Thrive Over Time by Making Self-Care a Priority

One day, a hare was making fun of the tortoise for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race to prove it.”

With great amusement, the hare agreed. The hare took off like a shot and was soon out of sight. Meanwhile, the tortoise plugged away diligently. Soon, the hare grew distracted with the race and lay down for a nap. While he slept, the tortoise slowly passed him and plodded on. The hare woke with a start and ran swiftly to the finish line, but he could not overtake the tortoise in time.

The moral of the story? “Plain plodding people, we often shall find, will leave hasty confident people behind.”

The Strain of 2020

The nature of many people is to go fast and hard for as long as possible.

But this approach to life can (quite literally!) be a killer. As Aesop’s fable reminds us, enduring over the long haul brings fruitful, sometimes unexpected results. But approaching life as a distance race takes intentional self-care, often a busy person’s lowest priority.

The time to change this trend couldn’t be more important. Gallup recently found that 2020 was officially the most stressful year in recent history, with a record-high 40% of adults worldwide saying they experienced a lot of stress the previous day. This five-percentage-point jump from 2019 represents 190 million more people globally who experienced a lot of stress. Over 75% of U.S. adults report physical or emotional stress symptoms (such as headaches, tiredness, and changed sleeping patterns). And work-related stress costs $190 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs!

Where Stress Meets Rest

Do you need to make time for “me” time?

Initially, this involves focused thought to define what you need. Do you desire more quality relationships? Better sleep? More time for worship or outdoor exercise? Perhaps music or meaningful hobbies need more space in your life.

Next, you must consciously push back on stressors and make time for self-care. Here are some practical examples:

— Combine a workout and soul-care by setting up regular walks with a friend

— Set a “get ready for bed alarm” to remind yourself sleep is a priority

— Book tangible times for prayer, family, and stillness

— Plan “paper plate days” or easy “mental health” meals to grab a break from kitchen duty

— Detox frequently in the tub or sauna

— Block one day each month to plan and reflect on your personal life and calendar

— Next time you go out with friends, plan an experience (like a cooking class) to give yourself a shot of creativity and growth

The Blessing of Boundaries

One of the best ways to fight stress is to say NO.

Set boundaries on your time, on overspending, and even your commitments at work. If you continually receive last-minute work orders from co-workers and clients, outline your expectations for better communication. Re-negotiate deadlines when unforeseen circumstances make Plan A seem impossible. And when people make requests that set off an internal alarm signal, ask for time to think about the situation before responding. This can give you the wisdom to say no, rearrange your schedule, or possibly find a more workable solution.

Remember, every time you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else. Refuse to cheat on the things that matter most! Your health, your relationships, and your joy are things you should fight to protect; they’ll help you triumph against all odds.

Slow and steady wins the race!

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Use Words to Shape Your Designs with Three Distinct Tools

Words and messages are communicated in so many ways – through vocabulary selection, images, tone or personality, and even through design.

The raw material that words represent is more than just semantics, and graphic artists have many options for exploring the power and symbolism of unique words in design.

Here are three ways you can weave words into the visual elements of your design.

The Word Pun

Word puns present a play on words using alternative meanings of words (and word sounds) to form new meanings.

What does this look like in design? Here are several ideas:

— A seafood café restaurant might feature server aprons sporting a wacky fish (wearing a top hat) with the word “SoFISHticated” sprawled below.

— Well-known phrases can be changed to fit the message of the brand. For example, the bike manufacturer Salomon created a logo that changed the phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” to “Mud, Sweat, & Gear.” This message links the company’s core purpose – making mountain bikes – to a memorable, motivating catchphrase.

— Words puns can be created by substituting characters for sections of a word. Designer Wolff Olins created a word pun using the characters “Q8” to represent the oil-rich country of Kuwait.

The Visual Pun

Visual (or graphological) puns do not use phonetic writing.

Instead, visual puns create a play on words through imagery, graphics, or logos. Examples include:

— An image in the fork in the middle of two parting streets (symbolizing an impending decision or a fork in the road).

— A symbol can be used to replace a whole word, like “I [HEART] NY” or the character “He” with a box outline around it (to symbolize the periodic element of helium).

