GET A LOGO DESIGN BY TOMORROW

So you’re ready to print business cards, letterhead, and maybe even a brochure, but you’re having second thoughts about the logo your brother-in-law (the architect) designed for you last weekend? No worries. Your problem can be solved – professionally – by this time tomorrow. And best of all, it’s not going to cost you an arm or a leg.

How about $99 for a shiny new logo?

(click on image to see actual 99 Design logos)

There’s a new, unique way of going about the process at 99 Designs. You go to their web site, register and answer a few questions, and within 24 hours, you’ll have a professional logo design ready to go in all the right file formats. It’s one of the fastest, cleanest ways to create a corporate identity you can be proud of.

If you have a little more time and a little more budget to work with, you can actually have dozens of designers compete against each for your business. The result is a logo that’s custom built for you by a proven graphic designer. The same holds true if you want professionally designed business cards, letterhead, envelopes and other essential marketing materials. Go to 99 Designs and start a contest and you’ll have designers from all over the world working for little ol’ you.

If it sounds too good to be true, trust me, it’s not. If you are not happy with the submitted designs, you don’t have to accept any of them and your money will be refunded. It’s a 100 percent guarantee and 99 Design stands behind it. If you aren’t happy, they aren’t happy.

But you will be.

 

PLUG IN: ONLINE MEDIA TERMINOLOGY

If you are serious about marketing your company in today’s world, you definitely need good, quality printed materials. But you also better know a thing or two about the internet. If you are like a lot of others out there, some of the terminology hasn’t quite gotten into your vernacular.

Well, consider this the encyclopedia of internet media terms.

 

Bookmark

a routine that allows you to save a reference to a site or page that you have already visited. At a later point in time, you can use a bookmark to return to that page. It commonly refers to a feature of Netscape Navigator (a web browser) that allows you to collect and organize bookmarks of your favorite web sites.

 

Browser

an application used to view and navigate the World Wide Web and other Internet resources.

 

Bug

problem with computer software or hardware that causes it to malfunction or crash.

 

Bulletin Board System (BBS)

An open computer system that members can dial into in order to send email, join discussion groups, and download files. Since the 1970s, BBS’s have provided an early means for home users to get online. Originally, BBS’s were freestanding local systems, but now many provide access to Internet email, telnet, FTP, and other Internet services.

 

Chat

a form of interactive online communication that enables typed conversations to occur in real-time. When participating in a chat discussion, your messages are instantaneously relayed to other members in the chat room while other members’ messages are instantaneously relayed to you.

 

Chat History

a transcript of a chat session.

 

Commercial Online Service

a computer network that supplies its members with access to chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other online content on a monthly fee basis. Commercial online services include America Online, CompuServe, The Microsoft Network, and Prodigy. In addition to their own proprietary content, most commercial online services also provide access to the Internet.

 

Congestion

a state occurring in a part of a network when the message traffic is so heavy that it slows down network response time.

 

Connection

when two computers have established a path through which the exchange of information can occur.

 

Cookies

small files that are downloaded to your computer when you browse certain web pages. Cookies hold information that can be retrieved by other web pages on the site. Some cookies are programmed with an expiration date so that they are automatically deleted after a period of time.

 

Copy Protection

a software lock placed on a computer program by its developer to thwart piracy. This preventative measure was widely used in the mid-1980s but later abandoned by many developers because of numerous customer complaints.

 

Cracker

a malicious hacker who breaks (or cracks) the security of computer systems in order to access, steal, or destroy sensitive information. “Hacker” is often incorrectly used instead of cracker, especially by the media. See also hacker.

 

Crossload

to send an attached file via email. See also upload and download.

 

Domain Name

the official name of a computer connected to the Internet. Domain names are derived from a hierarchical system, with a host name followed by a top-level domain category. The top-level domain categories are com (for commercial enterprises), org (for non-profit organizations), net (for network services providers), mil (for the military), and gov (for government).

 

Domain Name System (DNS)

a database system which looks up host IP addresses based upon domain names. For example if you ask for “www.thisismyhost.com” it will return 123.45.67.89. Copies of the Domain Name System are distributed through the Internet.

