Turn Prospects into Clients with Unforgettable Envelopes

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Turn Prospects into Clients with Unforgettable Envelopes

In a world besieged by digital noise, there is something refreshing about collecting your mail.

Tangible and memorable, print media leave an emotional footprint in the psyche. Like a waft of perfume from a love letter, the experience of receiving and opening mail is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Want to increase the impact of your message? Non-traditional print envelopes are sure to make a strong impression. When you’re ready to think outside the rectangle, here are some creative custom options:

Colored Borders

When you want an envelope to pop in the mail pile, a colored border sets your piece apart.

Like a beautifully framed photo, edge accents bring extra attention to your message. Your design should flow with the shape and features of the interior message. For example, pair bold borders with a more modest typeface. Or compliment an embossed label with gold accent trim.

Side Splash Accents

A side splash is a print style that covers a significant portion of one side of the envelope, usually just under ¼ of its total length.

Examples include:

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3 Powerful Tricks to Learn New Skills Faster

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3 Powerful Tricks to Learn New Skills Faster

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

– John F. Kennedy

Though few people like it, change never stops.

Success in life requires the ability to adapt. As one Chinese proverb quips, “the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.”

Whether you enjoy change or not, the pace of change marches ahead at an ever-increasing pace. Here is a statistical snapshot of what that looks like:

  • 94% of the internet workload will be processed on the cloud by the end of 2021
  • It is estimated that 70% of all automobiles will be connected to the internet through the Internet of Things by 2023
  • By 2030, the fully and semi-automatic car market will be worth $26 billion
  • Artificial Intelligence is slated to replace around 85 million US jobs by 2025
  • The world has produced 90% of its Big Data (or extensive data sets) in the past two years

Does that feel overwhelming?

It can be. But humans are change experts. We are master adapters! People adapt when they enter a new life stage, take a new job, when abrupt social change occurs, or when faced with a health crisis.

Simple Skills that Increase Retention

As you are prompted to innovate, create new jobs, or develop new ways of working, you can learn faster and retain more information. Want to be more efficient in learning new skills? Here are a few tips:

1. Rehearse Aloud

When trying to learn someone’s name, people often speak the name aloud two or three times in the initial conversation.

Research shows that, compared with reading or thinking silently, the act of speech is one of the most important mechanisms for retaining information. Want to retain and solidify something in less time? Rehearse it aloud.

As psychologist Colin MacLeod says, "learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When we add an active measure or a production element to a word, that word becomes more distinct in long-term memory, and hence more memorable."

2. Link New Ideas with Familiar Concepts

Mentally connecting concepts is a fantastic memory hack.

Associative learning takes place when two elements are connected in our brain in a way that links seemingly unrelated things. For example, a science teacher might set out an ice cube, a bowl of water, and a steaming pot to link something kids are already familiar with (common forms of water) to explain a new concept (the phases of matter).

In simple terms, whenever you say, “Oh, I see . . . this is basically like that,” you’re associating something you currently understand with something you’re trying to learn. By mentally linking things, you learn and categorize quickly and remember them more easily.

3. Practice Varying Skills in Succession

Interleaving is a learning technique that involves mixing different topics or forms of practice to facilitate learning. For example, if a student uses interleaving while preparing for an exam, they can mix up different types of questions rather than study only one type of question at a time.

This varied practice (as contrasted with the specific practice of one skill) focuses on multiple tasks at once. Interleaving blocks you from slipping into mindless muscle memory and forces continual adaptation and adjustment. When you quickly switch between practicing piano, typing, and marimba – or speaking Spanish, German, and Italian – it helps you really learn what you’re trying to learn because you must concentrate at a deeper level.

Need to learn something new? Try these tricks to become more lean and efficient in the process!

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Using Content to Win New Customers

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Using Content to Win New Customers

Marketing content is a useful tool for any business trying to generate more traffic to their doorstep, either digitally or in person.

Whether your content is provided through a direct mailer or digitally, the right information catches people’s attention and attracts them to want to find out more.

And that generates valuable activity that causes sales to happen.

Yes, content is powerful and profitable, but what kind of content works? Here are valuable content tips that can make a difference for your business.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

A lot of energy, time, and resources are consumed creating new methods from scratch, whether in business or anything else.

