Graphic Redesign: Easter Mailer (part 1)

Hi! Happy Monday. Thanks for the nice comments on my last post–it seemed like it was more popular than some of my other Thankful Thursdays, for whatever reason. 🙂

Today I have another redesign–this time an Easter mailer my friend C passed on to me. You can read my disclaimers about this type of post here.

This was put out a couple of years ago to advertise the various church services available in Blockhouse Bay (Auckland, New Zealand), but in order to keep things somewhat anonymous, I blurred out the names/locations and put in generic names on mine. I think you’ll still get the idea of the changes, though. This is just the inside of the mailer, and I’ll hopefully do the outside in a separate post.

ORIGINAL:

MY UPDATES:

As always, there are lots of other ways this could’ve been done, and lots of improvements that could be made to my quick redesign, but here are some of the changes and why I made them:

1. I changed the background to white. Since this is an Easter piece, I wanted to give it more of a fresh “Eastery” feel. (Which is going to be different for everyone, I realize.) I kept it in black and white because that restriction was put on C as well, for cost reasons. I wanted to stick with the original guidelines as well as I could.

2. I added a background image to liven things up and give texture, but still leave plenty of room for all of the text. It’s hopefully not too feminine, and in this case it seems like it can work for the southern hemisphere since Easter is in the fall. Hopefully it doesn’t look silly…hey, I’ve never designed for anything in New Zealand before! But for the record, my lovely Australian friend Danielle says, “We take most of our holiday cues from America anyway, so hills and flowers and bunnies and things all factor into Easter here.” So I guess I’m safe. 🙂

(2-b. I found this image for free on Vecteezy, but there are a number of sites with either paid or free (usually with some restrictions) images. If you’re interested, one day I can give you a list of ones I use.)

3. I made the title more prominent and in a font I felt better reflected the holiday.

4. I added some lines to help separate the text a little so it’s easier to read. If my church secretary is reading, I bet she noticed that this actually looks a lot like my church bulletin that I designed, so I guess I’m a little predictable. 🙂 (Okay, a lot.) NOTE: A common “mistake” I see is when lines are too thick. There is a time for every line thickness, but make sure it goes with the overall design and feel. In this case I wanted them more delicate and kept them at .25pt.

5. I organized the info so it was more consistent. In the original, each took on a different order of dates, services and times, so I rearranged things. When there’s a lot of text, it’s extra important to make everything as clear as possible. Otherwise people might just toss it aside instead of trying to decipher it.

6. I kept my margins roomy and balanced. I like a nice cushion. I don’t want text to get really close to the edge of the page, nor do I want my margins to be inconsistent. There are a few different margins within this piece, and I tried to make them feel balanced. The bottom margin under the church listings is larger than the one above it, but I felt it worked okay in this situation and would be better than trying to stretch the text to fill the inner box.

It’s quite possible that I didn’t capture the look that the church producing this was after. Maybe they wanted something more contemporary, for instance. Those would be things I’d consider if I were actually hired for the job, but as it was I didn’t ask C too many questions about it other than whether it had to be in black and white. Anyway, thanks for reading!

Any questions?

If you have a piece you’d like to submit for me to possibly makeover, please email it to me at jessica @ greengatephoto.com. Thanks!

Graphic Redesign: PowerPoint Slide

I’m back with another redesign! Thanks so much to all who commented (whether on the blog, in email, or otherwise) with nice words. I’m really happy you liked the information!

You can read my disclaimers about this type of post here.

Today I have another PowerPoint slide from M. My last post was also for a PowerPoint slide, if you missed it. Heeeeeeere we go!

ORIGINAL:

MY UPDATES:

I’m going to touch on some of my changes but not overwhelm you, so please feel free to ask if I don’t explain something you’re wondering about.

1. There are several directions one can take with the background and design. For simplicity, and to better show the differences, I stuck with basically the same background graphic again. I did some Photoshop things to it in order to resize it for PowerPoint (7.5″ x 10″), and I also changed the hue. I felt the blue was a little sterile and uninviting. Since the slide is aimed at people who aren’t very computer savvy, I wanted to be sure there was some warmth in the slide so it would create a more cheery and fun association with something they might currently feel is frustrating or dull.