 

Download

to transfer data from a larger “host” system to a smaller “client” system’s hard drive or other local storage device. See also upload.

 

Download Charges

monetary charges associated with downloading a file from a commercial online service. This method of information exchange is not very popular.

 

Ecash

electronic money designed to be used over a network or stored on cards similar to credit cards. Ecash is still more of an idea than a practical reality, largely due to security concerns.

 

Eform

an electronic form that is filled out by a user and sent over a network. They are typically used to place orders or provide feedback. Eforms can be placed on web pages or in Java applets and usually contain text boxes, buttons, and other components.

 

Emoticon

a cute sideways face created by using special characters on the keyboard. Used to express emotions without words. For example, this winking face ;-) indicates “I’m joking”, this sad face :-( expresses sadness or “I’m sulking”. If this makes no sense, turn your head sideways and look again. Also known as a “smiley.”

 

Encryption

a procedure that renders the contents of a message or file unintelligible to anyone not authorized to read it. PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a commonly-used encryption program.

 

Eyeballs

a viewing audience for a WWW site.

 

Facilitated Chat

in a facilitated chat, a host or facilitator controls the messages that appear on the chat screen. Usually used when there is a guest speaker. Facilitated chats provide an orderly environment for the guest speaker and ensure that she is not overwhelmed with dozens of questions all being asked at once. See also chat.

 

FAQ

acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. A reference document created for particular topic or group that answers to common beginners’ questions. It is considered poor Netiquette to ask a question without first reading the FAQ.

 

Flame

a public post or email message that expresses a strong opinion or criticism. Flames can be fun when they allow people to vent their feelings, then return to the topic at hand. Others are simply insulting and can lead to flame wars.

 

Flame Bait

an inflammatory post that is designed to provoke a flame war or flame responses.

 

Flame on/Flame off

notifiers that surround a flame message and let readers know that the message they are reading is a flame. Although you don’t see these as much as you used to, they would most commonly be used by an individual known to a particular online group who wishes to do a little ranting and then return to the topic at hand. Note that the original usage of “flame on” was derived from Marvel Comics’ Human Torch character.

 

Flame War

a series of public posts in which people flame one another rather than contribute useful information.

 

Flash Session

a feature of America Online that automatically performs online tasks at a designated time. Flash sessions are often used to send/receive email and download large files.

 

Forum

a topically-focused discussion group or area. From the traditional Roman forum.

 

Go Word

the word associated with a forum or area on a commercial online service that allows you to get to that place quickly.

 

Hacker

an expert programmer who likes to spend a lot of time figuring out the finer details of computer systems or networks, as opposed to those who learn only the minimum necessary. See also cracker.

 

Handle

a nickname used in online communications.

 

Hit

a single user accessing a single file from a web server. A unit of measure often used erroneously to evaluate the popularity of a web site.

 

Home Page

a web page that is topically the main source of information about a particular person, group, or concept. Many people on the web create home pages about themselves for fun; these are also known as vanity pages.

 

Host

 

1. A computer that allows users to communicate with other host computers on a network.

2. A chat term for someone who is managing a chat. Hosts often act as referees and have the power to turn participants into spectators and vice versa.

 

Hyperlink

a highlighted word or picture within a hypertext document that when clicked takes you to another place within the document or to another document altogether.

 

Hypertext

text that includes links or shortcuts to other documents, allowing the reader to easily jump from one text to related texts, and consequentially from one idea to another, in a non-linear fashion. Coined by Ted Nelson in 1965.

 

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

the tag-based ASCII language used to create pages on the World Wide Web. See also hypertext.

 

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

the protocol used by the World Wide Web to transfer HTML files.

 

Icon

a small graphic image that represents a file or application and when clicked upon produces a programmed result. Use of this mnemonic convention originated at Xerox PARC and was subsequently popularized by the Apple Macintosh. Producing an effective icon is non-trivial because of size and color restraints. See iconographer.

 

Iconographer

a skillful designer who elevates icon design to an art form.

 

Identity Hacking

posing as someone else. Posting anonymously or pseudonymously, usually with the intent to deceive.

