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  • Academy Awards - Part 3!

    And we're back to the Awards! It's this weekend, February 24th, and Hollywood is already buzzing about who will win. We're going to take a step back from the glitz and the glam today by looking at some poster designs from a more unexpected source: the Documentary Features.

    I actually love a good documentary myself, especially on more controversial modern topics. But beside that, there is also an art form found in documentaries that fictional films try to achieve everyday, and that's the human experience.

    In a movie theater, we at least have the knowledge that the film we are watching is fictional, or in the case of 'Argo', a live dramatization of actual events. Regardless, usually the content is something that we don't often have to think about in our daily lives.  It's either something totally, fiction, something that happened in the past, or something that happened in another country.

    But with a documentary, there's the realization that these are people who are (mostly) alive today and walking around. They are not historical figures (mostly), or fictional characters, but people whom events in their live have culminated into a story worth telling. THAT'S where this award comes in. It must be difficult to judge the human experience, and to judge which one was 'best', but alas it must be done in this award show.

    Take a look at the posters below, and perhaps you can add som human experience to your next poster or banner design, that best reflects your missions as a company.

    1) 5 Broken Cameras

    A Palestinian farm worker documents a town's resistance and the response of the Israeli Defense Force, as a barrier wall in erected in the West Bank village of Bil'in. It spans over the course of many years and took 5 cameras to film.

    This poster illustrates quite obviously what the content of the film is about. It's set in the Middle East, there are five cameras involved, and it's about a family with the the little boy in the foreground. I especially like the inclusion of soldiers in the background behind the man with the cameras. They're faint, easy to miss, but you can easily tell that the resistance will be violent.

    2) The Gatekeepers

    Six former heads of Israel's counterterrorism agency, Shin Bet, spill about their secrets and mistakes, even successes, within the agency and how the agency has shaped relations between Israel and Palestinians today.

    What I love about this poster is the face: it's made up of six pieces, each one from  different ex-head of Shin Bet, showing that although they come from different backgrounds and had different policies, they still share the same umbrella and global pressure.

    3) How To Survive A Plague

    This film takes a look back at the growing response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980's, when the riots, protests, and cries for treatment research were at their peak. They take a look at both sides: those who were in the crowds at the protests, and those who were in the labs, searching for a cure.

    As some of you might remember, I have a fondness for minimalist poster designs, and this one is right up there in some of the best I've seen. You don't need a crowd of voices and pumped fists to get attention, sometimes you just need a singular image. In case you can't read it, the figure in red at the top says, "Treatment or Riot". Sums up the film pretty much.

    4) The Invisible War

    Not many people are aware of the rising sexual assault rate in the US Military. In 2010, there were 19,300 cases of sexual assault.  This film focuses on the women in our military, who were assaulted and are pressured to keep mum or find themselves ostracized from their comrades for speaking up.

    This is a pretty sensitive subject, which just makes my skin crawl as I type this. To think that so many members of our military were being abused while fighting for our freedom is inexcusable. But this poster attests to a lot of that with a single image: a female soldier's face, with a look of such vulnerability, you'd have to be stupid to miss it.  Can't go wrong with close-up shot, but just make sure it's the one that says it all without words.

    5) Searching for Sugar Man

    Perhaps, this will be a nice change in pace. In the 1970's,  a singer and songwriter named Rodriguez, put out two albums, then disappeared in light of their failures. Two fans from South Africa decide to search for him and why he disappeared from his love of music.

    This could also count as a minimalist poster. You've got the singer in question, strutting down a road with a guitar on his back, and with a purpose. Make me curious if they ever find him as well.


    Well, there you have it folks! The five nominees for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards.  Don't forget to tune in THIS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, fo the award show.

  • 3Doodler Brings New Design

    Hey everybody! We're going to take a break from Academy Awards news today, to bring you something truly amazing and cutting-edge. It's called the 3Doodler!

    What is it, you ask?

    This pen is pretty much a cross between a pen and hot-glue gun. It enables to draw, or "doodle" something on a page and pick it up straight off the paper. What's even better, though, is that it lets you draw UP.

    In other words, true 3D models, straight from the pen.

    Still not convinced? Check out the video below from their Kickstarter:

    Crazy, right?

    It may not be the most pretty device out there, but it's still an amazing step forward in design and modeling.

    Using 3Doodler for Banners

    So, what does this have to do with banners? Well, it more has to do with design in general. Imagine that you're a brand new design business, and you're trying to think of ways to interact with the public. Well, one case could be to use the 3Doodler. Allow fans and designers under your umbrella to doodle for you. Have them think of crazy new products, logos, or type lettering.

