The Rebirth of Brutalism – Graphic Design’s Edgy Experiment

Virgile Flores, Art direction, Graphic design

Playful or angry? Radical or bland reproduction? Utilitarian or chaotic? Brutalism in graphic design thrives on uncertainties.

A common goal of design, especially in a print marketing or web commerce environment, is to stand out from the crowd – to grab attention. As a result, the current or hottest trends in the design world are often reactionary… an effort to gain notice by their difference, unique nature or even shock value. While this may not be a good fit for everyone’s brand message, it can convey the spirit of innovation, freshness and creativity that just following the norms can never accomplish.

Brutalism---Just2

The latest trend, according to many experts in the design world, is a current reimagination of the genre of Brutalism. Brutalism is based in the modernist architecture movement of the 1940s-1970s, closely associated with the work of Le Corbusier. The word itself is from the French for “raw,” as in the raw exposed concrete used on much of the buildings’ facades. Think stark, rugged, cold, institutional – much like the architecture that comes to mind when you think of gray cities in eastern Europe during the Cold War era. The structure and utility of the object is shown, not hidden. There is little room for ornamentation. Perhaps the best way to describe Brutalism is to define what it is not: the goal of a brutalist approach is not to appear easy or comfortable. It is not light, fun or friendly.

Brutalism - WildTurtles

Brutalism web design

A great place to get a feel for the range and style of a brutalist aesthetic is the Washington Post’s gallery of Brutalist Websites. The Post describes the genre in this way: “In its ruggedness and lack of concern to look comfortable or easy, Brutalism can be seen as a reaction by a younger generation to the lightness, optimism, and frivolity of today’s web design.” Brutalism - retroOften it bears a resemblance to the images of the early days of digital graphic design and the internet – pixellation, jarring color combos and clunky typography – a partial nod to the retro or nostalgic approach.

Check out the creative work all over the internet now and see if your brand or marketing might benefit. It will mean breaking a lot of rules design school taught you never to attempt – in color choice, font selection, imagery, content and even the coding of webpage development.

Brutalism - roTopo

Brutalism---SportsTragedy

Vitelli website

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
Posted in Branding, Creativity, Design, Graphic Design, Print, Uncategorized, Web | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The Campus Arboretum of HCC Celebrates First 50 Years with Beautiful Print Exhibit

HCC display

Celebrating the beauty of a “living laboratory” calls for a beautiful exhibit. The Haywood Community College Foundation in Clyde, NC is doing just that for the anniversary of the HCC Campus Arboretum and “First Fifty Years of Stewardship” in their exhibit Forest, Farm + Garden, 1966 – 2016. Through a mix of print, mounting and lighting techniques, the exhibited historical information and images combine to engage and inform visitors in a museum-quality experience. Visiting is a great way to learn more about local landscapes and horticulture – as well as check out in person some quality print examples, substrates and display ideas.

The landscape, gardens and collections of Haywood Community College and its Campus Arboretum are recognized as “one of the most beautifully landscaped areas in Haywood County.” The current exhibit honors the original vision of landscape architect Doan Ogden as well as the years of continued stewardship over the campus and its collections: greenhouses, a dahlia garden, orchard, working vegetable gardens, rhododendron garden, mill pond and grist mill. The HCC campus today stands as a “tapestry of landscapes that together capture the heritage of he Southern Appalachian Mountains and its people.” This HCC display is made possible through generous gifts from the Charitable Foundation of the International Dendrology Society and individual society members. Proceeds from the sale of exhibit catalog, photos and posters will be used to further education, outreach and stewardship of the Campus Arboretum.

HCC Mill Pond

Photo by Benjamin Porter

The exhibit is located in the Mary Cornwell Gallery of the Creative Arts Building on the HCC campus, and will be open from October 1 through November 19, 2016.

Forest, Farm + Garden, 1966 – 2016 employs a blend of different print, mounting and display techniques to tell the story of 50 years of stewardship on the HCC campus. New photographs by Benjamin Porter as well as historic plans, photos and maps from the founding director John Palmer’s records bring to life the history and achievements. Check out below some of the print techniques that can be used for any permanent or temporary display to engage viewers.

Campus Arboretum HCC display

 

Dye-Sublimation Fabric Printing – colorful graphics and text come alive on the rich texture of fabrics through a process known as dye-sublimation, or “Dye Diffusion Thermal Transfer Printering.” This “soft signage” preserves the drape and texture of fabric, and has the bonus of being lighter in weight and less expensive to ship than heavier traditional signage.

