In a World Wide Web of Design: Here Are the Best Sites for Inspiration

Face it, a good website is all about design. Content comes in at a distant second. Without a gripping and easy-to-use design, users will just move on to the next website. If you’re feeling a little “designer block” in developing your killer website, we’ve developed the ultimate list of go-to sites for inspiration. Take a gander. Trust me, these will provide the inspirational key to unlock your site’s creative and imaginative potential.

 

  • Dribble
    Dribble may be one of the best known inspirational sites offering quick but effective creative shots. This quick and dirty site offers an endless catalog of images, and each click takes you to a single, stand-along image submitted by graphic designers the world over. What also makes this site interesting is that some shots are teasers from the artist of what’s to come – many are works in progress. However, there are even more that are final products which will inspire your inner creativeness. To add even more, Dribble also has a blog and podcast where you can get top-notch design advice and listen to some in-depth interviews from the sites operators.

 

 

  • Abduzeedo
    The easy-to-navigate site Abduzeedo.com is a design feature in and of itself. In addition to the eye-catching photos on the landing page, the global collective provides their favorite articles about design, photography, digital interfaces, and architecture. There are also sets of helpful tutorials regarding Photoshop, digital illustration and UX design. Even better, it’s all free to use. Also, while you’re there, take a look at their free Wallpaper of the week from various artists.

 

 

  • Designspiration
    Designspiration is exactly what its name implies: design and inspiration all rolled into one complete package. Think of Designspiration as like a Pinterest for designers. The site allows users to create their own profile and share their work with a creative community. It’s incredibly simple to organize bookmarks and create personal collections based on style, color or any other design attribute.

 

 

  • Formfiftyfive
    Formfiftyfive, or FFF, is run by a large community of designers, coders and artists. The smooth and sleek website is packed with interviews and photos essays from up-and-coming artists. FFF is constantly looking for the newest talent and anyone can submit their portfolio on the site. Moreover, there’s also a huge section with job openings and upcoming digital events. Unlike some of the other sites, FFF provides short videos that are sure to ignite that creative fire underneath you.

 

 

  • Ads of the World
    Ads of the World is a little different from other sites like FFF or Dribble. Its layout is astonishingly simple and is perfect for casually browsing to find inspiration. The site, as the name implies, features ad campaigns by allowing users to click on one of four categories: “latest ads”, “top ads”, “collections” and “student ads”. With no unnecessary filler or confusing tags, it actually makes ad browsing fun, and inspirational. Whether you’re looking for content related to computer sales or the Super Bowl, the “collections” tab will undoubtedly provide you with more than you can handle.

 

 

  • The Die Line
    DieLine is another site that virtually every designer worth their weight has heard of. It’s almost impossible to put together a list of design inspiration sites without mentioning the powerhouse DieLine (at least not a good list). For those of you living on the moon over the past couple years, DieLine places a heavy emphasis on packaging with a very active and current blog. The site is so heavily curated by exceptional artists that even each blog can provide enough inspiration to make your head spin. Even better, DieLine features job postings and opportunity to have your own work published on the world-famous design site. Make sure to give yourself enough time before you head over though – you’ll need it.


There you have it. 6 of the most inspirational design sites on the web. This is where I stop writing, and you stop reading and start browsing these incredible sites to get that inspiration to create your own eye-popping site. God speed.  

7 Reasons Why Catalogs are the Marketing Tool King

It’s no longer accurate to say that readers are moving toward a digital preference to receive their content. Readers aren’t moving that way, they’re already there. In a world controlled by information consumed online, one thing remains true: people engage through stories. While many marketing mediums prove successful, it’s the age old wonder of the traditional catalog that remains king. Catalogs offer the intrigue of a story, the convenience of a flip-book and the connection to a brand that’s often lost in other marketing tools. Here are 7 reasons why catalogs still dominate the marketing industry.  

 

 

  • Tell A Story

 

One of the main differences between a catalog and other forms of hard-copy marketing is that they tell the story of a product. Through photos, tag lines and even history of a product, consumers can obtain enormous amounts of information from a single page. These stories help consumers connect with a product or brand on an emotional level and can inspire action.   

 

 

  • Influence Purchase Decisions

 

Here’s a couple interesting statistics: according to a recent survey by the USPS, 72% of people say that catalogs make them more interested in a retailer’s products, and 84% have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog. A large reason for this is because direct mail is active – it’s concrete and tangible. Unlike digital ads, which are often scrolled over, catalogs demand action by the recipient.   

