“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”Conan O’Brien
2011 Dartmouth College Commencement Address
Growing older comes with aching body parts that I didn’t even know I had to slowly but surely realizing my life has been awesome when I had a chance to reflect at the many things that I have done in my personal life and career. So, in an effort to try something that I’ve never done before, I will celebrate my birthday by creating a list of the best things that I remember experiencing. I will keep adding to this list as I remember events and happenings. I hope that you will find some joy in the simple things in life as I have.
- I was born today, on January 21. Thanks to my loving parents, Nelia and Leonardo.
- Getting that huge birthday cake with a massive jack in a box decoration with corndogs on a stick circling the entirety of the cake when I turned 7.
- Trying to make mashed potatoes with my brother, Kersey from sliced potatoes in the stew that my mom made.
- Tasting Dr. Pepper for the first time.
- The first time I successfully rode the bike without training wheels and supervision.
- My mom discretely sending me multiple choice answers with her hands, while sitting with the audience at a school math competition in 3rd grade. I still laugh at this one.
- Every time I played basketball at the driveway with my brother.
- Getting excited and anticipating the birth of my sister, Tanya.
- Wondering why my mom hasn’t come home from work at the hospital, then realizing she went to labor and just gave birth to my youngest sister.
- Making paper boats and placing them on puddles.
- Playing in the rain.
- Attempting to skateboard but couldn’t stay up on the board, so I decided to lay on it like I was Superman and weave around my parents’ house.
- Using the curtain rod and a tennis ball as a makeshift mini basketball set.
- My dad sneakily walks into the house and surprising us. I didn’t see him for 3 years because he was working overseas.
- My dad introducing burritos to my food pyramid.
- Making the school basketball team in 7th grade and receiving my first jersey with my name on it.
- Learning how to play the drums in junior high.
- Making all-county chorus in junior high. Cool and Ewwww at the same time. Hahaha.
- Meeting my lifelong friends in high school. One of them ends up being my wife, Amy.
- Marching with the drumline at the Pride of West Virginia.
- Recording with the WVU Band’s keynote concert
- Making the Graphic Design program at WVU.
- Meeting lifelong friends in the art department. Those guys are crazy, yet awesome.
- Recording the first live CD with my post-college band.
- Getting my first agency job shorty after graduation.
- Marrying my best friend in the world, Amy.
- Moving to Knoxville, Tennessee when it was close to 100 degrees in July.
- Going on my first cruise. Although, I still fear the wide open view of the ocean.
- Going to the Sugar Bowl in Atlanta where WVU won as an underdog to UGA after a fake punt.
- Building, closing and spending the first night at the first house we ever bought.
- Getting my logo designs published as one of the best in the world.
- Meeting my first born daughter, Kaylin
- Meeting my second daughter, Kadence
- Seeing the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. Twice.
- Going to Vegas for the first time and coming home on the plus side of gambling.
- Being on a reality tv show for TLC.
- Reaching 10 happy years of marriage.
- Waiting 3 years for a video game to be released and it was worth the wait after playing it almost everyday.
- Playing disc golf almost daily with the guys at work.
Growing up watching The Late Show with David Letterman, the Top 10 lists were definitely the highlight for me. So to honor Mr. Letterman’s retirement, here are my Top 10 favorite gifs.
10. Thanks Obama!
9. Run Away!
8. Run Away… Again!
7. Mind Blown.
6. Unexplainable Gif.
5. Sir Charles’ Golf Swing.
4. That’s Enough Internet for Today.
3. Exit Stage Left.
2. Steven! Steven! Steven! (The new Late Show host)
1. Untz. Untz. Untz.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Videos are intuitive, natural and come second-nature to viewers
Why not take advantage of one of our essential senses – vision. Having a visualized form of data that is presented in a narrative manner allows your audience to easily comprehend quite a bit of information in a short amount of time. Most videos, animated or not, that combine interesting content, striking imagery and upbeat music greatly enhance one’s understanding and retention of complicated information.
Motion graphic videos demonstrate complicated ideas quickly.