Mounted, Adhesive Vinyl, Wide Format Prints – sharp photographic quality prints on glossy vinyl are great for any large-scale display. The adhesive vinyl substrate provides high quality, colorfast output with vibrant colors. Mounting the finished prints onto foam core, corrugated plastic, or PVC backing provides depth and relief to a wall-mounted display in the same way traditional framing does, but without the expense or hardware.HCC display

Flatbed UV Printing – signage can also be printed directly onto substrates up to 6 inches in depth on a flatbed printer, eliminating the need for mounting. UV print bonds directly to the surface of the substrate and provides clear, full-color output in one step. Print pre-mounted plastic, wood or metal surfaces or even pre-stretched canvases for a stand-out wall display.

Contour Cut Vinyl Lettering – for a great visual display of the written word, contour cut vinyl lettering combines great typography with mountable adhesive for an exhibit with a  museum-quality finish. Letters are laser cut from any color of adhesive vinyl, the excess areas “weeded” away, and the text can then be mounted directly on a wall or display. Printed in reverse, the letters can be mounted on the back of glass or other clear substrates for a see-through effect as well.

Talk to your printer about these and more great ideas to create your own one-of-a-kind exhibit or display for everything from an event or opening to a tradeshow or retail window or lobby display.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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Smash Gives Creatives What They Want: Easy, Unlimited, Ad-Free File Transfer That’s FREE!

 

Smash File Transfer logo

Free? No registration? No size limits? Mobile friendly? And specifically designed for designers?!!

SMASH is a new digital content sharing service based on a model designed to truly give users exactly what we all want when sharing digital files: free, unlimited file size, drag-and-drop simplicity. Throw in mobile accessibility, and easy previews with absolutely no ads and Smash can win you over with one use.

Smash landing page

The idea for Smash came out of a group of creatives in Lyon, France who wanted an easy, no-limits, user-friendly file sharing service that would also bring creatives into closer collaboration. While waiting for your files to transfer, the screen showcases creative works and gives useful information about exhibits and events of interest to creative professionals. The potential here for other great collaborative ideas is huge and the founders are still incubating ideas.

Smash lays out in their news release the benefits and unique characteristics of their file-sharing site in a few simple points:

  • No registration (and no fees, ever!)
  • No size limit on transfers
  • Secure
  • Aesthetic interface (with no ads!)
  • File preview
  • Mobile device access
  • Ability to preview all, then select which files to download

The process is perfectly intuitive: drag and drop files, enter your recipient’s email and a message if desired, then they receive an email with a link to the files where they see previews and can choose what to download. You receive a confirmation email with the links as well, and another notification once your recipient downloads files. The files stay securely on the Smash servers for 7 days and are then deleted. Sweet!

Smash email notifications

 

Launched in February 2016, SMASH encourages a growing community of artists, designers, architects and creative professionals to get involved – showcasing works in their Artist’s Corner, and as a work in progress, the site also encourages suggestions for additions/new features/capabilities for Smash in the future at Smash Ideas.

How can they afford to do this with an ad-free interface? Smash answers: “Smash is free… and will always stay this way! In order to finance Smash, we are working on a new offer that would include many more features, so stay tuned!”

Smash link

Your recipient will see a preview of the attached files and can choose if and which to download.

Give Smash a try and see that file transfer can truly be easy, seamless and free of charge. I hope they are successful and can maintain that model and reach their goal of being able to “impact crucially the creative world.”

Find them at about.fromsmash.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
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What the Success of Snapchat Means for Marketers

 

Snapchat

Content is king. It’s a phrase so overused that you may have nixed it from your digital marketing vocabulary completely. With hundreds of social media platforms sharing content at breakneck speed all over the world, how small business marketers continue to evolve and stand head and shoulders above all the chatter? The answer is content, but not just any content. Consumers are savvier, smarter and have higher expectations than ever. The content that will get you a gold crown has to be relentlessly consistent and inherently personal. If you have any doubt, look at how Snapchat has changed the face of social media with over 100 million active users and 7 billion daily video views.

Behind the Scenes Is Where It’s At

Brand consistency gets a lot of hype, and for good reason. Your audience has to feel like they can rely on the brand they love and trust. But in a fast food, first-come first-served, fight-for-your-right-to-party kind of world, consumers are now looking for more than a Coke and a smile. They want to see a brand evolve. They want to see behind the scenes. In fact, they expect it.

Snapchat is used by the masses, but it’s also used by the White House, professional sports teams, Amazon and CNN, all showing a more informal, humor-driven side. This adds dimension and relatability, which engages audiences on another level. Unlike the beautiful and professional images of Instagram and the carefully curated Facebook content planned out in advance on Hootsuite, Snapchat is instant, impermanent and truly of the moment. It’s also proof that consumers are interested in unpolished, real-life appeals.