 

 

  • Science – Neuroscience to be Exact

 

A recent study from Temple University consumer neuroscience researchers found significant differences in the way our brains process digital services and direct mail. Among their findings, while digital ads are processed faster, consumers engage with paper ads for a longer period of time, and the physical ads often cause more activity in parts of the brain associated with value and desire. Moreover, the study showed that physical ads cause greater activation of the ventral striatum – the brain structure whose activity is most predictive of future purchasing.    

 

 

  • Connection Between Digital & Physical Worlds

 

Consumers react well to catalogs. They enjoy engaging with the story of the product and appreciate the convenience of being able to flip through pages until something catches their eye. However, ordering a product may prove slightly more challenging as you have to call a number and, yes, actually speak to someone. Catalogs can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds by showing customers how they can make purchases online. This also brings consumers to a company’s webpage and ensure maximum exposure to their products.

 

 

  • Convenience and Relaxation

 

Lightweight, easy to flip through and picture-heavy – the catalog is an extremely convenient way to expose consumers to products. Actually, 63% of people say that they find it easier to browse through products in a catalog, rather than online or in a store. This convenience translates to a relaxation feature for consumers as well. The storytelling ability and ease-of-use offer a way for consumers to engage with products in a relaxing setting without too much distraction or sales pitches.

 

 

  • Reach and Re-engage

 

With a 70% opening rate, catalogs continue to dominate among the marketing tools employed through direct mail. By sending out catalogs, companies can reach a mass amount of people, and once inside, consumers feel a sense of personal connection with the products that cannot be duplicated online. Companies can also reach new customers by sending out catalogs, and re-engage with existing customers by creating a follow-up mailing after an initial purchase.

 

 

  • Everyone Likes Getting Something in the Mail. Right?

 

Although logic may dictate that as we move into a digital world more people want to separate from physical mail, studies show that actually isn’t the case—especially with millennials. Largely this is because “millennials are inundated with digital media. Physical mail stands out in millennials’ otherwise electronic world. This generation is also geared toward visual content, and direct mail caters to the physical senses.” Plus, who doesn’t like getting mail?

In our current society dominated by digital content, the direct mail catalog is still the marketing king. By utilizing the strengths of the catalog, companies can ensure consumers are exposed to their product through a medium they enjoy, but also point them to their online presence. The catalog offers the best of both worlds to create inspiration and engagement that will increase a company’s bottom line.

What is a Marketing Portal?

With so much marketing technology available, it’s important to understand what a marketing portal is, and what it can do for growing organizations.

Put simply, a marketing portal is a key resource used to organize, customize, and distribute on-brand marketing content.

It also helps a corporate marketing team control their brand messaging, while still giving employees the opportunity to personalize assets on their own. Without a marketing portal in place, employees tend to waste time searching for the right asset on shared drives, or often “go rogue” creating content like proposals, presentations, or brochures on their own, without approval from marketing. This creates a disjointed experience for customers, and can limit content effectiveness. Not to mention it could cause problems if you have a compliance department or legal team.

 

Grow your business with a marketing portal!

In order to grow, every business needs a scalable way to get the right message to individual customers or prospects, while maintaining brand integrity. The larger a company, and the more branches or partners representing the brand, the more challenging this becomes across distributed teams and customer segments.

A marketing portal allows companies to efficiently scale, doing business globally while marketing locally, by giving all employees and partners fast access to marketing materials that can be customized within pre-approved guidelines. This ensures all customers have a cohesive experience with a company, as every touchpoint is on-brand and up-to-date.

A marketing portal should help businesses meet three specific goals:

  1. Customize marketing assets
  2. Control your brand voice
  3. Maintain compliance

To do this, key features to look for include:

  • Search capabilities
  • Autonomy
  • Customization
  • Analytics

Branded marketing portals provide your enterprise with an online, automated printing and delivery method for brand-consistent marketing communications and sales materials.

Pel Hughes designs, builds, host, and manages your web portal that gives you centralized control and management and local participation. Marketing teams can instantly deploy updated collateral, Direct mail/Email campaigns, promotional items, and any digital asset to their organization.

