Getting to Know You

Beyond meeting you in person, how do people get to know you? Nowadays, the internet is going to be the primary way of learning about you, what you do, and what services and/or products you offer if you are in business. Between a website, blog, and social media, people will know plenty. And then, if they want to know more, they’ll pop your name into a search engine and know more than you’d probably ever think (or want) to tell them.

But let’s go back to that personal meeting and the humble business card. I recently re-designed my business card. The front, as you can see, echoes the exact same look as the header of this site. It includes my basic services, my website, this site/blog, and my e-mail.

The back of the card provides information about an aspect of my business I am expanding, helping people self-publish in children’s books. I’ve detailed my services, provided a few samples, and repeated my e-mail.

Here’s what’s important about the front of the card looking like my web design – when people come visit, using my card for “directions”, they know they’re arrived at the right destination. Each time they look at my card or come to this site, I am now associated with that gorgeous river shot and that I will bring their dreams to life. (Yes, I will.) It’s called branding, or brand recognition. You recognize it best when you see a company’s logo which appears on all their products, communications, etc. However, I’m not that big of a company to need a logo (in my opinion), so I’ll be happy if you just connect the dots.

Let’s take a look at my last business card as it relates to my current website. Looking at a screenshot of my site, you can clearly see that the two are related and the same person. Both utilize my own artwork and a crow. (You’ll have to go to my website to read more on that.)

The card details what I do. It also listed my physical address and my phone number (deleted here), neither of which I choose to display nowadays, nor do I need to. Connected as we all are via the internet, my location is irrelevant, and I choose to make all initial contact via e-mail. I liked this card just fine, but I am also no longer offering some of those services;  the back side of the card needs to serve prospective clients better; and I want that all important visual cohesiveness.

So … getting to know you? I’m very happy to meet you, but when I go home, how will I remember who you are? I just met 30 people! Oh, I know – you gave me a business card. And look at that – I’ve arrived at your website and I can learn more.

How can I help you be better known? As you can see, I have a few ideas, so get in touch!

 

 

Self-Publishing – II

As discussed in an earlier post, print-on-demand has allowed more people than ever to see their dreams of being published come true. And while it has given many this opportunity, it still hasn’t changed the responsibility of putting something worthwhile out into the world. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Certainly, well-crafted writing is still in demand, and putting forth a product that is visually appealing and which appropriately complements the text is critical. What makes someone want to pick up a book?  I think most would agree  —  it’s the cover.

Not long ago, a writer friend and I came across a self-published book written by someone we know. I don’t know who did the cover, but it did a huge disservice to the writer, so much so that neither of us were really excited about knowing what the book was about. It was actually off-putting. And that’s where good graphic design comes in. Your cover – and the graphic design of your book – can make or break you. Want someone to open your book? Make it look good.

The book featured here is one I designed for a client who wrote it for an older child reader. She wanted to make it look less like a typical picture book, even though it is rich in photographs. It is about a northern water snake named Bo. He lives by a pond where all his animal friends have families of their own, what Bo dearly wishes for himself.

Everything in this 32-page book has been carefully thought out from the title page (right, top), to chapter beginnings (bottom), to every page in between, whether there is one or multiple images. All elements serve to create a coordinated look that moves the reader along seamlessly from page to page, and allows them to enjoy each of the photos.

I really enjoyed working on this project for the same reason Becky created it – to appeal to an older child reader. It looks more grown up with the novel-like page layout and the 6″ x 9″ format, clearly not a book for a 5 year-old. I was excited, also, by the many beautiful photographs I had to work with, and even to research a few more that really enhanced the story.

It takes a lot to bring a book to life, and a good graphic designer is one of your best investments if you plan to self-publish. If you want your book to draw people’s attention, please contact me and let’s see what we can do together.

Business Cards

They’re light; they’re portable; and easy to save. Business cards really never go out of style, and anyone conducting business of any kind always needs to carry them with them.

The standard business card is 2″ x 3.25″, a little larger than what you see here in the post. To optimize the space on a business card, you generally want to take advantage and use both sides of the card and include as much information as you need to share.  But in some instances, one side will do. Those who take your cards can make notes on the blank side.

Because the space is limited, you want to think carefully about what wording will be on the card – certainly you need your name and/or business name, a visual that tells the story of you/your business, and contact information. In my own business card, upper left, you see only the front. The back features another illustration of mine and all my contact information.

In the card at right, there is no need for extended information beyond what the front of the card shows. What makes this card unique is that I did a portrait of one of Toni’s dogs and incorporated her favorite flower, the pansy, and then used that as the focus for her business card.

Another example of a one-sided card is the one I designed for Laurie Wallmark for her first published children’s book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine. It’s simple, to the point, shows the beautiful book cover, and provides Laurie’s contact information.

Bring your business card with you everywhere, ready to hand  out to anyone who wants to know about you and what you do. Include them in mailings, with your product, in other businesses that will promote you, and so on. It’s one of the simplest and most basic ways you can promote yourself.

In addition to knowing what needs to be included on a business card, you also need to know a good designer, and that would be me. Contact me with your business card needs, and check here for additional samples of business cards I’ve designed.

Brochures … for Authors

There are plenty of ways to promote yourself as an author, and here’s another one – a brochure. Shown here is a tri-fold brochure which features a selection of animal books that a well-known local author,  Loren Spiotta-DiMare, has available – some for adults, most for children. On this particular project, Loren had asked for my help in  re-creating the brochure to be similar to her last one. The original designer was unavailable, so I essentially did a new layout, added new books, plus new design elements and fonts. The end product was similar, but clearly new and different.