— Making subtle tweaks to logos to add visual effect. Rebel, a rugged Australian sporting goods company, turned the second “e” backward in their company name. Or the logo for Poison Spider Bicycles depicts the venomous red section of its spider as a replica of a gritty bike chain.

The Rebus

A rebus represents words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a riddle.

Think of the last time you puzzled over an obscure personalized license plate on the rear of the car in front of you. Was it hard to look away? People love to decipher codes, and using a rebus can stop people in their tracks, causing them to slow down, think, or smile!

Here are some clever ways the rebus has been put to work in marketing:

— IBM created a poster with three images to represent its name: a cartoon eye, a colorful honeybee, and a playfully sketched letter M.

When IKEA wanted to help American customers grasp their company’s correct pronunciation, they created a rebus design featuring a cartoon eye, followed by a house key and the text phrase “ah!”

— The East End Brewing Company chose to market its energizing coffee porter with this eye-opening rebus: a cartoon eye and a classic handheld bottle opener   

The creative use of language can help precisely position an idea, company, or product in unique and refreshing ways. Tailor your message toward a target audience and play with words until you find just the right fit!

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5 Hot Summer Marketing Ideas to Give Your Business A Boost

Piggy Bank Wearing Sunglasses Relaxing At The Beach

Unless you sell beach hats or slushies, summer can be a slow season for many businesses.

That’s why the summer months are an ideal time to experiment with fun, seasonal campaigns. Heat up sales and boost your customer engagement with these lively, life-giving options.

Use Giveaways to Learn About Your Clients

“You’ve Got Tech Problems? I’ve Got Answers.”

Nikole Gipps is the founder and developer extraordinaire behind “That Super Girl.” Specializing in online support services for small businesses, Gipps grows her base seasonally by featuring “Summer of Learning” giveaways. Weekly emails boast giveaway choices (like business books) and tutorial freebies. Her recent contests increased customer engagement, doubled the subscriber list, increased workshop enrollment, and offered insights into topics that interested people most.

What freebie could you use to spark interest this summer and build momentum for the fall? Start dreaming today and create lasting benefits for your business.

Lower Prices as Temperatures Rise

Want to have a little fun with the heat?

Offer discounts that increase in proportion to the temperature. For example:

–Give clients $10 of any purchase of $100 or more when the temperature rises above 100 degrees

–Try a “pay 80 percent” promotion for any day temps land in the 80s

–Post sunny “peak” discounts on the day Summer Solstice occurs

Launch a “Staff Favorites” Campaign

Everyone enjoys a good-natured rivalry, so have some fun while rewarding your best employees with a summer getaway or a valuable gift card.

Here you can generate friendly competition among staff members by asking customers to vote on their favorite barista, customer service rep, or sales associate. Clients can vote through social media, digital polls, or onsite displays. This can humanize your brand and incentivize your team to provide stellar personal service.

Give Away Summer Swag

Businesses need promotional items to help reach out to potential customers and clients – it’s just a fact.

Like a business card with a bang, clever promotional products build goodwill, name recognition, and expanded brand exposure. Looking for affordable items to catch prospects’ attention? Try frisbees, stress balls, customized lip balms, labeled clip and go hand sanitizers, zip-front drawstring bags, absorbent cooling towels, water bottles, and more.

Beautiful Outdoor Banners

It never hurts to have friends in high places, so go BIGGER with large-scale banners!

Ensure your message wins the day with this hard-to-miss publicity tool. Vibrant, strategically placed outdoor banners can grab attention near busy intersections, at the entrance of your business, or at festivals and high-traffic events. Try hanging pole banners, feather flags, retractable banners, or a giant step and repeat display (great for photo ops and selfies).

Use Sizzling Incentives to Tip Them Toward Action

Summer is a perfect time for celebration, refreshment, and the unique expression of your brand.

Want to increase the emotional attachment customers have to your business? From a dash of color on your packaging to gorgeous window decals, print promotions can be part of any summer campaign. Want to talk options? Contact us today for samples.

