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The importance of imagery within your social marketing

Visual Social Media

Social Marketing: Click on the image above to visit the full story over on Adobe Slate.

This week’s blog post covers social marketing for non-visual businesses. Just because you don’t have a product to “tweet”, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be including imagery within your posts. Imagery has become such a strong force within social media, that plain text posts often go ignored no matter how good the content! Learn how to approach your social feed differently to make the most of your business and maybe even attract a new audience to what you have to offer.

There are now so many options for creating images and “memes” for social media that the focus is now on your creativity rather than your ability. Personally I have a thing for Adobe Post – its a great way of creating imagery quickly either based on your photos or public domain imagery for a variety of purposes – from website mockups to blog headers! For those who don’t feel they can see a solution for their feed, we can help! We can supply either full social marketing campaigns or a single image (and all points in-between). You can find a little more on this service here.

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Cover image: the Importance of a Great Cover!

Portfolio-Mockup

This month we have seen a number of cover issues arise. I thought this week’s blog post could be a way of covering these frequently asked questions to help you get your book right first time.

Can I use a cover I’ve already had designed?

Our packages all include cover design, however some authors come to us having one “ready to go”. In some cases, we are approached as “I’ve had this designed for me by [my daughter, my neighbour, a uni student, my dog]”, and while we celebrate creativity in all its forms, great cover design is key to good sales. People unfortunately DO judge books by their covers, and when its shown at 2x4cm on Amazon it needs to make an impact!

I’ve even received covers from other graphic designers that don’t meet the basic standards! Artwork not in the correct ratio, let alone the correct size and resolution for print. A few have even come with licensing issues (and therefore fall foul of our terms and conditions).

Cover guidelines for designers

If you are going to use another professional designer and/or illustrator to design your cover, then we recommend the following…

  • Add on extra design for bleeds as well as any formatting issues that may arise through changes in your book. We would recommend a 9th of your cover design size all the way around – too much is a lot better than too little.
  • Make sure artwork is supplied in a vector-based format PDF, with fonts embedded.
  • Any images and fonts used must be supplied with appropriate proof of licences.
  • Do not provide spine artwork with text unless your title is over 130 pages.
  • If your design has an underlying texture, provide this as a separate file.
  • Ensure your cover is legible when viewed at thumbnail size.
  • Mock book covers are unacceptable.

What we do with unacceptable designs

Where we are provided with unacceptable covers, we either ignore the file provided or use it as a base concept (depending on the issue).

A recent example used a strong concept, but all the images used had licensing issues. Instead, we used the basic concept to create a stronger, impactful cover that works much better on the platform.

Where this is not possible, we will ask you about the file you have provided in order to get a brief for your new cover.

Our usual process for cover design

Where we are left to do the cover design as included with your package, we simultaneously design your cover to fit your book’s specification as well as viewing it at thumbnail size. Our vast experience in cover design has been honed across many platforms, so we can deliver cross platform success.

Our cover development stage occurs towards the end of our process. Once, your book inners have been completed, we can ensure the perfect design including any spine that may need to be included. Before the sign off of your inners, this cannot be guaranteed. So by this time, we thoroughly know your book and its intended/likely audience, sales platforms and production methods.

We develop 3 initial concepts for your book outer as well as how the back of the book would work. It’s easy in these times of online book buying to underestimate the importance of your back cover. You can then choose your preferred concept, mix and match or we can create a new concept based on your feedback.

Once you are happy with your book design, we also develop a mock up book for social media and other marketing strategies. That way, you can market your book before its even out on Amazon. We encourage our authors to build their following throughout the book publishing process. If you want to ask your followers about your book concepts that is fine, and we can even help you by supplying social sized images.

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FTP: Terminology Explained

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. In the days when email could only carry very small attachments, large files could be transferred by FTP. However, these days the technology is only really used for bulk uploading of websites.

What are my FTP details?

These would be setup with your web hosting through your online panel. Usually you can find the format of these in their help files, but you will have to setup a password. In some cases, this would be your usual domain logon details. There will usually be an icon in your main control panel for accessing these settings (not to be confused with DNS settings).

If you don’t have hosting for your website, this is something we can help you with.

