Magical. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

Click above for Large Image (900 x 600 px)

“Ook ook ack! Eeeeeek! OOOK!” [Trans: “My God, it’s full of apps… ” ]

I usually don’t repeat subjects, and I JUST reviewed the iPad2. But sometimes a marketing campaign can trod over the same raw nerve so many times before one has to spout off on it.

I don’t want to get off on a rant here but…

Apple’s overuse of the word “magical” when promoting the iPad just gets under my skin. Actually it annoys the poop out of me. Probably because it’s patently horseshit. It’s a piece of TECHNOLOGY, people, not the gorram Philosopher’s stone. We’re not a bunch of knuckle dragging homo habilis hominids howling and flinging rocks, sticks and poop at the frakkin’ monolith. Sometimes I wonder what Apple’s marketing people think of their audience. I do realize what they’re getting at, the idea of an information appliance so immediate and intuitive to use, that the actual interface disappears and you become immersed in just using the thing. Continue reading

Just How Much Design is Worth It?

Adjusting bleed for in InDesign.

Tweaking Bleeds in InDesign for the Tri-fold Cut Line. Yes, I'll explain...

For openers, I have been reminded that if I want to keep people’s attention with a blog, I actually have to POST, at least more regularly than I have been doing. The current occasion is the Hudson Valley Business Edge 2010 Conference, an event that I highly recommend if you’re in the region and work in a small to medium size business, especially as an Owner, Proprietor or Principal. The presenters are all very knowledgeable, and the content is presented in a very dense manner, in short, accessible sessions. Last year I presented on “When Do You Need a Design Pro?”, and hope to do so again on subjects graphic. But to the point, while I fairly recently posted back on June 7th, the one before was March 20th.

I have been busy, hence the lean posting. So this time around I’ll talk about a recent client experience.

This is a long term client that I have been working with for many years. I’ve built and rebuilt his website, will do it again soon. This time around I was updating his brochure. This is a fairly standard tri-fold brochure, a pretty common and useful staple of business marketing. This item is usually not a terrific chore if you have a focused client, and their graphic identity is already in place. Typically brochures are put together after logo design and identity projects are complete.  But what happens when your client is perhaps over focused

The short answer is: 63 design comps, seven candidate “final” versions. Three rounds of pre-press, PDFs and AAs. Hundreds of photo retouches and composites. 2.4 gigabytes of  data. And sent the press proofs back to press… twice. What on earth happened here? Continue reading

The Dreaded E-Mail Blast!

(This is the only post to rescued from the never-really-launched LiveJournal FRS blog. But wanted to give you people some content. )

This comes up from time to time with both clients, and friends who are trying to do an “email Blast”… i.e. send an email message to a list of folks. And this is more than a simple matter of clicking “Send All:” – which is fraught with it’s own peril. But when you try to create a lovely composed message, with graphics, fonts and formatting, it becomes another matter entirely…

For instance, I got this note with a invitation to a Gallery Show from a client:

“I wanted to send you (and several others) an invitation to the Exhibit that’s opening at the Westwood Gallery (and will be up for a month in case you can’t make the opening. )

The mystery is, that for some of the people I’ve sent it to (both on Mac and Windows Platforms) it opens right in the body of the email, for others, it comes as an attachment that they have to click on to open it. The only think I can guess is that it has to do with the email program – it seems to open in the body in hotmail and yahoo, but not Outlook Express…and who knows how many other email programs.

Is there a way around this that you know of – so that it opens in the email without having to then click on an attachment?”

This absolutely has to do with all the various email methods, clients, applications and platforms out there behaving differently. And in addition, how individual users have set up their email clients.

What she wanted to do is called HTML email, or… wait for it, Multipart/Alternative MIME format, and its a frakkin’ tech BEAR.

MailChimp – One of the Email Marketing Services I am exploring offers this explanation – their sage advice for do-it-yourselfers… [mild tech alert] :

“So how do you properly send an HTML email along with a plain-text alternative version? Simple. You send it in “Multipart/Alternative MIME” format. If you’re a programmer, this is where the gears in your brain start spinning. So go ahead and bookmark this web page, so you can come back to it later. Now, go on and Google “multipart alternative” and figure out how to send them from your own server. You may find some PHP or Coldfusion or ASP scripts out there. You may even find a way to rig Outlook or Thunderbird to send multipart messages. Go ahead and get it out of your system now. Then, when your ISP shuts you down for sending too many emails from your account and hogging up all their bandwidth, or when you realize that properly cleaning bounces and unsubscribes and tracking opens and clicks is a lot of work, or when you get blacklisted because your server wasn’t reputably configured, come back to this page.” More Cool stuff here:

But in a word, YIKES. And I do some of this stuff for a living.

So if you are considering doing something like this on a moderately regular basis, you should very seriously want to consider using an Email Marketing Service to send to your list. What a service does is send out the messages in well composed and platform-agnostic HTML email format which is FAR superior to Rich Text you can compose in Outlook or using the Word Send to email feature.

I have been experimenting with MailChimp, and they seem to have their stuff rather together. Check out the demo web vids.

Another Major Player is Constant Contact If you’ve go an email account, you’ve probably seen their logo tagging some piece of small business, retail, or institutonal promo or another.

Email Marketing – a job for the pros. And frankly Scarlet, I’d rather design. My side of things would be be to design the HTML and graphics and prep them for the mails, then let the wireheads deal with the backend IT part.

Till next time! Banzai!

Resource Links |