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Gain Undying Loyalty by Building a Company Customers Love

Every person has go-to brands for the things they buy – from their car and their phone to their coffee, cosmetics, or slippers.

And behind every brand is a company people know and love. When you want to attract people to your brand, it starts with building the personality of your business. Successful companies give people hope or a vision: their brands represent a cultivation of we could be.

Whether this is honest and pure or fun and funky, the brands we champion are an expression of our better selves.

Unique in a Sea of Monotony

Lululemon is a global sportswear powerhouse with a meteoric rise to success.

Founded in 2000, the company bounded into a crowded market and built a niche as a “lifestyle” fitness brand, offering clothes that perform excellently in the gym while looking great outside of it.

Lululemon knows that, beyond upgrading their health and hygiene habits, maturing women are ready to spend more on their wardrobes. And brand evangelists (the ‘Luluheads’) rave about clothes that flatter the figure, add color and sass, and hold their shape after 1,000 washes. Lulu’s target customer is a 32-year-old woman who has “figured it out” after graduating from the unhealthy lifestyle choices of her twenties, and Lulu inspires women to connect with their best selves using taglines like “Be You with Lulu” and “Slimming Silhouettes is Lululemon.”

While Lululemon’s outrageously priced clothes seem like an impossible sell, they are anything but. Instead, they make women feel proud to show up at the gym and allow sweaty moms to look cool at the grocery store. And that psychology works.

After all, it’s not men women are trying to impress – it’s other women.

Designing Your Customer Experience

Moving beyond strong marketing, customer experience is where the rubber meets the road.

Clients that adore your services should feel that doing business with you is like coming home. Here are three ways to make that happen.

1. Craft Excellent First Encounters

If you want to develop a strong bond with clients, a great first experience is key.

Consumer Reports surveys show that nearly 91 percent of customers will not return if a company botches the initial encounter, and two-thirds of people will walk out of a store when they feel the service is subpar.

While those statistics sound scary, the opposite is also true: top-notch companies are highly successful in customer care. Recent data shows that 81 percent of companies with excellent service records are outperforming their competition.

2. Offer Self Help Options

While five-star personal service seems like the gold standard in sales, that may be changing. Today 40 percent of consumers say they prefer “no-frills” self-service over tangible human contact, so smart companies should add simple DIY options.

How? Educational content such as newsletters, tutorial videos, or “how-to” tip sheets might be a good option for some. Perhaps live chat support, FAQ pages, or express product lines will bring convenience your clients appreciate. Web-based service portals may allow you to personally interact with customers while offering the flexibility and privacy they desire.

3. Prioritize Quality Over Speed

When you DO have personal contact with clients, slowing down can be the best approach.

According to Gallup’s research, the service is defined as “courteous, willing, and helpful.” (In contrast, customers who received “speedy” service were just six times more likely to be engaged.)

Making Brand Admiration a Reality

When people love a company, they’ll go out of their way to recommend it to friends.

They take pride in its products, purchase more frequently, and give it a second chance when mistakes occur. By building a business that customers love, your reputation will thrive, and your sales will too.

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How the Best Leaders Embrace a Results-Based Perspective

An employee showing charted report printed on a piece of paper to two businessmen in an office.

More than 40 years ago, Dale Miller conducted a study that compared two groups of executives.

One group was identified by their colleagues as highly effective and ready for promotion. Individuals in the other group initially seemed promising but were later deemed unready for an advanced role.

During evaluation, each group received a deck of 62 statements describing management behavior and was asked to sort the statements on most effective versus least effective leadership qualities. After the first group finished sorting, the top behavior they selected was this: “accepts full responsibility for the performance of the work unit.” This phrase was chosen above delegation, staffing, time-management, or even technical skills.

The primary difference between these groups? Those primed for high-level leadership took full ownership over the team, its cohesiveness, and final project outcomes.

Practical Ways to Practice Personal Responsibility

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Many people who enter management are willing to accept the benefits of their position without fully embracing the pain points of this role.

Modern society often views leadership as self-serving, with the needs and desires of the individual taking priority over those of the team. But effective leadership primarily benefits the followers, not the leader. People who put the team’s needs above their own will achieve maximum influence and increase efficiency and effectiveness in their organization.

