Fabrica Blog Out of the box

“Looking” outside the box

By | Blog, Design, Digital Marketing, Food for thought, Video

We are often told to “think outside the box.” This is not an unfamiliar phrase. And it is used so much the meaning has become less impactful in society. “Looking outside the box” is a way of thinking or getting outside the norm (aka “the box”). It can be both a scary and difficult concept to perform. It is a task I am personally faced with each day in an attempt to being creative. Even after a long time, it is still not always a so simple task.


Practice looking “outside the box.” Yes, practice it. Don’t just expect it to happen, its not magic.  Start by acknowledging that there is all sorts of ideas out there yet to be thought up or created.  Can you look at or visualize something normal, in an abnormal way? I wonder what the picture hanging on the wall would look like upside down. What if the tree outside the front door had fuchsia pink leaves instead of the normal green ones. Not too hard, right? What if the doorbell rings, it is answered and there is a unicorn dressed as mail carrier delivering your box from Amazon? Now you are putting a twist on an experience, even without reason for a unicorn delivery.


That “out of the box” But that simple concept engages and develops a story in the mind of the beholder. From a philological standpoint, the element that doesn’t fit engages the brain to say: “Huh? What is going on!” It causes a unique memory formation because it is not the normal is comparison to all the other memories floating around in the brain. This is a great thing if you are in marketing or advertising because you can form a memory in a potential customers brain and with any luck hook some branding along with it too. And that is something any marketer can get behind.


An example I am seeing this occur in is pre-roll video. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, picture the 6-15 second video that plays and doesn’t have a “skip ad” button on it when you want to watch something on YouTube.) Not much time to tell or sell you on a product or service in 6-seconds. However, with a bold, odd, shocking, or memorable off-the-wall happing followed by your branding or logo can assist in someone possibly remembering your brand without even getting to the point of what it is or does, or what is being sold.


I have recently witnessed a campaign using exactly this. Using images of things happening a customer should avoid or not do, in a funny laughable way. This tongue-in-cheek humor is a break from what they usually do, and it hooks the mind into thinking about the imagery ending with their standard branding. It is being used on billboards (and short TV spot), I found it to be quite effective (it snagged me while driving!) And it all has nothing to do with what they sell, but engaged me as a viewer/consumer into remembering their “outside-the-box” messaging.

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Images In Design

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought

While a picture can be “worth a thousand words,” using a picture in a creative way will have a memorable impact on a viewer.  In market branding you want customers to remember or be impacted by what you are showing them. Have you ever seen an advertisement with someone in peak physical condition, rippling muscles and perspiration running down their face, then the logo for a gym? Choosing that type of imagery can help convey two things: The story of someone looking great because of the exercises they are doing (and how you could be just like that), and that this Gym is the place to become a “Greek god,” or a place for the strong and fit. Now will that be the case when you show up to that gym? Probably not. It gives a perception of inspiration for a business.  Which can be a powerful motivator to entice a customer to give it a try. That is the whole point of advertising, and can show you how a powerful image can get results.


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Taking the right photo or selecting the “right” image is the place to start. If you have the opportunity to have an idea from creative minds before you start, you can get the image you need and make life much easier! If you have a plan of the typography you need to contain before getting your image, the right outcome is more likely to happen. Powerful images are a great marketing tool for print, web, and social media. Grab your photo taking device and give taking planned images a try for your next product shoot, promotion or event, try to image how the image you are taking could be used to create something.


The interaction of typography and images can sometimes be a challenge. Other times an impossibility. Adding these two powerful elements together can make a POWERFUL attention-grabbing interaction. This is where one of those “planned” images can be really helpful. In the hierarchy of design elements, images and large type are at the top! Designing with both can be like a one-two punch. Creating cool designs where they both interact will make someone stop, look, and then look again.


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Using a complex shape filled with an image is current trend that is going nowhere. It creates another level of engagement. A complex shape examples can be: a silhouette, typography (Single letter, a number or a word), a logo, an octopus or something that is not a plain box or rectangle. The eye will interact with the complex shape. If it is type, you will read it, if it is a silhouette shape of a bird your brain will recognize it. It brings a level of engagement into the equation an image will not by itself. While the use of a complex shape can’t solve every design challenge it can be a great tool to keep in your box for just the right occasions.