So why go down that road when you can learn by working examples instead?

The key is to focus on companies and organizations that put out both digital and print content that is wildly successful. It doesn’t even have to be the same industry as yours.

Instead, look for methodology and strategy. What is it about these businesses that makes their content work? Find the system, learn the approach, and then apply it to your business.

Pinpoint What Attracts Customers to You

In traditional marketing, identifying viable customers is known as “defining a target market.”

Typically, a marketer would find the right type of demographics mix that makes up a target market and then aim marketing efforts towards that person, hoping for a response.

Today, however, things are easier.

Ask your current customers what they appreciate and like about your business and find more people with similar interests. Then shape your content accordingly.

Screen Your Existing Material for Easy Gems

Most likely, your company has already produced a library of information that can be used to create content for customers.

Review your existing resources, modify the material, and post or print it for them to find. Customers connect to the most amazing things; the trick is to tell a story that brings them back for more.

Don’t Brain Dump, Choose Material Wisely

Content is never an accident.

Your customer-oriented material should be part of an overall story you tell each month to audiences. Every piece should connect and integrate with the next during each content push window.

One of the best ways to do this is to shape your content for each month. Whether weekly or daily, the month’s material should be planned, summarized, and segued from one piece of the story to the next. Consider each content piece a chapter in a bigger book.

Make Sure Your Writer is Passionate

If your content is just a chore for whoever gets assigned the task, it will show in the writing.

Make sure your writer actually has a passion for your topic, and the difference will come out naturally. It will also be far more attractive to your customers, who will find the content genuine and natural.

Avoid Hard Calls to Action

Remember, your content’s goal is to generate an audience for your business.

Hard messaging stands out awkwardly in genuine content. Instead, the material should be informative, helpful, and useful. The body of the content will do its work and attract customers, who will then seek your business on their own and connect it with your business. Their interest will do the rest on the natural. This is why content generation is so powerful.

Lastly, make your content human and personal. Put a face to it if possible. Customers connect far more to a person than generic information.

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5 Print Marketing Pieces that will Woo Your Corporate Clients

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5 Print Marketing Pieces that will Woo Your Corporate Clients

Some of the most effective ways of communicating value don’t require looking up a website or downloading a mobile device teaser program.

In fact, non-digital marketing activities win over corporate clients regularly without ever needing to be plugged in. Here are five of them.

1. Business Cards

Yes, those traditional business cards are still winners.

Business cards provide critical contact information and enough detail on how to connect with an organization quickly. Whether by email, text, phone, or mail, the info on a business card is powerful.

People love business cards because they are easy to transfer, pack, save, and reference. In the corporate world, business cards still resonate.

2. Letterheads and Stationary

In a day and age when so much communication happens by email and texting, the traditional letter stands out, even in a mail pile full of folders and generic material.

Best used when conveying a personal connection, professional letterhead is loved by corporate leaders everywhere and often seen as a sign of respect to the reader.

3. Add to Your Digital Slidedeck

Digital presentations can be so commonplace that people are often bored to death by the lack of engaging multiple senses.

A quick fix? Add printed materials people can hold in their hands that support your digital presentation. A beautifully printed presentation contained in a clean and stylish folder is easy to carry and review hands-on later. Combine a print version of a presentation with a digital slidedeck, and you’re hitting a home run with both formats simultaneously.

4. Company Information Brochures

A tri-fold company brochure is a convenient marketing tool that easily fits in a jacket pocket or folder. And, like business cards and presentation folders, brochures engage multiple senses of sight, touch, and even smell.

Unlike digital PDFs, professionally printed brochures can be visualized and held easily. They don’t get lost in files like emails and tweets. A well-done brochure with high-impact visuals gets shared with those who matter as well. They are often shown as an example of what’s possible with the right skills hired.

5. Everyone Loves Catalogs

Today, digital menus and scrolling lists have tried to replace catalogs online.

However, the traditional catalog publication stands firm because of its tremendous impact.

Sometimes, folks like to leaf through a well-designed paper catalog to relax and pass the time, which often triggers more sales.

