20 June 2012

Time for a crash course in illustrator!

A few months ago, I decided to teach myself how to use Adobe Illustrator, as it was surprisingly something we were never taught how to use at University. Whenever I had opened the programme in the past, my initial reactions had been 'Jeeesh! How the heck do you use the pen tool?' and what on earth is a 'blob brush?!' 

I was looking for tutorials online to get me started, and stumbled across the 30 Days Illustrator Training Course from Vector Diary. It claims to be a crash course in Illustrator and "one of the best courses for starters and beginners. So don’t miss this chance to learn Illustrator."

After completing the course in a few days, (If you do more than one lesson a day it can be completed a lot quicker than 30 days) I cannot recommend it enough for any beginners out there looking to learn how to use the programme! I went from not having a single clue about the programme, to not only being able to use it, but enjoying it too.

If you have a few spare hours check it out! - Vector Diary - Illustrator Training Course

Below are some examples of work I created in the lessons, and some work that I created myself from my own ideas after completing a few of the lessons and mastering the basic techniques!

Iphone Lesson
Octopus Lesson

Panda - own creation

'Scotland in a Day' - own creation

Download as a vector here - Vecteezy

Buy as prints here - Art Flakes

Series of Scottish animals - own creation

Have you found any great tutorials? let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

12 June 2012

Ready, Steady......Draw!

Throughout my time at University, I found that although we worked on a fair amount of creative projects, few of them produced work that was suitable to include in a portfolio. They were either not visual enough or mainly essay based......or just plain cringe-worthy when I look back at them now (some efforts from 1st year are stuffed firmly down the back of my sofa) 

Seeking out a way to build my portfolio, I began to scour the internet looking for design competitions. I quickly caught the bug and to date have entered about 20 (although my friend's will say it's more like 2,000) and have been lucky winning a couple, you can check out some of my entries at the bottom of this post if you fancy. Just to clarify, I'm talking about actual 'competitions', not spec work sites such as 99 Designs - that people enter in their spare time because they want to, not as a way to subsidise their income. 

I've found that, although it's a nice bonus, entering design competitions isn't all about winning. There are loads of benefits, including: 

  • A chance to build your portfolio.
  • Raise awareness of your work & yourself as a designer.
  • Joining in the buzz and excitement as the deadline approaches.
  • A chance to expand your experience in different mediums / technologies.
  • An opportunity to learn a new piece of software (Illustrator etc...)
  • Your work can be spotted by professionals and could lead to further opportunities or even a job!
  • A way to get your creative juices flowing / imagination working which could help benefit other projects you're working on.

If this sounds interesting to you, I've collated a list of some current design competitions, why not have a go at one! (or a few)

MINI space design competition
Closing: Friday, 15 June 2012.

Design a T-Shirt for Ed Sheeran
Closing: Wednesday, 27 June 2012.

Stereohpye Button - Design a badge competition
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Beermat character design competition
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Eco Bike Design contest
Closing: Friday, 29 June 2012. 

Poster for tomorrow design competition 2012
Closing: Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

Design the 'body' for LimoLand's Mr Limo
Closing: Tuesday, 10 July, 2012

Design an Ipad Sleeve with Papernomad
Closing: Wednesday, 11 July, 2012

Design for Adidas Eyewear
Closing: Tuesday, 31 July, 2012

Hiiibrand Awards 2012 - international awards honouring brand design
Closing: Monday, December 31, 2012

Tshirt Design Competition 
Closing: Ongoing

USA only
Design or Photograph for P!nk
Closing: Monday, 2 July, 2012

Other links for competitions, resources and opportunities: 

Over the years I've entered my fair share of competitions:

Doritos 30 Second Advert Competition.

Rat Entertainment 10 Second animated logo Competition.

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry

design competition entry - Biffy Clyro

design competition entry

design competition entry - Black bottle whisky

design competition entry - Nine West

design competition entry - drop by drop

Good luck if you enter any competitions, let me know if you find any other great ones to enter and I can include them in this list!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

8 June 2012

'Scent Marketing'....sniffing out a good idea.

If you have been walking down the high street, or waiting for a bus recently and suddenly felt an overwhelming urge for a bacon roll or a gasping sensation for a cup of coffee, you may have been subject to a new advertising craze - 'Scent Marketing'

The aptly named marketing technique works by allowing Brands to stimulate their potential customers sense of smell to try to lure them into their venue and tempt them to make a purchase. 

Although this may seem like a new-fangled technique, it's actually been around for years, in a more rudimentary form. For years, estate agents have warmed up fresh bread in the oven to create a homely atmosphere, and boutique owners have perfumed the air with flowery (expensive) welcoming scents.

'Mood Media', a company which provide 'smell stimulation' as one of their marketing services has this to say: "The feelings of well being and harmony that are generated from the fragrances we encounter make us react without thinking, subtly altering our perception of time, and majorly influence our experience"."

Some well known companies have been using 'Scent Marketing' as part of their major marketing campaigns, to great success. 

Greggs 'Taste Rescue'
Greggs - Scent Marketing campaign
Greggs serves up £1 million campaign including 'smelly bus stops' to promote breakfast and coffee. The bus stops radiate the scent of coffee + freshly cooked bacon.

McCain 'New - Oven baked potato in 5 minutes'
McCain - New oven baked potato - Scent Marketing campaign
Potato maker McCain has unveiled its latest advert and is set to make commuters' mouths water with its 'scratch and sniff' concept - where the ads literally smell like freshly baked potatoes.

California Milk Processor Board - 'Got milk?'

Got Milk - scent marketing
In 2006, California's Milk Processor Board launched a series of "Got Milk?" billboards in San Francisco's bus shelters. The ads were typical except for their scent -- the sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies.

Wagg - 'Not to be sniffed at'

Wagg - not to be sniffed at - scent marketing campaign

In a bid to get pooches’ tails wagging, North Yorkshire-based Wagg Foods has developed the first dog food advert that smells of its product’s meaty goodness.

Instead of just food companies using this new marketing technique, I think there are some great opportunities available for other brands. 

Holiday companies could use advertisements that give off the smell of sun tan lotion / coconuts as I know myself whenever I smell anything like that, it always makes me think about setting off! 

Also, maybe the most obvious one, but perfume / aftershave companies could have adverts that smell of the actual product they are trying to sell. Surely if someone can smell what's in the bottle, It's more likely to catch their attention and they are more likely to buy it...

I think if done correctly, 'Scent marketing' can be part of a successful campaign, and if it doesn't directly result in sales, it will at least generate a heck of a lot of PR coverage. 

Have you sniffed out any great 'Scent marketing' campaigns? Let me know!

Thanks for reading,

Melissa x

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