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A Thing

Transition Your Ideas from Brain to Paper

When a theme or an image for your advertisement is determined, it's time to assess who is going to create the artwork. It's standard to look within the ranks of the company if you don't already have a marketing department. But for the love of all that is good and right, don't enlist your nephew who knows how to make yard sale flyers with Microsoft Publisher!

Often, the cost of the project is a stumbling block. It's wise to keep your ideas flexible and your ego in check. If you have to start off small, a good design will bring you the business and revenue it takes to step up your efforts.

A professional ad campaign must be established with a qualified designer or agency. If you try to cut corners and save a couple hundred dollars, your business may suffer for it. Enlist the services of a designer who is familiar with the type of ad or campaign for your company. Your research should include asking your colleagues for referrals and checking the local business directory.

After the details of the partnership have been secured, show examples of the publication to the designer. As mentioned in part one of this series, it's crucial to get a sense of the target audience and what pushes their buttons.

In your search for a compatible artist or agency, make sure you find someone who can produce the ad materials according to the specifications of the publication. Taking the extra steps to research qualifications will save mountains of money and valuable time as well. Ask about the programs your artist(s) will use to create the design. Buzzwords to listen for are Adobe PhotoShop, Illustrator, and InDesign; Quark Xpress; Freehand; and CorelDraw.

It may seem like a formality, but it is a must that they are up-to-speed with technology and the industry standard in design software. Case in point: The Green Sheet often receives, as ad copy, Microsoft Word files made into boxed tables and a garden variety of fonts. This is wrong in many ways - low resolution graphics, unlinked fonts and artwork, and a format incompatible with Quark Xpress. Specifications should be readily available from the publication, either online or in print, and you must adhere to them. After the final arrangements have been made with the artist or service bureau, be clear about your concept and what you want to achieve with the ad, and make sure the ad properly reflects your company's image. For many readers, this will be their first impression of you.

Next: Quality control and the submission process.

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