Additionally, companies that provide catalogs are becoming more unique and a stand-out factor from the crowd. Folks do not always remember a general product, but they definitely remember who has a catalog.

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Grow Your Business Through Instagram Marketing

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Grow Your Business Through Instagram Marketing

If you’re looking for a way to boost the results of your print marketing, integrate your next campaign expand your reach with Instagram!

Instagram is a cost-effective marketing tool that houses many resources to help your business grow.

As the second most accessed network behind Facebook, with 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram boasts highly engaged users, browsing an average of 53 minutes per day.

Instagram can be a handy tool if you’re trying to reach ages 18-44, as 45% of Instagram users are within this age group.

4 Tips to Get Your Business Started on Instagram

Before initiating an Instagram business profile, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy.

1. Know Your Why.

Why do you want your business on Instagram?

For example, are you there to sell products, share portfolio content, build brand awareness, share user-generated content, and/or use Instagram’s analytic tools? When you discover your why, you’ll have a beneficial framework for moving forward.

2. Determine Your Target Market.

Think about age, location, gender, income, interests, motivations, & pain points.

If this is challenging, try looking up competitors on Instagram to see who their audience is.

3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis.

A competitive analysis is when you research your competitors to see how they are doing.

Then, using this data, you develop a plan to improve your own business. When doing this through Instagram, see what and how often your competitors are posting, what posts are getting the highest engagement, what they are using for captions, how quickly they are growing, etc.

Acquire data that can then be used as a benchmark for your business. You can also brainstorm ways you can stand out from your competitors.

4. Create an Editorial Calendar.

An editorial calendar is a visual representation of your workflow.

You can develop a plan for when, what, and how often to post on both your main Instagram feed and Instagram stories.

5 Tips for Gaining Instagram Followers

Now that your marketing strategy is in place, you can get on Instagram to grow your follower base and engagement. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Create a Business Account.

Perhaps obvious, but make sure your business is under a business account.

Go to your profile page, click the three horizontal lines at the top, click settings, account, then scroll down.

If it says, “Switch back to Personal Account,” then you have a business account. If it says, “Switch to Professional Account,” your business is under a personal account.

No worries! Just click “Switch to Professional Account,” follow the prompts, and now you have a business account. This is important because it will give you access to useful features, including analytic tools, promoted posts, and a contact button.

Instagram’s analytic tools allow you to see who (age and gender), when, and where you generate the most engagement. You can also see data for follower growth.

2. Make Sure Your Instagram Bio is Strong.

Your bio is your potential client’s first impression.

Add all the necessary information and use keywords that will draw in your target audience.

Your bio is also the area where you’ll put your call-to-action URLs. Because Instagram is image-based, URLs don’t work well on each post. Instead, update your bio URL to correspond with anything unique you’re posting.

3. Create a High-Quality Instagram Feed.

Ensure that your Instagram feed flows nicely by choosing consistent editing styles and adding filler photos.

Filler photos are posts that serve to improve your Instagram feed’s aesthetic. They are important because Instagram is such a visual app. Space out busy photos with minimalistic ones. You can even try posting six to nine photos in a row to create one large picture on your feed.

4. Don’t Forget to Use Your Stories.

Because Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, they’re a great way to post various content and drive engagement.

Plus, thanks to Instagram’s stickers, you can create quick polls to drive follower engagement while simultaneously receiving follower feedback.

5. Add Instagram to Your Networking Cards.

Networking cards are business cards that highlight your social media presence. They are a great way to increase your follower base and sales.

Instagram is a wonderful tool to grow your business. Apply the above advice, so you can stand out and increase sales.

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7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

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7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

Just like any muscle in the body, the brain can also get tired.

According to Medical News Today, a human’s ability to make decisions can worsen after making many decisions, as their brain will be more fatigued. This can lead to an emerging phenomenon called decision fatigue, which can cause mental fatigue, increasingly worse decision making, impulse buying, procrastination, decision avoidance, lack of focus, pessimism, and lapses in judgment.

And it could be the reason you find it hard to get stuff done. It’s not your fault. It’s just your brain’s natural defense mechanism.

