13 ways to trick your client into happiness

The art of making your customers love the designs you create.

In an ideal world our clients would think like designers. In an ideal world our clients have a good knowledge of marketing. In an ideal world they think logically and communicate clearly. Well folks, this is not an ideal world. And, unfortunately, our clients do not think like a designer. They don’t necessarily know the basics of marketing or branding. They are not designers. That’s why they’ve hired us.

title image for trick your customer

Now, if we could just get them to trust us. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, what’s left? I’ve got It! We’ll TRICK them. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I’ve developed a few techniques over the years that help me “trick” my customers. These tricks are for both of our benefit. I trick them into picking the best design and trick them into being happy. It’s a win-win.

1. Lower your customer’s expectations. Ok, I’m not suggesting you tell the customer: “Your design is going to suck.” But I AM suggesting that you set your customer up with realistic expectations. Don’t promise the world. And if they’re ASKING for

The Dreaded Design Lull – 9 Ways to Get Out of a Slump

Recognizing and reacting to a slowdown in design work.

I can remember clearly when it was just me alone in my apartment running this design firm. It was easy to stay busily and happily working on a non-stop string of client projects for months on end. Then unexpectedly one day – I would notice something strange. I felt depressed. I felt tired. I couldn’t seem to stay focused. I was more inclined to surf the web than work on my projects.

The design lull

Was I losing my ambition? Was I a no-good bum? Was I burnt out? No. I was just in a design lull. The work on my plate had suddenly stopped or lightened significantly.

Essential Strategies to Inking Your Pencil Drawings

Meet The Staff: Bill Beachy

For those of you that ask: “How did Go Media get started?” Well, here is the story. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll think I’m crazy! You’ll also see some cool artwork and learn a little too I hope.
William A. Beachy

I spent my entire childhood drawing. I had a huge box of crayons. Actually it was an entire drawer from a small dresser. I would pull it out, set it on the ground next to my paper, lay down and draw for hours. I did this just about every day. For some reason I had it in my mind that all children all around the world were doing the exact same thing. What else was there? I didn’t realize that I had artistic parents that went out of their way to encourage my involvement in art. I guess

Become a Master Designer: Rule Four: Spacing Is Your Friend

Learn about proper spacing

Part Four of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer.

Sorry for the long delay in releasing this latest installment of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer. We have been slammed here at Go Media and I literally haven’t been able to touch anything except paying projects for the past two months. Enough complaining. On with the show!

This lesson is all about layout and spacing. One mistake I see young designers make frequently is that they cram everything too close together. They try to put too much content in too small of a space. Space is your friend! Space does many things for you. It makes your copy easier to read. Space makes your over-all composition easier on the eyes of the audience. And space also makes your design look elegant. You’re telling the audience: “we’re so rich we can afford to use this entire poster to communicate this one little message.”

So, there is a basic strategy for the layout (spacing) of your design. And that strategy is: HAVE ONE. What I mean is – have a plan. Have a system. This is the first thing. Unless your GOAL is to make the entire layout look random, you’re going to need a plan. This is usually accomplished with a grid. The grid can be any style you want. But you need to have an underlying system to what you’re about to do. Here are a few examples of different grids, just so you can get a sense of how different or unique your grid can be.

Sample design grids

Now, here is some of the same content laid out three different

Home Sweet Home

Exterior of Building

It’s a new year and an exciting new development at Go Media is finally starting to take shape. Go Media is starting to build out a new headquarters! We hope that this new work environment will be the envy of all designers. Ok, It may not be THAT nice – but it will be a huge step up from our current facility.

deconstruction

One thing I have always preached in business is being frugal. Earn the money before you spend it. And in keeping with that philosophy – we have had to keep our overhead down (since we’ve been poor.) In order to keep our overhead down, we’ve run Go Media out of my apartment, then out of a duplex and currently out of my townhouse. But this past year we finally had the good fortune (and need) to move beyond our 600 square foot livingroom/dining room space that 7 (soon 9) total staff members currently occupy.

