Any pub designer who has worked on a publication for days, weeks or even months knows the sheer terror of worrying that his/her InDesign file has become corrupt. It happened to us this week. Here are the steps we went through to restore the INDD file to better health, and what eventually was the key to saving it. We restarted our Macs and INDD. This is always the best first step. We did another “save as” to clean up the file. We do this throughout any project at least a few times a week, so this didn’t fix the issue. Next we recomposed all of the text using the keyboard shortcut Command-option-/. Sometimes this works, but this time it didn’t fix our super-slow issues. Most senior pub designers cringe when they have to delete their preferences. We do. But we did it because we know sometimes this works. When we started up INDD, READ MORE »
Author Archives: Heather Cox
I had the pleasure of attending an AIGA panel discussion on design return-on-investment (ROI) for nonprofits at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign in DC this week. AIGA pulled together a terrific panel to discuss this complex issue. Much of the discussion defaulted to nonprofit design projects (after all, we are designers), yet there were still a few pearls of wisdom in the discussion. While many nonprofits equate ROI with donations, at least two of the panelists work for advocacy organizations, and they mentioned that design is core to their brand and everything they do. ROI is about how they are changing policy, not raising donations. This design team faced a dichotomy of pleasing policy experts while at the same time, their bosses were asking them to make the creative “cool.” In advocacy nonprofits, ROI can be measured by whether they become and remain the go-to authority on a particular issue. This can be accomplished through both outreach and education, and can be READ MORE »
For the second year in a row, I attended the Nten conference put on by the Nonprofit technology network. Once again, I met amazing leaders in the nonprofit sector doing terrific work to solve some of our world’s most difficult challenges. I also had the privilege to serve the attendees by presenting a session entitled “Emerging Trends in Annual Reports”. Presenting with me were Sheri Chaney Jones from Measurement Resources (her new book will be released by Wiley later this year) and Yasmin Nguyen from Vibrance Global. Our session covered three ideas: Stop counting hamburgers! Sheri explained how to implement a measurement culture that emphasizes strong performance and measurable outcomes. Yasmin showed us all a simple way to take and upload video using his iPad, a tripod, and YouTube. I demonstrated simple ways to add interactivity to PDFs, and an easy way to post your annual report content online using a READ MORE »
On the rare occasion that I find a quiet hour at home to relax, I reach for a beautifully designed magazine. Whether it is Mindfulness, Real Simple, or the latest issue of Oprah, they have one thing in common: they are tangible. I know I can view them on my iPad, but ink on paper is much easier on my eyes. If you are wondering whether you should print your next annual report in addition to distributing it digitally, consider that major donors still expect an annual report in their hands. Costs vary, and prices are estimated by considering the following factors: 1. Quantity or print run. (How many will you be printing?) With traditional print methods, the start up costs are great, so incremental quantity increases result in marginal cost increases, so print as many as you think you will need, without skimping on the quantity. 2. Length (number READ MORE »
I’m reading a great book right now on leadership. The author is clearly well-read on the subject, and thoughtful in his writing. I’ve gotten tremendous insight from the book, yet it’s painful to read, because he skipped the design step. The type is too small for my eyes, and in Times New Roman. The text creeps into the middle fold of the paperback, so I have to pull hard at the spine to read the inside edge of the type, and each line is so long that I struggle to figure out where to continue on as I read across the page. After a chapter or so, I set it aside and reach for something easier on my eyes. So, if you are wondering if you should handle the layout of your next annual report, magazine, or newsletter yourself, consider this: beautiful publications rarely spring from non-designers using MS Word. READ MORE »
Over the years, we have found that, especially with clients new to the process, the following tips can save you from additional design charges. I’m sharing these budget-friendly strategies to help you keep your project on track. Try to submit close-to-final text as well as your charts and graphs, when you request a design estimate. Provide plenty of resolution when sending imagery (1mb minimum). Provide the “vector” versions of your logo, typically the .ai or .eps file. Be sure that your text is finalized when sending it for layout. Make sure your publication designer understands how many layers of review necessary so they can budget for every round. Designate only one key contact on your team, to avoid misunderstandings. Provide final data for all tables and charts, as well as excel examples. Try to stay on schedule, especially if you have a hard deadlines. Manage revision cycles carefully, for instance Make READ MORE »
Last weekend I spent the day in Baltimore in a room full of WordPress fans for a fun day of learning and sharing . Two tracks of sessions made it hard for me to choose — every session was terrific. It was a great day and I picked up a few tips to share. 1. George Stephanis, from Automattic, shared that the JetPack plug-in suite includes rich analytics, specific to WordPress, that run side by side with Google Analytics. 2.Akilah Thompkins-Robinson, from Akzmedesigns shared that google doesn’t like when we post links in FaceBook posts, and she recommended that we post links into comments instead, in order to improve our FB visibility 3. Josh Patterson, from Web Mechanix, shared that SEO is not about building back links any longer. It’s about content, and sharing this content across all of your social platforms. Throughout the conference, there was a lot of buzz READ MORE »
Spending three full days with nonprofit leaders talking about marketing and fundraising was inspirational. Throughout the conference, the overarching message was how multi-channel marketing campaigns should integrate across all channels, and that we can no longer ignore our mobile audience. While I l have so much I’d like to share, I wanted to share a top ten list of great takeaways from the Bridge Conference in DC in July 2013.
Planning and managing a year-end campaign may not be quick and easy, but it is pretty simple. I’ve put together a basic framework, month by month, that you can use to manage your year-end giving appeal. August Set campaign goals Set a begin and end date for the campaign (hint: the end date should be in early January) Get organizational buy-in from your web team, marketing team and all decision-makers Request/negotiate some real estate on your home page for the campaign September Concept and write the messaging for all components of the campaign Determine distribution of messaging (email, direct mail, web site and social, for example) Write all “thank you copy” and determine means of distribution (phone calls, handwritten notes, email) Write post-campaign copy to try to lift donations early in the new year October Connect with donors — send an impact statement, annual report or share a win via READ MORE »
Have you been wondering how to use your social channels to stay better connected? This month we thought we’d share a few ways we are doing just that. Linkedin connects us to all of you, the people we actually know, and it outlines our education and experience, displays recommendations, and establishes credibility with prospective clients and strategic partners. We use our blog to answer client questions. This is a great way for us to drive keyword-specific traffic to our site, to dispel myths about graphic design, and to clear up confusion about our services (such as “how do you use your social channels?”). We use our corporate Facebook page to share our team culture, to post photos of events we attend, and to congratulate our clients when their projects launch.