I’ve worked with Loren in the past in helping her self-publish, as well as with several other projects, so I was happy to bring something fresh to her brochure. The front is simple and tells you what you’ll find inside. In the center panel of the outside of the brochure we have author information and a photo of Loren with some of her children’s books. On the third fold-in panel, are featured four books for adults.

Inside the brochure, above, you’ll see a fairly comprehensive selection of her children’s books, including short summaries and pricing. In the upper right is an order form.

Brochures like this do assume that you have a good selection of books to offer, but a brochure doesn’t always have to have 3 panels, either. It could have 2 panels, or it could just be one – 1/3 of what you see above – known as a rack card. In a case like that, you could feature your book(s) on the front, and on the back, author information and an order form. Simple.
And … any of these can be made into a PDF and shared by e-mail or be made available for download on your website or social media sites.

Where would you use these? Certainly at events, book festivals, and at, and in advance of, school events for kids. You could have them on display, or if you suspected your audience might want to order more than one title, or in multiples, you might send some on ahead of your visit. In fact, send them to anyone you think might be interested in purchasing your book(s)! While I’m not sure of the policies they must follow, librarians might welcome a small catalog such as this as well. Some of the books featured are self-published, but others have been printed by traditional publishers.

If you want to sell more books, you need to be pro-active, especially if you are self-publishing. When you are published traditionally, a huge amount of publicity is done by the publisher on your behalf, far beyond what the average self-publishing author could ever do. That’s why it’s so important to think of how you can promote yourself! If I can help, let me know.

See more samples of my graphic design work.

Fly with a Flyer

At first glance, flyers may seem old-fashioned , but let me open your eyes to a new-fashioned way of looking at flyers. They serve print and digital media equally well, and have a unique way of promoting you that you may not have thought of.

Pictured here is a flyer I did for Mylestone Equine Rescue, promoting their annual Open House. They have a bunch printed out, hand them out to their volunteers, and post them everywhere you’d want an event flyer to be seen. But with the joy of e-mail, they get a boost in far more places than the volunteers may travel.

Everyone at Mylestone can send the PDF I created to friends, family and … media! Recipients all across the state and in nearby PA can print the flyer out and post it in the barn where they ride, their local tack shop, supermarket, etc. It can also be sent to  local and statewide newspapers and/or online publications, along with (or without) a press release and a scan of one of the horses on the flyer for a neat package from which an editor can glean information and images.

I also prep the flyer in a number of formats and/or resolutions so it can be used on their website, Facebook, and other social media. Forget that image of a flyer that only gets handed out on a street  corner (although you could do that, too); it is now a way to promote your event across all media and be seen by people you otherwise might never reach.

Flyers are a great way to promote events (think about your next book signing), plus they have other useful applications. Sign up to follow me and learn more, or contact me with your needs for a beautifully designed flyer!

Check out more of my graphic design samples.

 

Bookmarks for Authors

 

 

 

I’d have to say Grace was right. And when that happens to be you as an author promoting yourself with a bookmark, she’s really on the money! Pictured here is a bookmark I created for friend and author, Laurie Wallmark. Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code is Laurie’s second published picture book, and she asked me to do a new bookmark for her, including Grace and her first book, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine.

First, let me tell you about the advantage of having a bookmark as an author. Giveaways – you’ll undoubtedly be doing book signings, and you’ll want each customer to walk away with your fabulous book and something to remember you by – and how to find you via your website, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Why not invite them to learn more about you? Perhaps they’ll follow you, buy your first book, or … want you to come and do a book signing at their school or organization!  Never miss the opportunity to leave an extra – and portable – great visual impression with those that purchase your book.

And the beauty and importance of a well-designed bookmark is that it won’t just stay in the book it was purchased with; it will travel from book to book. Somewhere down the line, your book purchaser, in looking at this bookmark, may think of what a perfect gift that book would be for their niece or nephew. A bookmark can have a long shelf life all its own.

On Laurie’s bookmark, I incorporated a nice gear image as that is something she uses as a theme in her own promotions, and some special touches that pull everything together. Laurie was very happy with them, as was I. I can design for you, too, complementing your own projects, whatever they may be. Contact me if interested, or follow this blog for additional insights into how great graphic design can help you.

Looking to Self-Publish?

 

Welcome! You have arrived at my official graphic design website. I hope you’ll take the time to become familiar with the many services I can offer you. Looking to self-publish? Let me help. It really does put a smile on my face when I can bring my design skills to your project and you are happy with the results. Need bookmarks? Swag for events? Let’s talk.

Self-publishing has become so big nowadays because people have discovered that it’s actually possible to have their own writing produced in real live book format and made available to the public. Prior to the concept of print-on-demand, there were really only two options – submit to mainstream publishers and wait to hear or keep your local copy shop very busy with projects with not very professional looking binding. Now all that has changed.

Here’s a recent example of a picture book I worked on:

Paisley, You’re Crazy is a 24-page picture book, published through Amazon’s CreateSpace.  In this project, I did the layout and design plus pen and ink drawings of the various items which I hid in the paisley columns placed at the outer edge of each page. Basic counting skills can be learned with Paisley the rabbit and his toys, food items, brushes, etc. as well as the opportunity of finding hidden objects. The book became twice as much fun for little ones with the help of the author’s adorable bunny. Paisley is an example of the unique look I could bring to your project.

You have big dreams for your books and/or other graphics projects, and I’m here to help.

Please check out more of my graphic design projects.