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Jul 182013

Nelson Mandela

18 July 2013 – Article Update on Nelson Mandela’s Birthday

Ever since writing this short article for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, when 18 July comes around I’m inspired to come back to it and re-evaluate the impact this man has made.  Not only is it his birthday, in recognition of this amazing man, it’s also International Mandela Day – a day where we’re all encouraged to commit 67 minutes to “take action and inspire change”. (http://www.mandeladay.com).

You might not call the article relevant to the subject of this site, but being a proud South African and privileged to have lived through the “Madiba*” days, I feel the urge to say a bit more than just ‘happy birthday Madiba’. The way in which this man managed to convert so many angry and/or afraid and/or skeptical hearts is not significant of his power, it’s significant of his character.

What Mandela has taught us can be applied to whatever industry we’re in – these are life lessons – they’re just as relevant in our work dealings and work relationships than any other aspect of our lives.

Nelson Mandela is a remarkable man – a true icon in our times.

Here is a man who was jailed as a political prisoner for 27 years. Being in the Apartheid Era, one cannot begin to imagine the treatment he must have endured during that time.

On examining the virtues of “Madiba”, here are a few pertinent points that have come to mind and can be taken as lessons for the rest of us.

A lesson in Patience and Perseverance

Would you have the patience to wait 27 years for the good that you believe in to come? How many of us would have given up in the first few weeks? Would you have the stamina to persevere, at whatever cost, until the good in which you so strongly believe, happens?

A lesson in Humility

Would you have the ability to swallow your pride for the sake of the greater good of all others? And then, having achieved your goal, would you be able to remain humble and unaffected?

A lesson in Staying Positive

Would you wallow in self-pity, or would you make use of your situation to develop and grow? (As Mandela did, continuing his studies whilst in jail.)

A lesson in Forgiveness

Having been tortured and abused, would you have it in your heart to forgive your ‘enemy’, using peaceful communication as the answer rather than using anger and revenge as your weapons?

For a man to firstly agree to negotiate peacefully during his prison time and then emerge victorious without the need for retaliation is truly remarkable!


This is Nelson Mandela’s Clan name and is used as a sign of respect, also implying “head of the family”. Mandela is regarded as the head of a nation and a leader of the world.

Madiba – an incredible role-model. The examples he has set are so relevant for us all.

Madiba – the Madiba of Madibas and co-recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize, 1993 – Happy Birthday!

(Nelson Mandela’s Nobel speech can be found here.)
(Images: http://www.wikipedia.org, http://www.flickr.com)
(Article: Colleen Wilkinson – d-ziner)

May 022013

elements of design - flickr - zeptonnWhat are the Elements of Design?

The Elements of Design are Colour, Line, Shape, Size, Space, Texture and Value.


Without going into scientific explanations here, colour in design is vital for:

  • Setting a mood
  • Adding meaning to the subject
  • Emphasising elements or drawing focus to a certain spot in the layout
  • Guiding the eye and thus determining the flow of the layout


Lines are used in design to assist with creating:

  • Texture
  • Space definition
  • Emphasis
  • A mood
  • Motion or movement
  • An illusion of perspective


The basic shapes that almost everything is made up of are circles, rectangles and triangles. However, these basic shapes have a multitude of variations and can come from three broad categories:

  • Geometric shapes
  • Natural shapes
  • Abstract shapes

In design, we use shapes for:

  • Texture
  • Space definition
  • Separation from other elements
  • Setting a mood

When used in ‘negative space’, a shape can also be ‘implied’.


Size defines scale and proportion. It is the relative largeness or smallness of an object in the context of the composition of all the elements in the design.

In design, size helps to:

  • create depth
  • create perspective
  • create hierarchy and organise the elements in the design


Apart from depicting depth and the placement of objects in relation to other objects; space creates the illusion of dimension.

  • In design, space is used to:
  • Set a mood
  • Emphasise elements by separation
  • Create depth
  • Create balance or imbalance
  • Create a resting place for the eye


Value is the relative lightness or darkness of an object, in other words, the difference between shadow and highlight. Although not the same as colour, value is often used to “colour” an image, especially when working in greyscale (black and white).

In design terms, value is used to create:

  • Mood
  • Interest
  • Emphasis
  • Depth
  • Movement


Texture refers to the surface quality of a form or shape and is a good way to add details to a design.

In design, texture is used to:

  • Define shapes or space
  • Add visual interest
  • Create a mood
  • Emphasize an object
  • Create a tactile response
  • Add realism


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Apr 142013

An acronym for “Desktop Publishing” – the creation of documents using page layout software on a computer to produce professional-looking publications, from corporate stationery to newsletters, reports, books and banners. This also includes the layout and preparation of artwork for the production of other media, e.g. signage, exhibition stands, moving media, etc. The term now incorporates the production of electronic pages such as e-books and websites.