Presenting clear, comprehensive information is a critical piece of successful content marketing. Captivating motion graphic videos can cut through the overwhelming amount of hodgepodge and make the content definitely digestible. According to Statistic Brain, in 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds, while it is down to 8 seconds in 2013. That’s a staggering 33% decrease in one year. Now, let’s put that into perspective. If the average video length is 2.7 minutes, will your audience spare the time to watch it in 2014? Internet users want their content now and will not wait around to read pages upon pages of information about a product or service they need. With the popular six-second Vine videos and Instagram’s 15-second videos, this generation of Internet users will surely demand a lot in a very short timeframe. So, make sure you hook them in the very beginning.
Complex data, numerous facts and figures are easily digestible through motion graphic videos.
Our brains can only process a certain amount of large numbers and information at a given time. This is where visual aids come in to play. Motion graphic videos, like OpenText’s, allow viewers to easily understand information by breaking it down into a more comprehensive presentation or narrative. An interesting combination of text, images, music and sometimes, a voiceover, will focus your audience’s attention on significant facts and data instead of forcing them to read several lines of text.
Videos can heighten product and service awareness up to 40% and increase “shareability”.
According to Hubspot, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content – photos and videos – saw a 65% increase in engagement. In the current age of responsive design and everyone having a mobile device that can connect to the Internet, it’s important to give your audience easier accessibility to view and share videos from any page on a website.
By placing your video on reliable outlets, you have the ability to reach over a billion unique users and visitors each month.
YouTube is the obvious choice for spreading video content. With over a billion unique users and visitors each month, you can guarantee that someone who is interested in your message will see your content on any tech device you can think of. There are also big viewer numbers involved when you share your content on social giant Facebook. According to ComScore, Facebook had 87,005 unique video viewers in the month of April, coming in second only to Google. Even AOL and Yahoo had higher numbers than the motion graphic video-heavy site, Vimeo.
Don’t forget the new tools and non-standard platforms to spread your content.
The founders of YouTube have created MixBit, a new format that allows you to combine your 16 second clips and remix them with any other video in the MixBit community to make one short video. This is an interesting platform to see how your video’s segmented sections can enhance other people’s videos. If any of the videos reach the elusive viral stardom, your piece could be a part of the show.
Pinterest is also an interesting platform to share and pin your motion graphic videos. Not many people know that you can actually pin videos from YouTube and Vimeo, so take advantage of those avenues to spread and share your content.
Motion graphic videos can create memorable stories that will generate buzz for your brand.
When planning out a motion graphic video, it is important to have a detailed and well-thought out storyboard to set the foundation for the unique visual elements your project team will produce. When the story has a captivating narrative, engaging content and useful information, you can ensure that your audience will enjoy and better comprehend your product or service.
Check out some of the animated infographic work we’ve done for our clients.
We see it everywhere – company slogans that were made after long hours of thumbing through the thesaurus looking for similar words. They even make a point (All the pun intented) to add a period after each word. A successful advertising and marketing campaign consist of several working parts that leave potential customers wanting more. You need a hook, a signifier and a differentiator. Musicians use great catchy beats and rhythms; blockbuster movies use mesmerizing special effects and great companies develop influential messages. Let’s face it, if any company wants to make a lasting impression to build brand recognition and loyal customers, there are some simple ways to achieve that goal. Here are a few thoughts to consider to avoid the trap of using Three. Word. Slogans.
1. Don’t. Be. Boring.
One of the best branding practices is to create captivating, intriguing and even controversial messaging. If you create slogans that only uses adjectives and does not evoke any actual thought and real emotions, you automatically fail to make an impact on your customers. Make them excited. Make them daydream even for a minute. Make them imagine using your product or service. If you can get them to do any of that, you already got them interested.
2. Engage. Your. Customer.
Now that you got them interested, are you initiating an active response? Are you enabling your viewer to connect and perform an action that will lead to a sale? Do you make your links and website domains clear? Does your ad have a clear enough message? If not, then you should re-write and re-think about your messaging to get them to re-consider why they should be in your store to buy your products and use your services. You have to capture their ideals, connect with their morals and their significant emotions to connect with them.