Make It Easy and Make It Personal

Snapchat is the first social media platform to give users their own QR code as an inherent part of the user profile. While many businesses have used QR codes to drive traffic to a social media platform, website or microsite, Snapchat puts the focus on the user by giving them a code they can use to gain followers and connect with new friends. Both Elle Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar have changed their Twitter profile pictures to their Snapchat QR codes. All their followers have to do to follow them on Snap is take a screenshot of their profile picture, open Snapchat, go to add friends, tap add by Snapcode and select the screenshot. Easy, fast and no typing required.

Always Be Pushing Content

If there’s one thing to take away from the Snapchat revolution is that it’s OK to get real with your target audience. The fact of the matter is that perfectly polished content takes time and money, both of which are going into the pockets of your competitors while you’re perfecting every Instagram post and analyzing all 140 Twitter characters.

Get a cellphone with an impressive camera, like the HTC One M9, so you’re always ready to capture the moment. Get a cheap, phone-friendly tripod or camera stabilization equipment made specifically for shooting video on your cellphone for less than $30. Just don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be perfect, edited or directly related to your product to hit home with your audience. Just give them a warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about your brand.

We understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

 

 

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. 
Contact us at ImageSmith.com or call us at 828-684-4512 for quotes on all your print and marketing projects.
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5 Bright Ideas to Inspire Your Creativity

 

Scientist in lab with paper airplanes

Creative thinking is a valuable skill in any line of work. Inevitably we all have days where that creative spirit seems to be missing, or we fall into work habits that ignore the benefits and fun we experience in exploring our creative thoughts. Here are five ideas to boost and foster creative thinking and problem-solving.

Play More

Navy pilot with paper airplanePlay isn’t just for kids. According to The Leadership Guy, Peter Economy, writing for Inc., creative people revisit their inner child on daily basis, finding opportunities to play both at home and at work. A variety of research studies have shown that play has a large impact on the way we think and work creatively. One body of research dates back to 1967. In this study participants were given the task to imagine multiple uses for one object. Results showed that the participants were more likely to come up with more ideas if they were first allowed to tinker or play with the object first. For graphic designers, the process of doodling - playing around freely with ideas -  often frees the mind to wander and begin exploring the options that form the basis of a great design. If you’re looking to spark creativity, take some time to play first. And if you want to keep the creative juices flowing, you must promote and accept play as well.

Don’t Be Afraid to Daydream

Clouds in a blue skyTake time from your day to let your mind wander. This act can significantly impact your creative thinking. According to Inc., research shows daydreaming can bring out the best in our creative selves, as it stimulates connections in our brains and allows us to consider ideas we may not have initially considered. Additionally, allowing your mind to wander enhances your ability to problem solve, reports Psychology Today. A study from 2009 out of the University of British Columbia found that daydreaming can help solve problems. Creativity itself is often defined as, at its core, a process of solving problems. Taking the time to relax and let your mind wander is a healthy habit, but far too often is characterized as an impediment to production. On the contrary, it can restore and re-energize.

Travel Often

Suitcase with worldwide travel stickersExperts say that if you want a more creative brain, the answer can be found in traveling more often. Experiencing the world can open the mind to new ways of thinking, reports The Atlantic. Both psychologists and neuroscientists believe that traveling can affect a mental change, changing and revitalizing the way our brains are wired, opening up our minds and allowing us to think creatively. All of this comes from sights, sounds, even smells of the places we travel, which spark different synapses in our brains. Whether you take up residence in Washington D.C. or travel across the globe, you’re likely to come back more creative than ever before.

Take up a Hobby

Painting on a canvasWhile work is important, it’s equally important to have a hobby or activity that you’re fond of outside of the office. Whether you prefer painting on canvas, posting a blog or cooking in the kitchen, having a way to express your creative side through a hobby or side project can impact your everyday creativity. Fast Company reports that having a hobby can make us better at many aspects of our lives. Still skeptical? When Google began its 20 percent rule, which allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time exploring creative side projects, they were surprised to see an 80 percent increase in both productivity and creativity at work.

Be a Risk Taker

pair of dice showing 7Being creative and taking risks go hand-in-hand, as most creative thinkers are big, big risk takers. To envision a product, bring the product to life and then put it out there for the world to see is quite risky. But the rewards are plentiful. Imagine, where would we be if nobody ever took a risk?

 

Also – be sure to regularly take time to check out the creativity of others. In every field, people are continually pushing the boundaries in unique ways. Admiring what others have created will often nurture your own creative spirit with new ideas and excitement.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Personalization - our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeap.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.
Posted in Creativity, Design, Graphic Design, Psychology, Small Business, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off