  • Maintain Brand Consistency
  • User-Specific Content
  • Custom Branding, Workflows & User Levels
  • Organize Order History & Reporting
  • FedEx & UPS Integration
  • On-demand Ordering
  • Automated Inventory Management

Whether you’re in the market for a marketing portal now, or maybe even next year, make sure whichever solution you chose has the features that works the best for you and your company. Contact Pel Hughes if you’d like to know more!

5 ways to take your brand outdoors with summer marketing

Did you know that summer is the best season to market your brand to potential clients?

  • Customers are more receptive to messages when it’s warm outside
  • Many brands fail to market during summer months, which creates more opportunities for you
  • Warm temperatures increase the perception of value, so customers are more likely to buy when temperatures rise


Using these 6 print marketing tips will give your business the boost that will help your brand stand out when promoting outdoors or outside of your businesses location.

 

  • Promotional products

 

When people are attending outdoor events, they walk around looking for reasons to visit your booth or display area. In New Orleans this is usually because it’s about 200 degrees. What better way to entice them and also promote your business by offering them promotional products that are fun and useful?

Pel Print suggest:

  • USB powered fans
  • Koozies
  • Drawstring bags
  • Cooling towels

promotional products pel print pel hughes

 

 

  • Full color custom branded banners, table covers and canopies

 

If you are going to be outside at a local festival, street fair, or any number of summer events, you will need to stand out from the crowd. Make sure your space is dressed to impress with full-color banners and table covers. Also, go big and bold with a branded canopy and your business is sure to be seen.

 

  • Promotional flags outside of your business

 

Promotional flags are an easy and affordable way to tell everyone where you are located. It’s important to take full advantage of your outside space and flags help you do that. You can get branded teardrop flags or feather flags with your logo and colors imprinted on them and they are built to last.

 

 

  • Window Graphics

 

Having well-designed and printed signage along with appealing window graphics is vital to helping your business pop visually to those who are passing by. If you don’t have a sign or window graphics, you are making it that much harder for customers to find you. Having professional signage will increase your likelihood of walk-in traffic and also shows that you are a professional business with a clear sense of who you are while dominating the landscape.

 

 

  • Car door magnets

 

Brand your business on-the-go with car door magnet printing. Maximize your reach by recruiting friends, family members, and employees to sport your car door magnets on their vehicles, too – and if you have a fleet of work vehicles, make sure your branding is evident on each.

 

Ready to heat up summer sales with a powerful branding campaign? Contact Pel Hughes today to discuss your next project!

What’s CMYK, Pantone and RGB color?

In the world of print and design, color plays a huge role in helping your marketing materials stand out from the crowd. On the one hand, a gorgeous design and lovely colors can draw attention and strengthen your brand’s image, while on the other hand, weak or clashing hues can result in a less than eye-catching design.

So what are the things you need to know about color and printing to create your best work?

Let’s start off with talking about the differences between the two main color models, RGB and CMYK.

These two color models have very specific roles in the print and design world, and we’ll explain them here.

 

RGB

(red, green, blue) is what we call an “additive color spectrum.” This means that in the RGB model, red, green, and blue produce every other color by “adding” together into something new.

 

In this system, color is emitted from natural or produced light. When they are added together, they produce white light. This is the color spectrum that is used to create images on all types of screens (computer, television, phone, etc.)

When the RGB colors are combined, they actually create the next model we will cover: CMYK.

  • Green and blue create cyan (C)
  • Red and blue create magenta (M)
  • Red and green create yellow (Y)

RGB colors pel print

CMYK

(cyan, magenta, yellow, black) is what we call a “subtractive color spectrum.” This means that in the CMYK model, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black produce darker colors as they’re added together.

In this color system, color is produced by absorbing light. When they are added together, they produce black. This is the color spectrum used to create rich colors on printed materials.

CMYK colors pel print

So what about Pantone?

Well, Pantone isn’t really a color system, it’s a “color matching system” that uses founder Lawrence Herbert’s numbering system for identifying, matching, and communicating colors. The system uses a numbering system to label each specific color.

By doing this, the Pantone system helps to create consistency in the printing industry. No matter where your printer is located, Pantone 199 Red will be the exact same (and so will every other Pantone color), so you can breathe easy knowing that your materials will turn out right

 

So why is it important to know the difference?

