project 366 day 75

fish_bottle_366

Keeping the (second) streak alive, so far.

Since my major blunder on February 21st, I have managed to keep a second photo streak alive. Since things are still busy, busy, there has been many a day I've just shot something on the fly and some days when I've hustled to take a photo only to remember that I had already done so earlier in the day.

This photo of the fish bottle was taken on March 3rd. I've been going back to glass a bit, but trying to vary my subject matter. This photo was taken late afternoon in the light coming through my office window. One positive thing about trying to keep this project going on a daily basis is that I have a new appreciation for how much light comes through my home/office windows on a daily basis and how to use that to my advantage. Morning brings great light to the porch and kitchen. Mid and late afternoon more light streams in through my living room and office.

More photos can be found on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom). I am still posting to Google+, but not so enamored of it now, so I tend to post less frequently there. More photos can also be found in my 366 Shots Gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.
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project 366 day 55

grapefruit_366

I lost it between the Zatarain's and the coins.

February 22 was a sad day. I woke up and remembered that I had not taken a picture on the 21st. Streak snapped at 51 photos. On the 20th I took a quick shot of a Zatarain's box, then played around with some Photoshop filters. On the 22nd I dejectedly took a quick shot of some coins.

But I regrouped and am pressing on. Work got increasingly busy in January, not a problem on days when I may have been shooting, but on days when I focused on deadlines for graphic design and writing projects, it became more difficult to remember to take a shot. The majority of my shots have been taken on the fly with my iPhone, but the upside is I have taken a few shots that I love (one of my favorites is the grapefruit taken on Feb. 11th), some that have inspired design and illustration ideas, and others that are making me think of new photo projects. In addition to posting on Facebook (Scrivo Communications) and Twitter (@ScrivoCom), I've began posting to Google+ on a new business page, and less frequently to a gallery on my photography site - ScrivoPhotography.
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project 366

Coca Cola Bottle, Project 366

Leap Year: 366 days of photos?

I wanted to pursue a project this year to help keep a camera, of some sort, in my hands more frequently. Since it was leap year, adding day 366 - I thought, why not a photo a day. My plan is to take one photo a day and then post them to Scrivo! Communications Facebook page and @ScrivoCom. Hopefully, I can get a shot each day. I think it doubtful I will post daily though, but who knows?

Blue Vase in sunlight
On my second shot, I decided to make use of the awesome light that comes in through the porch windows in the morning, and used a Coca-Cola glass bottle I had on hand. I really loved working on this shoot first thing in the morning, and I feel inspired to shoot more glass this year. I've already returned to glass, having shot a blue glass vase for 1/4/12. Two other shots this week were of kitchen implements and today's shot, an iPhone shot of some favorite books.
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pixie on the shelf

There's an elf on my shelf? He better keep those books in alphabetical order!

pixie
Some of my favorite Christmas decorations have been with me since childhood. Leather reindeer, a very worn out Santa Claus container (for secret stashes of candy), and an elf or two. Some favorites have not made it through the years. One unfortunate toy was an inflatable Santa Claus that I often used as a punching bag when I was small. There finally came a Christmas when my father could not patch him up, but he graced our home well into my teens.

This Christmas, I've decided to take some shots of a few of my favorite things. This pixie is one of my favorite decorations / childhood playthings and has been around long before the current "elf on the shelf" craze. He's been on the mantels of cardboard and brick fireplaces, under the tree, in the tree, at the breakfast table, on the desk, and just about everywhere in between. This year, he decided to hang out in front of some Harry Potter books. Hopefully, he will not get into too much mischief there. As far as I know, he has never tattled on me to Santa. He doesn't roll like that. My father, who had a great sense of humor, picked up that wonderfully shiny MJ glove somewhere, and then placed it on Pixie's hand. Stylin! He has not taken the glove off since.

