The Importance of Planning Ahead…

…with event season coming up time to plan exhibition graphics and ‘giveaways.’

I know, you’ve just dragged the Christmas tree down from the attic (unless it’s a real one, of course), and carefully arranged all your twinkling lights – but believe me, you need to keep the exhibition season still sizzling away in your mind.

Why? Because ideally, you should be planning your exhibition a few months before it happens. “Seems a bit much!” I hear you cry. Well, let me explain:

Like anything in life, the more you ‘put in’, the more you ‘get out’. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but you know what, it’s true!

Firstly, start to think about setting yourself a realistic goal, or objective, for the exhibition. It could be, for instance, raising brand awareness or finding new leads. You can do that one sitting on the sofa after your Christmas lunch.

Don’t give yourself too many goals, as you should measure them during and after the exhibition, to see how successful the event has been, and whether it was worth the amount of money you invested in it. It is easier to do when the objectives are ‘small steps’, as they will give you a clearer picture, and something you can build on.

Next, you need to be contacting existing customers and potential prospects, whether that’s by email, phone, social media, or direct mailing, and so on. Do all of the platforms you use (and your letterheads, etc.) carry a consistent logo, colour schemes and fonts? What are you going to send them? Aha! You need flyers or brochures…and you may as well have more designed and printed ready for the exhibition stand, as you will need lots of them!

Now, you’re starting to plan ahead, aren’t you?

Your design for the stand will also need to be consistent with your company branding – note to self: all branding needs to be absolutely ‘correct’.

First things first – how much is your budget? How much do you ‘want’ to spend?

There are many types of stands out there, from pop-ups & pull-up banners to bespoke stands, choose something that suits your company vision, values and ethos, as well as your budget.

Make it as eye-catching as you can to ensure you stand out from your competitors.

We once had people queuing to get on a client’s stand that we had designed, it didn’t cost them a fortune either. Ask yourself: what would make a potential client stop and talk to me?

So, while you’re munching another mince pie this Christmas, planning ahead may sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s more than worth doing as your exhibition will run like a dream.

Black Star

I was going to write this blog post last week about record cover design, it is something that as a studio we have been involved with. Mr.Seventy-three does a sideline in publishing vinyl too, we are a little obsessed.

Obviously, the World has changed now, the beautiful David Bowie is no longer with us. But as this is design related I have decided to carry on with the post.

I am a huge fan of vinyl, and with the quality of vinyl the main focus these days (nice heavy 180g – not the recycled wobbly rubbish of the 1980s) it is not a cheap way to buy your music. So, generally a lot of attention is paid to the packaging and graphic design.

I had pre-ordered David Bowie’s Black Star sometime last year. At £23 it is not the cheapest thing, but it is hardly a risk as it is a Bowie piece. The packaging really lets you know you have a quality product in your hands. It is great piece of graphic design.

When I get my new vinyl, I save splitting open the protective shrink wrap until I can truly savour it. A quick, gentle slice down the side and I am in. It’s all very exciting. And yes, I do always sniff the record, it’s part of the ritual.

The plain soft sheen black sleeve with the spot UV and die cut is so simple it is stunning. Through the star cut out on the front you get a glimpse of the product inside. It’s all very tantalising.

Inside there is minimal colour and the UV continues. The accompanying booklet has a matt laminate cover and lots of spot UV throughout.

The typography is lovely too, lyrics are laid out like constellations.

What a lovely portfolio piece for the designer. It was always going to be great, I mean, a Bowie cover! But now it is his last cover. Everything he did was so considered, part of the art, he obviously loved this cover. I’m very jealous.

I’m so glad I pre-ordered it.

Update

Design is more than using a computer

I am always ranting on about how graphic design is more than using photoshop (and any other programmes you can think of). Finally I have found a video that shows you what I mean. Created by lynda.com it shows what tools we had to use before computers came along to create print ready artwork.

I’m not going to wax lyrical about how things were better before computers, because I don’t believe things were. There were better smells: PMT camera film, fluids, inks, spray mount and countless other solvents and sprays (I wasn’t a glue sniffer, honestly).

Things took longer, so in my opinion you were more considered and designers were better problem solvers. When it takes a day to get your type back from the setters before you can put it in your artwork, you tend to make sure things are just so. No rubbing out on the computer and changing it every 5 minutes.

So, here’s to nostalgia, let’s take a look back in time (to as late as the early 1990s, can you believe that!) and if you never worked in a studio at this time, then I do think you missed out but maybe I have those rose tinted glasses on again:

Mmmm paper!

I love paper. No scrap that, I am OBSESSED with paper! It is a beautiful ancient art form, which is often overlooked and then the biggest insult (shhhhhh) it is put in the bin (gasp)!

It often gets ruined by having terrible design printed on it. Poor paper, it doesn’t often get treated well. And we won’t start on the trees!

GF Smith are a paper mill who I really admire. They do the lovely Colorplan range, which comes in lots of colours, textures and weights. Amazing for letterpress jobs!

They have made a video. Watch it, it shows all the care that goes into delivering their products.

Design Podcasts

I have recently started listening to podcasts on graphic design. Most are from the US, but it is fascinating to see that even with an ocean between us, designers in our studio and ‘over there’ experience the same issues.

Our favourite is: The Deepend

A new, soon to be addiction is: Debbie Millman’s Podcast (love the Chip Kid podcast!) can’t wait to wade our way through this catalogue of designers!