 

You should know which color system you need to use for each specific project. For example, if you know that your work will be displayed digitally on a screen, you will be using the RGB system. However, if you are designing materials that will later be printed and displayed, make sure you are working with the CMYK color system or at least understand that what you are seeing on the screen in RGB will differ from the final printed product.

 

Have questions about creating brochures, business cards, and more in vivid color? Give us a call! We’d love to help.

 

Promotional materials give your business a boost!

In today’s growing sea of brands and promotional messages, it’s easier than ever for your name to get lost in the crowd. With so many brands for consumers to choose from, it doesn’t really seem to matter if your product or service is the best of the best – if they can’t remember which one you are, your quality is irrelevant.

So are you looking for a way to break through the noise?

Promotional materials that are actually useful might just be an option worth pursuing.

Before rolling your eyes, consider the power of this age old business strategy. According to Jerry McLaughlin of Branders, an online vendor of promotional materials, American businesses spend about $20 billion on products covered in logos and brand reminders for the swamped American mind.

That number is a great indicator that these trinkets still have some incredible power when it comes to generating business.

Why, though?

McLaughlin and researchers at Arizona State University believe that when people receive a gift of any sort, they are automatically inclined to reciprocate, and this can occur in the shape of giving your company business.

So how should you choose what kind of item to give? In a 2011 article written by the New York Times, you should follow three main rules:

  1. Give an item that your audience will use in the environment where they decide whether or not to use your product or service – put your name in front of them where they’re make their decisions
  2. Differentiate your message – make it clever, make it unique
  3. Personalize the message. People love to see their own names.

 

At Pel Hughes, we’re big believers in promotional materials.

We can make personalized:

  • PopSockets (those fun rubber handles for the back of your iPhone the kids are crazy about these days)
  • Pens
  • Hats
  • Tumblers
  • Coffee mugs
  • Drawstring backpacks
  • Stress balls
  • Golf shirts
  • Reusable grocery bags

And that’s just to name a few.

Thinking promotional materials might be a good strategy for your business in 2018? Let us help you get started. 

Grab your customer’s attention with a Personalized URL (PURL)

One of the best ways to grab your customer’s attention is to make them the main event.

How?

Through customization of your campaign, of course.

No – the idea of using the first and last name of your target in an email or mailer isn’t quite novel, but the Personalized URL (PURL) seems to be the move these days.

Why?

Well, that’s easy. A PURL, when entered into a search browser, takes your target customer to a landing page customized just for them.

For example – here at Pel Hughes, we have experience making PURLs for prospective students at Tulane University. The student receives a mailer with their PURL (ex: janesmith.yourtulane.com), and when enter this unique address in their browser, they can select their interests and “meet” their advisor via embedded video.

Of course, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the content of your landing page.

Typically, PURLs are beloved for a few main reasons:

  1. They generate higher conversion rates than non-personalized URLs
  2. Activity on PURL is trackable and can be reported in real time to the creators

This means that you can easily identify and funnell your efforts towards your strongest, most interested prospects.

Think you might want to give PURLs a shot? Contact us today to see how we can make your next email or direct mail campaign pay for itself.

Can an online marketing portal help you?

In today’s ever-changing digital marketing world, marketing pros are in constant need of the most up-to-date data sheets, brochures, logos, videos, photos, and a wide array of other digital products — in one easy-to-access and user-friendly place.

Does such a thing exist? Yes, yes it does.

It’s called an online marketing portal, and it automates all of your marketing collateral and gives it a reliable home. This is becoming increasingly more important as more and more employees turn to remote work.

What are some of the things that can be kept in an online marketing portal?

Here are just some of the resources that can be stored in an online marketing portal:

  • Sell sheets – complete with up-to-date pricing and features and services offered by your company
  • Copyright information – All the legal terms and jargon that need to be included in marketing documents if you’re in certain industries can be stored here.
  • Graphics – Logos, stock photos, videos, taglines — all of these can live on your portal.
  • Brochures, promotional items, company branded materials, and much, much more

 

What are some of the benefits of an online marketing portal?