FTP is used when we code or design websites using HTML rather than WordPress based sites. If we ask you for FTP details, typically this would be for a managed site service where we would be updating the website for you.

Once you have the details, we would then enter this into our software for upload. At which point, the details become stored as part of your site file. These would only need to be updated upon software updates or due to changes made by you. Files are then transferred by our software direct from our web design software to keep your website secure.

 

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Terminology Explained: A new series

I’ve decided to start a new blog post series with Terminology Explained. This series will cover popular design, graphic and digital terminology.

Why?

It’s easy as a designer to use terminology as a shortcut to explaining an idea or concept. However, all too often we forget to tailor these for our audiences. So, when I use an industry term in place of describing something, I’m going to post the term on here. I will then add a full explanation in plain english. I also hope to include examples and visuals where needed. Hopefully, this will build into a great glossary research – both for our clients and also those who are considering working with us. I already have my first couple of posts planned based on the last 24 hours alone.

Make a terminology suggestion

Clients can also suggest terms we have used that they want a little more depth of detail on.

You will be able to find these terms both by searching this blog but also by referring to the Terminology Glossary page that will be made available shortly. If you have a term or concept you’d like us to cover, then drop us a line.

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Our Graphic Design Workflow

Here’s a quick overview of our workflow for our graphic design projects…

Briefing

Our briefing process begins right from our first contact with you – where that is through Twitter, by email or by phone. This is the stage to give us lots of information – whether its the draft content for your document or branding guideline for your previous identity; no piece of information is too small.The more information you can give us at the beginning the more prepared we are for our first meeting with you, and likewise the more accurate your initial quote will be. This first stage of our workflow is a key building block for your project and its importance cannot be underestimated.

When we meet you for the first time, we will discuss your brief in detail as well as any initial costings we have prepared. The more information we have prior to this meeting, the more accurate we can be about costs and deadlines. We will also discuss how you envisage the project to turn out, extent of works and any additional formats you’ve considered. We will also raise points that you may not have considered, as well as identifying any costs that could be limited or ways the projects longevity can be increased. Every project is unique and this is a key meeting for us to develop the route forward. A quote approval form will need to be signed before any work commences, a copy of which will be stored on the cloud for both parties to access at any time, but will be locked from any future editing.

Concepts

Following this meeting, we will immediately go into concept mode – typically we develop 3 times as many concepts as we will present to you. The number of concepts will vary by project type and will have been set as part of our quoting process – but typically will be between 3 – 10 concepts per project element. At this stage we may proof some initial concepts for comment to show the direction we are taking, these will probably take the form of screenshots and copyright will remain with Kissed Off Creations Ltd and are not for public distribution. Once this stage has been completed, we will send you an electronic proof in PDF format which will be sent and tracked to you by email. You will be able to download this PDF, comment on it and send it back to us for us to action. Please indicate your choice of concept and any amends you wish to make at this stage.

Logo Design

In terms of logo design, following completion of amends on your chosen concept we would send a PDF for you to approve by digital signature. This locks the PDF for both parties so it becomes a snapshot of how the logo should look. We will then output your logo into varying formats for print and web as well as black only and white only versions for use on a colour background.

All other design projects

After the concept has been amended, we would request an interim sign off. This means that the inherent design or concept would not change after this point; any amends after this stage should relate only to content or they may be applicable for an additional charge if the change causes significant impact to the document. The sign off then becomes a green light to lay out the rest of the document(s), which we would proceed to do as promptly as possible (workload allowing) in order for you to give your final seal of approval. Usually before final sign off occurs there are 1 – 2 sets of amends to content either for accuracy or aesthetic reasons.

Final proof

The final proof we send to you will not be what goes to the printers. The final proof  will be laid out so it is clearly understood how the final project will look. For 3D items we may also create a photographic mock up to make proofs easier to understand. Your final proof will be accompanied with a Proof Approval form at the end of the PDF for you to digitally sign. Signature on this form means you are happy for it to go to print, and that you have checked all the points listed on the form for accuracy (including brand names and terminology). Once this form has been signed, it will lock down the PDF for editing and return to us for our records.

The final print files will then be prepared in line with the signed off file and printer’s specifications and sent electronically to them for proofing and printing.

