Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digital File Prep: Final Project

Early on this semester I saw some old iMacs sitting in the corner of a class room. The old G4’s with the gooseneck screens that could swivel around. The more I looked at them the more I could see a potential in them to express emotion and really be the perfect subject for some kind of photography project. I decided to incorporate that photography project into my final project for Digital File Prep.

My first thought was to do some sort of take on the “motivational” posters that we all know so well, but eventually gave up on that idea as it didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Instead, I came up with a campaign the old Macs would be perfect for, “Save a Mac”. This campaign urges people who have old Macs that sit in the closet to get them out and put them to a practical use. I decided to do a flyer of information, along with a set of 10 posters each with a different pose of the above mentioned iMac in black and white. While started as a fictional idea, “Save a Mac” is becoming more real every day.

For more information about “Save a Mac”, visit

Overall Dimensions
10 unique posters at 11”x17”
Flyer at 8.5”x11”

Posters and flyer both have 1/8” bleed.

Flat or folded
Posters are flat, flyer is folded once down the middle.

Purpose of the piece
The purpose of my posters and flyer is to promote the “Save a Mac” campaign. This campaign aims to get dusty old macs back in use by suggesting practical ways to use them.

Target Audience
My target audience is people who have recently upgraded to a new Macintosh computer, who are planning on upgrading soon, who have access to old Macintosh computers, or who are Apple fans in general.

Call to Action
The call to action of my posters is to promote the campaign. Each poster has a website URL if someone wants more information. The purpose of the flyer is to get people to use the information contained within to help them put their old Mac to use.

A full set of posters (10) with accompanying flyer runs about $5.00 (when you do 50 sets), likely much cheaper if done in larger quantity.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Publication Ad

The assignment here was to design a set of ads for a publication. The publication I chose to go with was the Aspen Music Festival program book because the ads that I wanted to produce were for the Bach Stradivarius trumpet. The product and event fit together very nicely.

My target audience for this ad is musicians (or more specifically trumpet players or teachers) who take music seriously and are willing to pay more for a high quality product. Most of the people at the festival where the program will be handed out already know where and how to obtain a musical interest, so my call to action is simply to generate interest and check out the website if you want more information.

Trim size for full page ad: 8.375” x 10.875” with 1/4” bleed

Size for 1/3 page ad: 2.31” x 9.75” with no bleed

Friday, December 3, 2010

Direct Mail Assignment

In this assignment the goal was to create a direct mail piece. In this case basically a post card that a company mails to people in it’s client database with information that changes depending on the client. At least two elements were to change depending on who the mailer went to, excluding the address of course. I chose to do mine for the Louisburg Animal Clinic. Special variable data software would be used to pull information from an excel spreadsheet (“database”) and create a unique print for each client.

My database of clients was divided by one major factor; dog or cat. If you were in the database as a dog owner, the picture on the front of your mailer would be a dog. If you were a cat owner, you would get a picture of a cat. On the back, dog information would be included for dog owners and cat information for cat owners. Another element that would change is a variable for the pet’s name on the back of the card.

My direct mail piece is sized at 8” by 5” with a 1/8” bleed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Presentation on Emerging Media

I attended the VML presentation by Joe Grigsby at the FSRTC. VML strives to deliver creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology. This presentation was about emerging media, primarily social and mobile. Emerging media can basically be defined as consumer behavior trends that transform how people connect to content, to each other, and to the broader society. There are basically two main categories: Social and Mobile.

Social media

In 2010 66% of all media is digital and 76% of people with broadband internet connections contribute to social media via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other number of social media outlets. An interesting piece of information included in the presentation was that if Facebook were considered a country with number of active users as its population, it would be the third largest country in the world. Grigsby talked about how companies are getting involved in the social media scene with facebook identities, twitter accounts, blogs, etc. Southwest airlines has an entire team of full time employees who manage the company’s online presence. Some companies shy away from social media and would rather put all their focus on traditional marketing as if too avoid potential negative feedback. The truth is that consumers will talk about a company within social networking whether the company is directly involved or not, so why not get involved? Give thanks for positive comments and try to fix the problems of those who aren’t so satisfied with your goods or services. A company can use social media and social networking to help drive consumer behavior. People will always trust other people like themselves more than traditional advertising, so if you have real people posting positive things on your facebook page it can make a world of difference.


14% of teenagers can text blindfolded, this just goes to show you how important the mobile world and market is becoming. Faster network speeds, coupled with better devices and flat rate data plans, leads to mass market value adoption. By 2011 there will be more smart phones in use than regular feature phones and 32% of internet traffic will be mobile. With newer and better phones coming out every day and devices like the iPad taking the market by storm mobile media will only continue to grow.

