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  • 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 friends...you'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:

    Roses

    red = true love

    white = wistfulness, purity

    light pink = desire & passion

    Carnations

    red = deep love

    purple = whimsical

    white = sweet, faithful

    Tulip

    red = undying love

    purple = forever love

    Violet

    blue = faithfulness

    white = modesty

    Cherry Blossom

    Feminine beauty

    Peach Blossom

    Long-life, bridal hope

    Dahlia

    Elegance, dignity

    Baby's Breath

    Innocence

    Lavender

    Devotion, trust

    Lilac

    purple = First love

    white = innocence

    Lily

    Scarlet = aspirations, dreams

    Orchid

    Refined beauty

    Geranium

    Gentility

    Azalea

    Patience

  • 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.

  • Spring National Bridal Show

    We talk a lot about trade shows and banners, and all manner of advertising, but here’s something that we don’t usually come across: the National Bridal Show! Over yonder in the land of Canada, this “spring” show (funny how it’s in winter...), takes place from January 25th-27th in Toronto.

    It’s a smorgasbord of exhibitors that have services for everything a bride could need, from cakes to dresses to food to banners and other decorations. They’ve got DJ’s, venues, photographers, honeymoon spots, and makeup studios. They even have an insurance group, for when something goes truly wrong before your special day and you need coverage.

    Like I said, a smorgasbord. Enough to make any bride-to-be swoon at the possibilities.

    Let’s take a step back and take a look at a few of the fun things that are going to be at this year’s show. For today, I’ve perused the list of Exhibitors to bring you some of the wedding decorators heading to the show this year. Maybe you’ll find something you haven’t thought of before:

     

    1) Infinity PhotoBooth

    I personally just found out about these things recently at a company party. I knew they existed in arcades, but I didn’t know you could actually snag one for an event like a wedding! Let your guests entertain themselves with silly photos and other hijinks.

     

    2) Paper Impressions

    These guys specialize in invitations. No more generic brands for you! Check ‘em out and look through their gallery of custom designs. They have two collections to choose from: Modern and Luxe.

    3) Unique Invasion Entertainment

    Not only can they provide you with a DJ and some live entertainment, they also offer a staffer who can help you plan out the entire night, without having to wrestle with the DJ on the day of the wedding.

    4) Wedding Walls - a.k.a Step & Repeat

    Now, here’s something I know a little but about! Alright, these are what’s called Step & Repeat Banners. They can be created as long as you like, and with any repeat patterns you want. What’s nifty about these things is that they resemble those red carpet premieres that Hollywood loves, so it’s a perfect photo op for your party, or in this case, wedding!

    5) Chair Covers Plus

    These guys do everything for your reception tables: chair covers, table linens, napkins, drapes, capes, and more.  Customizable and a wide selection of bows and bands for your chairs.

     

    Well, that’s it for now folks! As the National Bridal Show draws closer, I’ll be updating you on the nifty things on display and more.

  • Promotional Booklets and Banners

    Whether you're an avid reader or not, chances are you like to thumb through highly intricate and heavily illustrated pages. If you've got a business to promote on top of that, then you're in luck, for I've got a solution for you. Ever heard of a Promotional Booklet?

    A Promotional Booklet is pretty much a more thorough (and cooler!) way of advertising yourself or whichever new product is out. When I say cooler, I mean that it's much nicer to flip through than a brochure. You've got more room for pictures, text, and diagrams, than any standard brochure space.

    In lieu of trade show events and conventions, these handouts are much more engaging to an attendee, and potential customer, than a brochure. Meeting with clients or have a waiting area in your office? Have these available for customers to thumb through to get them more interested. Perhaps it will already answer surface questions they had, so that when you meet face to face you can talk on equal standing.

    Consider this type of promotional item/giveaway for your next event. Couple it with a smashing banner and booth design and you're ready to tackle any trade show thrown at you.

    Like what you see? Then head on over to Noupe for an amazing list they've gathered of over 50 other kinds of promotional booklets. You can find the article HERE.

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