Side of Building

So, on December 27, 2007 after a year-long search Go Media closed on a 15,000 square foot three story warehouse that we are going to turn into our headquarters. We are obviously VERY excited about this new opportunity we’ve been lucky enough to achieve. We’re making sure we have all of our bases covered as well, we looked at all the top coverage plans for homeowners before deciding on the one we were going to go with. We wanted to make sure we were properly covered and insured so that if a tragedy were to happen we would be able to jump back to our feet instead of having to give up for good.

desconstruction

I am going to post some blogs like this to document the design and build-out of our space. I wanted to make a quick shout-out to the hard working staff of Go Media that made this possible, John Wagner my realtor that pushed this deal through and our bank that is lending us some of the money to help pay for everything. Much thanks! See more photos after the jump or just check out our Flickr album that will constantly be updated with new photos as we renovate the building.

Become a Master Designer: Rule Three: Contrast, Contrast, Contrast

Part Three of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer.

Read Rule 1 and Rule 2

contrast in your design


Good contrast in your design goes hand-in-hand with your color selections. Contrast is the value difference between the colors on your design. Value is how bright or dark the color (ink) is. Ever see a blank white canvas and as a joke someone says: “Hey – it’s a white cow in a snow storm!” This is an example of no contrast. White on white is no contrast – you can’t see anything.

Elementary right? I mean what kind of stupid tutorial is this? I’m explaining that the piece I’m designing needs to be visible??

Become a Master Designer: Rule Two: Limit Your Colors

Rule Two: Limit your colors.
Part Two of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer courtesy of Cleveland logo designers, Go Media

Rule Two: Limit Your Colors. Sounds a lot like the last rule of limiting your fonts right? Exactly! We want to limit our colors for the same reason we want to limit our fonts. Reducing the number of colors we use in our design will make the piece feel consistent. Basically, everything will look like it goes together. Just like a sports team’s uniform or a company’s branding – we want a uniform over-all look to the colors.

As with the font selection, limiting the number of your colors is just a guide not a rule. You could very well have a rainbow of colors in your design and it will look great. But you need to start with a coloring strategy and stick with it. Use your color consistently throughout your design.

For starters lets talk about color values. A color’s value is how bright or dark the color is.

Become a Master Designer: Rule One: Limit your fonts

rules for font use

Part One of Seven Easy Principles to Becoming a Master Designer.

Rules about Using Fonts:

Ok, “master designer” might be a bit of a stretch – but you can at least become a “proficient designer” by following 7 easy principles. This will be the shortest, most informative series of blog posts you’ve ever read on how to become a better designer. Please note: these principles CAN be broken… these are not laws, they’re just general guides that all of us designers at Cleveland design firm, Go Media, typically follow when putting together a design.

Follow these simple design principles and you’ll be on your way to artistic excellence.

Principle One: Limit Your fonts. A big part of putting together a good design, as you’ll see, is making sure the over-all look is consistent. The best way to accomplish a consistent look to your design is limiting the number

Beginner’s Guide to Driving Web Traffic

beginners guide to driving web traffic

You’ve manufactured your product, paid the talented artists at Go Media Inc. to build your website, posted it live on the internet and then sat back, put your feet up and waited for the cash to start flowing in. But there was a problem. It didn’t. What the heck went wrong? You constantly heard about the fortunes being made on the internet. Where is your slice of the pie? You know you have a good product and the website design is top notch (naturally.) So, what’s wrong?

An Open Letter to Student Designers

Knowville Illustration by Dave Tevenal

Advice for Graphic Design Students

About twice a week I will get a letter from a student or young graphic designer that asks me a variety of questions. Typically they are questions like: “How do I get started in the design industry?”, “What software should I study?”, and “How can I work for Cleveland Design firm, Go Media?”

After writing lots of very long emails, I thought perhaps I should put together an article of my answers and post it here so that everyone can read it.

I want to stress that these are only my opinions (I’m William A. Beachy). These are not necessarily the opinions of everyone at my firm (Go Media Inc). And, they are only that: opinions. There are a great many ways to design, a great many ways to get into the industry and a lot of different pieces of software. I can only give you my recommendations based on my personal experiences. If I say something that does not fit with what you’re doing don’t necessarily stop what you’re doing, Just take my advice and log it in your brain. Over time you will figure out what works for you.