 

Infobahn

a variant of information superhighway. An unimplemented proposal by Vice President Al Gore to wire the US for hundreds of cable television channels. Now synonymous with the Internet.

 

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

A technology offered by telephone carriers that allows for the rapid transfer of voice and data.

 

Internet

a worldwide network of networks that all use the TCP/IP communications protocol and share a common address space. First incarnated as the ARPANET in 1969, the Internet has metamorphosed from a military internetwork to an academic research internetwork to the current commercial internetwork. It commonly supports services such as email, the World Wide Web, file transfer, and Internet Relay Chat. The Internet is experiencing tremendous growth in the number of users, hosts, and domain names. It is gradually subsuming other media, such as proprietary computer networks, newspapers, books, television, and the telephone. Also known as “the net”, “the information superhighway”, and “cyberspace”. See also domain, and Domain Name Service.

 

Internet Explorer

a free web browser application from Microsoft.

 

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

A chat network that operates over the Internet. Originally evolved from the UNIX talk program, IRC is similar to the chat systems found on commercial online services.

 

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

1. A business that delivers access to the Internet, usually for a monthly fee. PSI, UUNET, and Netcom are examples of established ISPs but there are thousands of smaller ones all around the world.

2. Any business that provides Internet services such as web sites or web site development.

 

Internet Society (ISOC)

to quote its home page at http://info.isoc.org: “The Internet Society is a non-governmental International organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications.”

 

InterNIC

the InterNIC is the entity that controls the registration of most domain names on the Internet. The InterNIC is a cooperative activity between the National Science Foundation, Network Solutions, Inc. and AT&T. Its home page is at http://internic.net/

 

Interoperability

the ability of software and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate meaningfully.

 

Intranet

a private network that uses Internet-related technologies to provide services within an organization.

 

IP address

a string of four numbers separated by periods (such as 111.22.3.444) used to represent a computer on the Internet. The format of the address is specified by the Internet Protocol in RFC 791. When a PC accesses the Internet through an ISP, it sometimes receives a temporary IP address.

 

Java

an object oriented programming language created by Sun Microsystems. Java is a device independent language, meaning that programs compiled in Java can be run on any computer. Java programs can be run as a free-standing application or as an applet placed on a web page. Applets written in Java are served from a web site but executed on the client computer. Java applets have a built-in security feature which prevents them from accessing the file system of the client computer. See also applet. Here is the Java version of “Hello World!”: class HelloWorld {public static void main (String args[]) {System.out.println(“Hello World!”); }}

 

JavaScript

a scripting language that allows lines of Java code to be inserted into HTML scripts.

 

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

an image compression standard for still photographs that is commonly used on the web.

 

Kill File

a file used by some USENET reading programs that filters out unwanted messages, usually from a particular author or on a particular subject. If you add someone to your kill file, you arrange for the person to be ignored by your news reader.

 

Leased Line

a permanently established connection between computers over a dedicated phone line which is leased from a telephone carrier.

 

Link

a highlighted word or picture within a hypertext document that when clicked bring you to another place within the document or to another document altogether. See also hyperlink.

 

List Server

an automated mailing list distribution system. List servers maintain a list of email addresses to be used for mass emailing. Subscribing and unsubscribing to the list is accomplished by sending a properly formatted email message to the list server.

 

Local Area Network (LAN)

a group of computers at a single location (usually an office or home) that are connected by phone lines or coaxial cable.

 

Mailbomb

the act of sending massive amounts of email to a single address with the malicious intent of disrupting the system of the recipient. Mailbombing is considered a serious breach of Netiquette and is probably illegal.

 

Mailing List

a discussion group that occurs via mass email distributions. Mailing lists are usually maintained by individuals utilizing list server software. List servers maintain a list of email addresses to be used for the mailing list. Subscribing and unsubscribing to the list is accomplished by sending a properly formatted email message to the list server.

 

Mirror Site

a server which contains a duplicate of another WWW or FTP site. Mirror sites are created when the traffic on the original site becomes too heavy for a single server. Often mirror sites are located in different geographic areas allowing users to choose the site closest to them.