    You can create a banner that has a blueprint on it, and have customers play with the 3Doodler by tracing the blueprint. Fun for everyone!

    The makers of 3Doodler teamed up with a group of Etsy designers that specialized in wire art, and told them to basically play around with the device. They came up with the following designs:

    If you're liking what you're seeing, take a moment to visit their kickstarter page HERE.

  • Academy Awards - Part 2!

    Aaaand we're back! Hope everyone had a good weekend!

    Today, it's going to be another "Movie Poster Inspiration" post, but this time we'll take a look at the Best Animated Feature Film category. Unleash the child in all of us!

    Animated Films aren't just for children anymore; man, just watch any anime film or maybe Eight Crazy Night with Adam Sandler. Animation was meant as a medium that could portray something only a child-like imagination could feasibly think of. We can't always bring our dreams into reality (although technology is advancing to that level pretty soon), so we turn to animation.

    This year's Oscar nominees are definitely my favorites that have come out this year. I will wholly admit that I have seen all of these films, and I admit it with pride! I'm not quite sure how the Academy judges these films, but I've got a few hunches up my sleeve for who they'll pick. Will it be another steal by Pixar? Or will underdog ParaNorman sweep the award? Maybe it'll be fan favorite - or should I say "nerd" favorite - Wreck-It Ralph?

    So take a glance below at the impressive poster designs for each nominee:

    1) Brave

    This is the first released poster of Brave. It's from Pixar, and is the story of a Scottish princess who tries to change her destiny through magic and archery. Along the way, she reconnects with her mother and saves the kingdom.

    It's a good story, and I love Pixar to death, but I must admit this isn't my favorite film from them. But did you see Merida's hair? Holy cow!

    2) Frankenweenie

    This is a re-telling parallel of Frankenstein, only with with pets.

    I'm always a little apprehensive about Tim Burton films. However, this one had some charm...if you can get past the big eyed characters that is.

    3) ParaNorman

    This film is about a little boy who can see the dead, and must rescue his town from the incurred wrath of a witch.

    This is another stop-motion animated film (what a trend this year!), and was definitely a come-from-behind surprise hit with the audience. Here's to you, ParaNorman!

    4) The Pirates! Band of Misfits

    Pirates! is about a band of "misfit pirates" who are out to win the Pirate of the Year Award! Enemies and shenanigans ensue!

    I LOVE Aardman Animation Studios. If you recognize the style, it's the same studio that brought us Chicken Run, Flushed Away, and Wallace & Gromit. My childhood was spent with Wallace & Gromit, and I say that their humor was on-par with this film as well.

    5) Wreck-It Ralph

    Okay. I have to say it. This was my favorite animated film of the year. Bar none.

    "Ralph" is about an arcade, where many games congregate together after-hours to mingle.  Ralph, however, is a game villain and goes on an adventure to prove that he can be a hero.

    This was just a clever concept overall, and with the inclusion of popular video game characters like PacMan and Sonic the Hedgehog, it just made the experience all the more memorable. If you go to Disneyland today, there's an actual Wreck-It Ralph game you can play in the Tomorrowland arcade.

  • Movie Poster Inspiration - Academy Awards

    Yesterday was that love, heart day, y'know...BUT today, let's talk about something else that comes around this time of the year: the Award Shows!

    To me, film is the most engaging reflection of humanity today. Sure, we've still got faults (and some trashy films that truly need to go), but for the most part, we as a species have produced some of the greatest moments in time. It's why we buy movies and watch them over and over and over...

    You get the idea. Once a year, though, there are award shows that honor the best filmmaking of that year. These were the films that we knew would be instant hits: not just based on the actors involved, or the hype on the net, but also because of their poster designs. After all, these were the images we saw on billboards on our daily commute, in our shopping malls, on street signs and buses. There's no escaping where a film can be advertised, but gosh darn it, they do a good job at enticing us to look. In fact, businesses all over have adopted the style of "dramatic marketing", putting their products or services in interesting situations to keep us from changing the channel. Two words, my friend: Super Bowl.

    The Grammy's and the Globes have passed, but the biggest night of all is the Academy Awards, on Feb. 24th. There's lots of awards to go around, but as we lead up to the event, we'll work our way down the categories. Today, we'll start with the movie poster designs of those films nominated for the Big Kahuna: BEST PICTURE.

    So, check out the list below and make sure to stay tuned for more posters of films being nominated this year. Perhaps, you'll even find some inspiration for your own design as you peruse.