Here are just a few benefits of having a centralized portal:

  • Offers customized materials on demand: Online marketing portals let users log in from anywhere, easily adapt the materials to their local needs, and they can get access to those materials very quickly.
  • Saves a lot of time: With a portal, you don’t have to spend your days customizing the marketing materials for sales reps and other members of the marketing team. That frees up your time to do other big picture things. An online portal is also available anytime, day or night.
  • Helps your brands remain consistent and in compliance with legal: The pre-approved templates that you will find in a portal online keep your brand standards high and consistent, while also keeping in check with legal regulations.
  • Manages a lot of different kinds of materials: All of those direct mailers, emails, flyers, catalogs, brochures, web pages and more will be stored in one place.
  • It can handle large-scale projects and small teams: It doesn’t matter whether you have 100 marketing pros on your team, or just one. The online marketing portal will still handle everything you need it to with the same speed and quality.

If you are in the marketing business and haven’t studied whether an online marketing portal is a good fit for your business, maybe the time is now to do just that. Happy portal hunting!

 

Contact Pel Hughes if you have any additional questions.

 

 

Integrate Social Media with Direct Mail

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Staying in touch with existing clients and reaching out to new clients is a vitally important task for any business owner. A business owner needs to bring in new clients and continue to provide value for the current customers. In the last few years alone, many new ways have been developed to accomplish this goal. Business owners today need to be aware of such methods as well how to use standard methods at the same time. A business owner who is able to successfully integrate social media with direct mail methods is one who will continue to flourish.

Get Personal

One of the best ways to integrate any social media and direct mail effort is via personalization. Customers tend to respond well to messages that are personalized to them. Building social media means building relationships with others. Any company should be aware of their client’s special circumstances including where they live and their specific preferences. Clients like mailings targeted to the interests they have shown to the world via social media.

Provide Benefits

An effective direct mail campaign is one that provides clients with special benefits just for them. Think about the kind of benefit you can offer your clients. Maybe access to a fashion show just for them or a certain amount off products they buy. Clients respond well to such benefits.

Publicize Your Direct Mail Efforts

Use your Facebook, LinkedIn account and other social media accounts to announce your direct mail campaign. Let your clients know what they can expect when they reach out to you and get mailings from your business. A direct mailing campaign should take advantage of all social media possibilities that exist right now. A well thought out media campaign should use all tools at the same time.

Making the Most of Popular Marketing and Communications Channels/Platforms

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Know What You Have Before Adding On

Multi-channel marketing campaigns and integration of communications campaigns like PR, direct e-Mail, blogs, and sales force materials not only need cross channel management, but the future holds an expansion of online social media marketing with communications channels, not less. Forward thinking business owners understand the value of getting very familiar with available cross-channel marketing execution platforms now, to be prepared and positioned on the forefront, as the digital and print technologies continue to advance. Moving at a break-neck pace, digital media is attempting to keep up with mobile marketing options, while print and communications platforms rethinking marketing options are racing to understand brand touch points, learning brand generation and how to keep the brand message targeted and consistent across all channels.

Communications platforms include social media like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Google Local, and Email using a business mailing list from their customer database or a purchased list of emails containing potential customers based on their documented purchasing patterns. In-product communication involves directly marketing with a commercially designed message to a target audience through their internet-connected device (PCs, laptops, mobile devices and tablets), or through their software application using ads or value offers.

Marketing and Communications Transitioning

The messages and related media produced is to be used within a market is the promotional part of the marketing mix, using a strategy of combining product information, pricing, placement, and promotional incentives. These must all be developed into a consistent look and feel through strategic use of the elements of branding such as logo, colors, slogans, and message statements. Brick and mortar customer service transitioned into digital customer relations, marketing communications transitioned human resources into humans solutions, and what was once “the elevator pitch” is now on trend tweets, blogs, and emails.

Some of the most interesting key players integrating marketing events, emerging social marketing technologies, and traditional broadcasting media advertising include ADRevolution, HubSpot, Marketo, smartFOCUS, Vtrenz, Eloqua, and Neolane. You get key innovation focus points like delivery to customers of only the ads they want, demand generation, open platforms integrating technology, strategy, and personalized marketing interaction, optimized ROI. Online marketing management of email, direct mail, banner ads, rich media ads, Web content, keyword search advertising, landing pages, micro sites, website visitor tracking, lead generation, and telesales.

Best Utilization Method

Obviously, a business must have an integrated contact management or CRM to tie marketing results with sales results to identify what is working and what is not. Making the most of popular marketing and communications channels and platforms means having the ability to analyze performance data and weeding out the stagnant approaches from the thriving, generating ones.