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Our 2015 Portfolio has launched!

Portfolio-Mockup

Portfolio 2015 has launched and is now available for download!

This year’s portfolio has been filled with some old favourites as well as a range of images that have never been seen before this launch. As our birthday is just around the corner, we will be incorporating this new look into our new website when it goes live! Soon, www.kissedoff.co.uk will have a great new look as well as implementing a lot of tech behind the scenes to make it as accessible as possible for all.

Sneak Peek

Here’s a quick sneak peak (along with the slideshow above) of what you can expect in our new Portfolio…

Digital-Artistry
Digital Artistry, Illustration and Photography services

We offer a range of digital artistry, illustration and photography services. We’ve chosen just a small selection of our more popular images to represent this for our latest portfolio. We offer a range of styles, so contact us today to see if we can help you.

Branding
Corporate ID, Branding and Logo Design Services

We offer a range of branding packages to suit all businesses and products, but if you are looking for a more individual specification we also offer a full bespoke service that can include print, digital and social options.

Publishing-Cover
A range of our latest publishing projects

Our latest portfolio also includes examples of our most recent eBook and paperback projects as well as how those projects have developed into other literature and marketing materials.

To download your copy of our new Portfolio – follow this link Portfolio 2015

Can’t download? Then email us or call for your copy.

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How we tailor our eBook designs to your needs…

Affiliate eBook Introduction

Tailor your brief

Great design starts with a great brief.

Specification

One of the most important things to consider all the possible uses you will have for your eBook:

  • Will you want your eBook printed at a later stage?
  • Will it be printed on an office inkjet printer and how would you bind it?
  • If it could be professionally printed – how would you like it bound, are there any particular features and links that would need to change between versions?
  • How will your eBook be distributed? Will it be embedded directly into a web page? By email?

The answer to these questions will allow us to tailor the physical specification of your eBook to your needs.

For example, the eBook below has been designed specifically so that it can be printed on an office printer without showing to typical white border that features on so many inkjet prints.

LCT Accounting eBook
This eBook is designed specifically to allow for print borders common in many office printers.

As this could be used at trade events, it has been specifically designed for wire binding as well as allowing for economical and easy printing. This extends, not only to the client, but also to the end user who may not necessarily want to read your eBook on screen and would prefer to read it on paper. By tailoring your specification at an early stage, it allows your eBook to be flexible for alternative uses at a later stage without adding additional costs to your project.


Design

The briefing stage is also the time to specify any design requirements you have: branding, preference and target audience all have a bearing not only on colour scheme, but right through to accessibility options and font choices.

In the eBook below, the client had a very clear idea of how he wanted the eBook to look and gave clear examples. This has resulted in an eBook that was quick to conceptualise and is ready much quicker for publishing.

Affiliate eBook Detail
A clear brief led to an easy conceptualisation and approval stage
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Backwards by Design

VIP brochure
If you’ve read our post Why you should contact us BEFORE your book is finished, you’ll be aware of why it pays to contact us before finalising your book.

Now we have a new reason – design inspiring writing.

Following our initial concepts for a client, they decided not to use the concepts provided for their original book. Instead, they will be producing a new title informed by our concept. This will lead to a new way of writing for this genre, as well as a title which will carry its design ethics through into it’s content and filling a gap in it’s market.
I’m excited to see where this will lead, as already the book is sure to be visually stimulating as well as intellectually inspiring.

Working Backwards

By starting with the design first, a project could arrive at a new outcome. Although this route could be perceived as backwards, I’m sure this could help many other potential authors over the “blank page syndrome”. By setting up a template onto which to hang your content, writing your book can become faster and more streamlined.
So if you know what genre of book you want to publish, we can help you by providing you with a framework for writing through design. This route is particularly useful for those looking to develop workbooks and other interactive formats as well as being ideal for creating stunning eBooks for iPad and similar platforms.

Watch this space for some stunning designs that are sure to inspire!

bagmag sample inner

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Design Tip #1 – To serif or not to serif… that is the question.

When designing for screen, the answer is NOT to serif. Sans-serif fonts are easier for people to read on screens and have improved legibility at lower point sizes.

When printing, a serif font is easier to read where there are large blocks of text – especially if left aligned.