Thursday, February 28, 2008

Invitations Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Invitation design is usually something that is thought of as a smaller design application. Recently, Shaffer Design Works Cleveland design firm offering creative services for advertising and marketing applications was asked to create a fairly large invitation for an upcoming corporate event held in Baltimore, Maryland.

There were a few reasons for the large format chosen to house the invitation:

1.) Easy recognition via US Mail

2.) Quantity of information that needed to appear within the layout

3.) Multiple options for response (i.e. Phone, Email and Direct Response US Postal Service perforated card)

Some of the challenges we face at Shaffer Design Works range from time sensitivity to finessing the amount of content a finished piece requires. We always find creative ways to accommodate our customers.

The large direct mail/invitation was a success and was met with high praise.

For more great ideas in creative marketing see:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Familiarity with color psychology, use and theory helps achieve a total color effect. Shaffer Design Works retains experts on the subject of color theory and specification. The psychological effects of color on people has always been a heavily debated subject, color is no different than any other subjective subject. I have outlined a some basic color reference tips below:

Light and Cool Colors Recede
Light and cool colors can make a space seem bigger.

Dark and Warm Colors Advance
Dark and warm colors can be used in large rooms to keep the space from feeling vast.

Bold, Primary Colors = Speed
Appropriate for encouraging fast food turnover and children's areas.

Subtle Colors are Restful
Pastels can make a room feel bigger and often have a calming, peaceful effect.

Color Can Convey a Theme or Style
Green for nature, pastels for Post – Modernism, red, black & white or gray & pink combinations for a 1950's look.

Colors Should Relate to Climate
Warm colors feel right in colder climates cool colors feel right in warmer climates.

Consider the feelings colors can convey and what colors can do and say

Think about the feelings colors convey and what colors can do and say.

Red suggests aggression, hostility, heat, stop, error, warning, danger, error, fire, lushness and passion. Red & black is a classic combination. Some say red enhances the appetite.

Associated with nature the pastoral and general well-being. Green also suggests envy and jealousy. Green should not be overused. Too much can affect skin tones and the appearance of some foods.

Yellow suggests the sun, expansiveness, happiness and high spirits. Yellow commands attention and suggests caution. It can be used successfully as a highlight color.

Blue suggests the peaceful, the sad and water. Blue is often associated with the male.

Blue is a cool color and can visually expand a room. It does not compliment most foods. Blue goes well with warm colors and materials.

Black can have negative sociological connotations like evil, mourning, ghostly, night, death and fear. However, black can be very stylish and and modern. Black works well as an accent with other colors.

White suggests the virginal, the innocent, the cold and the clean.

White walls can encourage turnover and are in keeping with the bright, clean atmosphere of a fast food environment. Too much white can contribute to glare.

Dark browns suggest masculinity, lighter browns warmth and femininity. A neutral background allows for flexibility.

When developing marketing materials, Websites, and/or just picking a new color for the walls in your living room take the above guidelines into consideration. Remember the subject of color can be very subjective. For questions about color selection or just how to achieve a better color advantage over your customers contact Cleveland creative services firm Shaffer Design Works at:
Logo Design Process

This blog entry is for anyone who might be involved in the process of purchasing creative services from any type of creative agency, graphic design house, Web house, marketing firm or design studio. I have taken the time roughly outline a basic logo creation and design from concept to final approved art for the corporate identity and corporate identity standards manual stages.

The first part (Creative Process #1) of this process begins with conceptual ideas about the logo and what the logo will ultimately stand for or symbolize. In the example below, the logo was for an individual that was starting a company comprised of several advisory and/or networking boards. The design concept that was pursued was an idea that helped to depict a group (RPF) surrounded by the G (Group) to help demonstrate a closeness that would be experienced in an advisory board environment.

The creative design folks at Shaffer Design Works begin (Creative Process #2) formulating their ideas around their discoveries from Creative Process #1 with black and white layouts. An artist will begin selecting typography or a type face for what will be deemed appropriate for our client's general audience. We begin with rough thumbnail sketches and/or B&W layouts to help us develop the general form of the logo or company symbol. In the example below we showcase a type ligature to help demonstrate the idea.

Once a few designs are completed (one shown here) we then take the creation into the color selection process (Creative Process #3). In the example provided below, the customer requested very vibrant color combinations. The client wanted their potential partners to get excited about conducting business with RPF Group thus the reason for the bright color suggestions. The leader of the company chose the first color option (shown below).

