Monday, November 30, 2009

Really Useful Gifts

As our thoughts turn to planning family dinners and exchanging gifts, a remarkable catalog arrives in the mail. ADRA's Original Really Useful Gift Catalog 2009 is brimming with gifts that will change lives. Gift options range from $1 that will send a Bulgarian Roma (Gypsy) child to school for a day to $1,000 that will fund the installation of a water pump in the arid flatlands of Afghanistan. If you can't find what you are looking for there, try the Heifer International gift catalog here. Who says one person can't make a difference?

Photo Credits 1, 2

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." —John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gold Award—Annual Calendar Card

Our 2009 holiday card and calendar received a Gold Award from the Sixth Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards competition in which nearly 2,000 entries were evaluated by a national panel of judges. Our black-and-white themed calendar featured a desk display stand and a unique card for each month.

Are printed calendars passe'? We think not, if the design is fresh and the size well suited to the audience. After all, what else can you give to your friends that can be used 365 days of the year?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Brain That Changes Itself

For 400 years, mainstream medicine and science believed that brain anatomy was fixed. The common wisdom was that after childhood the brain changed only when it began the long process of decline; that when brain cells failed to develop properly, or were injured, or died, they could not be replaced. Nor could the brain ever alter its structure and find a new way to function if part of it was damaged... [This] theory decreed that people who were born with brain or mental limitations, or who sustained brain damage, would be limited...for life.

We now know that the brain changes its structure with each different activity it performs, and that if certain parts fail, other parts sometimes take over. This process, called neuroplasticity, has been the most significant learning about the brain since its basic anatomy was first mapped.

The Brain That Changes Itself is a fascinating must-read that chronicles stories of how this theory is impacting people once labeled retarded, those with learning disabilities, stroke victims, those with OCD, and others whose brains have failed them in traditional ways.

Order this book by Norman Doidge, MD here.

Source: Paraphrased and quoted from the book's preface.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is your outdoor advertising working?

If not, consider these tips:
  • Use high contrast colors. One study shows that high color contrast can improve out-of-home advertising recall by 38%.
  • Keep the message readable in four to five seconds—generally seven words or less.
  • Use big fonts. Always test your type either the old fashioned way, by printing out a sample line in actual size and viewing it from a distance, or by using on-line tools supplied by outdoor companies.
  • Select readable, bold fonts, and avoid ornate and serif fonts.
  • Allow enough kerning to keep the letters from streaming together.

Outdoor remains a very effective medium in many applications—one that is cost-effective and impossible to ignore. Just be sure to use your space wisely.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring Our Heroes

Veteran's Day never passes without me pausing to think about the countless lives that have been given in the name of freedom. My dad is a veteran from the Korean War. When they ask the veterans to stand in church once a year to be recognized, it always brings tears to my eyes.

In honor of those who still stand, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I dedicate this moment to their lives and their memories. May we all live in a way deserving of their service.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Word Doctor—Be Concise

As my college professor ingrained in me, there is no such thing as good writing—only good re-writing. Almost always, a sentence can be improved by shortening it in the editing process. For example:

Before: It is always the case that by the end of the day we aren't finished with the projects that were assigned to us.
After: We're never done by the end of the day.

It takes more time to write concisely, so it can easily be mistaken as an effortless task. But don't let brevity fool you. To paraphrase Mark Twain, If I had more time, I would have made it shorter.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Award of Merit—Canadian T-shirt

This shirt, designed to promote Walla Walla University's financial aid package for Canadians, proved to be not only popular on campus, but award-winning as well. It won an Award of Merit for Imprinted Materials in the 6th Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards. More than 250 advertising agencies and 800 service institutions participated. The shirt was printed in spot metallic silver and red on both black and white shirts.

We like to think of apparel as yet another in a galaxy of media options--but one with no media buy fees. Of course, not every message is suitable for apparel, but it pays to at least consider this in your mix.

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