Featured Client: KOAL Industrial Filter, Inc.

KOAL Industrial Filter, Inc. incorporated in 2009 and in the beginning, their business was strictly on-site preventative maintenance servicing for heavy equipment in the construction, waste management and mining industries. In 2010, they started to become aware of issues their clients were facing when they tried to purchase filters for equipment, which lead to a loss of production time and needless expenditures. As a result, KOAL decided to make some changes which included expanding their product offerings by becoming distributors for Baldwin and Donaldson, and creating the KOAL PM Kit, which helps the customer bundle and transport filters to the field with more ease.

When KOAL approached Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design, they were looking for some sort of best cordless jigsaw but to merge the preventative maintenance division of the company (named KOAL) with the product division (named KINGS) and create a single company identity. After brainstorming a few options, we decided their brand was stronger under the KOAL name and we would incorporate the idea of their other division, Kings, by using a graphic of a crown within the logo. The client also requested the logo have a vintage feel. The following is what we came up with:

With the logo having such an interesting shape, and us always trying to think outside of the box, we asked the client to consider a custom die-cut for their business cards. We’re grateful they agreed to move forward with our idea, and as a result we created a distinctive business card that, according to the client, has turned a few heads as they hand them out.

KOAL Business Card

In 2011, KOAL worked to help on this guide on bluetooth motorcycle helmet but has continued to expand their product offerings and is looking to move into new industries such as heavy marine and industrial power generation. We look forward to continuing our relationship with KOAL by helping them to expand their brand and improve their online presence through an e-commerce website coming later this year or early 2012.

How to make your sketches digital art

Wacom has done it again. The Inkling, set for release in Mid-September, is a new product that “bridges the gap between traditional, freehand sketching and digital development.”

How does it do this you ask? Well, the Inkling is a digital sketch pen. It has the look and feel of a normal ball point pen but with the added ability to capture your hand drawn sketch as a digital file. Your work can instantly become vector art as you draw!

What makes the Inkling so innovative and versatile is that you can sketch on ANY paper ANYwhere! You are not required to carry around a digital sketch pad or connect to your computer while you are drawing. The Inkling comes with a receiver that can store hundreds of sketches and easily transfer them to your PC or Mac. Simply clip the receiver onto your paper or sketch pad (remember to turn it on) and draw away. Of course the technology isn’t perfect, you need to keep a clear line of sight between the pen and the receiver. You must keep your fingers away from the tip of the pen and the pen a short distance away from the receiver for the technology to work correctly. View a video of how to use the Inkling

Another unique aspect of the Inkling is that you have the ability to create new layers. With the push of a button you can create a new layer that will be recorded and transferred with the rest of your digital information and sketches when you connect to your computer.

According to YouTube there have already been some complaints against this unreleased product. There is no feature to “erase”. However, one YouTube user commented that you could simply draw in pencil and trace the information you want to digitally capture with the Inkling Pen instead of drawing the original sketch with the digital pen. Don’t forget, you will have the opportunity to clean up and edit your digital art once is has been transferred onto your computer and exported into the proper program, be it Photoshop, Illustrator or the like.

I personally am excited to try out this new product. I never was very good at using the Wacom tablet, a product that allows you to draw while connected to your computer. I have a feeling the Inkling will allow for a more natural flow when hand sketching as opposed to the tablet.

AfterEffects Animations and Motion Graphics

While I was in college studying graphic design, I was assigned the task of re-creating a tv show title sequence. Everyone in the class had to choose from 20 popular shows from the 60′s – 70′s era – many of which I had never seen. The title sequence had to be a contemporary interpretation of the original tv show.

I choose The Munsters as my inspiration since I had enjoyed the show as a child. I especially loved all the spooky props and items throughout the Munster Mansion. After doing some “research” (and by research I mean kicking back to watch a few episodes on Netflix) inspiration struck: I wanted to do a spin off of The Munsters. I was in college so it only seemed natural that my idea was to send Eddie Munster off to college!

The majority of my time and work went into hand drawing, digitally tracing and hand coloring the scene of Eddie’s dorm room. I started with the basic furniture you have in a dorm room: floor, ceiling, walls, window, dresser, and shelves. All these items were colored digitally in neutral tones to differentiate these “normal” items from Eddie’s personal items, which were hand colored with colored pencils. The bed, which typically also comes in the set of dorm room furniture was replaced by a coffin because this is Eddie Munster we are talking about! The original character was about 9 or 10 years old, had fangs, pointed ears and a widow’s peak hairstyle and carried around a “Woof-Woof” werewolf doll. In the original show he slept in a coffin so that is why I pulled that into my composition.

Next came the ooky contents of the shelves: a jar of eyeballs, beakers with bubbling potions and a formaldehyde shark. A stack of chained together books lay next to the monster laptop computer on the dresser which has tentacles coming out of the bottom drawer. The finishing touches to this young man’s door room are an acoustic guitar, a sexy were-girl poster and a family photo. Finally add in some bats flying out the window and a gargoyle-ish guard dog (you know, for the trap door) – and this room make-over is complete!