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Next time you have need to use an image in your campaign, think outside the box (shape) and do something amazing!

Season of Design - Blog

Changing Design with the Season

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought

One tradition I learned from Japanese culture is a custom to change elements of a house with the changing of the seasons. The change of decor would also represent the time of the year accordingly. I was told it was a way to refresh and stimulate mind as well as reflect upon and appreciate the world around you. In the industry of design and advertising, this basic concept can also benefit your brand and stimulate potential customers from brand name boredom. This is often done in conjunction with holidays, and can give little boost thought the year by changing things up.


However, like most things, don’t go overboard. In many cases a little can be all you need. Too much can become “tacky” or worse. Here are a few things to watch for or consider with seasonal brand design changes:


What is the purpose for your change? General awareness? New product? Special sale event? Why are you are changing your colors or promotion? This very simple guideline can lead you in making appropriate decisions, and coming up with the most impactful ideas for


Don’t be afraid to change something. A different color to match the time of year or holiday? With summer coming up one suggestion might be to use brighter colors like yellow, blue and greens. Can your imagery be swapped out for a time to create a new “blip” on your publics radar? Changes can be scary. The unknown is not always the place we naturally want to head towards. Remember however, change is how trends are made and all the new stuff you are astounded by was a direct result of someone intentionally making a change.


Stay true to your brand. It can be easy to go overboard sometimes and make some intense changes. Remember who you are and what your brad stands for. You want your brand to stay on message no matter what the occasion.


Emotional connection. Can what you do create that feeling or engage an emotion in someone to connect with your message. A beautiful photo of a mountain landscape invokes memories of camping in the summer? Perfect! If the product has to do with summer and you can incorporate the essence of a heatwave trough the typography and colors chosen? Gold star for you! Be creative in your choices, hooks to both past and present, imagery that takes you away to that favorite vacation can bring that powerful connection.


Take a note from the world around you. As the seasons change so can what you are designing. As this season changes try something you never considered. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, another season of metamorphosis is just around the corner.

What Font Are You?

What Font Are You?

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought

While a strange question to ask, it may reflect or reveal something about your personality. When viewing an interesting use of a font, I appreciate good choices of typography in the design or logo. I can’t claim to “geek out” as many designers I know. Time and again I usually find myself asking the same questions about what I recognize. If I don’t recognize the font, I wonder about the choices made and the ‘why’. In that situation, I daydream about switching one font for another. In a way, it is like thinking about choices on a menu and wondering what dish might be the best choice.

Let’s start with a little quick history of typography. Type (as we observe it in modern times) has one general purpose: a standardization of written words with uniformly recognized characters. A typeface is a unique design of the letters and symbols; a group of similar fonts. A font is a specific style and weight. Typefaces are the family and fonts are the individuals.  Typefaces over time were developed to aid the person reading any printed materials with words. This mechanical development came to print the written word. Have you heard of Johannes Gutenberg? He invented the modern printing press during the Renaissance period. It changed how and what could be printed in a much quicker way than carving a single woodblock limited to a single page (the Chinese had been printing using woodblock technology since the Tang Dynasty). The benefit to ‘movable type’ was that carved letters could be assembled to form any words needed–this and they could be used again and again. Type foundries were created to carve, manufacture, and sell the letters carved into tiny squares of metal or wood. Today, it is all done by keystroke and words form just as fast as you can type each letter!

If I were a font which one might I be? It is interesting to ask yourself and really think about it (and I have many times since taking my first typography class in college). I am a rather plain and practical font, not fancy or gaudy, more to the simple and reserved status, clean yet refined. While I might say that I am in a distinct trade, I can fill the hats of many different needs. While I can be analytical, there is an artistic flipside to that. Given all those factors, I would come up with a short list. I would pick Helvetica. While not my favorite typeface, it is a practical reserve to always fall back on. It’s not very exciting, but it can be used to pull off some amazing things. Many company logos and signs on the street are made with it. And Helvetica Neue added several new weights to the family including light, thin, and ultra-light which work in high-end design.