What does it look like to embrace a results-based perspective in your leadership? Ultimately, this starts with a mindset that says, “I am the person who must make this happen.” This goes beyond merely completing a task to a wholehearted commitment to the company’s best interests, including doing things for which there is no immediate reward. Do you turn off the lights if you are the last one in the building, or do you assume the custodian will do this? Responsible leaders use organizational resources with great care; they take the long view and see their own well-being as intrinsically linked to this organization’s success.

On a tangible, daily level, here are several ways successful leaders take personal responsibility:

— Asking, “how can I help?” instead of “what does that have to do with me?”

— Sharing credit when things go well but acknowledging personal shortcomings when a team fails

— Proactively seeking honest feedback about personal performance

— Acting as a buffer to protect the team from unreasonable demands on time, resources, or output

— Delegating tasks (using clear job descriptions) while avoiding the temptation to micromanage

— Being willing to forego being one of the group (or everyone’s “buddy”) to accept the social stigma of leadership

— Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own roles by highlighting the importance of what they are doing and how these efforts tie into the bigger picture

— Breaking large ventures into small steps, so people feel proud of their progress (rather than overwhelmed by the magnitude of a project)

— Ensuring team members have the resources needed to do their job (including training, equipment, access to mentors and coaches, etc.)

— Documenting poor outcomes and intentionally communicating them to struggling team members so positive changes (or eventual termination) can occur

Empower Yourself and Encourage Others

While taking responsibility can be difficult, it is also empowering.

Pursuing this results-based mindset allows you to take ownership over a situation and avoid feeling like a victim. When you take ownership over your role in every situation, you become an active participant, not a passive bystander. You are a trustee of these intangibles, and this empowering attitude helps others move forward in vitality – even when they’ve forgotten how to believe in themselves.

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Creating a Substantial Visual Impact Through Corporate Responsibility Campaigns

Cause and ethical marketing word concepts banner. Healthy lifestyle promoting. Isolated lettering typography idea with linear icons. Volunteering, charity. Vector outline illustration

In a post-pandemic world, marketers are tasked with a unique balancing act: helping people return to reality while remaining sensitive to the challenges of this era.

Today’s consumers appreciate businesses that prioritize people over products. Research by consumer authority Mintel has shown that as many as 56% of Americans will stop buying from brands they believe are unethical. Additionally, in a global survey, 91% of consumers reported they were likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality. 

Corporate responsibility, or cause marketing, occurs when a company’s promotional campaign has a dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. Or, more colloquially: cause marketing occurs when a brand does well by doing good.

Visual campaigns are potent, and they are even more compelling when combined with a social initiative of some sort. Here are three dynamic examples.

Cadbury’s “Donate Your Words” Campaign

In the United Kingdom, 225,000 older people often go a week without speaking to anyone.

During the pronounced isolation of COVID-19, Cadbury chocolates launched an initiative to benefit Age UK, the country’s leading charity dedicated to providing companionship, advice, and support for older individuals.

In a stark visual, Cadbury removed all lettering from the front of its dark purple packaging and replaced it with a blank tag: instead of a price, there was a pledge to talk to an older person. Blank pledge tags were also available for customers who wanted to write personalized pledges. Shoppers could take any display item to the till, but instead of paying money they could pledge to talk to an older person.

Cadbury donated its chocolate and challenged a nation to donate its words.

American Express and Small Business Saturday

Did you know that the original founder of Small Business Saturday was American Express?

Without a non-profit partner, American Express embraced entire communities by encouraging consumers to shop local and support the mom and pop stores in their own neighborhoods (presumably while using an American Express card to do so!).

Launched in 2010, local profits leaped from $14.3 billion in 2014 to $19.8 billion in 2020. Key to this success was visual marketing; to equip local businesses, American Express designed creative pieces like signage, social posts, scavenger hunt maps, recipe sheets, and themed passports to support their “Neighborhood Champions”—men and women that vowed to formally celebrate Small Business Saturday in their areas.

