April Fools!

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April Fools! Gotcha, didn’t we?! No – Sam D. Eagle is NOT the new face of UMW, no matter how nimble he is! (But…it does make for an intriguing viewbook cover, doesn’t it?) In University Relations we often get questions about how we come up with our ads and branded photos, which are showing up in more and more places. And we realize that it seems to some of you that we just threw them together with no thought behind them. Not true! It all starts with our organized photo shoots, which we usually have twice a year. Maria Schultz, our assistant director of design services, coordinates these shoots. And they are a process, as she explains below. Step 1. Recruit! This year, we created a webpage through which students interested in serving as models could submit an application. We pushed out the casting call via social media and a few old-fashioned print flyers. With one posting on social media we had more than 60 applicants! (And no – Sam D. Eagle did not apply. … [Read more...]

Keeping Your Brand Alive

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Your brand is living. The graphics on a page are not. The content on your website or in your brochure aren’t alive either. They cannot react to criticism, respond to negativity with a positive attitude, or exhibit your brand personality traits through a silent action. Nonetheless, your brand is alive through you, and every person in your organization. You are the brand, your team is the messenger, and your actions can either make or break your brand. Ever been to a Disney park? Exactly. Every person employed by Disney must go through their brand training, because if they do not put the brand into action, then it is disposed of as quickly as a park brochure is thrown into the garbage can. Working in the relations and communications department of a public university brings a myriad of challenges. If your purpose is to be the central point of all internal and external communications, but nobody sees you as the central communicator then… well… you aren’t. We are met with criticism … [Read more...]

Design 101: The Elements

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Line This can be an actual line, or an implied edge. In the layout above, notice the difference between the cream line drawn to the left, and the edge created when two blocks of color meet. Remember, a line doesn’t have to be straight…so go ahead, be a rebel. Shape These consist of anything that is self-contained. It may be a recognizable square or circle, learned in your toddler years, or the unnamed shape of an organic letter or stroke. Positive shapes create negative shapes. In this case, it’s ok to be negative. Space When a design is too crammed with elements, there is no way for the eye to breathe. Keep it simple smarty. (This G-rated version doesn’t insult your intelligence). Size It matters. The size of a shape is determined by the size of other elements around it. The word “Design” is larger in contrast to the word “element.” This is a great way to create hierarchy in a layout. Texture The metallic, crinkled feeling of “elements” is a clear example of texture. … [Read more...]