 

Nanosecond

a measurement of time. There are 1,000,000,000 nanoseconds in a second.

 

Net Lingo

the slang commonly used on the Internet.net.police. Those who feel it’s their appointed role to flame perceived violations of Netiquette.

 

Net Surfing

browsing or exploring a network or the World Wide Web to find places of interest, usually without a specific goal in mind. Analogous to channel surfing with a TV remote control.

 

Netiquette

network etiquette, or the set of informal rules of behavior that have evolved in Cyberspace, including the Internet and online services.

 

Netnews

the content of USENET.

 

Network

a group of computers or devices that are connected together for the exchange of data and sharing of resources.

 

Newsgroup

a public place where messages are posted for public consumption and response. The most available distribution of newsgroups is USENET which contains over ten thousand unique newsgroups covering practically every human proclivity. The names of newsgroups are comprised of a string of words separated by periods, such as “rec.humor.funny” or “misc.jobs.offered”. The first word (i.e. “rec” or “misc”) represents the top level category of newsgroups. The second word (in these examples “humor” and “jobs”) represents a subcategory of the first level, and the third word a subcategory of the second.

 

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

a contract commonly used by computer companies to protect the confidentiality of unreleased products. Software developers, reporters, and sometimes beta testers are often required to sign these before they are given access to either information about upcoming products or the product itself.

 

Offline

1. As an adjective, not connected to a computer network.

2. As an adverb, not here or not now, as in “Let’s take this discussion offline.” Often used to indicate that a topic should be discussed privately rather than in a public forum.

 

Online

1. Currently connected to a host, opposite of offline.

2. Referring to anything connected to a computer network.

 

Password

a secret code that you utilize along with your user ID in order to log on to a network.

 

Path

the hierarchical description of where a directory, folder, or file is located on your computer or on a network.

 

Post

to send a message to a public area like a BBS or newsgroup where it can be read by many others.

 

Postmaster

the name given to the person in charge of administrating email for a particular site. According to convention, mail sent to postmaster@foo.com should be read by a real live person. Protocol|A series of rules and conventions that allow different kinds of computers and applications to communicate over a network.

 

Query

1. A general question posed to a person or group over the Internet.Internet users are generally so helpful that if one asks an appropriate query to the correct discussion group, one will often receive many useful responses. One caveat: it is necessary to find and read the appropriate FAQ document first. Failure to do so would be considered a waste other people’s time and bandwidth.

2. A request for specific information from a database.

 

Random Access Memory (RAM)

the working memory of the computer into which application programs can be loaded and executed. It helps to have more of this “working space” installed when running advanced operating systems and applications.

 

README File

1. A text file included with an application that contains important (and often last minute) information about installing and using the application.

2. A text file on an FTP site that provides valuable information about the context of site.

3. Any text file that you are supposed to read before proceeding.

 

Read Receipts

an optional email feature that notifies you when a recipient has opened the email message you sent him. See also delivery receipts.

 

Refresh

to clear the screen or part of the screen and redraw it again.

 

Remote Login

operating a remote computer over a network as if it were a local computer. This can be accomplished via one of several protocols, including telnet and the UNIX program rlogin.

 

Response Time

a measurement of the time between a request for information over a network and the network’s fulfillment of that request. “Overall response time” is an aggregate or average measurement of various response times over a particular network or through a particular host.

 

Search Engine

a program or web site that enables users to search for keywords on web pages throughout the World Wide Web. For example, Alta Vista is a popular search engine located at http://www.altavista.com/

 

Security

ensuring that private information remains private in an atmosphere where all other information is free. Security also means that viruses are prevented from infecting people’s systems.

 

Server

a computer that provides information to client machines. For example, there are web servers that send out web pages, mail servers that deliver email, list servers that administer mailing lists, FTP servers that hold FTP sites and deliver files to users who request them, and name servers that provide information about Internet host names.

 

Shareware

software that you can download from a network and “try before you buy.” If you like the software and decide to use it beyond the trial period, you must register with the author and pay a registration fee.

 

Shouting

TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING IN ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS. Avoid this unless you really mean to shout.