Toys and decorations that have a history bring back wonderful memories. Just seeing this Pixie's smile reminds me of how exciting the Christmas season can be, and how extraordinarily happy a child's heart can be over the simplest of things. Must be a little of that Pixie dust and that old Christmas magic.
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your business, your logo

What's in a symbol?

Past conversations with clients or prospects as well as a few recent articles about the process of logo creation have me thinking today. You start a business, and you need an identity. Or, you feel the identity of your business does not correctly define your business or is not creating the impact you had hoped for. The first step in creating a business identity is the logo - the symbol that will bring associations of your business to the thoughts of clients and prospects. Often, small businesses cannot afford to pay much, or do not see the value in paying much, for a logo. Why does it cost so much for a designer to put together a logo - can't they just put something together quick and charge less? They are supposed to be creative, after all.

If your thought process leads you to cheaper is better, it is not impossible to come up with a logo for your business. However, take a step back and consider this: if you are providing a quality service or product, do your quality thresholds require a certain amount of time to achieve? And do you want to be paid for, and profit from, your work? Do you want material that speaks to the quality you produce? If the answers are, "yes", you can better understand the time and processes a designer takes to deliver this small, but important and effective symbol of your business to you.

Once you have your logo, everything else can grow and flow from there. Your identity material (cards, letterhead, envelopes), marketing material (brochures, folders, postcards, sell sheets, rack cards), and social media logo treatment (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+) will all be based on the functionality and appearance of your logo. So you can see where that logo is the most important step in the development of your brand. Yet so often, it is given short thrift, little thought, minimal effort, and few resources.

Your logo, the symbol of your business, is the seed of all your business growth. It will likely be the first thing that prospects see about your company, before they meet you, before they even get a look at what that symbol represents. Logos are an important visual representation of your business. While everyone brings their interpretation to the logo, logos can enhance a first impression. Logos can build loyalty and establish a brand identity. Many hours of strategic thought may go into the creation of a logo. Or a logo can spring from a more personal preference, as the apple is said to have been for Steve Jobs. (Even so, think of everything the apple connotes - it packs a powerful wallop for such a simple symbol.)

Logos should be functional. They should work well anywhere. They should be easy to reproduce. They should be a distinct representation of your company and reproduce well in black and white. Logos that are less "trendy" have the ability to remain "current" with minimal changes over the course of decades.

There are three basic types of logos. The first two may be easier to pull off less expensively than the last. The first is a font-based logo - IBM, for example, or Sullivan & Sons plumbing. There are choices within this choice that may enlarge the scope of the logo project - what font to use? Something more classic? More modern? Conservative? Playful? Serif? Non-serif? Does my color choice enhance or detract from my message?

The second type of logo is an illustration - set apart, or integrated more closely with your business name. There are generic designed symbols available, e.g. a house for a realtor, a pen for a writer, a hammer for a carpenter. Here, there are questions about the art work. Is it available for commercial license? How many other realtors, or writers, or carpenters have that exact same logo? How does that logo differentiate you from all other competition in your profession? Custom designed illustrations can set you apart from the competition, but will cost more as they are being uniquely created for you.

The third basic type is an abstract, custom created symbol. The Nike symbol requires communication of underlying associations with the symbol. Apple is rather an abstract symbol for a computer, iPod, or iPhone. The ReMax balloon is an abstract, but eye-catching logo for a real estate business. Again, symbol, font, color choices all play into the design of a custom logo.

The bottom line is, whatever your budget, whatever your preference for logo type, you should work with a designer to produce the best symbol possible for your business. Your business is unique, and your logo should reflect that. You should look toward your designer for creative ideas and suggestions, but you should also be part of the process and provide insightful information about your company, after all, you know it best.

For a look at the design process in action, check out this online article via Imprint on Paul Rand + Steve Jobs, a peek at the process that designer Paul Rand followed when he created a logo for NeXT, Steve's second act. Also an interesting article on design is this question about the NASA design - do you prefer the "worm" or a "meatball"? I have to say, while I am not a vegetarian, in this case at least, I am not a fan of the meatball.
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