When the brain becomes depleted, it shuts down non-essential services, including the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for complex decision-making.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs can be affected by decision fatigue because they make many decisions throughout the day, feel greatly affected by the decisions they make, and make stressful and complex decisions.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to alleviate the mental toll of constant decision-making.

7 Steps to Overcoming Decision Fatigue

1. Simplify

Find ways to reduce the number of decisions you have to make in a day by simplifying your life and creating habits.

For example, create a minimalistic wardrobe. Food prep or form consistent meal plans. Develop habits, so you no longer have to decide whether or not to do something. You start to do it automatically.

2. Plan Ahead

Plan the night before for the day ahead.

This will limit the number of decisions you’ll need to make during the day. You’ll no longer have to decide if you should do this or that. It’s prewritten. You just need to follow the script. Much easier.

3. Hard First, Easy Second

Tackle the hard stuff first when your brain is the most energized.

Some may find it tempting to take on the easy tasks first in order to ease into the day. But, when you reach the more challenging items, it will be much harder to complete because your brain is already depleted. You’re not doing yourself any favors.

4. Take Breaks

Small breaks energize your mind and make you able to continue working optimally for longer.

These breaks could include a meditation (focus on breathing for a set period of time), a short walk, or even a power nap. You’ll come back energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day!

5. Self-Care Matters

Take care of yourself.

Your brain and physical body function optimally when you are eating right, sleeping well, and not overworking yourself.

6. Don’t Go It Alone: Outsource

Reduce the number of decisions you must make by outsourcing them.

For example, hire virtual assistants to cover the simple business decisions or hire extra employees to tackle more complex decisions.

7. Stand Firm

Once a decision is made, stick to it!

You already spent quite a lot of energy making that decision. There’s no need to go back, spend more energy, and change decisions. You’re just increasing your workload and decreasing your mental energy.

It’s Start with Your Mindset

Interestingly, it could be beneficial to change your view on how mental energy is used.

A study was conducted comparing Westerners and Indians. The Indian participants believed that exerting willpower was energizing, while the Western participants believed that exerting willpower was draining. The Indians performed better. Therefore, perhaps just changing your mindset regarding the brain’s energy could affect your energy levels.

A world full of decisions can be draining, but luckily there are multiple strategies to help you combat decision fatigue.

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The 8 Dos and Don’ts of Branding

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The 8 Dos and Don’ts of Branding

Your brand is often the key to growing and keeping your customer base.

A recognizable, identifiable brand with a cohesive look and feel helps you get the attention of a potential customer and keeps the would-be one-time customer coming back for more. You want your brand to be instantly memorable, especially when it comes to print-based marketing. This is why it is essential to make sure your brand is in tip-top shape!

How do you know if your brand is on point or missing the mark? You follow these dos and don’ts of branding.

The Dos of Branding

1. Take the Time to Update Your Brand Logo

Even iconic brands like Coca-Cola revamp their logo on occasion.

The longer you have been in business, the more likely you need to update your brand logo. You want your brand to appear fresh and relevant. You don’t have to redesign your brand logo completely; just give it a revamp.

2. Pay Particular Attention to Detail

Designing for print leaves little to no room for error.

You want to get it right the first time and avoid costly fixes down the road. Therefore, it is usually best to start with a digital design before printing the final product.

3. Take Advantage of Print Textures

Because print-based marketing gives the consumer something they can hold, don’t forget about using print texture to enhance your brand.

Techniques like folding, embossing, or even well-placed foiling can create a unique print experience.

4. Respect White Space

With print, sometimes less if more.

Try to leave space between the icon and the text. Try your design in black and white before adding color. You’ll see just how impactful it is or realize you need to go back to the drawing board for tweaks and adjustments.

The Don’ts of Branding

1. Forget to Edit

Editing is often the best friend of printing and branding.

Come up with several options before settling on something final. Brands will inevitably evolve, but spending the initial investment of time on the front end will allow you to come up with a solid brand.

2. Add Too Many Fine Details for Printing

There is a time and place for intricacy when it comes to branding.

Intricate designs with multiple colors and gradients may be amazing for digital marketing platforms but will most likely get lost in translation in print. So instead, think simple but unique for print purposes by scaling back fine details.