Final Approved Logo Design

For more great corporate identity and branding strategies contact world reknowned graphic design firm and creative design boutique at:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photography Retouching for the Fashion Industry

Expert Photo Retouching is a creative service that Shaffer Design Works has always offered to all industries (i.e. manufacturing, aviation, retail, human resources, construction, financial, medical ETC.). An example of photography retouching can be found below. These photos were shot on a Saturday and appeared in The Cleveland Plain Dealer the following Wednesday. While all of the photo retouching that Shaffer Design Works creatively executes for various advertising mediums is expertly color corrected the assignments sometimes come with tight deadlines. Shaffer Design prides itself on serving all of clients regardless of the deadline or ultimate goal of the marketing piece.

Speaking of last minute color correcting in Adobe Photoshop, The color correction specialists at the Shaffer Design Works studios in Streetsboro, Ohio worked there magic on removing a yellowish cast of light that was unavoidable when the photography was captured. By removing the yellowish cast the dress was brought back to its original true Lavender color. This photo alteration allowed the dress to showcase exceptionally well in the newspaper magazine advertisement.

Original Photography

Retouched Photography

Newspaper Ad Showcasing Retouched Fashion Photography

Contact Shaffer Design Works for exceptional photo retouching, creative advertising layouts and ideas. We also help out with the occasional copy writing assignment as well. Visit:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Client Testimonial

Recently, I received a compliment from Sheila Miklos a colleague of mine. We have worked together on several projects and with several different kinds of customers and business types.

Recently, I designed, created and executed a string of print ads for the Cleveland newspaper "The Plain Dealer". These ads were directly related to a clothing boutique/store located in the Beechwood, Ohio area. Sheila was very happy with all of the services that Shaffer Design Works provided. Sheila's testimonial is written below.


"Thanks for all of your good work, you are a pleasure to work with! Prompt, professional and insightful, I have come to rely on you for your creative input."

– Sheila Miklos
Foxcroft Consulting, LLC
Forest Stewardship Council's Chain-of-Custody Certification

Shaffer Design Works Cleveland/Akron advertising and marketing firm specializing in creative graphic design ideas for small to large businesses is proud to be associated with recipients of the Forest Stewardship Council Certification program. Recently our printer was authorized to use the "checkmark tree" logo on certain paper in order to assure our customers that the wood content of that material came from responsibly managed forests. Shaffer Design Works has always been a huge supporter of any organization that participates in the preservation or green movement activities. To learn more about the Forest Stewardship Council United States visit:

Rick Shaffer states,"We continue to evolve our thinking when it comes to producing marketing and advertising pieces for our clients. Following environmental trends and movements makes us proud and helps our customers tap into environmentally friendly methods of commerce. Whether the marketing challenge entails an online publication, logo design, branding project, newsletter publication or a printed brochure we are proud to offer the best solution lending itself to the green movement."

Before starting your next design, marketing or advertising project contact Shaffer Design Works with offices located in the Streetsboro, Ohio area, we have the creative solutions that you have been looking for. See:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Direct Mail for Advertising and Marketing

Below is a link to the United States Postal Service Website. This link has some useful tips on direct mail.


For great ideas in creative marketing and advertising visit:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Swatch Booklets for a Large Cabinet Manufacturer

Shaffer Design Works in the Cleveland, Ohio area creates high-end marketing solutions for manufacturing companies and small start-up businesses. Rick Shaffer says, "Producing great work involves getting to know your customers business, personality and long-term goals. At Shaffer Design Works, we have a philosophy that includes a series of brief questions to assist in the marketing and creative success of our clients creative advertising objectives. This process also helps bring added benefit to our efficiency both on the production and budgetary sides of the business."

Below is an example of a series of swatch books that were designed by the team at Shaffer Design Works. One of the challenges with this project was the swatch books had to look cutting edge along with being able to withstand the elements of a typical construction site. This example demonstrates what the swatch booklets looked like before redesign and also demonstrates the approved layouts.

Cabinet Swatch Booklet Covers BEFORE

Cabinet Swatch Booklet Covers AFTER

Additional Cabinet Swatch Booklet Covers to Further Demonstrate Continuity and Brand Conformity

Birch Cabinet Swatch Book

Cherry Cabinet Swatch Book

Maple Cabinet Swatch Book

Oak Cabinet Swatch Book

For great service and marketing ideas contact Shaffer Design Works at:

For more information about Rick Shaffer, Principal and Creative Director at Shaffer Design Works visit: