videos and outdoor too,
wrap your truck in art
make your store front smart
get your business card lookin’ oh so sharp
We’re never mean, we’re green, check out our new routine
and you’ll always love working’ with the Square Squared Team.

If you need an ad to be proud and stand out from the crowd…Square Squared
If your look needs repair, some umph and some flair…Square Squared
Get it right. Get it right. Get it right…Square Squared

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QR-Codes

QR Code it

What can a QR Code do?

A lot of people don’t know this, but QR Codes are actually old technology.  The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Toyota‘s subsidiary, Denso Wave. Its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacture; it was designed to allow high-speed component scanning. With the advent of the smart phone and the capability of such devices to easily read and process these barcodes anywhere, at any time, their potential and use began to blossom.

A QR code is literally a bridge to connect the “real world”  with the “digital world.”  You can’t put “Click here” on a t-shirt or printed brochure, but a QR code gives you virtually the same benefit.  “Scan here” and visit the online destination of my choosing. Basically, anywhere a website button could take you, a QR code can bring you to the same place.

We often generate QR Codes for our clients to place on cards, ads, stickers, or T-Shirts. It can store text, a URL, contact information, phone numbers, SMS whatever. I have used them to link directly to websites, Facebook pages, and even PayPal payment screens.

The possibilities are endless.

The best place I have found to go to generate your code, simple, easy, and free is: https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Good luck, and happy scanning!

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woman-avatar-comparison

The Importance of a Good Gravatar

Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on social media sites, blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

Many sites today access the Gravatar system, so when you comment on a forum, or post on a friend’s blog, the icon next to your comment is the image that you want it to be, not just a generic icon.  You can help shape a more customized, personalized web experience for yourself and others.

If you don’t have one already, go to Gravatar.com to set up your account today.  It is a simple process and your Gravatar is linked to an email address.  You Gravatar account can handle multiple images and email addresses. It as a central place to facilitate your consistent visual brand identity on the web.

If you set up a Gravatar a while back and haven’t checked on it in a while, be sure to log in to your account and update your photo.  According to their recent blog post: “If you’re using a low-resolution image of yourself that you cropped from a friend’s Facebook photo two years ago, then it’s time for an update.” They are now set up to handle images up to 2048px!  The last thing you want is for your avatar image to look pixelated like it was taken from an 8-bit Super Mario Bros game.

It is also a good idea – when trying to present a professional appearance – to use a professional photo.  It is not that expensive to have a nice portrait taken of you, and it will look much more professional than a cellphone snapshot. Let me know if you need help getting that image to look perfect or contact your favorite photographer.

Good luck and I hope to see you and your Gravatar soon!

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award

Great Logos

Logo from meateater.com

I am always on the look out for great logos. Today I came upon the Meat Eater logo (http://themeateater.com)

Although the logo as a whole with it’s morbid skull with fork-antlers is in a vertical format which I usually recommended against for my clients because it sometimes can limit size and placement in print and signage instances, I found the typography to be clever and very note worthy.

The two words “meat” “eater” are legible and visible when read vertically AND horizontally. The fact that the designer picked up on this and was effectively able to articulate the duality of the relationship between the two words is very admirable. I give the meat eater logo two thumbs up!

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Evolution of Brand

Here is a great visual comparison by Stock Logos of some of the world’s top brands’ original logo vs. their current logo.  Many of the companies logos have evolved to be similar to their original brand, and some have decided to change direction completely.  What is missing from this  chart are the intermediate logos which in many cases show how the logos didn’t jump to seemingly unrelated ideas, but actually evolved over time to become what they are today.

Two examples of this would be the Shell logo

Shell Logo Evolution

…and the Mazda logo

Logo Evolution Mazda

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True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business Infographic


Source

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Hue / Saturation Adjustments in Illustrator CS 5

I normally create my website designs in Photoshop – mostly because I find the pixel based platform the most conducive to HTML conversion.  However, when the time comes to carry a client design over to print in a brochure or large format sign, I rely on Illustrator and InDesign to construct the design files to ensure a crisp and clean end result.

Today I hit a snag. I had applied a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to a vector smart object in Photoshop, but when I went to use that vector graphic in InDesign, I no longer had the ability to use that same Hue/Saturation adjustment.  I was faced with the insurmountable task of adjusting all the individual colors through EDIT > EDIT COLORS > RECOLOR ARTWORK, which was very time intensive and about 30% of the way through I noticed it wasn’t really coming out right.

With a bit of research I found the Phantasm Adobe Illustrator Plug-in.  Thanks to their FREE 7 day trial, I was able to convert the graphic over to the correct hue within a matter of seconds using the exact Hue/Saturation settings that I was using in my Photoshop adjustment layer. I also played around with the other tools that come with the plug-in like Curves, Levels, Duotone, etc.  It was very intuitive, and frankly I’m quite surprised that this feature doesn’t come STANDARD with Illustrator, as it is a natural carry over for us designers who use the entire Adobe Suite and like to have similar tools across the board.