I have enjoyed many sans-serif fonts throughout my design career. While Helvetica is a great one, some of my favorites include: Optima, Futura, and Raleway. I have recently gotten more into using Oswald and Proxima Nova, using them in things I have designed. Just like food, the right font in the right place can make something amazing! A font thrown at a wall to see how it sticks is just like a plate of food slapped against the wall. It’s probably not particularly appetizing.

Don’t have any idea what font you are? Not a problem! Go online and take a “what font am I” quiz (there are several) if you want to see how you might rank in the typographical world. You could also research and draw your own conclusions of what your personality or traits would “spell out” in a font form.



Creatives - Fabrica Creative

Working with Creatives

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought, Happenings

Are you starting your own company? Are you anticipating explosive growth right away? Do you need help attracting people to your products or services? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then have I got something for you. We are going to discuss how one important component can lead to the success of your business. When it comes to choosing and creating a brand, the first thing that you need to take into consideration is graphic design.


Graphic design covers typography, user experience, web design, and illustration (i.e visual communication). Simply put–it’s organizing information visually. Some experts claim that the history of graphic design can be traced back to the illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages. In the past, the government officials used a road banner to announce the name of the people who were in government positions for the cities or states. Because of these signs, the individuals were more informed about the political authorities governing the place.

Nowadays, graphic design is used by different businesses in many different ways. Almost all companies are now exploring the use of illustrations and other visuals for their branding. They are implementing the visuals across print and digital, from social media to marketing to advertising.

Importance of Graphic Design

Graphic design is literally everywhere. Without it, small and large companies alike would find it difficult to share their brand. Below are the top reasons why design is significant to all industries:

  1. It promotes a new business. If you are still new in the business world, then graphic design is something that you need to take seriously. Make an announcement to the public that your company has opened up, launch your product, or build a web presence. Utah is known for its support for entrepreneurship and small businesses, so you’re planting in fertile soil.
  2. It helps you advertise about the latest promos of the company.
  3. It allows customers to feel more connected to the business. The goal of every company is to connect to its target market easily. With graphic design, this can be easy to achieve. If you know whatyour demographic wants to see, we can show you howto present and implement it. When clients like what they see, they will patronize your products and services more.
  4. It enables you to present your company to everyone. This is probably the best advantage that you can get out of good design. It can be difficult for you to make your company stand out. One great way to do it is to create a logo that will really represent your business.

Things to Look For In Every Graphic Designer

Now that you have seen a few of the benefits of graphic design, the next thing to think about is the level of the professional who will handle your design needs. What are the characteristics that every agency or graphic designer must possess? These are some things we have learned over the years:

  • Communication. This is the first item on the list because failure in communication is the root of all evil (isn’t that how the phrase goes?). You need to find an agency who listens carefully to all your instructions. It is important that both parties maintain good communication with each other to avoid any issues that may come up. It’s always better to over-communicate than to under-communicate; don’t assume you’ve been clear.
  • Creativity. One of the most important skills of a designer is their creativity. They must be able to make designs come to life. They have to possess a skill in transforming the clients’ wants into communicable visuals.
  • Keen to Details. It can be frustrating to work with a agency and designer who does not listen to your requests. This can be rolled back into Communication.
  • Meets Deadlines. Another important qualification of every person is the ability to meet deadlines. In the marketing world, timelines are crucial for every business. Delays can lead to a loss in sales or lower profits. Because of this, it is necessary to see to it that deadlines are met ON BOTH SIDES.
  • Knowledge of Design Software. The graphic designer must not only have artistic skills or creativity. They should also be knowledgeable when it comes to creating designs by means of the industry standard programs–not for sake of posterity but for output’s sake. Building a catalog in Photoshop would be a nightmare compared to designing in InDesign. In this age of tech, almost everything is generated via computers.

Types of Graphic Design

Graphic design comes in many different forms. Below is just a handful of different types of design.

