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letterpress dingbats

KCCIPA – KCDesignCore recap

Letterpress, lead type, screen print, saddle stitching, corner rounder, litho, calligraphy – just a few of the terms that were thrown around last night at Adobe’s KCDesignCore meetup. Our small group of designers were taken back in time as Calvert Guthrie graciously gave us a tour of his community print shop, Kansas City Center for the Ink & Paper Arts (KCCIPA). Calvert’s space, rented to local artists, comes fully equipped with everything a printer needs, including quite the collection of antique and modern printing presses. He also teaches classes, which include letterpress printing and calligraphy. Calligraphy is something he specialized in when he worked on greeting cards for Hallmark. When I was in Typography class in college, we practiced calligraphy, which has become somewhat of a lost art since the age of computers. We were also required to learn and identify over 100 fonts. Being able to instantly identify a font really speeded up my workflow as I was designing graphics. Since then, I’ve forgotten some of the characteristics of many fonts and the number of fonts I immediately recognize…

Mobile Phone home screen shortcuts

Mobile Phone Website Shortcuts

I’ve talked to a couple of our retailers lately who have asked for a way for customers to create a shortcut on their mobile phones that take them straight to the store’s website. The shortcut appears on the phone’s home screen the same way an icon to a mobile app appears. Based on which phone version you have, the steps may vary slightly but I am including them here for both the iPhone and Android.   iPhone Open website in Safari After the website loads, touch the share icon at the bottom of the phone screen.   Touch the Add to Home Screen button.   Touch the Add link at the top of the screen.   The icon appears on the phone’s home screen.   Android Open website in browser After the website loads, touch the More or Menu link in the upper right corner of the phone screen.   When the menu appears, touch Add Shortcut on Home Screen link.   The icon appears on the phone’s home screen.  

flying trapeze artist

Creative Mornings – Fantasy

At the most recent Creative Mornings event I attended, Heidi Van, Founder, Actress and Producing Artistic Director at Fishtank Theatre, talked on the topic of “Fantasy – Imagination Restored”. Do you remember a time during your childhood when you were scolded for day dreaming? Heidi says day dreaming is not so bad. It’s a great moment when we throw ourselves into the great unknown. Imagine a trapeze artist flying from one bar to the next. Fantasy is imagination unrestrained. Fear and doubt restrain our creativity. “Everything we desire is on the other side of fear and desire is the energy of evolution.” “There is no one on earth more prepared to do this work than you are and no one who has more permission to create outrageous art than you do.” To watch Heidi’s presentation, go to Heidi Van Talk.

Tyler Kimball's shuttlecock glass art

Creative Mornings: Transparency

At the last Creative Mornings presentation, Tyler Kimball from Monarch Glass Studio in the 18th and Vine District, spoke on Transparency. We were mainly treated to a digital display of many of his amazing pieces of art made from blown glass. But a couple quotes from him were good takeaways. When people ask him, “What is your favorite piece to make?” his response is, “Because I’m constantly growing, I answer, ‘The next one.’” He also said, “Glass is very reflective of the past, […] it harps on the present state-of-mind [… but also sees into my future.]” To watch Tyler’s presentation, go to Tyler Kimball Talk.

cerner.com website homepage

KC IABC – Enhancing the Digital Experience: The Redesign and Relaunch of cerner.com

Throughout 2016, Cerner’s marketing team was on a journey to relaunch cerner.com. Sarah Bond, Director of Brand & Digital Experience at Cerner, shared at the KC IABC October meeting the research, strategy and steps the team worked through to complete the launch. According to the research Sarah shared, 94% of clients go to a company’s website for information before contacting the company one-on-one. The website is the company’s front door. Over time a website can become cluttered, similar to a garage. When a home is new or when a family first moves into a house, the garage is clean. Then the family grows and with growth, the garage gets cluttered. To manage the clutter, the family organizes it with shelves and hooks and boxes, but nothing gets thrown out. The same thing happens with a website. We add new content, but do we take the time to analyze existing content and remove what is no longer important? Sometimes the clutter gets out of control and it is time to start over. When you start over, you must have a vision.…

photo of lifesaver in a pool

Crisis Communications in a Social Era [SMCKC recap]

