Month: September 2015

Fryday Fair Day

Food, Social
Hartsfield Design at the fair.

Do you go to Jiffy Lube for your oil changes every 3 months? Well, once a year we go to the South Plains Fair. Nothing creates comradery like shared heartburn and culinary regrets. We spend so much of our time sweating over font choices, color swatches and project deadlines, it sure is nice to get real low key every once in awhile. Sitting on a bench on a warm day, chomping down some fried goodies with your co-workers work family is what keeps this blue-collar team cranking out the good stuff for our clients. We believe a happy design studio benefits our clients as much as ourselves. So, here’s to happiness, good design, and cheesecake on a stick!

How To: Make your graphic designer happy

How To's
Cari Sad / Cari Happy

We know things can’t be perfect ALL the time, but we like to dream that it might be someday. So what can you do to make us all smiley and happy faced when we work on a project? Read on to find out!

1. Give us all the details.

There is nothing more disappointing than spending a good chunk of time on a design, only to learn that something was left out or not as you expected. Your designer will make design decisions based on the information they’ve been provided, so if something major is left out, it means spending time trying to add it in or fix it.

What you can do:

Create an outline of your project, big or small. This is a good way to make sure you have all your text or information gathered, any images or design elements that need to appear, as well as deadlines, design inspiration or end goals for the design piece. This also helps you organize your files (#4) and works as a checks and balances system when you reach the proofing stage (#5).

2. Send all your text and photos at the same time.

I realize this isn’t always do-able, BUT if you can, it really makes things so much easier! Searching through 100 emails for that last image or taking a guess at how long the sidebar text is going to be can take up precious time. And making major text or photo additions (or subtractions) later on can really add up if it means reworking the initial layout.

What you can do:

Wait until you have everything before you send it. Or, at the very least, make sure you have a whole section completed. I know, what a bummer. But, your layout will flow better in the end, because it was designed for ALL the information.

3. Proofread and edit your text before you send.

I get it, you are in a hurry to get your project started. But, it can really cost down the road if we are spending tons of time adding commas, running spell-check or alphabetizing those half dozen lists in that brochure.

What you can do instead:

Read over your text one last time with a critical eye, or ask an editor friend to take a look. A few little changes here and there isn’t a big deal, but a whole BUNCH of grammatical changes after the first few rounds can really add to your final bill.

4. Send us files we can use and understand.

This is a big one. A lot of time can be spent going back and forth with a client to get the correct type of files and figuring out how you want them presented.

What you can do:

Ask your designer what they need. Most will tell you they need high resolution images (300dpi at actual size), text in a Word document and all those pieces organized in some sort of system (by page, chapter, importance, etc). By being specific, that helps us organize your information in the design!

5. When we get to proofing, send all your changes at once.

We EXPECT you to have changes, so no worries there! BUT, it’s easiest for us to handle those changes in one big chunk. Since we charge an hourly rate on most projects (and work on several projects over the course of the day), it’s worth it to really look at your proof and note all your revisions at once. Believe it or not, opening, exporting, saving and emailing you a new proof every 10 minutes is not very cost effective!

What you can do:

Wait to hit send on that revisions email until you’ve really spent some time checking things out. It’s also a good idea to have other colleagues look at your project during the first few rounds (but before the final proofing) in case something major needs to change.

Finally: Don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid to ask us for help! We don’t want your experience to be frustrating or tiresome. And if something isn’t looking the way you thought it would, speak up! We want to make sure that EVERYONE is happy with the final solution. We’ve also created a handy downloadable checklist if you need a little reminder!

Download Checklist

Case Study: TTU School of Art Poster

Case Study, Poster

Process Begins:

The School of Art came to us to create something conceptual, awesome, and very creative… NO PRESSURE! Wanting to impress the most creative department on Texas Tech campus, we tried our hardest to do just that.

After our first meeting, we realized this poster could go in so many different directions. Here are a few ideas we brainstormed and even designed mockups for:

  • Clean, simple, abstract & edgy
  • Something following their Live.Learn.Create. campaign
  • Artsy quotes or student quotes
  • Using work from different departments

This was a tough one. Some of the issues we faced were:

  • Creating something that would appeal to all potential students and the SOA staff and instructors
  • It needed to appeal to all interests (photography, painting, drawing, etc)
  • It needed to be conceptual AND still look pretty

Here are some initial mockups we presented:


SOA-Poster_earlyconcept1 SOA-Poster_earlyconcept4

Change In Direction:

After MANY meetings, phone calls, brainstorming sessions, mockups and cups of coffee, we decided to take a step back and instead look at something outside of the artist’s works or minimalist design. We looked at the tools.

The SOA was generous enough to let us stop by and pick up a HUGE box of tools – items owned personally by many of the professors, as well as tools students use daily to learn and create with. This poster would not exist (or have as much personality) without them, and we’re so thankful for their willingness to help us out here.


With our big box o’ tools, we started setting things up. We didn’t want to simply scatter things around or photograph them individually. We knew the perfect answer. The Double T – the symbol of Texas Tech.

After hours of going through the tools and figuring out the perfect ones to create with, we came up with our final design. And the rest was history.

Here is the final product and the process behind the masterpiece:

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.03.02 AM