Tips and insights from the blog team at Calliope - Presence in media for branding and polishing graphics, writing, social media, and online presence for yourself or your small business.

What we would have told ourselves 10 years ago... (Graphics Edition)

I am never one for regrets. Like ever. But knowing what I know now about my chosen field of work, I would tell that sweet, skinny, well rested geek the following words of wisdom about working in graphics. 

Not everyone is good on the computer:

This was and still is such a foreign idea to me. Not everyone can troubleshoot programs, teach themselves the full Adobe Creative Suite. Not everyone can pick up a device and figure it out with a few clicks here or there. If you have this talent... its easy to think that everyone can do it. Let me tell you they can't. If your brain works like this, use it to your benefit. There is no shame in making a living and having a blast doing something that you are innately exquisite at. It is a blessing!

Enjoy your time learning programs; Even if it is boring:

vividly remember a group of friends and I "cheating" a long time ago in our high school computer science class. The teacher knew little about internet history and how to get around a school banned web site; and for that matter how to catch kids sharing work on Word. We were only found out because a lazy co-conspirator forgot to change their name in the heading (come on!) Anyway, while we all knew our skills were superior to our instructors, I really wish I would have remembered the tricks that she did teach us. While I still will never need a manual to operate a program or edit a graphic, it would be useful know to know some of those shortcuts.  And to Ms. Smith, I apologize on behalf of all of the hooligans.  


Invest in good gadgets (tools):

Now, when you are a student or just starting out I understand the appeal and necessity to cut the "brand name" corners here or there. When at all possible, and when in relation to you craft, take as few shortcuts as possible. Now, don't get yourself in debt or anything like that, but take pride in your art/craft/skills and get the proper tools. I cut a few corners with purchasing a program here or a calligraphy pen there but the better products always have the best end result. 

JRR Tolkien wisdom 

JRR Tolkien wisdom 

Invest in continuing education:

Continuing education is such a weird term. I mean really, it is. It is such a jazzed up and corporate way of saying... "Stay Relevant" "Know what you are talking about" "Never stop learning about your field". If you are blessed to love what you do then its a no brainer that you will intuitively and instinctivley spend time educating yourself in your field. And I do, I spend loads of time teaching myself and researching now, but I wish I would have done more sooner. 

What are some things you wish you would have done 10 years ago? Would you tell yourself now? Leave your comment in the section below.

Reasons Why Your DIY Design Just Doesn't Work

We see it everyday from our Calliope offices. Bad DIY design. You know the type... loads of fonts that don't coordinate, people who use comic sans to imply youth or horrible composition; this bad DIY design is rampant. With the accessibility of computers and programs that edit and create images, we understand why it is enticing from a logistical and financial standpoint to just create it yourself. Also, sites like shutterfly, tiny prints, and others allow you to create "designer quality" mailers and images with a few formatting tools from their online interface. It's an exciting time for the internet and those who want custom "professional" looking designs!

There are negatives though... we can not tell you how often we spot a tiny print, a shutterfly, or another large template site's work when we receive invitations, holiday cards, and announcements. What's frustrating from a designers standpoint is while the designs are beautiful and trendy, they lack the personalization of a slight filigree scroll or a more masculine edge to professionally selected and created design.  And in a world where voices are just getting louder, information is coming at us at alarming rates, and the lines between realitity and fantasy are blurred more and more... being unique and noticeable is a necessity. 

Bad DIY Design can be sneaky... you think a cute scroll font would look nice so you use it. Then you can't get over how perfect a chalkboard style font would look with a curly frame. Then you just have to add the chalkboard effect, a picture and a HUGE logo or monogram. One word...gaudy... like Real Housewives of New Jersey Gaudy! For the sake of showing real life embarrassing  examples, we have created a graphic that embodies the "TOO MUCH" theme. 


So these are some Reasons Why your DIY design just doesn't work. 



As a rule of thumb... 3 fonts MAX! That's THREE! Uno, Dos, Tres (I feel like the genie from Aladdin)  Moreover, most designs can only handle or carry two fonts. Instead of junking up your design with more fonts, create emphasis and readability using additional formatting such as bold, italic, underline, size, or all caps/ lowercase. 

Here we have fixed the fonts. We took out the 5 fonts and chose two. One primary font to carry to quote and another on the word "off". This created a fun and feminine touch plus it transforms the quote from a fashion law to a saucy and flirtatious suggestion. 


Here the quotation marks are not needed. They junk up the space. It is assumed that the text is a quotation since we used the name - Chanel at the bottom. This example doesn't really show just how much can be taken away from a design  when you are looking to omit information. So, some things to ask yourself is:

1. Can I direct customers/ friends to another place for this information?

(i.e. there is no need to state a businesses hours, address, email, phone etc. Simply point people to your website or better yet, put a QR Code on the flyer and call it a day.)

2. Can I communicate information another way using fewer words or symbols?

& % $ # @ are all your friends and can express numerous other words or meanings simply by their placement. 



We personally like clean and simple designs but we can't tell you how many of our clients say they want "clean and simple" but in reality they want tons of embellishments. Less is more. We took out the double boarder, (the flirty "off." speaks enough to its girly appeal. Do as the quote says and before you hit print or save... take something off. 


There are of course loads of other design rules and tips but this will have to do for now. So follow Calliope - Presence in Media on all the major social networks, subscribe to the blog and you will stay up to date with the latest and greatest tips, tricks, news, and inspiration from the talent @CalliopePIM