3. Just. Be. Honest.
People can sniff out a fraud easier these days. We have the technology to look up everything online and get reviews from people who have genuine experiences from powerful brands. If you’re great at one thing, you should focus on that strength and tell the world. People become repeat customers when they have great experiences with honest brands. It would be a challenge for any company to get customers when their reputation relies having a sub-par product or service. So don’t hide behind a lazy 3-word slogan. Tell your unique story by explaining what you do best.
On the comical side, see what some overly honest made up slogans look like with your favorite brands – http://honestslogans.com
4. Inspire. Every. Customer.
Now, let’s be clear for one second. The type of slogans I’m referring to are the ones combining 3 adjectives that are lazily put together to directly describe an image, a deed or a setting. The type of slogans that tries to paint a picture by simply using the most common descriptive words. What if Nike, decided to go a different route than using their now world famous “Just Do It” slogan? What if they agreed, that their best message would be “Run. Walk. Jump” ? I can guarantee that they would’ve lost millions in shoe sales from that point on because of how poor and unconvincing that statement is. So, let’s dive into an example on how a big existing brands utilize a 3-word slogan and how we can make it better.
Cracker Barrell Old Country Store
So here we have a popular Southern Country-Themed restaurant chain that has, you guessed it, food, shopping and some rocking chairs for relaxation while waiting for your name to be called in for a table. Not too sure about you, but my idea of relaxing is laying on a hammock or sprawled on a sofa watching Netflix. I believe this was the perfect opportunity for Cracker Barrel to draft up a slogan that would appeal to interstate travelers and people familiar with the South in a way that is more personal. Why not something along the lines of, “Experience the South whichever direction you’re headed” This way, you engage and leave a meaningful message to travelers and viewers.
5. Create. Memorable. Messages.
Successful brands are the ones that have loyal customers that have a unique and sometimes indescribable connection to them. Be it their the quality of their products, the level of customer service or sometimes we can tie it in to the “cool” factor. For something to be memorable, it has to be timeless. It has to uphold a powerful message strong enough to be used over and over and over again.
Examples of some of the most memorable brand slogans in the world that doesn’t use 3. Single. Words.
- Disneyland – “The Happiest Place On Earth.”
- M&Ms – “Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands.”
- BMW – “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
- VISA – “It’s Everywhere You Want to Be.”
- IBM – “Solutions For A Small Planet.”
- Burger King – “Have It Your Way.”
- American Express – “Don’t Leave Home Without It.”
- Redbull – “It Gives You Wings.”
- Energizer – “It Keeps Going And Going And Going.”
- Deere & Company – “Nothing Runs Like A Deere.”
So there you have it, a couple of ideas to think about the next time you are creating slogans for a new identity, an advertisement or a marketing campaign. You have to strongly believe in your message and use it appropriately. It’s a difficult undertaking, but, if you can make your customers remember your brand by your meaningful slogans on top of your exceptional product and service, then that is a worthwhile endeavor.by
We all know the difference between good pictures and bad pictures. Almost everyone that has a camera phone and have access to photo plugins become instant photography professionals – they can edit, filter and publish right from their phones. On the other side of taking photos, are your viewers. They can judge bad photos at the drop of a hat and simply ignore what you shared.
So whether you’re posting photos for your 300 closest friends to double-tap and hit “Like”, or you run your Fortune 500 company’s Facebook– consider the following thoughts before hitting the share button.
1. Consider the best composition.
If you’re going to be sharing on your favorite social outlet, think about the positioning and framing as you’re lining up the shot. Are they any distracting objects in the background? Is it too dark/too light? Are you following the Rule of Thirds? The Rule of Thirds is one of the easiest tricks to follow to capture more interesting shots. Check out this quick demo on the Rule of Thirds – In other words, don’t just get the photos you want to take, make the photos you want to have.
2. Have compelling content.
Make sure you’ve got compelling stuff in your images that are amusing, appealing and quite frankly, something that people can talk about. Remember that filters don’t make your photos beautiful, but it’s the subject you’re capturing that makes all the difference.