3. Use a Wide Variety of Colors

One of the goals of print marketing is to get the customer’s attention.

While you can do this with color, too many colors may have the opposite effect. Think about the size of your print materials and use that to guide your choices of colors.

4. Use the Wrong Font

Think about your brand. Is it bold? Demure? Classic?

Choose a font that represents the overall feel of your brand. For example, a construction company would likely never utilize a swirly font with loopy letters. Put your font choice to the test before making a final decision. Look at it in various sizes. If it doesn’t translate well to several settings, choose another font.

Creating a brand for your business doesn’t have to be an impossible task. When you keep these dos and don’ts of branding in mind, your business can be well on its way to iconic status in no time.

Partner With a Marketing Expert

When it comes to building a successful printing brand, partnering with an experienced team of marketing experts is crucial. With years of valuable experience, we’re here to help your business shine. Contact us today to get started!

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Creative Ways To Use Print Marketing to Boost Your Business

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Creative Ways To Use Print Marketing to Boost Your Business

There are many ways to increase business through marketing with print.

Although the world has experienced an unparalleled technological revolution, print media’s importance in reaching customers remains an uncontested force.

According to Forbes, print marketing is more recognizable, memorable, and decipherable to consumers than its digital counterpart.

As old as advertising itself, print media is an invaluable resource. A host of strategies have yielded results over time; however, unique print marketing campaigns have ultimately proven the most successful.

Utilize Social Media’s Simplistic Design

Most companies have adopted digital media into their marketing repertoire.

Customers enjoy simplistic layouts, separating information and graphics. Plus, it has become a recognizable feature of this media-minded society.

Easy ways to incorporate digital inspiration into print marketing include (but are not limited to):

  • Signage on or around your business
  • Business cards
  • Mailing materials
  • Promotional handouts

Incorporate the Magic of Multiple Mediums

The Louvre famously employed a simplistic roadside billboard campaign in 2017.

It emulated the orientation, scale, and minimalism of a typical social media post that billions of users are familiar with. However, the museum also took the additional step of including non-conventional aspects to complement their high-way gallery. They set their roadside advertisements up to sync with three local radio stations. The audio component allowed drivers to hear a 30-second artist introduction. Along with attracting more visitors, the Louvre also gained international recognition for its creativity.

There are endless undiscovered frontiers companies are exploring every day.

One of the best parts of print marketing is its versatility. Virtually anything can become a canvas to market your business. Marketing can also be seen in other lights. For example, a print media campaign does not have to include conventional forms of print advertisements.

While signage, business cards, and mailers are fantastic ways to reach customers, marketing can also be done through creative and more indirect ways.

Printing Is the Best Marketing Route

Regardless of the methods you employ, finding the right printer to begin your next successful and innovative marketing campaign is simple.

To truly transform your business, join forces with an experienced team of print marketers. We’re here to help.

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Delicious Fonts: The Bread and Butter of Appealing Designs

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Delicious Fonts: The Bread and Butter of Appealing Designs

For every Olympic Games, there has been an accompanying logo that brings a unique identity to that particular year while allowing the host country a special place in the global spotlight.

A good Olympics logo should reflect both the host country’s culture and the time period of the games. The 2012 Olympic logo caught a lot of flak for failing in both of these goals. Composed of bright pink and yellow colors, weird shapes, and a jagged, angular typeface, it smacked of an 80’s funk vibe rather than British culture or the London lifestyle. When it was revealed in 2007, a petition circulated Great Britain (signed by over 48,000 citizens) to have the £400,000 logo scrapped a redesigned.

Ije Nwokorie, managing director at the design firm that created the logo, defended the bold look:

“We wanted the logo, in particular, to make people reconsider Olympics, to think about them in a different way,” he said. “London is this kind of dissonant place that you discover new angles and new dimensions to things. In its highest level, this brand was an expression of that.”

Overall, the logo and font sparked more dissonance with the viewers. Many believe it went down in history as a failed experiment.

How to Pick the Best Font for Your Page

Typefaces are the personality on the page.

The way you represent words shapes the style and readability of your content. A font choice can have far-reaching effects, which is why brand style guides are extremely helpful.