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Image: Tsevis

Apr 112013

loupe-cylinderA Loupe (pronounced loop) is a small magnifying glass used by printers for a number of reasons. Offset printers use them to analyse how ink lies on paper. They are also used for registering film separations to one another. Other uses include checking registration of colours, estimating dot-gain, and diagnosing problems with roller pressure and chemistry based on the shape of individual dots and rosettes. A loupe is also used by designers when they’re checking a print mockup before giving go-ahead for print. This is the same type of magnifying glass that jewellers use to examine gemstones.

Unlike a magnifying glass, a loupe does not have an attached handle, and its lens(es) are contained in a cylinder or fold into a housing that protects the lenses when not in use. Loupes are also called hand lenses.  The most common type of loupe used by printers are foldable loupes, otherwise known as linen loupes.

With the rapid progress in technology, the need for loupes might soon become something of the past as printing accuracy becomes more computerised.

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loupe-foldable-printingimage: wikimedia

Mar 042013

So Many Different Social Media Image Size Specs!

Uploading images to the social sites can become a daunting task. The images you have look perfect – until you’ve loaded them! For best viewer engagement it’s always a good idea to have the images fit exactly into the space allowed.

Cheat Sheet for all the Major Social Platforms

We have found this amazing Complete Cheat Sheet on the LunaMetrics blog for all the popular social media image sizes. This has made life so much easier and working with images on the social media platforms is easier, quicker and a pleasure. This infographic takes the guesswork out of working with images for your own or your clients’ socialising.

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube Image Size Specs:

Bookmark this page for when you’re next uploading images to the popular social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube, and let us know how much it’s helped you on our Facebook page.

The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet LunaMetrics

Brought to you by the LunaMetrics blog.


Feb 182013

The EPS file extension is a common file format for exporting vector files, such as those produced in Illustrator, Freehand or CorelDraw. EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. Files exported as .eps contain a bitmap preview of what’s in the file as well as printing instructions written in the PostScript language.

Bitmaps in eps files

If your original file contains only bitmaps, it’s advisable to export to a bitmap format, such as tif or jpg instead.

Fonts in eps files

When exporting vectors in eps format, it’s advisable to convert any text to paths / curves, especially if you are using fancy or uncommon fonts. This ensures that when the file is imported, your file looks as it did in the original format and prevents the problem of substitute fonts being used because the importer doesn’t have your fonts on their system.

Cross-platform functionality

Like pdf files, eps files can be exported across operating platforms, e.g. from Windows to Mac. The advantage of importing an eps vs a pdf file is that the imported file is editable.

Always check your eps import

When importing an eps file, always check the layout, colours, fonts and objects match up to the bitmap proof. You may need to ‘tweak’ a couple of things which did not export correctly when the eps was generated. However this is not common if the export was done correctly.

[image: flickr, Erathic Eric]

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Nov 162012

principles-cartoon-drawingPossibly one of the most well-known and favourite forms of drawing is cartoons. Cartoons are great fun to watch and read. If you want to learn how to draw cartoons, here are some basic elements you need to know before you begin creating your own.

Decide on Your Main Character

Decide who your main character is going to be. Is it a male or female, human or animal or possibly an inanimate object to which you will add ‘life’? What are its prominent features? Generally cartoons have exaggerated features and almost ignore their other features.

Begin By Sketching – Decide on the Storyline

If you look at a movie storyboard, you will see that it’s just a rough outline and overview of what could be happening in a scene. This is a sketch of the highlights of the scene, and doesn’t have much, if any, detail. If you’re going for a comic strip, it’s a good idea to use the storyboard method too in order to get your thoughts straight on what images are best to put into each frame of the strip. In other words, give yourself an abstract of what you want your final cartoon to look like.


Develop Your Main Character

principles-cartoon-drawing-01This step is possibly the longest to do. This is where you give your character detail and personality. As you go along, you’ll notice that your character ‘grows’, or develops even further. For example, Mickey Mouse looked very different when he was first created to how he looks today. So don’t agonise over all the details – they will come.

Add Some Emotion

Your main character needs to come alive off the page. This could be achieved by, for example, adding a cheeky grin or raised eyebrows. The ‘emotion detail’ will help to give your character more life and personality.

Use Colour to Add Some Life

If you know that your cartoon is going to output via a colour medium such as your web page or a colour magazine, it’s advisable to add colour to your work. Besides adding variety to your images, it also definitely helps with giving more life to your cartoon. Bear in mind that cartoons don’t have to be totally realistic, so a non-realistic colour for your character is quite acceptable, for example, the colour of Barney the dinosaur.

Use Shading to Add Depth

Add just a few strokes of shading goes a long way to adding depth to your cartoon. Your readers’ minds will fill in the blanks. In other words, you don’t need to add every hair to your character’s head, just hint at it by adding a few strands.