3. Make your photos share-worthy.
I’m not talking about the awesome selfies you take every day, but the variety and unique things you take photos of. There are a couple of things people are tired of seeing: Selfies, the food you’re about to eat, and cringe-worthy portraits where you attempt to look like someone you’re not (Okay, maybe the last example is worthy enough to pass along to friends).
4. Tag Intelligently.
So, if you’re sharing on Facebook or Instagram, who can you tag? Is this something that other people will want to share on their own walls, or even allow themselves to be in it? Don’t embarrass anyone. Get their permission first before you get some messages.
5. Zoom with your legs.
Using the zoom function on today’s phones doesn’t really create the same quality as using a zoom lens on a standard SLR camera. Every phone camera’s zooming capabilities will likely get better with each new release. You should consider walking back to capture a bigger scene up or walk forward to get a more personal close up. Taking quick shots are ok, sometimes you can get lucky, but you really can never beat a great photo you worked hard for.
6. Natural light is your best lighting tool.
Granted, there will be scenarios where you have to use a flash, but do your best to find sources of light that are outside your camera. If you’re taking product shots and can move your product near a window, do that. If you have human subjects, make them move so they’re not standing under weird overhead lights. If you have the time, it’s always worth the extra minute to compose your perfect picture before you hit the shutter. Also, since there’s no knowing when you have to take that opportune photo, consider the Golden Hours of Photography for the optimum breathtaking shots
If you’re self conscious of your photography skills, don’t worry. Keep these things in mind and remember: “the best camera is the one you have with you.” – Chase Jarvis
I recently found a sheet full of awesome photo ideas inside my old college camera bag. The 5-paged document was handed out by my own college professor but they were written by Ray Spicer, a photography professor from the University of Wisconsin. His ideas were very unique and as his title, “Food For Thought” suggests – it’s a fun and different way for aspiring new photographers to think about how to get those interesting photos. Although his tips were conceived before the advancements we have with digital cameras, all the ideas here are still relevant for anyone who loves taking photographs. I hope this will guide you in your own pursuit in capturing that next awesome shot!
Be honest. Photograph your way. Photograph the way you really want to photography. Push it, have fun with it and let it develop. Don’t make photographs you think you should make. Don’t make photographs based on other’s expectations. Make them for yourself. Enlightened viewers will understand and appreciate images made for the right reasons. Honest images are ultimately the best images. We all have influences. Just don’t be pushed around by your influences. Let them synthesize within you so that what you express is a true extension of you. Make photographs you (from the heart) want to make. Be honest.
- Make and ordinary object unrecognizable
- Give an ordinary object sensual or emotional qualities because of the lighting and the way it is printed.
- Design a photograph ahead of time – maybe sketch it out–then make the photograph.
- Photograph yourself in as many ways as you can.
- Make a night photograph indoors leaving the shutter open with a cable release using small light source like a flashlight, candle, electronic flash, sparklers etc.
- Do a night photograph outdoors.
- Passionately express your love in a photograph.
- Make a photograph with “meaning”.
- Life and Death (Symbolism)
- As an exercise, shoot part or all of a roll ignoring subject matter and thinking only about composition.
- Use light as the subject.
- Give space or atmosphere importance in a photograph
- Elevate the ordinary object to a religious symbol or give it great importance.
- The wind.
- Alter the “reality” of what is in front of the lens.
- Photograph something the way you want it to be, not the way it is.
- Combine the human figure and the landscape.
- Make a photograph no one else could possibly make.
- Make a photograph using your bathroom as an environment.
- Make a series of photographs within 30 feet from your bed.
- Record a love relationship so that the viewer will understand.
- Go to a boring, uninteresting place and make interesting photographs.
- Ask a stranger if you can make a photograph of them.
- Go to a new place and record not things, but your impression of things.
- Shoot randomly (from the hip, etc.). Then crop later. Find compositions that work.
- Photograph parts of your body (remember, composition is critical).
- Make a photograph based in some way on another work of art (sculpture, painting, etc.).
- Make a photograph that depends more on the subtlety of the lighting and print quality than the subject matter.
