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  • Top Ten SXSW Posters

    SXSW (or South by Southwest for non-natives) is a music, film, and trade festival that takes place every year in Austin, TX. Hosted by mostly indie-produced media, it's a ton of fun, entertainment, and the perfect look-out for upcoming heavy-hitters.

    It's known as the biggest music festival of it's kind, with performances all over the city in at least 100 venues.  As far as I know, many indie films have been picked up there, or by other festivals like Sundance, by big Hollywood studios for distribution. In recent years, they've attached a Gaming Expo and a trade floor to expand their audience. It's what makes festivals like this great and what makes them cool. And all in all, it turns Austin into the city that never sleeps for a week.

    They've also got some of the best poster designs I've ever seen. They truly go out of the box and don't employ your average marketing firm to handle the advertising. I've scoured the interwebs and collected my personal favorite Top Ten SXSW Posters. Take a glance through the art, and I hope that you are inspired to go out of your comfort zone and create a poster that will knock the pants off of your customers.

    1) SXSW Comedy 2013

    2) Small Stone, 2004

    3) Concert poster, 2009

    4) "Vision of the Future", 2011

    5) Kanine Records, 2010

    6) "You're Welcome!", 2012

    7)  Film Screenings, 2009

    8) Shepard Fairey, 2008

    9) Ed Romanoff, 2012

    10) La Faro, 2011

  • Valentine's Day - Part 2!

    Hello all you lovebirds and solo flyers!

    Valentine's Day is only a week away, and even if you don't have a special someone to snuggle up to, just hark back to your elementary school days: bring candy for everyone!

    Last time, I gave you some tips on the "language of flowers" and how different flowers have different messages. It's cute, maybe a little cheesy, but be careful not to send the wrong message! Remember: a yellow confection means rejection...(i.e. avoid yellow flowers!)

    Today I'm bringing you a little history, and possible ideas, on how other countries celebrate Valentine's Day. In particular, Japan!

    Japan actually celebrates 2 holidays related to Valentine's Day: the heart day itself, February 14th, and White Day, which is March 14th.

    On Valentine's Day...

    It's ONLY the girls who bestow gifts on the guys in Japan. Traditionally, it's chocolate, or homemade chocolate to make it even better.

    This tradition originated as an error made in a marketing campaign back in the 1960's, by a chocolate manufacturer. They designed an ad that was targeted just for office women to give confectionaries to their male co-workers. It wasn't necessarily as a symbol of love, but rather of friendly affection and generosity. However, because it was only aimed for office women, the trend spiked into women giving more then the men. Even in Japanese schools, girls can take classes on how to make chocolate just for Valentine's Day, and love to give them to boys they have deeper affection for. For some of the lucky ones, it leads to a date ;)

    However, the Japanese National Confectionary Industry Association (what a mouthful!), realized the error in the original campaign and launched a movement for a "reply day" for men, which became known as...

    White Day!

    White Day is March 14th, and was created in the 1980's. On this day, it's expected that any man who received a gift on Valentine's Day, bestow a gift that is valued at least 2 or 3 times more to those same women.  In the past decade, these gifts have evolved from chocolate and flowers, to jewelry, clothing, entertainment gifts (like manga, movies and CD's) and lingerie.

    If you recall from my last Valentine's Day post, the color white signifies and pure and sweet innocence or affection. So, it's an appropriate title for a man who may not want to pursue romantic interests, but simply return something of more value than was given.


    So there you have it! A little history on the love day in another nation. Don't forget, if you're planning a big Valentine's Day bash, or maybe YOU want to celebrate White Day too, swing on over to our custom banners to get started on your party planning!

    Tune in next week, when I'll bring you a list of do's and don'ts of Valentine's Day gifts.

  • Top 10 Posters by Peter Jackson

    Alas, the day has arrived and there was much rejoicing in the land of Nerdom, as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was finally released in theaters.

    There was singing and dancing and bad reviews...!

    Wait, what?

    Yes, yes, sadly there are quite a few critics who disliked the film, but if you cast them aside for a moment, the general fervor among moviegoers is an A+ rating for the film. Good for Peter Jackson!

    Say what you will, Peter Jackson has created some of the most iconic films of all time (not to mention setting a high bar for future fantasy flicks). In honor of this momentous occasion, let's take a look back at some of Peter Jackson's previous work and the posters that stirred the public's imagination.

     The Frighteners

    Look at that! I mean, really look at it! This movie didn't scare me when I first saw it (Marty McFly and some sidekick ghosts? Pah-lease), but this poster sure does. The fact that it looks like something trying to break the 4th wall and come crawling through your computer screen....ugh.

    Heavenly Creatures

    It seems like that's all he's good at really: horror and fantasy (though those two tend to mix, don't they?). Anyway, Heavenly Creatures was one twisted film about a couple of twisted sisters (though not related). I like the juxtaposition of putting the more intimidating girl's face above the lesser, innocent-looking one. Gives you that false sense of security about their character, huh?

    King Kong

    There is beauty in simplicity. Here we have the face of Kong. THAT'S IT. And yet, when this teaser poster was first released, people went nuts. It wasn't exactly a secret that this was Jackson's next project, but the detail on King Kong's face was absolutely stunning.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    Yup yup. We've seen this poster so often, its making us all SICK. But in a heart-wrenching, nostalgic, "punch to the feels" kind of way. What made this poster design so compelling was how bold it was. Right away, a viewer could tell that this wasn't going to be some butterflies-and-unicorns remake of Tolkien. Nope, from the gritty green tone to the sunken eyes of Frodo, we immediately understand that this is not an adventure for the weak at heart.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    The underdog of the trilogy, The Two Towers' poster is a little lackluster compared to the initial dankness of the first poster. There's also a color scheme going (which is good to keep in mind for your own poster design): Fellowship of the Ring was green, Two Towers is brown/sepia, and Return of the King (below) was a lighter combination of the two, with a sense of finality.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

    Quite an iconic finish for a fantastic trilogy. Need I say more?

