Marketing Lessons to Be Learned from the Government Shutdown

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with more than 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

With the government shutdown, we see Republicans and Democrats failing to communicate. Stalemates are no fun and they certainly are unproductive, costly and demoralizing.  shutdownonlyRemember, it is not which party you are in. Rather it is about keeping the party going…

Here’s some helpful tips to make us all better marketing communicators and to keep the party going:

1.  Find a microphone and get on the soapbox. Communication is the key to reaching your clients, target audience, suppliers and employees. Don’t do what Congress did, namely, to stop talking. It’s not a bunch of relatives having a typical family spat! Instead, do the opposite.  Your medium is really the microphone. Use it and blast the message out regularly.  And don’t skip issues of your publications.  It is always best to keep the communication regular and flowing. Turn up the volume; keep it colorful; keep it lively. The tide will eventually turn.

2)  Shake hands with your competition.  Never overlook who may be your future allies or business partners. Putting heads together and cooperating can help you better deal with emerging trends and might be an opportunity for sharing equipment, information, promotions and skills that could benefit both entities.

Quote3)  Find compromise with the client.  Don’t be a prima donna who is married to every word or graphic as if it is a masterpiece. Make the client your partner.  It’s not a game.  It is simply a process to deliver a successful marketing package, newsletter promotion, collateral or advertisement.  There’s no need to feel defeated even if your vision is not brought to life in full regalia. Continue reading

Pixels Made Perfect

Many of our readers sent us e-mails giving us a thumbs-up on our last blog post, Jumping Off the Edge. As a result, we have decided to create another blog post about unusual border treatments. This time, we used pixels as our special effect.

A pixelated border treatment is a great special effect for newsletters on communication, technology, the Web, and electronics. It can also be used for other topics such as automobiles, sports, transportation and corporate communications. Used in the right combination, these graphics can help create successful corporate communications.  Take a look at our masthead. It employs a pixel treatment.

The newsletter below uses a unique pixelated reverse fill. Digital-Newsletter

Here’s some examples of different pixelated border effects.





cardigitized face-digitzedTo find out more about how we can help create an interesting edge effect for your company’s newsletter, collateral or e-publication, contact HWDS at

After all, we live in a digital world.  Why not make your newsletter pixel perfect?

Print Budget On the Line? Hang Up and Switch to an Online Newsletter

Has your print budget virtually disappeared in this age of digital media?  Don’t despair.  Online e-newsletters and e-publications are here to help. Join the trend and you will see how quickly you become a believer in online media.

Indeed, by switching to an e-newsletter you will have the ability to:

1) save money.  No longer do you have to worry about print, mailing and distribution costs. Yes, there are programming costs but these are usually quite a bit less than printing, postage and fulfillment.

2) have the world as your audience. Your newsletter has the potential to reach people around the world. No longer do you have to confine your readership to just your mailing list.

3) publish content that is up-to-date and current. You can get the information out quickly and keep it current with regular updates or supplemental articles. No longer do you have to wait for the printer and “snail mail” to distribute content that in many cases is weeks old. Continue reading

Creating Effective Newsletters: Tip #12—Make Mom Smile

Any newsletter can look great when you feature an article on Mother’s Day. Flowers, jewelry, pretty blouses and scarfs are great items to showcase or to use simply as decorative elements. All you need is a camera, a computer, Adobe Photoshop and some artistic ingenuity.

In this example, we took  some close-up photos of the items. All shots were taken outdoors. Then we knocked out the backgrounds in Photoshop. We then added the typeface, Storefront, for the headline and wrapped the body text around the gifts and flowers. That’s all there is to it. In fewer than two hours you can have a great layout and mom will be happy too!

How Mom Can Help Create Your Effective Newsletter

How Mom Can Help Create Your Effective Newsletter

This a great idea for newsletters on Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, women’s apparel, jewelry, women’s accessories or retail merchandising.

Creating Effective Newsletters: Tip #11—Leaf it Alone

Original-photo-of-leavesLeaves can be great stand-alone graphics to add visual interest to an otherwise static layout. Try adding a leaf or two to your article. The topic does not necessarily have to focus on gardening or nature. Instead it could be an article or newsletter on spring, fall, healthy living, outdoor living, recreation, housing, recycling, real estate or clean air.

Furthermore, leaves can serve as interesting patterns behind text and great shapes for wrapping text around. Try experimenting with the different shapes by clipping out the background in Adobe Photoshop.

Leaves also add much color to a page layout. The intense green, brown and yellowish hues can really “warm up” a page. Try using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to extract the colors for use as solid backgrounds behind text or for the borders of photos. Whatever the use, you will be pleased with the result. This type of graphical treatment is  fun, colorful and easy to create.

Next time you are in a pinch don’t be left hanging from a branch without a design approach.  Try “leafing” it.

Sample newsletter article with leaves

Sample newsletter article with leaves

Creating Effective Newsletters: Tip #7—Open Your Refrigerator

Here’s a great idea for spicing up a newsletter based on healthcare, fitness, nutrition, cooking or food:

Take advantage of ordinary food items in your refrigerator. Photograph close-up shots of fruit and vegetables. Outline and knock out the backgrounds in Photoshop, adjust the color density and then add these images to your newsletter. Wrap text around the fruit vegetables or place these elements at the corners of the page. We have included some examples below.

Including photos of fruit and vegetables adds color and interesting shapes to an otherwise static newsletter. You’ll be pleased with the results and how easy this is to do. And then you can have fun eating your visual enhancements as well. What fun!originalsforBloginddbar Blognewsletters