(If I were to spend more time on it and change it more dramatically, I might incorporate a photo with happy adults using a computer in order to give it a more personal and human feel.)

2. I also faded the background a bit and toned down the corner decorations so they wouldn’t be stealing attention away from the message.

3. Again, I emphasized the main message of the slide, which is that there are computer classes. I also moved it down because I think it’s more comfortable for the viewer when the main point is located closer to just above the middle of the page. (This is something I do subconsciously and never really thought about, but I noticed recently that it’s one of my habits with certain pieces. I have a theory on why, but won’t overload this post with it.)

5. I put the courses in a setup that more resembles a class schedule, since that’s essentially what it is. I think it makes it a little easier to read and understand. One of my main goals in design is to make something easy to understand.

6. Changing the times (2:00-3:00, etc.) to have additional zeroes was mostly to help distinguished them from the dates above. There are times I wouldn’t use the zeroes, so it’s not about right or wrong. It really depends on the piece.

7. I used gray instead of black because the black seemed too harsh with the soft shades of orange.

8. I made the bottom line in the same orange font as the title mostly to help balance out the slide.

I think those are my main changes. Any questions?

If you have a piece you’d like to submit for me to possibly makeover, please email it to me at jessica @ greengatephoto.com. Thanks!

Graphic Redesign: PowerPoint Slide

The other day I was giving a friend a few suggestions for something she had designed, and an idea came to me: what if I did quick redesigns on amateur work and gave design/layout tips in the process? Most people encounter graphic design projects, both at work and in their personal lives, in the form of invitations, signs, cards, banners, etc. The tips I will discuss are mainly for beginners, and can be applied to many types of software (or even markers and posterboard).

So as not to overload this post, I have started a disclaimers page in case I decide to make this a regular feature. Have a look. Now let’s dive in to this first design!

A friend of mine graciously volunteered this PowerPoint slide that she made for work. Like many people, she has ended up in charge of creating slides and other publicity pieces in her job even though she’s not a designer. I think this is a common situation. Thank you, M, for letting me make a few changes to your slide!

[ETA: I forgot to mention that I did not design this in PowerPoint–generally I design slides in another program (like InDesign or PhotoShop) so I have control over how they show up on other computers. If I want some text editable to anyone with PowerPoint, I’ll just add that after designing the more permanent parts.]

ORIGINAL:

MY UPDATES:

Okay, I’ll just point out some of the main changes and why I did them.

1. An important part of design is to grab the viewers attention with something that’ll keep them reading. The most interesting thing this slide has to say is that there is a game night. The rest of the details, important as they are, are secondary, and shouldn’t steal the show. They only matter to people who actually have an interest in that sort of event. Therefore, I let “Game Night” be large and central enough to draw the eye first.

2. In this particular case it was simple for me to use the same slide background, so I did so for the sake of easy comparison. (In some makeovers I might have to change the pictures used.) Any number of designs and colors would work on such a slide, and this one works fine. But if I were going to be spending more time on it, I’d possibly find a background that was more game-related.


3. I flipped the background to be a mirror image of itself. Why? This might just be preference, but I tend to think a border design like this works better on the left. I think one reason is because we all start reading on the left, and it helps comfortably guide the eye instead of drawing it over past the wording and then making it backtrack.

4. Choosing a font can be a huge task. My coworkers and I often lament what a pain it is to find exactly what we’re looking for. It’s easy to spend too much time on it, but there are definitely things to consider in choosing an appropriate font. That information could be a post (or book) on its own, so for now I’ll just say that I went with something very basic and clean here, and I chose something with a round feel to reflect the roundness of the polka dot design.

5. I removed unnecessary text. I only include things like “when” and “where” when it’s adding to the design or if the information is confusing without the labels.

6. I added a few dots to the right to give it balance and frame the message. It felt a little heavy on the left, so this particular background was simple enough that I could add some circles on the right in the same color. The large green dot to the right of “Game” attracts the eye to the title more than itself, which is handy.

Okay, so those are the basic changes. Any questions? I tried to stay concise, though I don’t know if I succeeded. 🙂

If you have a piece you’d like to submit for me to possibly makeover, please email it to me at jessica @ greengatephoto.com. Thanks!