A Meaningful, Memorable Message

Consumers want to see positive change in the world and when your brand can be part of it, the emotional impact of your marketing will ratchet up.

Choose your cause wisely, listen to your audience, and lean in to the power of print marketing to put your message front and center. 

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Add Unity to Your Design with Clever Repetitive Elements

Do you ever find pleasure in the chiming of a grandfather clock or in honking geese as they migrate for the winter?

Traveling concept. Color image with copy space.

Repetition is therapeutic.

Rituals provide structure and something to hold on to, and they free us from the tyranny of choices and chaos. Repetition can help complicated pieces of music, movies, or books reveal the depths of their richness. And repetition in design adds consistency, beauty, and unity.

Strong designs repeat some aspect or element throughout the entire piece. The recurring element may be a bold font, a thick line, a snappy bullet icon, a repeating color or page layout, or anything that a reader will visually recognize.

From business cards to complex multi-page booklets, subtle repetition is a visual cue that ties every piece together. Want to be more intentional in your repetitive elements? Here are some options to try:

Headlines and Subheads

All text starts somewhere, and text banners are a perfect way to add graphic unity.

Are all the headlines in your newsletter 14-point Times Bold? How about investing in a very bold sans serif and making all your heads something like 16-point Mikado Ultra? Take the repetition that’s already part of the project and elevate it, making it stronger and more dynamic.

This adds beauty to the page and anchors readers in a framework of ideas.

Rule Bars or Page Numbers

When creating multi-page publications, it should be perfectly obvious that pages 2 and 12 are part of the same piece.

Beyond similar layouts, adding simple elements like rule bars and page numbers can bring harmony to your design. Try a thick, heavy rule bar on the top of each page and a narrow bar of the same color at the bottom. Label your pages with more than just numbers; design these digits with heavy fonts, fun shadow boxes or slashes, or print them vertically by rotating them 90 degrees.

Recurring Shapes

Patterns are a pleasing way to add visual continuity to flyers, reports, or even product packaging. Here are three ideas:

  1. If you choose a branch as one of your central graphics, you might add smaller leaves throughout the document (as column markers, page number outlines, or bullet icons, for example).
  2. Add colored waves behind the text that repeat in variations of your color palette or in repeating style (like a freeform eggplant shape) throughout the document.
  3. Splatter your text across a subtle background of grid and dot patterns.

Playful Characters or Color Matching

Not everything needs to be serious!

Have a little fun by adding repetitive elements that have nothing to do with your page’s purpose. Add funky bird caricatures, petroglyph characters, or a toss of confetti. Borrow the colors in these images and match or complement them with handles in your text.

Feel free to add something completely new simply for the purpose of repetition!

Consistency Counts

Don’t underestimate the power of the visual interest of your pages.

The repetition of your work will eliminate chaos and add beauty to your work. Think of repetition as consistency, but push those existing patterns a bit farther. Can you turn some of your repetitive elements into a part of the conscious design strategy? Take a unifying graphic and create spinoffs of this concept to bring subtle accents to each page.

Sound time-consuming? It’s worth the effort! Repetition matters because when a piece looks more interesting, it is more likely to be read.

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4 Intelligent Ways to Combine Print and Digital Marketing

Imagine a college campus on a warm fall day, as freshmen are moving into the dorms for the first time.

Online and offline for business marketing concepts. communication and technology disruption.

There are loads of students buzzing around and getting settled. As they unpack and get their bearings in a new community, many realize they’ve forgotten a lamp or shelf to make their dorm room a bit cozier. No problem! A strategic, targeted digital ad whisks across their screen on move-in day.

Two days later, a mailed piece is sent featuring lamps, rugs, and closet accessories. This venue’s campaign (a combination of digital and print marketing) snags interest in a fleeting moment then follows this digital hook with a more robust mailed piece.

The Successful Marriage of Digital and Print

Print marketing is powerful. Digital marketing is powerful. When you combine them… well, the result is dynamic.  

Want to create a more strategic relationship between your print and digital marketing efforts? Here are four strategies to build momentum:

1. Create Distinct Online Landing Pages

Online landing pages can be created specifically for promotion through your print ad (for example, see Uber’s landing page targeting new riders here).