    The Lovely Bones

    I love how this poster plays with light in the foreground and background of the image. A nefarious figure, an innocent girl...and you can tell right away that something either terrible or weird is going to happen to her.

    District 9

    Absolutely one of my favorite sci-fi films in recent years. And the whole attitude is right here on the poster. Peter Jackson may not have directed this himself, but he did produce it and had a lot of say in the story elements. What was even more marvelous was how low-budget it was for a fantastic CGI film.

    The Adventures of Tintin

    It must've been a childhood dream come true for Spielberg and Jackson. Not to mention Steven Moffat as well, one of my favorite screenwriters (who also appears in Sherlock). Anyway, for a children's comic, I was quite surprised by how dark and mysterious this poster turned out to be. It's not quite what you expected, but it makes that childhood wonder all the more wondrous.

    And finally......The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    This was the first released poster at the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, along with a packed panel full of rowdy fans. But the beauty of this design also lies in its simplicity. It's as thought Gandalf is coming to coax you on this adventure with him. The next posters to come out were full of Bilbo and the 13 dwarves (who I LOVE, by the way), but this one still remains my favorite. Just the way the green pasture is peaceful, but the clouds overhead foreshadow things to it.

    Well that's it, folks! My top ten poster designs from Peter Jackson's greatest hits. Bless that man, and may we see more of his work for years to come.

  • Decorating Ideas for Winter Weddings

    Winter Wedding Decorations

    Nuptials are beautiful, whenever you have them. But not all weddings are June occasions. There’s a special place in my heart for winter weddings: something about the snow and sparkles, scarves and mufflers...I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Well, I’ve researched some clever Winter Wedding Decorations that caught my eye, and I present them to you!

    Color Options

    Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean everything has to be white and plain. To keep that winter feel, incorporate shades of blues and teals, maybe some purples.

    If you’ve got a wedding closer to Christmas or Valentine’s Day, don’t feel afraid to splash it with red. Red is regal and pops really well with the white.

    The Entrance

    We all love a grand entrance, and the best entrances are the most thoughtful. If you’d like, you can have a custom banner with the happy couple, welcoming guests to the wedding.  Utilize props that the couple share: a pair of crossed oars for boat-lover’s, or a wall of hung photographs of evolution of their romance.

    If you really want to WOW your guests, line the aisles with plants or trees for that ultimate winter or nature feel.

    Winter Table Decorations

    Put aside the cliched snowflakes and santa hats. For a truly out-of-the-box centerpiece, look to the forest! Use petrified wood or budding tree branches in a vase instead of flowers.

    Still want your beloved blossoms, with that forest look? Check out the rustic styled vase below:

  • Planning an Outdoor Winter Event


    With Thanksgiving over, it’s time to pull on the stretchy pants and get back into the groove of the holidays! For those who love the rush of that cool mountain air, it’s time to break out the jackets and the snowboards, the ski caps and the mittens and get outdoors. Or...there’s always the beach out here on the West Coast.

    For others, though, the outdoors are a time to get together and have a great, ol’ holiday party. If you’re planning an outdoor event in a somewhat remote location this holiday season, than pay attention! Avoid the drama and the hypothermia by following these simple tips of the trade.

    1) Plan Ahead!

    Nothing truly great comes out of “Hey y’all, watch this!”

    Usually, it ends up over the toilet or in the hospital. The same goes for your event.

    DON’T drop everything and plan everything the day of the event. That sort of improvising creates risky situations for you, your guests, and your wallet! This is especially important if you’re planning an event for 15 or more guests.

    2) Location, Location, Location

    Check where your event is going to be: is it remote, or off the map? Is there enough room for recreational activities or food? Are you bringing supplies or having it shipped?

    These are the questions to consider when planning your event. If you’re collaborating with outside parties, like caterers etc., it’s advised that you all have a meeting on site to figure out the details and logistics of the event.

    It’s similar to how a director plans his shots for a film: where can you hide the utilities? What do you want seen up front? Is there room for your stage, and all the equipment that comes with it? Will you have to make signs or outdoor banners to point the way for your guests?

    One more thing: the weather! Mother Nature is a fearsome mistress, but don’t let her ruin your event. Research weather conditions for your location and what the weather is trending towards as you get closer and closer to your event.

    3) The Necessities


    Can’t have a party without food or drinks! Prepare an area where food can be stored, preferably a screened or tented area. This will prevent the pests from invading! If you find that you do have a pest problem prior to the event, have a back-up area for food, or call an exterminator.

    Utilities & Sanitation

    From what I can remember from fairs and festivals....porto-potties. Gotta have ‘em, and that’s pretty much a no-brainer. More importantly, especially around food, you’ll need a couple jugs of hand sanitizer.


    If your party goes way into the night, think of getting some lights up in there. With a tented event, consider some heaters if the winter winds get a little too much and start slipping under the tent slips.


    For events of 100+ guests, hire a staff. Be they family or friends or volunteers, make sure that you have people on hand who know exactly what’s going on and can answer any questions that the guests can throw at them.

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