A Color Story: A Guide to Building Color Palettes

Julie Johnson here, Social Stylate’s Graphic Designer. This month I’m taking a break from spinning scary tales of online advertising click trackers in favor of some good old-fashioned color theory. When I approach a project one of my first three questions will be about color. Color selection gives your piece its identity. Naturally, when the question of palette comes up, the response is often emotion based. We tend to know “what” we want our colors to say. Over my career I’ve had plenty of these exchanges:

Designer: Do you have a color palette in mind?

Client: Something punchy! Va va voom! Like, pow! You know?

I’ll never hold it against a client for coming to a graphic design project meeting without a composed palette. After all, as a designer, that’s what I’m here for! Whether it be a logo, an event poster, a pamphlet, a business card, or a website, our color choices give projects their personality. I’m here to help bridge the gap between “what” we want our colors to say and “how” to get them to say it! Here’s a basic guide to working a color palette for your piece:

Step 1: Get emotional – define the “what”

Define that vibe! In the exchange above, the Client is well on their way. Most folks know intrinsically “what” they want their piece to say. If you’re not sure, write down a list of words to describe your event/piece/business that the piece is for (e.g. cheerful, holiday, joy, comfort, warm, cozy, family).

Step 2: Choose your hues based on the “what”

Take that “what” and assign some color hues to it. Was your “what” energetic and exciting? Let’s do warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows! Were you going for something serene and relaxed? Go for greens and blues! You don’t have to be specific at this stage – focus on hue, that is, simply the base color. We will get into tones in a bit.

Step 3: Apply some theory

Now that you have some hues picked out, refine them by applying some theory! You may be wondering “do these hues work well together?” Good news! Someone has already done that work for you! You can decide to create an analogous palette (colors that are adjacent on the color wheel), complementary (opposite sides of the color wheel), or another configuration. There are many possible configurations in color theory (we’re sticking with simple here), and they will help take the guesswork out of color harmonizing. Get started with the examples below:

Step 4: Tone it up (or down)!

Now that you’ve finalized your base hues and configuration, go back to those “what” items you defined in step one to inform your tones, shades, and tints. This is a fancy way of saying adding white, black, or gray to your existing hues. Keeping it bright? Maybe you don’t need to add any neutrals to your hues at all! Want to soften things up? Tint it up by adding some white to the hues to get a pastel palette. To go for something deeper and moodier, add in a little shade with black. If you want to desaturate or “muddy up” your colors a bit, add gray. Keep it uniform though!

Keep in mind that this is a simplified, high-level guide to get you started. We could fill a book on color theory and palettes (and plenty of talented individuals have!). Hopefully, these steps will give you some confidence to approach your next project!

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A Mindful Meditation for Parents: Coping with This Chaotic World

Looking to help their kids navigate the pressures of social media — without pulling the plug on the positives we spoke to Dr. Michelle Maidenberg who maintains a private practice in Harrison, NY, and is the president and clinical director of Thru My Eyes Foundation. She is an adjunct graduate professor of Mindfulness at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University and author of Free Your Child From Overeating.

Is social media really the cause of all this anxiety? It’s complicated. Recent studies have noted a significant uptick in depression and suicidal thoughts over the past several years for teens, especially those who spend multiple hours a day using screens.

Twenge’s research found that teens who spend five or more hours per day on their devices are 71 percent more likely to have one risk factor for suicide. And that’s regardless of the content consumed. Whether teens are watching cat videos or looking at something more serious, the amount of screen time — not the specific content — goes hand in hand with the higher instances of depression.

A Mindful Meditation for Parents: Coping with This Chaotic World

I have read articles recently describing how we are becoming immune to all the chaos. Although coping by way of cutting off my feelings could come in handy right about now, I’m finding it impossible to ignore or distract from them. Just as an atrocity passes, it seems like another follows soon afterwards. In the past several weeks our news has been flooded with attempted terrorist attacks, mass murders, hate crimes, raging forest fires, among other things. I find myself and my patients relying on a combination of coping skills including ignoring, distracting, or being dismissive of our feelings. Along with feeling profoundly saddened and mournful, and becoming considerably anxious about the possibility of these atrocities directly impacting us, our families and those we know and love. Read more.