Use a Background Setting to Add Atmosphere

Just like shading, this doesn’t require too much detail. All you need is a recognisable object in the background to place your character and enhance the storyline. For example, an image of the Eiffel Tower will immediately place the story in France, and possibly invoke emotions of love (romance in Paris…). Avoid too much detail for your setting unless the storyline calls for it.

Add Captions – Let Your Cartoon Speak

The final touch in giving your character life is by letting it speak. Regardless of whether it’s animal, human or object, cartoons do speak. Depending on the nature of the cartoon, you could either put their speech in a speech bubble or just below the cartoon frame.


With these principles in mind, it remains to be said that the most important aspect of drawing cartoons is to know your character, think like your character while you’re drawing, and above all, have fun!

Article adapted from Spintax: “Learn To Draw Cartoons”
Compiled by d-ziner1 @d-zine hub

Original Image: wikimedia.org – Drawerofshadows

Oct 022012

facebook like iconA recent study carried out by Lab42 has revealed some interesting statistics. Considering that Facebook has over 900 million active users around the world and that the study has found 50% of Facebook users find brands’ Facebook pages more useful than their websites, these stats are something for Brand managers to seriously consider in their marketing strategies and campaigns.

“Like” has an all new meaning in modern vocabulary

According to Lab42, “Only five years ago, the term “like” was just another word used to describe one’s preferences. In today’s digital universe, however, the notion of “liking” something has become ubiquitous. Liking is one of the primary ways people exert their tastes and preferences online, and it has created an entirely new type of conversation – one between consumers and brands. Lately we’ve heard a lot of debate about the value of a Facebook like. Some have tried to calculate the ROI of a like for a brand, while others argue that the intrinsic value of a like can’t be quantified. With so many competing opinions on the value of a like, our team decided this was a topic worth investigating further. In our latest infographic, we surveyed 1000 social media users to discover how liking a brand influences the consumer experience.” (http://blog.lab42.com/like-us)

Below is the infographic produced by Lab42:

Lab42 Market Research
Courtesy of: Lab42
Sep 222012

1966 AMC Ambassador Car AdvertIt has been found that the human brain receives signals faster through the eyes than the ears. Apparently, visual appearance is more appealing compared to any of the other senses, no matter what the medium of presentation is. (However, our other senses facilitate visual appeal, so should not be ignored.)

There are methods by which to increase visual appeal – a typical example is colour, when accompanied with audio and writing. Colour helps to make things look more attractive and engaging. Big budget companies spend billions in colour market research, which helps in product and packaging development. Colour, along with content, helps to attract and retain the interest of the viewer. A colourful article will hold the reader’s interest to the end.

Choice of Colour to Influence Behaviour

Colours are known to influence the behaviour of a person. For example, blue is said to have a relaxing effect, while red represents passion and love, so many dating websites have red as their background colour. On the other hand, red can also be associated with anger and evil, so a lot depends on the context in which you are using your colour scheme. Green is often associated with opulence and can be found in finance and banking media.

Lighting and Hue

Lighting effects are also used to create an effect and cause a desired response. Advertisements, especially for food products, have strategically placed lights. This triggers a response in the brain which increases hunger. Likewise, soft shades such as pastels create a mood that is calm and relaxing and are often used for spa advertisements.

Cultures and Colours

Not all colours mean the same in all countries. The same colour can be associated with two totally different occasions or emotions, depending on the culture in which it is used. In most Western societies, black is associated with death whereas in the East, white symbolises death. Likewise, climate plays a role – those living closer to the equator prefer warm colours such as orange, yellow, etc.

Common Colour Associations

It’s important for an advertiser to understand colour associations of their audience. Here are some common associations:

  • Black: elegance, sophistication, seduction, mystery
  • White: peace, pure, clean, mild, youthful
  • Gold: prestige, luxury, elite
  • Silver: prestige, scientific, cold
  • Yellow: warmth, happiness, cheerful
  • Orange: warmth, playfulness, vibrant
  • Red: love, excitement, strength, passion, danger
  • Pink: nurture, sweet, soft, security
  • Green: nature, fresh, fertility and abundance
  • Blue: cool, trust, belonging, reliability
  • Purple: spiritual, royalty, dignity

Common Colours for Different Advertising Markets

The choice of colour for your company branding and advertising is important to the message about yourself that you want to convey to your market. For example, black, blue, red and orange attract impulsive buyers, whereas smart shoppers are attracted to pink, light blue and navy blue.

Advertisements for children generally have bright and vibrant colours such as yellow, red, blue and green. These are the primary colours and attract children, and represent warmth, sweetness, trust, reliability, playfulness and security.

Remember, It’s Not About You

Remember to use colours that ‘talk’ to your market. Avoid using your own favourite colours and preferences. Identify who your market is, what message you wish to convey and create your campaign appropriately.

(Picture: http://www.wikimedia.org/)
(Article: PL-Ed)