Each of these items were key to introducing my character in the title scene. The idea behind the animation was to scan the rooms abnormal items – revealing a piece of Eddie’s character each time.

Adobe AfterEffects was used to create the animation. The camera tool allowed smooth transitions from one item to another. I used DaFont.com to find a creepy typeface I thought appropriate for the scene.Burton’s Nightmare felt right with its unique curves. I wanted to animate the typography in this opening sequence as well. I tried out a few text effect filters in AfterEffects but nothing felt perfect. So instead I went with a simple fade in/out effect with the type because it was more legible and took less time to introduce. The show would have an aspect of humor and to show that I brainstormed some silly names for each of the cast members – such as Drew Blood and Chewy Backa.

Finally I requested my boyfriend to learn The Munsters original theme song and we recorded him playing acoustically to give the intro an original audio.

Munster College from stefanie Pilcher on Vimeo.

Shortly after I finished the project I set aside some time to play with the image I had created. It felt great to work on something personal while also furthering my AfterEffects skills and knowledge. I wanted to see what kind of animations I could create by using this static single image I had created. Traditionally animation was created by using a multitude of frames per second, each frame slightly different from the one before creating the illusion of movement. These days animation can also be created using technology and digital models in a 3D space. With AfterEffects masks and pieces of my one image cut into multiple layers using Photoshop I was able to create animation.

Using simple shapes I was able to create my first animation in minutes. (Watch the eyeball)

Eye Motion from stefanie Pilcher on Vimeo.

My next idea took much more effort to set on track. After some Photoshop work I successfully cut out one drawer of the dresser and split apart the 3 octopus tentacles. Using masks I was able to choose how and when to reveal the tentacles.

Octopus Drawer from stefanie Pilcher on Vimeo.

While it is not the smoothest transitions, keep in mind this project did not have endless hours devoted to it and was done relatively quickly, done in a mindset where I was more interested in what I could achieve than how seamlessly I could achieve it. However, I do not think this imperfection takes away from the project, the animation style is different from traditional methods and this gives the movie a unique style.

Contact GDBD Design today if you are interested in creating a project that uses animation, motion graphics or Flash!

How to stay motivated when working from home

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Its easy enough to spot the pros of working from home, but those of us who actually do it day in and day out know how challenging it can be as well. Working from home requires discipline and motivation. Here are five tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Separate work from home – This could include: having set hours or a designated “office” space where you will be uninterrupted. Working from home makes it easy to eye some of the daily house chores lingering around. While it might seem like taking a few minutes to clean the dishes is a good idea, be cautious of the amount of time it might really take to finish a chore or the possibility of getting side-tracked.
  2. Get Comfortable – While some people work better by getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed as though they’re heading to the office – don’t feel ashamed to work in your pj’s every now and again. Surround yourself with a calming and supportive environment – light music or the scent of a candle. Personally, I surround myself with art or visually stimulating items. Try to keep your desk or workspace organized and uncluttered. Have a comfortable chair that supports your back. Remember to take a break every now and then to stretch your muscles or walk around.
  3. Get inspired – My job requires me to be creative but sometimes my brain needs a little help. When I need a creative catalyst I look through design books, magazines or scan for unique websites. It’s more difficult to get inspired when you are in a bad mood so remember to have fun and take advantage of things that pump you up! If the opportunity allows, work outside for the day or play some loud music!
  4. Get out of the house – whether its for work or play. If the house is cramping your style, and you have access to a laptop, head out to your local Panera for free wi-fi access and a bite to eat. Can’t get the juices flowing; get out and play. Take a quick walk, run an errand, attend a networking event, or visit a friend. I once took a 3 hour break from my day to go bowling with a few friends. After getting back home I made up for my time spent out. The work I did that day came to me without a struggle and I felt good about it at the end of the day.
  5. Set goals and reward yourself for completing them – Allow yourself to sleep in an extra 30 minutes after putting in a few extra hours the day before. While a huge advantage of working from home is a flexible schedule, make sure you’re conscious of what needs to be done and don’t lose sight of items you need to accomplish that day. Make lists and set timers for things such as e-mail, social media, small chores, etc. that might give you more of an opportunity to lose track of time. Or ask a friend to “check in” on your progress for the week. Sometimes knowing someone is depending on you, will keep motivation alive.

Need further ideas of how to stay on task while working from home? Franklin Covey is holding a FREE seminar on September 21st that outlines The 5 Choices to Extraordinary Productivity. Visit their website for more details.