    1) Argo

    2) Les Miserables

    3) Django Unchained

    4) Lincoln

    5) Zero Dark Thirty

    6) Amour


    7) Life of Pi

    8)  Beasts of the Southern Wild

    9) Silver Linings Playbook

  • Valentine's Day - Lovely Fonts for Free

    So, Valentine's Day is tomorrow.


    And if you are like some of my're going to wait until the last minute to get a gift for that special someone.

    But fear not! Flowers and candy make everything nice, but nothing says 'I love you, baby' like a heartfelt message in a card.

    Today, I've compiled for you a list of lovely, romantic, and cute fonts that you can easily download and use to create that special message. And best of all, they're all free!

    So, take it away you last-minute miracle-makers and make like Gandalf in "The Return of the King":


    Check out these amazing fonts below:

    1) Heart Attack by Phantomhive Company

    2) Clipper Script by Mans Greback

    3) Jellyka Delicious Cake by Jellyka Nerevan

    4) St. Andrew's Queen by Jellyka Nerevan

    5) Frykas Light by Baobaby Studio

    6) Blessed Day by Billy Argel

    7) Take Me Out by Maria Elisa Pardi Designs

    8) Bedtime Stories by Lars Manenschijn

    9) Janda Romantic by Kimberly Geswein

    10) New Garden Light by Billy Argel

  • Valentine's Day Part 3: Party Planning

    They're heeeeere....

    Valentine's Day-obsessed fangirls! And all the Facebook posts that come with it. *sigh*

    Just kidding, but this is the week: this Thursday is Valentine's Day! Woohoo!

    Today, I've got some fun tidbits to help you make that Valentine's Day party even better. Whether it's for your child's classroom, or a for your friends and family, there's a load of cute Do-It-Yourself ideas out there to spruce up the fun.

    1) Rose Cupcakes

    I'm a simple gal: give me roses, give me love letters, and I'm a happy camper. But if you really want to go outside the box for your special someones, then bake them Rose Cupcakes. How is it done?

    It's actually NOT frosting you see in that picture, but fruit leather! And it's surprisingly easy to make. To learn how to make them, follow the instructions from Spoonful, HERE.

    2) Edible Arrows

    Cupid never takes a day off, that's for sure. Over at the Coterie blog, they've created Edible Arrows! It's made from strawberry Airheads, pretzel sticks, and heart-shaped cookies. Making me hungry, right now...

    3) Heart Doilies

    Remember those paper snowflakes we used to make in elementary school. Well, with hearts it's the same thing!

    Take some different shades of red and pink, and fold them up. Cut the full fold into a half-heart, and unravel. Bam: cute as a button table decorations.

    4) Valentine Shoe Boxes

    Again, let's harken back to the good old days of elementary school, when everyone got a Valentine. It's a tradition that still stands today, so why not have it for you party.

    Step 1: Have a corner of the room where people can decorate shoe boxes just for them.

    Step 2: Have various candy stations or decoration stations so that your guests can make and create things to put in their shoebox or other shoe boxes.

    Step 3: Enjoy the fun and the chaos!

  • 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.

  • Sports Banners Galore

    Hello everybody!

    February 3rd was a big day in America. It was East Coast vs. West Coast in a battle of the biggest and baddest football players around! Super Bowl XLVII!

    And the winners are...

    The Baltimore Ravens!

    Good for them. Those guys haven't been to a SuperBowl in a long, long while and it was their time. But now that you're hung over from beer, burgers, and booing, let's take a deep breath and take a look around.

    You've probably seen more ads for the Super Bowl than you realize, especially if you were in Baltimore, San Francisco, or New Orleans this past weekend. What's more is most of them were either from your television or from hanging banners all over town.

    When it comes to advertising for sports events, you can't go wrong with a banner. Whether it's for a local team, Minor League, Intramural, or tiny tot soccer, check out some tips below on how to make your next sporting event banner spectacular.

    1) Team Logo

    No-brainer, am I right? It all starts with the team name: something cool, something catchy, something that your mom didn't make up when you were 10. Then it's on to the mascot: and it's all about the intimidation.

    To help you with what NOT to do, try to avoid these embarrassing team mascots:

    The Fighting Artichokes - Scottsdale Community College

    Evergreen Tree - Stanford University

    Banana Slug - UC Santa Cruz

    Buckeye Nuts - Ohio State University

    Fighting Pickles - North Carolina School of the Arts

    Anteater - UC Irvine

    Take it from me...don't take it from them.

    2) Banners to Beat the Weather

    You've got your design and you're ready to go, but here comes the choice: what type of banner do you need? Well, if you're playing a sport, chances are you will be outdoors or in some very large venue.