But if you don’t have a grid to work from, the endless choices can feel daunting. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips:

Set the Tone

What is the style of the document? What vibe should the content communicate?

Often the audience you target will shape the personality of your font choice.

Keep it Simple

Unless you are designing an art piece, stick to one or two typefaces. If you are designing for a document, like an annual report, you might need a sans serif and a serif for variety and legibility.

If you need lots of different headings and subheads, choose a font with a variety of weights (like Bahnscrift or Sabon). Display fonts are fun but don’t offer many choices when it comes to weights.

Make the Best Even Better

Want to inject personality in your text without getting too weird?

Customized fonts work beautifully for logos, headings, or a tagline splashed across the page. Try customizing your favorite fonts with tiny alterations, like this:

  • Shorten the descenders on letters like y, p, and q
  • Make the crossbars on a letter stop short on one side and cut the corners off letters at an angle (like a capital ‘A’ or a lowercase ‘e’
  • Use a bold header and a blurred, slightly transparent subhead
  • Erase or add to the font by uniquely featuring something relating to your brand (for example, a baker might use a font where a bite is taken out of every ‘B’)

Don’t Be Trendy

Marketers often choose a typeface because it seems cool at the moment, but the flair can quickly fade.

Like bad wallpaper in your grandma’s kitchen, faddish designs don’t age well. One rule of thumb is this: “If a typeface is quirky, your design might be a turkey.”

Classic fonts that have endured over decades include Bodoni, Bembo, Caslon, Clarendon, Helvetica, Gill, Univers, Baskerville, Perpetua, Futura, News Gothic, and Optima.

From selling products to creating brand loyalty, fonts create a smooth, intuitive journey for people to follow. A little adjustment to your fonts can go a long way!

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Use Collaborative Design Blasts to Craft Show-Stopping Ideas

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Use Collaborative Design Blasts to Craft Show-Stopping Ideas

It happens.

The design deadline looms, your mind is adrift, and your page is blank. How can you generate creativity and move out of this slump? Two resources to leverage are your time and your team.

Often the longer you spend on an idea, the less productive you become. Especially if you are working alone. With an open concept and no firm timeline, designers may sit at their desks for weeks, spinning endless variations of a vague concept or completely losing sight of the project goals. This is a dead end that can drive everyone mad.

Instead, apply a simple process to prompt stunning ideas efficiently:

1. Gather a team

Everyone has good ideas, not just designers.

Who could you pull – account assistants, content writers, a family member – to brainstorm for a brief stretch of time? Use a pen and paper and spend time thinking aloud together about names, word pictures, or image ideas. Keep it short and sweet but have fun!

2. Review the design brief and project goals

Amidst the flurry of creativity, stay focused on your target.

When you gather the team for an initial brainstorming session, always review the project requirements. Be sure you understand what the client wants, the project parameters, and the goals for final outcome. This task review and initial brainstorming should last for no more than 10-15 minutes.

3. Launch a 60-minute development blast

Time to send the troops into battle!

If you are the sole designer, it’s all you. If not, send a small batch of people to work for one hour. The group has 60 minutes to come up with ideas. No more! The abbreviated timeframe forces your brain into green light thinking, prompting more spontaneous creativity. Typically pencil, pen, and paper are best for stretching ideas without inhibitions.

After an hour, meet again to chat. Give comments or suggestions to develop the full potential of the best ideas. Usually, a handful of ideas emerge as the best candidates. Now a final concept can be clarified, assigned for full development, and kicked into the digital realm.

If you can’t decide which idea is best, pick the top three and draw scamps to a higher level of finish. Pin them to the wall, talk about the pros and cons of each, and see what the collaborative process brings. Just a little team mojo can make a mediocre idea magical.

4. Keep early and rejected work

Often when you pitch ideas to clients, some of the best ideas get cut.

This is unfortunate, but not all is lost. All good designers will build up a collection or rejected work. Whether it’s an early stage scribble or a fully developed logo, keep a printout of every piece of work. Scan sketches and scamps and clearly label them, so they are accessible later and easy to find.

You invest lots of time shaping a concept, so don’t let an initial rejection close the door on your idea forever. Down the road, these ideas may be a catalyst for an even better spinoff design!

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