While your website homepage typically offers an introduction to your business, a promotional landing page is slightly different. A landing page:

–Is designed to receive traffic from specific sources

–Prompts visitors to take one well-defined action

–Stays focused on a single topic or offer

–Omits or downplays site navigation options

Beyond using narrow landing pages to evaluate your print marketing, you can also record general web traffic during a campaign to note whether a spike in visits may indicate a particular ad’s effectiveness.

2. Use Digital Opt-ins for Direct Mail

Instead of asking someone to sign up for your email campaign the next time they visit your website, why not ask them to sign up for a direct mail newsletter?

Unlike email (which can easily go straight to a junk folder), a direct mail campaign engages people through tactile, memorable, physical marketing pieces. There’s something special about receiving a thoughtful newsletter or meandering through a well-designed catalog.

Instead of opting toward email, build stronger connections with your customers outside the screen.

3. Combine In-Store and Social Displays

Live events provide great opportunities to build strong relationships with customers – particularly in our experience-driven culture.

At your next event, distribute valuable coupons or great giveaway items after advertising through social media ahead of time. Post fun selfie displays (like clever photobooths or imaginative backgrounds) that people can post using event-specific hashtags. Or give gift cards and freebies to those who check in at your kiosk and follow you on social media.

4. Add QR Codes to Your Direct Mail, Brochures, and Displays

Today QR Codes (those funny-looking square boxes that look like over-sized bar codes) have many uses, including marketing, product labeling, ticketing, and more.

QR codes can be used as a compact way to deliver loads of information, and you can use one in any situation where you want to send people to a specific website. Add QR codes to your brochures, direct mail, business cards, in-store displays, or even to customized client birthday cards.

This lead generator can be used to push a new promotion, link to an instructional video, solicit reviews, incentivize subscription renewals, or prompt people to download your app. 

Customers on the Move

As people hop between on- and offline worlds, businesses must provide an increasingly cohesive, personalized experience.

Combining your print and digital marketing can build momentum while providing users a streamlined customer experience. Employ this customer-oriented strategy to ensure your brand receives a multi-fold return on your marketing investment.

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Glamorize Your Products with Illustrative Package Designs

Designer sketching drawing design Brown craft cardboard paper product eco packaging mockup box development template package branding Label . designer studio concept .

Natural Life is a retailer focusing on women’s Bohemian clothes, accessories, and gifts.

Its founder, Patti Hughes, says the business was inspired by her mom, who ran a crafting studio out of the family basement, and was rarely seen without sawdust in her hair or a paintbrush behind her ear.

Modeled after global artisan markets, Natural Life believes its products are more than just commodities. The brand calls these products “treasures” because they are things you stumble upon – things you just can’t resist – while you are out and about. Whether it’s moving artwork or a special surprise for that one-of-a-kind friend, Natural Life inspires people to “give and live happy.”

Natural Life’s Boho Bandeaus are one of its most irresistible items. Bandeaus can be styled as face masks, hair bandanas, scrunchies, halter tops, armbands, ponytail holders, and more. While Boho Bandeaus come in gorgeous floral, tie-dye, and camo prints, the packaging nearly trumps the product that is wrapped around it. Made of rustic, recyclable brown paperboard, the cardboard backer is beaded with playful polka dots, whimsical fonts, and quirky flowers. At the bottom, hand-sketched caricatures display between eight and twelve different girls, each wearing the bandeau as a different accessory or style.

While the bandeaus are pretty, the packaging steals the spotlight as it demonstrates the fun women of all kinds can have with the bandeaus. The hand-sketched illustrations are coupled with an alluring hashtag (How do you ❤ to wear? #bohobandeau), tempting prospects with social proof so they will “join the tribe” and make the purchase!

Steal the Spotlight with Free-Form Designs

Packaging design is a great way to glamorize a product and attract consumers’ attention.

Many people will judge a product by its packaging before buying it, and alluring illustrations can spark intrigue in your first-time buyers. Illustrations build a bridge in shared stories, cohesiveness, and collective emotions.