  1. Corporate Design
  2. Publishing
  3. Package Design
  4. Web Design
  5. Wayfinding/Signage/Environmental
  6. UX/UI/Product Design

Indeed, graphic design has become a necessity in almost all areas of business. As such, you have to make sure that your company is using it. Otherwise, your competitors will leave you in the dust. Employing an agency may be expensive for your firm but it will be worth it. It’s an investment and you can expect higher returns from it.

Gradients - Blog

Blending the Past into the Present

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought, Happenings, Instagram

From pushing paint around in the background of a masterpiece one color to another, a screened-image print of tiny dots to create the illusion of blended color, to the innovation of digital desktop publishing, gradients have been around for longer than you might think. However, it is a design trend that is making a strong comeback in 2018. Don’t mistake this for a new trend. In both digital and print, gradients have been around for some time. With the strong, flat color being a design mainstay for a while now, some designers are switching back to incorporating gradients in new and exciting ways.


Simple can make a big statement–using colors that compliment a brand or image, using a flat color can add a bold look, using two-tones is popular too. You can even set a mood with the colors you choose. This is great when overlaid on a photo (seen a lot these days), or used to fill typography to make it be noticed on a dark background. While I am a big proponent (and fan) of clean, open design, gradient color can take a design to the next level.

Gradient with Photo

Too much or just enough? Just like candy, gradients can be sweet. Too much and both your stomach and eyes are going to ache. Is one gradient not enough? Two can work together great! Three, four or more…be careful overdoing it. This color effect can work against itself when too many gradients are all used together.

Multiple Gradients

Look for designs around you that utilize gradients. It can be a really great effect, just look and you will find many examples on the internet–in apps and all over social media. Many icons are being gradated from their once flat color designs. Often times in several different color variations. Once you recognize it, you will see gradients used everywhere.

Logos Using Gradients

Take a risk and go bold! Sometimes you must throw the can of paint at the wall and watch it spatter all over. While it may be messy, the end result may be amazing. If you want a design to get noticed, imitating what you have seen will point you in a direction, however, until you pop out and break that boundary you will remain part of the crowd.

I have to admit that gradients are by no means my favorite. I have seen many examples where it was a poor choice. However, I don’t count it out in my design toolbox and have made some designs shine when I figure out just the right colors and how to disperse them with precision. Many amazing things can be achieved with color, so give gradients a go.

design trends

Everything Old is New Again

By | Blog, Design, Happenings

Design Trends

It is a new year–yes, it’s 2018–but it’s also time to shift gears in the seasonal advertising industry. The start of each year brings new design trends, some of which are “Wow! That’s amazing!” and some that are “Meh, I’ve seen that before.” However, just like many trends of the past (think bell-bottoms, hairstyles, and vinyl records), some interesting and very foundational design elements keep coming back to influence our current designs. You might conclude that they never actually left.

What I want to highlight today (and which is back on the list for 2018) is a design technique called Negative Space. The unused space around an element or typography, sometimes also referred to as “white space,” is back in the design trends for 2018. Personally, I think this trend never goes out of style. Nowadays it’s frequently used and it creates really subtle-but-genius interactions for the viewer. It has long been said that white space is sexy. If you don’t think so, look at Calvin Klein, Chanel, and what Apple has done with their advertising in the past decade. That excessive resting space for the brain makes the experience more impactful.

design trends

Negative space doesn’t have to be white, it can be black or any other color that works with the creative intent. A teal background with bold white type? A gray background photo with an elegant logo? Isolating a person or element from a photographic image creates white space and allows the eye to linger on the complex silhouette for a little bit longer. This can be advantageous when wanting someone to chew on what you are selling for a little bit longer.

Negative Space Logo

There are many simple ways to create impactful designs using negative space. Using the space inside an object is a way to combine elements and create negative space in unique ways. Examples might be placing a photograph inside bold type or overlaying a photo over a complex shape from an isolated image. I am often awe-struck by the designs I come across (see a compilation of designs here). With my design biases, I often analyze and examine those design elements to understand how and why they work the way they do (or reinforce what I have already discovered).

design trends

I could claim that in graphic design, like other professional fields, creations of the past will influence the ides of the future. Graphic design basics are something to always fall back to for a creative solution–your foundation of sorts to build new and innovative ideas upon. Putting a new slant on that fundamental design concept might be the next design trend. Who knows…maybe will you be the innovator that might bring that idea to life?


