Monday, April 30, 2007

Newsletters continue to be a very good marketing vehicle to help get the word out. In this Blog you will find a sample of a credit union newsletter written, designed and executed by Shaffer Design Works. More often than not newsletters are not regarded as high end publications and marketing dollars are allocated to other areas. The irony in this is that for a few additional marketing dollars newsletters can have great impact when written, designed and executed properly.

When considering putting together a newsletter, think of it as putting together a high-end magazine that will have great impact on your customers and/or prospects. Gathering thoughts of recent activities or customer offerings going on in your organization will help you organize and write the newsletter articles effectively. Consider upgrading the photography or graphics within your newsletter. Graphics can add interest and impact to any publication.

Shaffer Design works can help with any and all aspects of your companies newsletter or small publication needs.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Recently Shaffer Design Works joined the ranks of many Cleveland businesses at the first annual 2007 Event Expo. At the expo Shaffer Design Works spoke on many hot topics such as direct mail versus Email blasts and printed materials versus Internet only publications. One of the unique capabilities of Shaffer Design Works is that we can create both traditional printed publications and marketing pieces as well as offer the latest in Website design and development techniques. We also invest in the most recent tools to help execute even the most challenging of Website projects.

At the 2007 Event Expo I ran into a caricature cartoonist and entertainer named E.J. the Cartoonist and Entertainer. He was kind enough to illustrate a caricature of me (see above). His Website is located at: he seems like a really fun guy and would recommend him for any event. I also had him draw a Batman for my son.

Shaffer Design Works always has the most creative ideas when it comes to graphic design for any event expo large or small. Shaffer Design Works is glad to support local artists in the Cleveland and Akron areas.
This is a quick note to let everyone know that this Blog will feature a special Design Tip section with every new post related to: Strategic Planning, Photography Shoots, Corporate Communications, Advertising, Image Programs, Logo or Corporate Identity, Direct Response, Design, Print Production Management, Annual Reports, Newsletters, PowerPoint Layout and Design, Web Site Development, Sales Promotion, Business-to-Business Strategies, Branding, Packaging, Merchandising, Product Development, E-communications, Signage/Environmental Graphics, Collateral Redesign or just anything having to do with creativity.

For more information regarding these and other creative services or any questions regarding graphic design services please visit:
"49 Marketinng Secrets (THAT WORK) to Help Grow Sales" is a book due out Spring 2007. I was invited to write an article about Branding and Corporate Image.

Shaffer Design Works created and designed the layout for the book. Ron Finklestein was the lead writer of the book. To learn more about the book you can review Ron's Blog at:

The 49 marketing Secrets Website can be found at:

The book contains some great articles on everything from: marketing, branding, sales and presentations.

When looking for a graphic designer to help with book, newsletter or general publication design and layout be sure that they can show you samples of their work. Also, ask them about their process before committing to any graphic designer. A good creative designer will be able to walk you through all necessary steps of book layout and design as well as explain to you what will be needed from you at the begining, during and the conclusion of the book layout. Shaffer Design Works can help with the design, layout and formatting of any publication as well as offer guidance to the entire creative process.

Look for "49 Marketing Secrets (THAT WORK) to grow sales" on in Spring 2007. Contact Shaffer Design Works for more information about creative design and layout at: The offices of Shaffer Design Works are conveniently located in Streetsboro, Ohio.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cleveland design firm Shaffer Design Works specializes in art direction for photography shoots. Shaffer Design Works has extensive knowledge and experience executing even the most difficult of photos. Children are some of the more challenging of photo subjects as you never know what you will get and need to prepare your clients and photography crew for any last minute changes with lighting, props, models and/or anything that may contribute to the end result. Sometimes you may have several shots planned and realize an extra day or two is required for proper photography execution. It is critical to plan ahead and allocate additional time and budget dollars to your photography projects. This saves time and money when executing your Website, collateral and/or advertising strategy.

Many times it is less expensive and more economical to set-up a photography shoot with your art director or graphic designer as opposed to trying to find stock photography to fit whatever situation it is you are trying to capture. When choosing a professional photographer it is important to choose a photographer that is flexible, responds well and adjusts to change and/or the circumstances related to the photography shoot.

The sample photos in this Blog post were directed by Rick Shaffer of Shaffer Design Works (Cleveland Graphic Designer) and captured by Hal Stata of Stata Productions (Cleveland Photographer). Please contact Rick Shaffer at Shaffer Design Works with inquires about photography direction and execution. For more information about Shaffer Design Works please visit:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Creating and designing HTML Emails

Below are just a few tips and tools needed to help understand the process of HTML Email blasts. Shaffer Design Works implements and uses the most up to date tools available for Web design and development.

1. A design application, like Adobe Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, or Illustrator. Use these tools to layout your template, and slice out your graphics (like your company logo, and product photos).