Need ideas? Here’s just a few ways to use illustrations in your packaging:

  • Illustrations of a product in action
  • Graphics of vintage cars, bicycles, or clocks
  • Landscapes representing the culture or heritage of your product
  • Quirky or interactive coffee sleeves for disposable cups
  • Varying patterns of labels for products marketed as a set
  • Pop-open packaging, like boxes that unfold to display a three or four-panel illustration inside
  • A graphic that weaves the actual product into part of its design (like these white rawhide sticks displayed as teethin a dog’s mouth)
  • Illustrations that incorporate the shape of a container into the larger design theme (like this sardine tin, which doubles as a bright yellow bus crammed with fish)
  • Interactive labels that tell a story, like the “Living Labels” of 19 Crimes (viewers download an app, hover their smart device camera in front of the label, and hear the stories of true criminals come to life as 3D characters recount their side of the story)

Build a Bridge to Your Customers

Your print packaging represents your identity, so ride high in style with illustrated custom labels.

Whether it’s eye-catching boxes, personalized product labels, or hang tags for specials and sales, smart packaging will command attention and make your message sing. Attach your brand to cardboard, glass, fabric, stone, and everything in-between!

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5 Strategies to Overcome Nerves in Public Speaking

Microphone in front of a nervous man who is afraid of public speech and sweating.

From Abraham Lincoln to Winston Churchill, some of the world’s greatest leaders had one thing in common: the fear of public speaking.

Glossophobia, or speech anxiety, affects 77 percent of the population at some level. This can range from sweating and an accelerated heart rate to dizziness, nausea, or a “fight or flight” response.

As a shift to remote working has become more prevalent, more communication is taking place online rather than in-person. And video chatting can make many people (who aren’t normally nervous) more anxious whenever they speak up.

Want to conquer your butterflies or gain confidence when you’re on the big stage? Here are five tips from the public speaking experts:

1. Practice Aloud in Advance

The best way to reduce your anxiety is to rehearse until you feel comfortable, and you will really settle into your message if you share it aloud several times before the big day.

Practice by yourself, before a mirror, in front of a video camera, or even with a friend, colleague, or coach who will give you constructive feedback.

2. Be at Your Best Physically and Mentally

In the turmoil of speaking preparation, this key to optimal performance can get lost in the noise.

Get enough rest. Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. And give yourself quiet time if you need it (i.e., if you’re an introvert), or mix-and-mingle time to get your juices flowing (if you’re an extrovert). Look out for yourself BEFORE you speak to ensure the best outcome when you do.

3. Breathe

Breathing from your stomach muscles, not your chest, naturally calms the nervous system.

When you want to reset yourself internally, take a few deep breaths before and even during your presentation. As you inhale, say to yourself, “I am . . .” As you exhale, say, “relaaaaaaaaaxed.” 

4. Don’t Be Nervous About Your Nervousness

Singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, who was legendary for his live concert performances, once observed that if he felt completely relaxed before a show, he wouldn’t perform as well.

Speakers who lack confidence often feel nervous. Then they feel anxious about the fact that they’re nervous, which compounds the anxiety.  Remember, nervousness is just your adrenaline flowing. It’s a form of energy. Bruce Springsteen doesn’t get nervous about his nerves – instead, he channels this into excitement and power on stage. Successful speakers know how to make adrenaline work for them and turn nervousness into enthusiasm, engagement, and charisma.

It’s okay to have butterflies.  Make the energy work for you

5. Practice an “Others First” Mindset

During public speaking, you feel “all eyes” watching you.

This can be painfully vulnerable, like a caveman exposed in daylight. While you may want to shrink back, calm your anxiety by focusing on your desire to encourage others. Sarah Gershman, President of Green Room Speakers, says this:

“The key to disarming our organic panic button is to turn the focus away from ourselves — away from whether we will mess up or whether the audience will like us — and toward helping the audience. Studies have shown that . . . showing kindness and generosity to others has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which has the power to calm the fight-or-flight response. When we are kind to others, we feel calmer and less stressed. The same principle applies in public speaking. When we approach speaking with a spirit of generosity, we counteract the sensation of being under attack and start to feel less nervous.”

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