- Try to make the very best negative and print you can make, as a technical exercise.
- Make something three dimensional and photograph it in such a way that the photograph is the work of art, not a documentation of another work of art.
- Photograph one of your parents in a non-traditional way.
- Do a small series of photographs with relate to one another in some way.
- When you see a great sunset, turn around (180 degrees); that’s the nice light (almost always).
- Photograph the same object or composition at different times of the day as an exercise in understanding light.
- Make an angry photograph.
- Make a photograph in such a way that the composition or design of the image is so unique and so personal that the compositions itself becomes the statement or meaning of the image.
- Make a portrait of someone you care about or are attracted to in such a way that the viewer will understand to some extent how you feel about that person.
- Take a chance. Make a photograph which reveals something very personal or private about yourself or a friend. Some of the very best photographic images come from taking risks.
- Make photographs using a nude model, possibly yourself. The challenge here is to do it in a personal, unique way. Artists have used nude models for thousands of years, so uniqueness, though quite possible, is difficult.
- Make a political statement which is also beautiful.
- Photograph your dreams.
- Photograph your depression or ecstasy.
- Paint or draw on your photograph.
- Combine small photographs to make a larger one.
- Invent a new photographic technique
- Read about a “Fine Art Photographer’s” work and make a photograph in the “spirit” of that photographer, but add something that makes it “yours.”
- To “free” yourself, make a photograph different from any you have ever seen.
- Think of the camera as a tool and photography as a medium for creative expression. Insist on controlling the medium. Don’t take photographs – make photographs.
- Don’t give in to the obvious.
- Be free, have fun, don’t stifle your instincts.
- Regarding your ideas, beware of societal norms – avoid the strait jacket.
- Make the photograph you are afraid to make.
- Combine photographs with another creative medium.
- Photograph your own home.
- Create order from disorder.
- Explore the “erotic”.
- Deal with your deepest feelings – be vulnerable.
- Photograph in such a way that the images must be printed very small to be successful.
- Moved by a good book or an emotional experience? Make photographs before you lose the feeling.
- Include your own creative writing with a photograph or series of photographs.
- Keep a small notebook of ideas. Some ideas will escape if you don’t write them down. I speak from experience.
- Try not to be detached from your photographs.
- Respect your photographs. Take charge and control every detail.
- Photograph the places of your childhood.
- Being overly influenced by mass thinking, the trendy, or the fashionable can weaken your work.
- Shoot lots photographs on one idea. Look at it–think about it and do it again. Let the idea penetrate your psyche.
- Satisfied with your work most of the time? This is most worrisome.
- Frustrated? Wish you were getting better faster? Spending a lot of time researching for better ideas? Trying with only moderate success to perfect your technique? Hungry, but unsure of yourself? Vibrate with excitement when you succeed? Celebrate! You’re GROWING!!
- Investigate things a little closer.
- Get intimately involved with something meaningful to you.
- Reveal something–open your eyes.
- Offended by racism or sexism? Make a creative statement about it (through photography).
- Take the viewer and yourself somewhere neither has been.
- While very carefully considering the consequences, break some rules, technical and otherwise.
- These suggestions will mean something different in two years–again in five years.
- Photograph things you take for granted.
- Use your imagination more. Think more. Stretch the possibilities.
- Fine are photography takes work, dedication, and passion, but the rewards are immeasurable.
- Worry less about what you will photograph and more about how you will photograph your subjects.
- Work with several vastly different subjects and treat them photographically in a similar way so that they “hold together” as a series.
- Write a statement about your work. Imagine that you are having a solo exhibition and that this statement will appear with your photographs. In other words, think about what your work means.
- Insist on BEAUTIFUL light. Never settle for less. Wait for it. Create it. Recognize it. Treasure it. Understand it. If it’s just no there, walk away.
- There are many ways to approach photography as there are ways to think, see, and feel.
- Regarding the value of good technique versus good creative ideas: the two cannot be separated. Good ideas are diluted without good technique. Good technique without good ideas is vacuous and empty.
- Try to establish an attitude about your subject matter before making photographs. Don’t let your subject matter control you. Take charge. Have a plan. As you are photographing, think about the final print and ways that you can get that to print.
