Decoration Techniques

DEBOSSING
This process is used on leather portfolios and drinkware sleeves to give the product an elegant look.

HOT STAMPING
Hot stamping is similar to debossing but with an added feature. Hot stamping uses colored foil with your logo to provide more visibility. This decorating is ideal on portfolios.

PAD PRINTING
Unlike silk screening, Pad Printing can be used on products with a variety of surfaces (e.g. curved, recessed, etc.) and textures. .

ENGRAVING
Give your product a sophisticated and polished look with the laserengraving method. Typical products include knifes and pens.

OXIDIZATION
With oxidization, a chemical is applied to the metal after engraving so that the engraved area is darkened. A chemical is sprayed onto the product before engraving causing the logo to engrave black. This process is usually available  on stainless steel products
only.

ETCHING
A chemical is used to etch out your logo.

HEAT TRANSFER
Your logo is computer-generated and printed in full color on special paper which is applied to the product using heat and pressure.

Generic and overused logos (avoid them!)

In the world of creative communities a customer launches their project (for logos, corporate identities, banners, websites, etc.) and designers respond with their proposals.The customer, here, has the possibility to get amazing designs from creatives from all over the world and the creatives have the possibility to show his best works to all the community, creating contacts with international clients.But, in the jungle of logo design, there is a tricky trap: the spreading of the generic logos.
Most of the time the logo is so generic, the customer isn’t even able to get a trademark for it.

With a generic logo (not creative, not tailored to a client’s needs) a company gives to the market an anonymous image of itself, devoid of any of the companies identity. Because of their overused logotypes the company is not able to establish their brand in the marketplace. In this way they’re going straight in the opposite direction than to distinguish themselves from others (which is the whole point of having a logo).

There’s a bunch of designers who submit systematically and randomly low standard logotypes, often made without reading the client’s brief. They are essentially phishing for wins.
All too frequently it happens that these designers and generic logos win contests.

Maybe the customers choose these logos because they feel familiar. What they don’t know is that the web is full of similar, clone logos. We can easily say that they’re going to be cheated.

It’s good if all the customers, who launch creative contests, know this.

These are the most overused cliches, at the moment:

This is a short collection of what you can find in some creative communities, just to give you an idea, 90% of them actually sold:


The company’s acronym cut in two colors by an arc (usually Trajan font)


The company’s acronym in “Ethnocentric” font (separated or united letters)


The company name within a two color circle


Use of the font “Satisfaction”

and others here


The company’s acronym in square boxes


Financial graphics, towers, growth lines


Roofs and cubic buildings

 

Following, some trends that are less generic, maybe a little more quality, but overused as much as the others:


Spheres, look at this example


Stylized cars (all similar to a standard type)


Trees where the trunks are people or hands


The evergreen swooshy men, V-men and leafy men


The rainbow circle formed by stylized humans


Shapes with swoosh lines through


Drop shapes alone or mixed with leafs and other elements


Linked bubbles or dots


Gears


And now, some examples of logos made with mixed cliches

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Forget about the camera, it is all about the light.

The first thing I want to tell people about taking photographs is “Get Out of The House” I don’t care if you have a Kodak Easy Share, a cell phone camera or a $5,000 camera, light in homes can just plain suck for the beginner and you will get frustrated.

The sun is a great, FREE light source to take photos. Now, the first thing some people want to do is have their family and friends turn toward the sun so it lights their faces. The problem? Everyone is SQUINTY. Try this next time you are outside. Have your subject stand with the sun at their back, Yes the sun will be pointing at you. Notice that it makes a nice glow around their hair.

OK, good. BUT their face is in shadow!. That is where your flash comes in. Yes it is sunny but that is no reason not to use the flash. Let that flash fill in all those nasty shadows. Now you have a nice sunny background and nice bright faces.

But OH NO, Sun Spots! Those annoying green dots in your pictures. This is lens flare and it happens to everyone from time to time. If you are using a DSLR you can minimize this with a lens hood. For people with a point and shoot, you can use your hand or even your hat. All you need to do is shade your lens.

When it’s cloudy, grab the camera! Overcast days are PERFECT for pictures of your family. It is like the sun has a giant soft box on it.  With an overcast day you can shoot morning, noon and night without harsh shadows. Here is a shot on a lawn at noon on an overcast day.

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Ah, which brings me to the time of day. There is what we call “The Golden Hour” Actually it should be Hours because there is 2 times during the day it is the best time to take photos. One hour after sunrise and One hour before sunset. The sun is in the perfect position these times of the day.  Avoid those harsh rays at Noon. The sun is really high in the sky and the light is just so harsh and unflattering.

On that note, if you are interviewing a professional for, lets say a family reunion photo, and the Photographer says, “Hey we can shoot anytime you want!” BEWARE. There is only so much equipment can do for outdoor group shots to manipulate the light. A true professional will warn you about harsh light and the best times to shoot. Just a little test you can do when you interview someone. Oh, interviewing professional photographers!

Maybe that will be my next blog!

What to look for in a Portrait Photographer

What to look for in a Portrait Photographer.

  • Don’t be afraid to interview the photographer. And interview more than one. Email is convenient but a phone call is even better. You want to hire someone you click with personality wise. But personality isn’t everything.
  • Make sure they have samples. Ask to see some of the photographer’s work. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality of each photographer.
  • Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
  • Check their references. A friend’s recommendation or the Better Business Bureau is a great resource. In the case of a wedding photographer, they should also have a list of at least two people you can contact via e-mail.
  • Do they have insurance? This is an easy tell to see if a photographer is really a registered business or not. Liability insurance. We get it to protect us from lawsuit, from damage to our equipment. In fact, some wedding venues won’t let you hire a photographer that cannot show proof of liability insurance.

 

Red Flags.

 

There are few things “professional” photographers say that should cause you to proceed with caution. I want to be honest that not all of these red flags are necessarily bad but…Oh who am I kidding. They are always bad.

 

I’m a natural light photographer! This usually means they either don’t know how to use professional equipment properly or they do not have a good business plan to pay for professional equipment. This doesn’t necessarily mean external lighting like flashes or large studio lights. Light modifiers such as reflectors are used to manipulate the light. We can’t always count on Mother Nature putting clouds on the right places for us. There are some very talented photographers that just use the sun as their light source but they also use tools to direct it.

 

I don’t pose, I just let my clients be natural. This means they have no idea about posing, how to accentuate the human body or know what looks best for different body types.

 

No need for contracts, I trust you! This means if anything goes wrong you are out of luck getting a refund, discount, or even your final product. There should always be a contract and don’t be afraid to ask for changes in the contract. Most contracts come with a built in model release. If you don’t want your pictures on the internet then ask to opt out of internet posting.

 

I can always fix things in Photoshop. This can be bad or good. If it is a matter of some snotty noses or a stray hair then OK. But if the photographer won’t let you see at least a few images on the back of the camera during or after the shoot then you know that they are not doing things right and they are relying on the computer to fix it. A bad photo cannot be made good photo in Photoshop. Period. End of story.

 

I will probably think of more things as soon as I publish this blog. Feel free to leave comments with your tips and experiences!

The Essential Executive Portrait

A Professional portrait is essential these days. How strong is your visual impact? Update your professional portrait with an Executive Portrait session.

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Making a Great First Impression

I was honored to collaborate with Author, Lori De Milto on a report on head shots for freelance writers. Please enjoy. And I highly recommend checking out her book available on Amazon! The Mighty Marketer

You can download the PDF here: Making A Great First Impression

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