2. A good, “pure” HTML/Text editor, like BBEdit and TextWrangler for the Mac, or HomeSite, and NoteTab Pro for the PC. You could use “WYSIWYG” style tools to generate HTML, like Microsoft FrontPage, or maybe Adobe GoLive or Macromedia Dreamweaver. But they have their disadvantages. WYSIWYGs very often throw in gobs of junk into your code (FYI, Microsoft says the extra code is to help with “round tripping” which means you can export from Word to Powerpoint to HTML, then back again, without losing anything). All this extra code usually ends up just breaking things, or setting off spam filters. There are some WYSIWYGs out there that generate “clean code” but we’ve found those are a bit “too perfect,” because they’re designed for web pages, not HTML email (so they don’t know all the things you have to “rig” in your code.). If you want to do HTML email correctly, you should learn to code HTML “from scratch” with a good text editor.

When considering HTML templates it is best to consider a design firm that has the experience to execute a well designed and unique Email Blast. There are several Websites that offer HTML templates. The downside of a using a pre-existing HTML Email template is that they are stock and you run the chance of someone Else's Email blast looking just like yours. The road of originality is always the best route.

3. Your own web server, to host all your images and archives. You should create a folder on your website for email newsletters. This is where you’ll store images, then point to them with absolute paths in your HTML code. Everybody has their own organization style, though. Just be sure to come up with a system and process for archiving, so that each newsletter isn’t a huge chore to publish.

4. An FTP program, like Fetch for the Mac, or CuteFTP for PCs. When you design your email and slice out all your graphics, you’ll use FTP to move those files from your computer to the server.

5. A test machine (or two), loaded with as many different email applications and accounts as possible. You’ll want to check your HTML email designs under lots of different scenarios. Unlike web design, where you only have to check your work in a small handful of browsers, there are tons of email applications out there, and they all handle HTML email differently.

Design Guidelines
Here are some pointers for designing your email. Early warning: If you’re a seasoned web designer, you’re not going to be happy with all the compromises and hacks you’ll have to make when designing for email applications.

Set your width to about 500-600 pixels.
If you’ve ever worked on a website, you’re probably used to designing pages to fit in 800x600 pixel resolution screens, or maybe even 1024x768. But that won’t work when you design HTML email. Most recipients will be looking at your email through their “preview pane” which is usually a small portion of their available screen.

Above in an example of a recent Email campaign created and designed by Shaffer Design Works. This Email campaign was also tied into several printed pieces as well. Shaffer Design Works specializes in brand development and consistency.

Shaffer Design Works can execute both the largest of Email blasts or even help design, development and execute a small Email campaign of only 50 or so Email addresses.

Contact us today to see how we might be able to help with your next project.
I have networked with many small business owners in the Cleveland and Akron areas and the infamous "Working With Words" always seems to find it's way into our conversations.

I must say this is a very good Blog:

This is just a shout out to anyone who has spoken about John's Blog in the past.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Shaffer Design Works recently finished a Point of Purchase display (POP) for Ford Motor Company. The POP is a hang tag that will be displayed from the rear view mirror in all new Ford vehicles found in dealers nationwide. The hang tag highlights the new navigation systems that Ford will feature in their vehicles.

Shaffer Design Works is familiar with all aspects of POP design and implementation.

When creating a POP make sure you take acurate measurements of the area that will house the POP and make a few test mock-ups before the approved design enters production. Also consider the material that the POP will be produced on – this is especially importatnt when double-sided printing is concerned.

For more information on creating POPs contact Shaffer Design Works directly at 216.536.8376.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cleveland-Akron Graphic Designer Rick Shaffer specializes in photography retouching. There are a lot of opportunities for retouching photos in the Cleveland and Akron markets. Rick Shaffer learned photo retouching the old fashioned way with a Thayer and Chandler airbrush. Rick mastered all of his design skills on board the way most traditional commercial artists mastered them. Many of today's graphic designers lack the traditional skill set necessary to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The two photographs displayed here in this Blog post are an examples of a before and after photo retouch of a corporate portrait. The retouch required an executive to be removed and another executive to be repositioned over the retouched area. This opportunity came through a large Cleveland advertising agency in Cleveland, Ohio.

Shaffer Design Works is familiar with all aspects of photography illustration and retouching.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cleveland Graphic Designer updates creative design studio. Cleveland photographer Hal Stata shot the studio space under the art and creative direction of Shaffer Design Works. Shaffer Design Works serves the Akron and Canton, Ohio markets.

Customers seek design and marketing guidance from Shaffer Design Works in categories such as brand development and consistency, design, creative ad ideation and Website design and development. Shaffer Design Works prides itself on their unique workspace. The workspace was influenced by high end New York advertising agencies and a fine art loft space.

The creative motif of the graphic design studio resonates a long time eclectic collection that Rick Shaffer prides himself on. The studio features the latest in Apple Computer hardware as well as all of the latest software upgrades to tackle even the most challenging of creative projects.

Shaffer Design Works assists in providing interior design and has extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of signage and environmental graphics.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Late last week we finalized the design of the C2 Cups collateral sheet. Copy has been approved and we are now moving forward with three additional collateral sheet layouts and designs.

Photography direction as well creative copy direction was managed by Shaffer Design Works. All design elements will be part of a well planned branding scheme for C2 Cups.