- Art is a tangible manifestation of pure creativity. Do not allow anyone to limit your possibilities. Do not let traditions and theories control you. Beware the limiters.
- Photograph with a friend.
- Go on an afternoon/evening road trip with the sun to your back. Stop and photograph along the way. This approach has worked well for me lately.
- Stay humble. None of us can conceive of what we have yet to learn. Growth is stifled by inflated egos. On the other hand, enjoy your successes!
- Collaborate with someone on a photographic project.
- When you are photographing, think all the way to the final print. Anticipating technical decisions down the road will help you during the actual photographing.
- Shoot the same roll of film twice. This work best if dark backgrounds are used either the first or second time through.
- Sun light isn’t always the best light. Your subjects need what they need.
- Allow an unexpected image on a contact sheet to generate a series of photographs.
It’s been 16 years since I’ve started my journey to become a graphic designer. I’ve read a lot of design books, skimmed through design magazines, attended conferences and watched a lot of sci-fi movies to get inspired for the projects I’ve done. But after immersing myself in these different mediums, nothing inspires me more to get things done than a hard deadline. No matter what type of visions you might have for a particular project, it seems to be that we always revert back to what we know and do best – and that is to stay true to classic design solutions and just press on until it’s time to deliver. Here are 5 ways to get your project done when that client needs a new project yesterday.
1. Ignore Everyone and Everything.
So everyone in the office is talking about what you missed on The Colbert Report last night or what’s on the front page of Reddit. You can find out about it after you get home from the office. Hey, maybe you can turn on the tv and some other channel might be talking about that scene you shouldn’t have missed. Better yet, make it a reward for yourself to be able to surf the web after you’ve accomplished an important deliverable. In my reality, what worked best for me was to turn off my work email, my personal email, skype, twitter, facebook and even not answer text messages unless they’re super important. I put my headphones on, get in the zone then create, produce and submit.
2. Have Your Reliable Go-To Sources Handy.
I’m talking about bookmarks filled with handy tools to help estimate different mobile screen sizes such as http://screensiz.es/phone, generate textures with http://noisetexturegenerator.com, test type and font family pairings http://www.typetester.org, and one of my favorites sites to get functionality ideas http://tympanus.net/codrops. Also, remember that your web developers, digital communication specialists and project managers are your best sources. Don’t forget to ask the right questions and demand for your content.
3. Have a Very Thorough Plan of Attack.
One of the best things I’ve learned when a quick deadline is approaching it to be as efficient as possible. So for me to be able to get to my solutions quickly, I spend at least 30 minutes going through all my best realistic options and imagining the worst possible outcomes in my head so I can simplify and narrow down my approach to the project. Sometimes having too much time will just make you daydream about all the possible grand ideas you can implement – but in this case, you’ve got to get a move on. Chop! Chop!
4. Know Your Equipment. By Equipment, I Mean Your Computer.
Everyone knows how to use a keyboard and a mouse. By everyone, I mean even 2 year-old kids. (Trust me I know) Having the ability to know what each button does, what each palette holds, what shortcuts to use and what options to set will guarantee you a smoother and snag-free workflow. There’s no time to second guess your choices. You will have to work like a production line filled with experienced craftsmen building ah… let see, ah.. like an expensive door for a Ferrari.
5. Recycle Unused Ideas.
Somewhere, deep in your files is an awesome design that a previous or even a current client never liked. There is absolutely nothing wrong about re-purposing a solution if the solution is a good fit for the current project. A couple photo edits here, some type style changes there, replace the logo and BAM! – a finished first round mockup. I don’t believe there’s a crime with somewhat plagiarizing your own designs. If anything, it’s the perfect way to jumpstart a new idea.
There you have it. My sure-fire ways of getting a project done in a moment’s notice. We all wish that we have that magical scenario of having 6 months to a year to create an award-winning design piece. But sometimes, clients just want something quick and simple that will work for them – and that might be the reason to default back to our tried and true solutions. If it works, then you just might be able to go home in time to catch The Colbert Report.