How to have fun poolside

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What do you get when you mix a a few friends, a pool and the need to do something unique/different and productive this summer? Well you start a website called LeisureDive.com of course! What exactly is a leisure dive? According to the site it’s “a jump into a body of water (or at least something soft), striking a ‘leisure pose’ in mid-air.” We at GDBD Design haven’t tried to strike a pose just yet, but from what we hear it’s harder than it seems to capture that one-of-a-kind ultra cool pose (for proof check out the “Nice Tries” section of the website). So take a look and if you have your own Leisure Dive, let us know! Maybe one day soon we’ll capture our own leisurely moment!

How to custom design a Facebook page

Good Dog Bad Dog Design FacebookUnless you have been living under a rock it has probably occurred to you that many businesses have a profile on Facebook. You also may have asked yourself, “Why?”

Facebook is a universal social network and it is where YOUR customers are. This social media outlet is a great way to ENGAGE with your customers. It is also a great place for your customers to spread the word about you to their friends.

So how can you maximize your business presence on this common social network? Customize your Facebook page and establish your brand.

Facebook includes many customizable features that allow you to establish company branding. Your profile picture is the “face” of your page, it is what people will see the most. Choose a profile picture that is appropriate but intriguing. Make your customers curious – make them WANT to click on your page to learn more about you.

When they do click on your page, direct them to a branded welcome page on Facebook. A welcome page starts as a blank canvas, an opportunity for you to paint the perfect picture of your brand. With a welcome page the possibilities are almost endless – integrate your company website with hyperlinks, promote your monthly e-newsletter with a sign-up box or your blog with a subscription button. Call attention to an event or cause you support, offer coupons or discounts when someone “Likes” you, or even hold a contest – giveaways and gifts are a great incentive to build your fanbase on Facebook.

Now to sweeten the pot, you can have not just one welcome page but as many as you want! Dedicate specific information to individual pages and contribute to the organization and hierarchy of your data. Whether you use one welcome page or multiple pages, update your content, graphic design and promotions occasionally to keep things fresh.

Aside from the aesthetics, this social network platform allows you to interact with your customers. On your info page describe your company and how it will benefit your customer. Post blogs and other updates to your feed. Comments allow customers to voice their opinion, it may not always be positive but when it is negative you have the option to comment back. Defend your company and set things right with your disgruntled customer, your response and how you handle the situation could have an even bigger impact than the positive comments themselves.You can read on PopUSocial more info on facebook.

Contact GDBD Design to get started on the development of your custom Facebook page design today!

Featured Client: Nancy Howe, knowhowe

KnowHowe Website Homepage
is a full-service writing firm that provides their clients with writing and editing services for blogs, press releases, e-books, websites, and much more! With over 35 years of publishing experience, 22 years of which was spent at the Maddux Business Report, Nancy recently decided to branch out on her own.

Wanting to establish a presence online so potential clients could view samples of her work, Nancy Howe contacted Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design (GDBD Design) for help. Being a small business, Nancy didn’t have the budget to hire a web designer every time she needed an update or change made to her site, so we decided WordPress would be the best solution.

Incorporating Nancy’s favorite color of black and a hint of the “post industrial machine” look, we developed a clean website that gives Nancy the ability to highlight her talents, while allowing her to update her website content as often as she sees fit.

GDBD Design is excited to have helped Nancy create a website that her business can continue to grow with and we encourage you to check out the variety of services that Nancy offers!

Oh, and here’s an interesting tidbit about Nancy: her background has always been divided between publishing and archaeology/paleontology pursuits… thus the use of the Mayan Codex as a picture on the website as Nancy likes to refer to that as a Mayan Blog!

Shortly after launching her website, Nancy decided to expand her website branding onto Facebook. Once again GDBD Design came to the rescue creating a custom profile picture and welcome page.

KnowHowe Facebook Welcome Page

Tampa Internet Marketing Training Program

I recently attended a Tampa Internet Marketing Training Program run by the local seo services and Nicole Hisler of Circulo Marketing MatchedMarketing. A program focused on teaching you how to attract more business through search engine optimization and social media.

We started the class off by asking “What is the definition of ‘Internet Marketing’?” and who are the Digital Marketing Experts in the game? Answers zoomed in from all directions of the room, “It is a medium to communicate”, “It is webpages, blogs, social media, videos and more”, “it is using marketing tools to reach customers online”. Internet Marketing Vuse encompasses any way you market your business online, be it a website or an email newsletter, a podcast or a video.

With millions of people from all over the world online it is extremely beneficial to market your business there. The internet has a much further reach than traditional marketing because of the range and variety of people exposed to it.

The training reveals the “10 Commandments of Internet Marketing.” These rules are the key to reaching new heights with your online marketing. But internet marketing is not a piece of cake, it takes hard work and time. Setting goals and measuring results is important to the success of your marketing strategy.

Through the Tampa Internet Marketing Training Program you will learn about the instagram scheduler and will have the tools of internet marketing and how to incorporate them into your marketing strategy. This will lead to the knowledge of the best way to spend your time and money on internet marketing.