Needless to say, the moderate $49 license fee will be money well spent to ensure I have the tools I need to work effectively and efficiently on all my design projects.  KUDOS to Astute Graphics for a job well done on a well built and extremely useful Adobe Illustrator Plug-in.

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Fonts and Quotes

I consider myself an avid typographer. Fonts and type have always intrigued and interested me.  A typeface can completely change the feeling and meaning of words. I have typography running through my veins – my blood type is HELVETICA. (true story)

Fonts.com just sent me their newsletter and the opening featured font was Rabenau.  The font is clean and has some interesting characteristics to its serifs.  Also – as seen in the sample – the lowercase g has an open descender giving it the feeling of a traditional type with hints of the handwritten style descender.

The quote they used to showcase this font is quite clever and cerebral, and would would not have the same feeling had it been set in a strict monospaced serif font like Courier or some wacky-looking font like Fun House. Granted the font doesn’t change the MEANING of the words, but it changes the connotation of the words and the way they make us feel.

This is a monospaced font. Every letter takes up the same about of horizontal space.
In most fonts four i's and four m's would not be equal
iiii
mmmm

Monospaced fonts are often used to write programming code in because it makes it clearer to present and space out the lines of code and functions.

Helvetica – was specifically designed to overcome the emotions and undertones associated with a font and make the typeface itself TRANSPARENT and help bring clarity and true meaning to the actual words.  I see Helvetica as the embodiment of the philosophy laid out by Beatrice Warde in her essay entitled the Crystal Goblet.

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Paper Savvy

A lot of people think of me as the go-to “web guy.”  Maybe it’s because I started typing my school papers in the 5th grade on an Apple IIe.  Maybe it’s because I dream in HTML. Maybe it’s because I wish life had a “refresh” button like my favorite internet browser. Or maybe it’s just because that’s what I’m good at.  Regardless of my my internet abilities, I LOVE working on projects that get printed on ACTUAL paper also.  (No, don’t get all environmental on me! Paper has it’s place even in today’s world of green eco-loving-kindness)

Recently, we were working on a client project where the goal was to pull out all the stops and make a brochure that really POPS.  In our exploration of available materials we came upon a few noteworthy papers that I would like to mention:

Yupo Synthetic: This stuff is amazing. It feels like a silky-smooth latex. A single brush with your finger serenades your senses to  touch and rub the paper because of it’s distinctly intriguing texture – unlike anything else. In fact, their product is so alluring that their corporate slogan is “Do it on Yupo” (Hubba Hubba). It is waterproof, tear resistant, and 100% tree-free. It is available in a variety of weights and styles from 62 lb translucent text all the way up to a 144lb cover stock. The only downside to this product is the price – it is almost cost prohibitive to use it for a “normal’ project.

Touché: This is another paper that is just begging to be touched.  It’s no wonder that they call it Touché. It has a soft, tactile, sensual feeling, and is very supple and durable. It is only available in thick cover stocks from .013″ to .024″ and comes in 6 standard colors: black white, cream, cool grey, burgundy, and slate blue. Custom colors can also be produced on request.  The color scheme is very muted and the paper itself gives a feeling of a luxurious understated elegance. When combined with other techniques such as foil stamping, embossing, or varnish coating, it can give an unparalleled texture and appearance.  Once again, not for the thrifty projects, this paper stands in a class all its own.

Kromekote Collection: Although the first two papers mentioned were noteworthy because of their tactile qualities.  The   Kromekote foil collection is a visually bold and striking paper.  Their line of high-quality metallic papers delivers a dynamic visual appeal.  The high-gloss reflective services of their foils  mimic the look of real silver, black, gold and platinum metals and they even offer a ‘brushed’ metal alternative for silver and gold.  If a small foil stamp isn’t BLING enough for  you, then a Kromekote foil paper is just what the doctor ordered.

These are just 3 of the HUNDREDS – if not THOUSANDS – of papers available for your specialty project to make it really stand out! GO BOLD OR GO HOME!

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Unlinking Text Boxes in InDesign CS5.5

The Split Story Script among other hidden gems.

This is how you find the Scripts Panel

During one of my recent projects for Creating WE I set up a document with linking text boxes. Well, as the project progressed, the text in the boxes changed from body text to headline text and then into image captions. At that point, it no longer made sense to have all the text boxes linked together, because as I was editing the text it was needlessly jumping from one text box to the next across pages. I needed a way to break all the text box links apart without disturbing the layout or having to recreate the boxes.

 

 

The solution was simple, a pre-installed script:

  1. Open your Scripts panel (Window> Utilities >Scripts)
  2. Look down the folder tree until you find Split Story (Application > Samples > SplitStory.jsx)
  3. Place your cursor in one frame of the linked story that you want to unlink
  4. Double-click the script name in the panel.
  5. InDesign will run the script and all the frames of the story will be “unlinked” without disturbing the layout of the content.
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