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maxrobertson
Oct 23, 2006, 10:51 PM
Hey everyone,

I'm designing a page for the website I work at. It's a little odd: I'm making an extra-glassy theme for an upcoming christmas sale. I'm really new at making glass things though (and I have no formal training whatsoever). So I'm rather... I guess for lack of a better term, just making it up as I go along. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can improve my technique? None of the tutorials online produce results that are as good as the ones I've gotten, and my results really aren't that great. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

http://thecity1.com/hometownchristmas

Note: some of the stuff (like the text and background colors) are not sticking, and I'm rather dissatisfied with the header as a whole, as well as the unmatching bottom ornaments... please don't think I have no design sense at all! This is very early :) .



CanadaRAM
Oct 23, 2006, 11:26 PM
Hmmm... OK - blunt and off the hip here.

Waaaay too long. Won't work as a web ad. People will read down to # 1 or #2 and then quit

Too much graphic content that doesn't convey anything about what the ad is about

Pretty balls, but... unless you're selling christmas ornaments, why? What do they say about the promotion, the chamber or the sale day? If there is not a strong tie-in, they just distract from the message.

The top logo is pretty much illegible. Hopefully nobody is married to it? The name and slogan would be better as a basic text treatment (*not "handwritten" or script lettering, please!)

Get back to basics. You have to make people stop and pay attention;
Then you have to say something interesting enough that they will invest time in reading
Then you have to educate them.

WHAT are you advertising
WHY would people be interested
WHERE and WHEN is it

Most of the businesses don't actually have any specials for the Sidewalk sale day -- I presume there real ad copy still to come? It's not enough to have a one day sale and the promotion is "Make an appointment for a regular priced service".... Make sure each business has one, unique, really interesting thing for sale - something that will not be offered on any other day. This is not the time or place for platitude slogans like "We take care of your every need" or "We excel in customer service".

You have a real challenge, to give 37 businesses promotion in a single ad. If this were print this would be a 4 page spread, minimum. Get creative and think how you can solve the navigation problem. You're going to have to lose something -- perhaps the contact information for the businesses can be on a link or a pop up window rather than in the page?

How can you make the businesses and their promos equally and easily visible? Links? Jump-list menus (one for company name, one for service/product offered?) A map?

Look for a strong headline that makes people stop, and then follow that with a compelling reason WHY they really want to walk through town on a December day in the cold.

"ON DECEMBER 3RD, THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WANTS YOU TO BECOME A STREET PERSON"

dogbone
Oct 24, 2006, 03:11 AM
Regarding the glass balls, you don't have to do it in photoshop. You can download the free demo version of ZBrush which will let you make images up to 640x480 pixels which is more than enough for your purposes.

To make the glass ball illustrated is as easy as drawing a sphere and press one button to apply a glassy material. Shadow added in photoshop. But as Canada said, the ad needs some more thought.

bartelby
Oct 24, 2006, 03:15 AM
YOW!!! My eyes!

chasemac
Oct 24, 2006, 03:25 AM
At first glance, I can't tell who the sale is from! Font's need work! Don't mean to be an ***. It's nice that you did it but try it sell it.:)

Mookamoo
Oct 24, 2006, 03:47 AM
at least put lines between the stores.

Plus - what have the numbers got to do with things? Are they unit numbers? If they are just part of a list - get rid of them.

And have some difference in size with the stores. Perhaps have the store name in 12 pt, the contact info in 8pt and the offer/description in 8pt bold italic?

Snark
Oct 24, 2006, 08:39 AM
Note: some of the stuff (like the text and background colors) are not sticking, and I'm rather dissatisfied with the header as a whole, as well as the unmatching bottom ornaments... please don't think I have no design sense at all!

This may sting a bit, and for that I'm sorry, but, to be honest, your design sense right now is sorely lacking. The good news is that this is highly fixable, and with less work than you might think (Though there is work, and no small amount, you'll need to do).

As for the task at hand, in addition to suggestions you'll get here, I would strongly suggest that this go round you look at a program like Rapidweaver (http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver) and work with one of the templates that are available. For the moment, some close handholding and guidance are a good thing.

As for sharpening your eye for design, there are lots of ways to hone your tool. One of the well worn and best tools available for this is Before&After Magazine. (http://www.bamagazine.com/) For a paltry $24 you'll get more really good design lessons than you could shake a hundred sticks at. Beyond that, when you see a design, any design, that you like, start thinking about *why* you like. No need for a four page, single spaced dissection, just start turning the question over in your mind.

But if you want to take it a step further, and really make some progress, every now and then take some piece you like and try and recreate it. Sketch it, use Illustrator, PageMaker, iWorks, whatever you have. Creating a perfect duplicate isn't the point; it's moving the bits and pieces around and seeing where and how they fit, or don't, that gets the job done.

Before you know it, you'll be browsing magazines and thinking, "WHAT were they thinking??". But you'll also have an even greater appreciation of the really good work that's to be found out there too.

Snark

LukeW
Oct 24, 2006, 09:44 AM
One thing you should change straight off is the text in the header, you can barely read it. Way too small. Small white text on a bright green background is a big no-no. I like the christmas decorations, very crisp and sharp. You should also change the text for the listings, way too many differentiations. Keep the same font throughout, and then think about the priority of information, why is the description bolder than the contact details? Combined with the store titles it squishes everything together and becomes too much of a lump of information to handle, specially when listed out like that. Add some space, reorganise the information and increase the logo size, that should do nicely! :)