 

Snail Mail

regular postal mail, as opposed to email. Pejorative when implying postal mail’s slowness relative to email.

 

Sneakernet

the transfer of electronic information by physically carrying disks, tape, or some other media from one machine to another. Used ironically.

 

Spam

to send a message (usually an advertisement) to many discussion groups (bulletin boards, mailing lists, and/or newsgroups), without regard for its topical relevance.

 

Telnet

a protocol which allows you to sign onto a remote UNIX computer from a another computer located anywhere on the Internet. To telnet into a remote computer, you usually need to supply a user ID and password that is recognized by the remote system.

 

Thread

1. A series of postings on a particular topic. Threads can be a series of bulletin board messages (for example, when someone posts a question and others reply with answers or additional queries on the same topic). A thread can also apply to chats, where multiple conversation threads may exist simultaneously.

2. Also refers to an independent process taking place in a multi-tasking environment.

 

Toggle

1. A switch that is either on or off.

2. If it is on, to turn it off; if it is off, to turn it on.

 

Traffic

the load of packets carried by a network or portion of a network. Heavy traffic slows down the response time of the individual packets.

 

Triple-dub

an abbreivated way to say “WWW” when reciting a URL.

 

Upload

to send a file to a network. See also download and crossload.

 

Virtual

a commonly used adjective that means having all of the properties of x while not necessarily being x. For example, “virtual Friday” in a workplace is the last day of work before a break, that is to say it is like Friday but may or may not actually be Friday. A “virtual reality” is an artificial environment that appears to be its own reality. On a mainframe, a “virtual machine” gives the user all of the properties and “feel” of a separate personal computer.

 

Virus

an insidious piece of computer code written to damage systems. Viruses can be hidden in executable program files posted online.

 

Webliography

a listing of source World Wide Web sites.

 

Webmaster

the person in charge of administrating a World Wide Web site. By convention, the webmaster of Internet domain foo.com can be reached at the email address webmaster@foo.com.

 

World Wide Web (WWW)

a distributed hypertext system invented by Tim Berners-Lee on a NeXT Computer. Currently, one of the most popular services offered on the Internet. Web pages are viewed using browsing software like Netscape Navigator, Sun Microsystems Hot Java, or Microsoft Internet Explorer. See also browser, Hypertext Markup Language, net surfing, and triple-dub.

 

Worm

1. An insidious and usually illegal computer program that is designed to replicate itself over a network for the purpose of causing harm and/or destruction. While a virus is designed to invade a single computer’s hard drive, a worm is designed to invade a network. The most infamous worm was created by Robert Tappan Morris in November 1988; it infiltrated over 6,000 network systems around the globe.

2. Acronym for “Write Once Read Many”. Used to describe optical disk drives that can only be written once, usually for archival purposes.

 

 

BUSINESS CARD DESIGN: LESS IS MORE

If you are not a designer and are looking to put together marketing materials for your business, you can create something very nice and make a real statement by avoiding one simple mistake. It’s a mistake that is so common among non-professionals (and even quite a few of them too) it’s more or less the standard. Why it prevails is one of the great mysteries of the marketing world, because it’s so easy to avoid if you can exercise a little bit of good judgement and discipline.

The mistake is this … information overload, aka, clutter.

From business cards to billboards, business owners and overzealous marketing directors just cannot help from throwing everything – including the kitchen sink – into everything they design. The golden rule of “less is more” is one that they never learned. It’s also one you need to write on a sticky note IN ALL CAPS (yes a contradiction, but necessary to emphasize its importance) and slap on your computer screen to remind yourself to only include what is absolutely necessary in any layout you are involved in.

How do you assess what’s necessary? Easy. Set an objective for everything you design (or oversee) and measure every single thing you are considering including in said design against it.

For instance, in most cases a business card’s objective is to convey three things. A sense of your company’s brand, what your company does, and how to get in touch with you. Anything beyond that is too much and will add clutter that detracts from the primary message and thus makes achieving the communication objective less likely.

So do you really need to include a fax number when fax machines have virtually disappeared from the modern office? Do you need two email addresses? A long list of services when the name of your company implies you do all that anyway? You get the picture.

