Subscribe to the ON THE GRID newsletter & Win FREE Stuff!

Content Rules Book Cover

Not an ON THE GRID newsletter subscriber? You’re missing out on monthly updates from Scott Creative, including my recent design work and marketing news & resources you can use to grow your business. You’re also missing out on chances to win FREE resources, like this month’s giveaway of Content Rules.

Written by Ann Hadley (MarketingProfs) and C.C. Chapman (Digital Dads), Content Rules provides you with the guidance you need to create irresistible blogs posts, white papers, ebooks and other content, interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online. Content Rules will show you how to use content marketing to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base. A $25 value, I’m giving this book away for FREE to one newsletter recipient on Monday, April 30th.

What are you waiting for? Subscribe to ON THE GRID today and keep an eye out for this month’s newsletter for your chance to win!

The Irony and Disdain of Obama’s ‘Art Works’ Campaign

Art Works poster design

On September 8, 2011, millions tuned in to Obama’s presentation the American Jobs Act. The following month, Obama stated that “without a doubt, the most urgent challenges that we face right now is getting our economy to grow faster and to create more jobs… where [Congress] won’t act, I will.”

So why then, would the Obama re-election campaign call on graphic designers to show their support for the American Jobs Act by soliciting them to work for free? Through a contest titled Art Works, “a poster contest to support American jobs”, designers were asked to submit poster designs promoting the American Jobs Act with one major catch: no compensation for their work.

It’s both ironic and offensive that a campaign for job creation would call on design professionals to work without compensation. This crowdsourcing effort by Obama’s re-election campaign shows a severe misunderstanding of the very real problems design industry professionals face. Employment in the graphic design industry plunged over ten percent between 2008 and 2009, dropped an additional six percent between 2009 and 2010 and at the time of this writing remains well below pre-recession levels.

Both the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the Graphic Artists Guild have shown a persistent criticism of the Art Works contest in open letters written to the Obama for America campaign:

“The Obama For America re-election campaign contest, ‘Art Works: A poster contest to support American jobs,’ is shameful. American artists should be outraged that our President does not recognize that we are entitled to be paid for our work, as are all Americans.” (Lisa Shaftel, Graphic Artists Guild).

“The Art Works poster contest asks designers to work speculatively, creating designs without compensation for an activity that has value to a potential client, against established global principles in communication design. And it is particularly contemptuous to ask the creative community to donate their services in support of a jobs program for other American workers.” (Richard Grefé, AIGA)
Maybe the Obama re-election campaign and his administration would benefit from a brief history lesson. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) employed approximately 500 artists to work on the Federal Art Project (FAP) programs. These artists were charged with raising awareness and promoting a wide range of programs, activities and behaviors that administration believed would improve people’s lives – similar to the goals proposed in the American Jobs Act and by Obama’s re-election campaign. WPA Poster Division artists – all which were given pay and credit for their work – designed more than 35,000 posters and approximately two million were printed.
These artists/designers were all valued for their skills. Why then, has the value of American designers’ work changed for the worse?

New Book Giveaway!

Likeable Social Media book cover

New giveaway! Now through Thursday, December 8, visit the Scott Creative Facebook Page. Once you’re there, review/comment on any photo in the ‘Studio Work’ album and you’ll enter yourself into a chance to win a free copy of Likeable Social Media: how to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand and be generally amazing on Facebook (and other social networks)”.

Contest winner will be announced Friday, December 9th. Visit Scott Creative on Facebook today for your chance to win!

Think Ink

Ecofont Image

Ecofont is a green typeface that aims to save both money and resources through its use.

There are a growing variety of options out there for businesses and people seeking to save money on their production costs: papers made with various percentages of post-consumer waste and soy based inks are both leaving a reduced impact on the environment, but not many of us have considered how our typeface choices could have a similar effect.

Ecofont, a typeface by Dutch marketing firm Spranq, was designed to use less ink in production than other typefaces, in effect saving both money and resources. Based on the sans-serif typeface Bitstream Vera, Ecofont incorporates a number of tiny holes – each about a fifth of a 10-point – into the typeface’s existing characters. Upon printing, excess ink bleeds into these tiny spaces producing the same effect as the typeface it originates from, but results in less ink on the page.

If less ink used during production means an increase in savings, how much can a business expect to save through using Ecofont? Executives at Spranq claim that a business with 5,000 workers could trim over $100,000 from annual printing costs by using Ecofont. Spranq also claims Ecofont users can also save up to a quarter of their costs on either ink or toner by using this typeface.

Unfortunately, like many green practices, choosing Ecofont may not come without a sacrifice. When printed at sizes larger than its preferred size (10 points), the empty circles incorporated into each character become increasingly visible and lead to a less-than desirable result on the page. Despite this arguably large design drawback, if the claims about Ecofont hold true, it’s a worthy addition to your font library.

For your free copy of Ecofont, visit ecofont.edu