Have a mindful and Happy New Year. Guided Meditation For Mindful Parenting (click to listen). Sit comfortably and gently close your eyes. Mindful Meditation

Dr Michelle Maidenberg

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Giving Back This Holiday Season

Alexis Kletjian - YoungMoms Stocking Raffle - Social Stylate

Win a holiday stocking full of goodies from select Kennett Square and surrounding businesses!

This holiday season, our client Alexis Kletjian created a contest to benefit YoungMoms, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing local young mothers with the tools, motivation, and support needed to overcome challenges and create a stable future for their families.

Inspired by events in her own life and in the lives of her loved ones, Alexis understands the difficulties that mothers face. “When my brand gained traction, I decided to use the jewelry I created to bring meaning and joy to women,” she says. This season, Alexis is working to assist YoungMoms in their effort to support women in overcoming obstacles and making positive choices.

In addition to donating all raffle ticket sales to YoungMoms, Alexis is gifting one of her beautifully crafted and designed Mini Shields to each of the moms currently in the community. So 43 lucky women will have their very own shield talisman! “Jewelry is transformative; something to be cherished and passed down,” Alexis believes. “It is my hope that these shields will become their armor and inspire the passion to pay it forward one day, if and when they can.”

To enter to win a stocking, buy a $5 raffle ticket at Alexis Kletjian Fine Jewelry, Kennett Brewing Company, or Marché until Sunday, December 16. The winners will be announced Monday, December 17, so you still have time to enter!

All ticket sales will be donated to YoungMoms. For more information, click here.

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Content Queens: Why It’s All About Video Ads Online

Content Is Queen - Marketing Trend: Online Video Ads - Social Stylate

Video Advertising Shows No Sign Of Slowing Down

Happy Holidays! Julia Johnson here, Social Stylate’s Graphic Designer. Last month we spilled the secrets of advanced advertising and the creepy tricks they use to find their audiences (and companies pay lots of money to buy information on your browsing history through your IP-addressed devices). I’m back this month to dive into how those advertisements are designed from a content perspective. Once they have your IP address in their cookie-dropping crosshairs, why are they throwing more video advertisements in front of you than ever?

You may have noticed that the online ads you see today are mostly in video format (Facebook users will certainly notice this!). Publishers have been growing their video advertising business for the past decade. Back in the day (well, ten years ago), static banner ads were king: a 300×250-pixel billboard vying for your attention like a tiny billboard. Why the shift? Video advertisements hold the viewer’s attention much longer and can be required viewing before video content the user actually wants to watch. More time with your eyeballs equals more ad revenue! Combine that with the sophisticated analytics tools available to publishers and agencies and advertisers have more insight than ever into what their ad money is getting them. Remember those cookies that ads are dropping on your browser to make them reappear on other networks? Well, they’re nabbing some other info while they’re at it. When a video ad populates on the page it’s snapping all sorts of data – what percent of the video you’re watching, whether or not you’re clicking, hovering, and whether that ad is actually resulting in a sale of their product (yes, they can track that entire path, and it’s known as conversion).

Not only has there been a seismic shift in the type of ads you’re seeing, but these ads are increasingly engineered to hold your attention. Have you ever watched a funny video only to find out it was an ad?

Bill Gates famously stated in 1996 that “content is king.” This mantra still holds true to content creators across the internet, and blurring the line between ad and content is definitely en vogue. The emergence of User Experience has played a role in this as well. Advertisements fashioned to look like actual content are in high demand not just because it’s a better user experience, but they actually stand a chance of entertaining their audience – and being remembered for it! That’s marketing gold! Some of the newest trends trim the ad down very short – down to six seconds long in some cases. Some believe that this is the future of digital video ads.

Whether you’re in front of a screen or not, advertisements whip around us every day, each one vying for a bit of our attention. Finding and courting a new customer is a very different game than it used to be with the emergence of digital analytics. For better or for worse, increased calibration to an audience’s preference shows no sign of slowing down. In the meantime, take some time to enjoy a little unplugged time with your favorite people. Happy Thanksgiving!

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