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Idea Creation

Idea Creation–easier said than done

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought

It has been said that artists are creative experts, however, that is not an idea creation job requirement. Humans are inherently creative in solving problems and the invention of ideas. Often though, the biggest stumbling block is coming up with the “BIG” idea. How you create a “BIG” idea whether, in the outcome of something tangible (product, service, item) or a creative concept (branding, marketing, designs), it is the same dilemma. Here are a few tips to help in idea creation.

Define the Goal
What is the desired end result; a product name? A clever phrase? A marketing strategy to attract attention? Try analyzing the situation to point you in the direction of the goal. Point your boat in the right direction from the start! It can be easy to lose sight or be drawn off-course by a tangent.

Use a Pencil and Paper
Go offline and back to old-school pencil and paper (pencil, pen, marker, highlighter, or stick in the sand)! This allows you to slow down and get engaged. Writing makes the brain think in a different way and can help you remember/trigger memories which might create new ideas. For basic brainstorming, writing can be a huge benefit!

Sometimes it is all about to HOW you do it. Instead of everyone in the room trying to come up with something to throw in the ring, work independently first. Creativity can often be stifled in a group setting; the “best” ideas might go to the lowest innovation, and doesn’t push the creative out-of-the-box ideas! Bring your ideas with you to the table. If everyone brings the best, you start out with a higher level of ideation to begin with and help drive early success.

Conflict & Reaction
Look at the goal from the opposite side. Play the “devil’s advocate” and see what the reactions and conflicts might be. Does your cleverness require too much explaining? Is the word you “created” based off specific industry jargon that misses a broader audience? Take a step back and say, “I know nothing about this,” and see if it still works.

This can be a productive method to find and fix holes in your plan from the outset. Looking in from the outside can be a great perspective when generating ideas. Remember that you know the research, backstory, and context of your design problem, however, the broader audience will not have those insights.

Ready to start pumping out that endless list of needed ideas? Grab your notebook and go to town. The is no time like the present to get started on the next winning idea!

Crumpled Paper - Fabrica Creative

Can You Show Me?

By | Blog, Design, Food for thought, Happenings

That is often a question I will ask a client to get the ball rolling–a question I have been asked many times too. People tend to process visually based off of what we see in the world. The majority of humans, around 65%, are visual learners. What is seen is a great way to share information. This visual experience can sometime be mysterious when trying to understand minimalistic design concepts coming from a creative department.

Not everyone thinks visually (Really? Who knew?). This can be a challenge for a designer when developing something to be seen. The concept of explaining a design is not as simple as it sounds. It has been said many times, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but a thousand words from me still may not convey the same thing a sketch on a napkin would.

A long time ago when I was young in my career, someone said to me, “I’ll know it when I see it.” While that statement helped me little initially, it did help me to understand one thing–If you have eyes, you receive visual information. And that input helps make the final decision. Getting what a client wants or needs is a result of research, analysis, and experience. Creating a layout that surprises, shocks, inspires or initiates thought is the desired result in any given design project.

Sometimes a client may not know what they need, however, it is amazing when presented with an option, they can [usually] put a finger on it immediately and say “Yes that’s what I am looking for” or “No, I don’t like that.” The most important aspect of this process is not the approval, but the engagement of getting someone thinking and responding. It allows both parties to engage and be more productive.

How you design information can have a big impact when it is viewed. Often a really good design looks like it has not received a great deal of attention (i.e. looks basic, simple). Little does the viewer know how many minute adjustments were made, or how much time was used to polish the final product. They just look and say “yes.” A good design often calls little attention and leaves the viewer to consume the visual information with ease.

I have worked on visual translating to help a client in this creation process. It is not something complex. It can start with some very simple questions. Questions like “Blue like the sky or like a blueberry?” or “What is the one thing you are trying to explain to your potential customers?” Direct questions engage the mind and help point the designers in a more accurate direction.

Designing, like any other process, can be a straight shot or a winding path. When done with skill the end result will be a success. Getting there together with the client, is a greater success!