And don’t fall into the trap of making everything as big as you possibly can. Most logos are presented at least 50 percent bigger than they need to be. Think about it. If your logo is the only graphic on your card, it will still be seen and processed by any eye at half the size you might be considering. In fact, with more “white space” around it, it actually draws more attention being smaller. And it just plain looks classier.

Smaller fonts have the same impact. Less is more. Remember it the next time you design something to print.

One other trick that’s especially useful with business card design: utilize ALL the available space. Why would you not use both sides of the card? Years ago, it was a cost issue. Printing two sides nearly doubled the cost of printing. With modern printing solutions, though, printing two sides can cost as little as 10-15% more than one side alone.

Printing on both sides of a business card allows for more white space so graphics and type have room to breath. Since they aren’t competing as fiercely for attention, they perform better. And that’s what less is more is all about.

 

DIRECT MAIL: CALL BEFORE YOU DESIGN

So you sent out a couple thousand invitation packages to your big event and two weeks later they all start pouring back into your mailroom because of insufficient postage or a flaw in the design that interferes in the post office’s ability to delivery. Now you have to scramble to save the event, which costs you time, money and reputation.

You could have avoided the disaster by simply working with the post office beforehand. The U.S. Postal Service has designated individuals whose job is to review and advise on such matters. They are called Mail Design Analysts. Find one in your neighborhood.

Preferably you should go to them before the piece is finalized and/or printed. If you’ve designed a postcard and not left adequate space around the address and enough room on the bottom for a barcode, the only place your postcards are going is into the recycle bin.

You can also take a sample of what will be mailed for an estimate on postage. They will evaluate all the variables that make a difference – shape, size and weight – and tell you where you stand. That way you’ll know the ground rules and your piece will land right where you want it, when you want it.

Other Useful USPS Links

Designing Letters and Postcards for Automated Processing

Physical Standards for Commercial Letters and Postcards

Locate a Mail Design Analyst

TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE

If you want to maximize the use of a printed product, think things through a bit and you just might find you can use one product for two distinctly different purposes.

For example, you can print a standard notepad with your company logo with the intent of using the notepads as giveaways to customers and prospects in order to brand your company.

But if you hold a few pads back and also print an announcement envelope with your logo, you now have a “executive stationary” you can use for hand written notes. But since our notepads are printed on laser and ink jet guaranteed paper, you can also peel off single pages and run them through your printer, creating and an impressive presentation without a huge investment.

8.5 x 5.5 Notepad + 5.75 x 4.375 (A2) Envelope = Executive Stationary

SET YOURSELF APART

In business, the only rules are there are no rules.

Especially if you want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

So when it’s time to for your next brochure, business cards, or whatever, don’t be afraid to try something a little different. Instead of the same old business card, try printing one that’s a little smaller than standard. Or go two-sided. Or rounded corners. Or even all of the above.

A “slim” business card with rounded corners immediately stands out when you hand it to a prospect. It demonstrates  you are willing to look at things different than your competition and that you are not afraid of taking a risk … if that’s what shaving a quarter inch from your business card really is!

standard / rounded

standard size

CREATE UNLIMITED SHELF LIFE

There’s nothing worse than having to throw out boxes of printed materials because you’re moving your store or office. Actually, there is one thing that’s worse. Covering your old address with a sticker!

In many cases you can avoid all that by simply replacing your physical address with your web address and phone number. Your website isn’t going anywhere, and anyone who needs your physical address knows they can get it on line. And since phone numbers also move … well, you get the idea.

This strategy is particularly effective in the corporate world, because customers are not typically driven to corporate locations. In the retail world, where the idea is to drive traffic to a precise location, including the physical address is unavoidable . Of course you can minimize waste by planning ahead and adjust your order quantities if there’s even a hint of change on the horizon.

Another matter that creates a lot of waste is employee turnover. No sooner does that brochure with employee bios come off the press, one of the people featured is gone. And so is your brochure. Instead, try to eliminate “perishable” content which, again, can be published on your web site.

Quality Discount Printing