10 Design Principles from the “How Posters Work” Exhibit


This past winter I went to the Cooper Hewitt museum in NYC and saw the exhibit How Posters Work.”

“The exhibition dissects the designers’ creative uses of design principles and visual expression to underscore the significance of a designer’s and the viewer’s eye to the design process.

How Posters Work uses the medium of the poster to explore principles of visual thinking that extend to many forms of design, including branding, packaging, book covers, websites, and motion graphics.”

Design Principles covered in the exhibit:

  • Focus the eye
  • Overwhelm the eye
  • Use text as image
  • Overlap
  • Cut and paste
  • Assault the surface
  • Simplify
  • Tell a story
  • Amplify
  • Double the meaning

Explore the exhibition online here.

Your Email List is Valuable


As Facebook (and soon Instagram) limit the visibility of your posts (through algorithms) your email list is becoming more and more valuable. Why? Because it is direct access to your audience. It is under your control.

Here are some tips:

  • Treat your list it wisely. Send emails your audience will be interested in. It’s a sales tool, but don’t just sell.
  • Build your list. Collect email addresses at every chance – on your website, at conferences, etc. Add a sign up link to your email signature, so whenever you communicate with someone new person they have the opportunity to sign up.
  • Offer incentive for people to sign up for your list.
  • Send regularly – at least monthly so the people on your list don’t forget who you are.
  • Learn from others. Study the successful emails you receive. What parts do you respond to? How can you apply that to your own content?

Some helpful links:
5 Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List Today by Abby Glassenberg
7 Types of Content for Your Newsletter by Meighan O’Toole

Social Media Tip: Plan, Batch, Schedule


It’s best to be ahead of the game with your social media marketing.

Plan out your posts for the week, or even month. You can always add if other pertinent things come up. Mid-month, I meet with a client to go over the next month’s posting schedule. We look at all holidays, occasions, and events that are relevant. We have a goal for how frequently we want to post. If it is a “slow” month with holidays, etc. we brainstorm other post ideas.

It’s more efficient to write out all your posts for the week or month in one sitting. The same goes for taking or retouching photos. Doing “like” tasks together is shown to be a more efficient use of time, than switching between different tasks.

Using a social media scheduling tool, like hootsuite*, allows you to schedule all of your weekly or monthly posts in one sitting. This way you don’t have to post in real time, which is especially great if you are going away, and/or if you manage more than one account.

Being prepared by planning and scheduling your posting will allow you to feel more secure with your social media marketing. And you can always add a post if something relevant comes up. It will also be easier to evaluate the months or weeks past, so if necessary you can change your plan accordingly.

*There are many resources that allow you to schedule your posts. I use hootsuite, which has a monthly fee (for what I need). Each service offers different options and fee structures.
Other services include:**
Edgar, buffer, tailwind, boardbooster
**List courtesy of Meighan O’Toole, Digital Strategist.

Facebook Algorithm

Yesterday my Facebook post reached 2 people. 2 people, even though I have over 200 fans. Why? It’s Facebook’s Algorithm.

“According to a closely guarded and constantly shifting formula, Facebook’s news feed algorithm ranks all the posts in your feed, in what it believes to be the precise order of how likely you are to find each post worthwhile.” –  (read the complete article here)

So what can businesses do, besides pay to “boost” our Facebook posts?

  • Post regularly. Try increasing your frequency.
  • Ask for engagement. Ask questions.
  • Share content your readers will “Like.” Don’t just sell, provide value.
  • Repeat the types of posts that get the most visibility.
  • Engage with those, that engage with you.

Please share any tips you have in the comments below.

My Year in Review

It’s a great time to reflect on past accomplishments, and set goals for the New Year. I think it’s important to take stock of how far you’ve come, and where you’re headed.

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of developing several new relationships. I offer different services, so I’m always interested in what specific areas I worked in throughout the year.

As the graphic below shows, web design was the largest part of my business, followed by print, then logo design. Social media and email marketing were tied. Illustration was the smalllest part of my business.

I know web design will continue to be a large part of my business in 2016. New businesses need an online presence, and for many existing businesses it’s time to update their sites, especially if they aren’t mobile friendly. I predict that social media and email marketing will continue to grow, as they are important elements to any marketing strategy.

What are your marketing goals for 2016? I’d love to connect with you in the new year and help you achieve your goals.

Happy New Year!

Have you seen my portfolio? Web, Print, Logo, Email, Social MediaIllustration

How mobile friendly is your site?

How much of your internet browsing is done on your mobile device, not your desktop? Isn’t it frustrating when you find a site, but it isn’t readable? The text is too small, or when you try to select a menu item with your finger, you accidentally hit the wrong one, because the items are so close together. Frustrating right? How is the mobile user experience on your own site?

Google is using “mobile-friendliness” as a stronger ranking signal than ever before. It is no wonder Google places value on a mobile-friendly website. 67% of users in the U.S. access the Internet every day on their smartphone.*

At the beginning of the year, Google announced:
“We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where:

  • text is readable without tapping or zooming,
  • tap targets are spaced appropriately,
  • the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”**

Not sure if your site is mobile-friendly? Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.

I’d be so thankful if you signed up for my newsletter here.
Happy Thanksgiving!

*Google Makes Mobile Optimization SEO Ranking Factor
**Google: Rolling out the mobile-friendly update
What Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Changes Mean for You

Is your Social Media Marketing paying off?


“While a high follower count may seem like a signal of success, our experts agreed that size isn’t everything — high quality engagement is where you’ll see the most returns.” *

If posts that generate engagement (likes, comments, shares) is the goal, then what to should you post? Here are some ideas:

Creative Posting Ideas for Authors:

  • Character Takeover. Instead of posting from your perspective – try posting from one of your character’s perspectives. Include “Character Name from Book X here.” Repeat for a few days, even a week, to pique interest in the character, and the book. Don’t forget to include a link to buy the book, or read more.
  • Ask your Fans. Propose a “What would happen if?” question to your fans. They love sharing their opinions! How about: “What if Character A and Character B were siblings, or became romantic, or hated each other?”
  • Provide visuals for your characters. Help your fans get to know your characters. Help them visualize what the character would wear, how they would decorate their space, or even what they would be for Halloween!
  • Ask for engagement. Use engagement as a way to answer a question. “Like this if you agree that Character A is “right” for Character B.” Or “Which book in the Series was your favorite?”
  • Tap into your audience’s followers. Encourage sharing. Post “Share this post to be entered in a contest for a free pin/bookmark/tshirt” – whatever works. Need promo items? Email me!

Want more ideas? Schedule a Social Media Consultation! Book a session now! Learn more.

Let me know if you try any of the ideas above!
Happy Halloween!

Helpful links on Social Media Marketing:
*Source: “How to Win at Social Media” artsy.net
“Defining Your Social Media Strategy” by Meigan O’Toole

Copyright 2015 Eileen McKenna. All Rights Reserved.