Even though it may not seem like it, social and mobile media are still relatively new ideas. Many companies have not embraced them yet to their full potential. The companies who embrace this idea now, who have mobile friendly websites or phone apps and have a facebook page you can like, are the one’s who will likely be the most successful.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Newspaper Ad Design

Target Audience: With my newspaper ads I am attempting to go after two different demographics. My first ad, which is a bit smaller with all text and a discount offer, is aimed at a older and more traditional crowd as well as lower income. The purpose of this ad is not to show that we take great pictures, but to entice people to come to our website and see what they can get for the money. My second ad was larger with an illustration of CDs, a computer, and a photo album with the tagline “On Disk. Online. In Print.”. The reason I did this was to let people know that unlike an overwhelming majority of photography companies, we will give you a CD with digital files as well as an online gallery of your photos. The target audience here is younger and more tech savvy people who that would appeal to. The reason I didn’t want to use pictures in the ads is because they would not print nicely on newsprint.

Call to Action: My call to action is the same in both ads despite the different target audiences: go to our website. The website is the only means of communication or location listed and this is done intentionally. When people go to the site they will be able to see all kinds of examples of our work and get contact and pricing information whenever they want, night or day.

3 x 6 = 18 x $4 = $72 for a 5.75” by 6” ad
2 x 3 = 6 x $4 = $24 for a 3.79” by 3” ad

Totals $96 dollars, total budget was $100.

Production Schedule:
October 7, 2010: Start project, begin thinking about theme and budget.
October 12, 2010: Have theme for ad decided, ad amount and sizes as well.
October 14, 2010: Thumbnails and roughs of ad design completed.
October 19, 2010: Create digital files
October 21, 2010: Finish up digital files
October 26, 2010: On screen critique
October 28, 2010: Revise and turn in files

Monday, November 1, 2010

Brendan Murphy

In 1985 Brendan Murphy came to Pittsburg State University on a track scholarship. He then decided to become a Commercial Graphics major, in fear of getting hurt as an athlete. This decision ended up leading to a very successful career in the graphics industry. On October 15th Murphy came back to PSU to give a symposium, but unfortunately I was unable to attend due to a class conflict. I was able to get a few notes from people who did attend, but mostly just a few quotes and facts.

If there’s one thing about Murphy’s success that is inspiring to me more than anything it’s that a student from a relatively small university in south east Kansas can get so far in the industry. This says to me that employers care more about what you have to offer than where your diploma came from and I like that idea. Sure, I love Pitt State, but I don’t expect many people to recognize or know of it outside this area.

Murphy also seemed to have talked about writing a typography quite a bit. I never thought about the use of technical writing in the graphics field before, but it’s a cool thing to think about. I enjoy writing and even though it may not always be fun, I like the idea of getting to use writing as well as graphic design when working. Now, about typography, this seems to be something stressed in all our classes at Pitt State as well as by industry professionals like Murphy. I am confused why the department decided we didn’t need a typography class anymore. I would love to take a typography class, especially considering how important it seems to be. It seems to me like this should be a class everyone in GIT should have to take early on, like page layout and image comp.

I wish I would have been able to attend this symposium, from what I have seen of notes and other student blogs it seems like Murphy had some interesting things to say that might not be what most speakers talk about.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Project: "G4 Cube"

Last semester I was introduced to the Power Mac G4 Cube, or more affectionately known as, the “G4 Cube”. This computer was made for only one year between 2000 and 2001. This machine was, to put it simply, beautiful. In fact, the New York Museum of Modern Art holds a G4 Cube in its collection. The G4 Cube shipped, in its most basic form, with a 450mhz G4 processor, 64mb of RAM, and a 20 GB hard drive all in the 8" x 8" x 10" form factor. One of the more remarkable features of this computer is its convection-based cooling system, meaning it has no fans and can run completely silent.

I decided I wanted to find a Cube for myself and eventually was able to track one down on eBay. When I got it everything was stock, including the original ten year old 20 GB hard drive which by now was quite noisy. It was time to do a few modifications…

At first my only intention was to put a new hard drive in. I got a 500 GB IDE hard drive from my dad that wasn’t currently being used and swapped it out for the old 20 GB. I cloned the data from the old drive to the new one and to my astonishment it booted up just fine. Then I decided it needed more ram, so I went downstairs and found some old PC133 ram that wasn’t being used anymore and installed what I could find and what would fit, bringing my ram up to 768mb. Next I discovered there was a slot inside the computer for an Apple Airport card, which would give this old Cube wireless internet capabilities. I found one of those on eBay for $1 and put it in too.

At this point I was only using this computer for file storage and as a media server so I wished I had even more disk space available. I decided to remove the DVD drive from the Cube and replace it with a second hard drive. This got a little tricky because a hard drive is quite a bit different size than a DVD drive. After messing around for a while I found a solution holding the hard drive in place by using longer screws to suspend the drive from the metal frame of the computer.

Now this old computer can sit in my living room hooked up to my stereo and I can access it from my iPod, iPad, or macbook and tell it to start playing music. It also now has 750 GB of space instead of the original 20 and I store and back up my files on it. I can let it sit there and leave it on 24/7 and it is totally silent, not to mention it looks really cool. Pretty good for a 10 year old Mac.