Morningstar Communications presented at the September SMCKC breakfast on “Crisis Communications in a Social Era”. We know it is important to take care of things before they become a crisis. But when there is a crisis, it can be an opportunity for marketing to shine. We live in a digital world of instant communication. When a crisis happens, it is important to respond quickly, but not unrehearsed. Be prepared by having a plan in place ahead of time. Then deliver it with transparency and honesty to your audience when the crisis happens. Tricia McKim and Brian Van Note from Morningstar Communications shared examples of how Southwest Airlines handled their massive technology failure. They were prepared, transparent and authentic, used the omni-channel approach and had fast response times. Since preparation is key, here are 8 steps to follow: 1. Write crisis communication plan. 2. Engage communications leader. 3. Conduct senario planning. 4. Determine roles. 5. Define key stakeholders. 6. Craft preliminary messages in advance. 7. What channels to reach stakeholders? 8. Train your teams. Here are 5 Tips for Communicating in…

Our responsibilities: email, meetings, clients, travel, networking, learning curve, invoices, bills, sales, accounting, legal stuff

CreativeMornings on Creative Burnout

Creative Burnout – with Megh Knappenberger As creative people, we are often asked to make something out of nothing. But we are creative so we can do that, right? Yes, for a while, but anyone who is pouring out their creativity, especially if they do not take time to refuel, is going to eventually run out. They will begin experiencing burnout. Love for creativity is like any other relationship. Falling in love is the easy part. Megh talked about how she had a close connection to creativity while studying design in college. I think many of us can relate to that. We are surrounded by our field of study, we hang out with students who are majoring in the same field, and we are at a stage in our life when we have a hunger to learn more and more so we can soon take on the world with our skills and talent. But then, the rest of life happens. We are soon distracted by other responsibilities, whether it is marriage, children, bills, buying a house, etc. Take a moment…

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible - MC Escher

Coffee and Design – Design Disruptors

I attended a Coffee and Design meetup last night, where we watched the documentary, “Design Disruptors”, which is about the rising importance of design as a competitive advantage in disruptive technologies. Among the companies interviewed in the film are Netflix, Google, Facebook, airbnb, MailChimp, Salesforce and Lyft. These companies are finding ways to solve old world problems with new world technologies. They don’t necessarily follow the rules of the industry. An example is how Uber and Lyft are making taxicabs look like an old world problem. They listened to customers’ complaints about taxi service and they provided a better solution. Some people who used to stay at hotels are now trying out airbnb. Blockbuster lost their customers to Netflix and other forms of streaming movies. What other opportunities are out there to improve products and services? When I think of the word “disruptor”, I think of someone causing disorder or interrupting service. In business, it is actually considered a good thing. It means to radically change by introducing a new product or service. Do something in ways people never thought…

The 5th Annual WordCamp Kansas City 2016

WordCamp KC 2016

While attending WordCamp KC 2016, I picked up a few tips, mainly about security and SEO fundamentals. When creating a password, use at least 12 characters. A simple but long password is more secure than a complex but short password. Use a password manager such as KeePass or 1Password. When sending logins to clients or customers, use onetimesecret.com Use captcha on WordPress login screens. Ubersuggest.org gives you what people are searching for and meta keyword suggestions. Meta tags and alt tags are still important. Cachedpages.com shows you the cache Google has on your website. Use dnsqueries.com to check domain name health, IP address information and reverse DNS lookup. Screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider allows you to crawl websites’ URLs and fetch key onsite elements to analyze from an SEO perspective. Use inspyder.com/products/InSite to check any website for spelling mistakes, broken links and SEO problems. Ahrefs.com tracks your website’s backlinks, keywords, brand mentions and helps you to know what your competitors are doing. Use webpagetest.org to test your website performance and speed.

presentation on Reality

CreativeMornings on Reality

Reality – with Stefan Mumaw Movies are not real. We don’t go to the movies for reality. We go to feel, to be moved. Think about products that are sold in stores. Does the product itself make a person excited? Most products themselves are boring. We must use creativity to make them more interesting, to make people feel. Dog food is boring. But add a dog with the dog food and you’ve got personality. Add a story around the dog and you are moved. Making ads and websites is not what we’re here to do. We are here to make people feel. Mumaw says no one really cares about the product. They care about themselves and how they can benefit from the product. To create emotion, Mumaw suggests: 1.    Putting human first, product second 2.    Construct a story 3.    Pursue empathy Most people are driven by fear. How can we alleviate their fear? Listen to Mumaw’s presentation.

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