    We recommend our specialized outdoor banners for situations where the sun is going to be beating down your back at the height of the day. It'll be beating down on your banner as well, and nothing looks more silly to the enemy than a faded banner made from felt and Elmer's glue.

    3) Colors of the Rainbow

    When I was in middle school, I played on a soccer team with the colors Royal Blue and Hot Pink. We were called the Torpedoes. Why? Because there was nothing else that could possibly match the colors and make us sound intimidating!

    AH! MY EYES!!

    Take my story as a lesson for you: if you can pick your own colors, please for the sake of your corneas, do not pick hot pink and blue.

    Here are some color combos that will save your eyesight:

    Red & Green (Christmas colors, c'mon!)

    Orange & Blue

    Black & White

    Black & Any color...

    Purple & Blue

    Yellow/Gold & Blue

    Green & Blue

  • Happy Heart Day Banners


    A.K.A Valentine's Day, a.k.a. Singles Awareness Day...

    Awww, low blow, I know.

    No matter how you look at it, the result is the same: Valentine's Day is in 2 weeks! Yikes!

    If you're throwing a big Valentine's Day bash, or just want a special banner for that special someone (maybe you're planning to pop that special question too, eh?) then check back with us each day as I bring you daily tips and tricks to make your Valentine's Day memorable.

    Today's lesson is...

    1) Flowers

    Floriography - have you heard of it? Not many people have, but it's also known as the "language of flowers", or how certain flowers have a certain meaning. Roses are nice, but they're a little cliche. If you really want to impress your valentine, hand them a hand-selected bouquet with the meanings of all the flowers you picked.

    But be warned! Avoid YELLOW FLOWERS. Yellow tends to stand for a dying love, unfaithfulness, and disdain. Not exactly Valentine's Day sentiments.

    Here's a handy list to get you started:


    red = true love

    white = wistfulness, purity

    light pink = desire & passion


    red = deep love

    purple = whimsical

    white = sweet, faithful


    red = undying love

    purple = forever love


    blue = faithfulness

    white = modesty

    Cherry Blossom

    Feminine beauty

    Peach Blossom

    Long-life, bridal hope


    Elegance, dignity

    Baby's Breath



    Devotion, trust


    purple = First love

    white = innocence


    Scarlet = aspirations, dreams


    Refined beauty





  • Make Way for Lunar New Year!


    The Lunar New Year is here and it’s the Year of the Snake! This Chinese holiday is a symbolic festival for the coming of spring, and can stretch over a period of weeks. There’s food markets, dancing lions, flying dragon kites, and so much more.

    For many Chinese communities, and other Asian cultures that follow the calendar, this is a time to celebrate the new year with family and friends. Just this past weekend, in Riverside CA, “Lunarfest” was held in downtown Riverside. Not only did they celebrate traditional Chinese new year, but they opened the festival to all ranges of Asian culture, from the Polynesian islands to the Japanese taiko drums. They had some pretty amazing decorations, banners, and plenty of food to go around.

    The official Lunar New Year’s day is February 10th, so there’s still some time to plan a grand celebration. Whether it’s smaller affair for your family or a street festival for your community, here’s some tips and traditions to get you going:

    1) Year of the Snake

    According to the calendar, this is the Year of the Snake! If you want a mascot for your event, then a snake is the way to go. Have someone design a truly unique snake for your Lunar New Year festival. Make it cartoony, realistic, hardcore, whichever way you want to go.

    2) Red Envelopes

    Unlike the popular Les Mis song, red here does not symbolize “the blood of angry men”. In fact, red is a very lucky color in Chinese culture. Children traditionally receive red envelopes with money in them from family and friends. These envelopes can be decorated however you like, with some designs incorporating cartoons.

    3) Fireworks!

    Now, don’t go grabbing firecrackers off the shelves just yet. While these are traditional and great fun to watch, make sure that you have some authorities on hand to supervise the launch. Otherwise it’s illegal in most of the United States (!).

    4) Dragon Dance & Lion Dance

    It’s said that the faces of dragons and ferocious lions, along with loud drums and cymbals will scare away evil spirits from the festivities. That’s why many temples or community groups will have dragon and lion dances at their festivals. These colorful props are entertaining for children and adults alike. What I love the most about the lion dancers is how acrobatic they are!

    5) Paper Lanterns

    Although lanterns are used frequently in Chinese holidays, they vary in shape and size, depending on the holiday at hand. For Lunar New Year, they’re a bright red and oval or spherical shaped. However, they’re all made from paper.

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