So here goes.

Does Go Media offer internships?

We do have very few limited internships. We are typically looking for designers that are in their junior year of college. Basically, you need to have enough skills to come in and be a productive employee. While you will learn a lot as an intern

From Sketch to Vector Illustration

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Go Media’s Design Blog – where our talented graphic designers share their wisdom with our fellow artists. There has been such a wonderful response on my vector art tutorial “Beautiful Vector Illustration” that I thought I better write another one. If you recall in that tutorial I discussed how to create vector illustrations using photographs as your starting point. A technique of vector illustrating that takes a little bit more skill that I did not cover is starting with a hand drawn sketches. I will focus on that technique of vector illustrating for this tutorial.

For those of you without good sketching ability – please don’t jump ship just yet! I will also discuss a number of tips and techniques to using your pen tool that applies to ALL vector artists – so keep reading. You’ll still learn a thing or two. And who knows – maybe you try to sketch something anyway.

I am going to meander a bit between different sketches, but here is one example of a vector illustration that was based off of a sketch.

Mr Gnome Poster

This is a design our firm was hired to do for the rock band Mr. Gnome. The theme was straight forward,

Beautiful Vector Illustration

One thing we do regularly at Go Media is create beautiful vector people. Having illustrated hundreds of these, I have worked out a few tips that I would like to share with you. This will make your job much easier.

Here is the final image we will be creating:

In this tutorial I will cover:

  1. Picking a photo
  2. Limiting your detail (picking a value range)
  3. Reducing work with better vectorizing techniques
  4. Exaggerating the good
  5. Putting it all together

Before we get started: Here are a few basics we need to cover before we begin. We are discussing creating vector illustrations of people. For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Adobe Illustrator. Macromedia Freehand

Tutorial: Comic Book Style Graphic Design

Tutorial: Comic Book Style Graphic Design

Hey designers, want to meet the Go Media team? Attend our all-inclusive soul-fulfilling three-day design retreat, WMC: Off-The-Grid, this October 5 – 7th. To learn more, head to wmcfest.com.

We have often been asked the process by which we create our illustrated flyers and posters. I will try to give you a clear tutorial on how our Ohio graphic designers create our illustrations and turn them into flyers or posters. Our end product will be this flyer which was created for our recent Go Media Inc. art show:

Before I go into an insane amount of details I want to give you a quick snap-shot of the process:

  1. Draw with Pencil on Paper.
  2. Ink your penciled artwork.
  3. Scan your artwork at 300 dpi.
  4. Create a second copy of the artwork at 150 dpi.
  5. Create a color layer just under the artwork (set your artwork layer to multiply)
  6. Color your artwork.
  7. Delete the artwork layer, and return the color layer to 300dpi
  8. Open the original 300dpi artwork and paste it above the color layer.
  9. Flatten the image and save it.
  10. Import the image into your design software
  11. Add text and graphics
  12. Export the final design.

Step 1. Draw with Pencil on Paper. The very first step is the pencil drawing. I could write a novel about how to draw, but this tutorial will focus on the process of the steps it takes to go from pencil drawing to the finished, designed, commercial piece of artwork.

Tools you’ll need:

Paper: I use a plate finish Bristol. This type of paper is heavy enough

Expert Advice: What Makes a Great Logo Design?

What Makes a Great Logo Design?

Having a quality Corporate Identity (Commonly referred to as a “logo”) is the critical first step in building a business!

Go Media Bumball Co Logo

What makes a great corporate Identity? (What makes a great logo?)
Your corporate Identity must have several characteristics to make it “great.”

First and foremost your logo must be relatively simple. A logo needs to be instantly recognizable at great distances or when printed at very small sizes. Often times we will have clients request extremely complex logos. These complex logos do accomplish one of our goals of a great logo; they further the brand by communicating a message. Unfortunately that message is only delivered to the customer successfully when they have the time and proximity to take in all the details of the art. A complex logo looses it’s effectiveness on a billboard when a potential customer has only a moment to glance up at your logo. Something too complex may look like nothing more than a blob of color to a passing driver. My all-time favorite example of a great “simple” logo is the Nike swoosh.