Social Media for the Summer Season

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the AAA company and this is for solely educational purposes.

The summer months are quickly approaching, and now is the time for brands to begin preparing for the excitement and warm feelings associated with summer. Since so many travel companies get the most business during this time of year, this week I was assigned to select a company within the travel industry and create new social media graphics for them to use. My family is a big fan of the American Automobile Association, so I chose them for my campaign.

AAA began as a company with “the purpose of lobbying for driver and passenger rights, fair laws and safer vehicles — all to better promote the love of the open road and the adventure of driving.” Since then, AAA has expanded to also provide roadside assistance, insurance and travel accommodations for members. I wanted to focus my campaign on the travel aspect of their company, encouraging members to use AAA’s services to plan a summer trip.

I created three Facebook cover photos that the company could alternate between throughout the summer months. On the company’s website, you can find the slogan “Expect Something More.” I wanted to incorporate this into my designs and portray a variety of environments where members could vacation to. I also wanted to evoke emotion, creating a desire for travel.

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Along with the cover photos, the rest of the Facebook page must also convey the same feel. The profile image should be kept as the simple logo, but posts should pertain to summer travel. The brand could highlight weekly travel spots to promote their deals, keeping with the “expect ______.” theme.

Bringing this idea over to Twitter, I also created a cover photo for the company’s profile. Though their Twitter is primarily focused around driving news and facts, the company could use this image if they decided to change their focus for the summer.

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AAA has a presence on most forms of social media. However, the company actually does not have an official Instagram. I think that creating one would be beneficial for the company, especially if they used it to feature travel destinations. They could also use it to promote driving facts and new information.

I created a sample image, using an overlay that the company could use to brand their summer campaign.

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To keep all imagery consistent, I made sure to place the logo on all materials and always use the same font, Bebas Neue Regular. I also used sunny, fun and attractive imagery. The hashtag I created, #ExpectSummer, could be used on Instagram and Twitter.

As for another social media channel I would recommend, I would choose to implement a company Tumblr. The company does have a travel blog, but it is a bit outdated and disorganized. A company’s Tumblr seamlessly blends in among regular user posts, and AAA could use one to create a revamped travel blog.

Autism Speaks Continued: Email Marketing

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Autism Speaks organization and this is for solely educational purposes.

Let’s be honest: Most of us ignore the dozens of promotional emails that flood into our inbox each day. For users with Gmail, they’re automatically stored in their own neat little folder where they’re hardly ever opened. This being said, when I do decide to take a look, I really only pay attention to them if the subject line catches my eye and I like the design inside.

For Design Showcase 11, I was assigned to create an email to accompany the banner ads I designed last week to promote Autism Speaks’ Walk Now for Autism events. To recap, Walk Now for Autism Speaks is series of walkathon events that raise money and promote awareness for autism research. Because I had so much fun working on the banner ads last week, I knew that I would enjoy creating the email marketing.

I began my design process by writing out all of the requirements on a sheet of paper and sketching out a basic rectangular template for the email. I found some good promotional images on  Autism Speaks’ website, and decided from there that I wanted to use the three images to divide separate areas of text. To carry my theme from the banner ads over, I decided to use the phrase “always moving forward” written down the page imposed over my images. I sketched this out, adding lines to represent copy and filling in the blank space with squares for images. I designed it to be read vertically, optimal for email structure.

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Once I had my basic plan, I moved into Photoshop and measured everything out to the exact proportions I wanted. I put in the three images and began designing the text in between. I wanted the email to not only promote the walk, but also give some basic background on the events so that recipients on the mailing list could forward it to friends to stimulate new interest in the walk. I also added several features in the bottom panel where readers could get more information about the organization itself, share the email and contact the company.

My color choices came from the logo itself, and I also wanted to use the same colors as those in my banner ads. I also repeated the Sanchez font over the images to keep consistency between the two. I used flat, iconic imagery, including the recurring shoe print.

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I actually found this Design Showcase to be easier than some of my past assignments, but this may also have been because I was truly motivated and excited to work on it. The most difficult part was making sure that all of my text and shapes were properly aligned and spaced, as well as organizing all of the individual layers into groups.

Bringing in Valentines Day the Right Way: With IMC

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Francesca’s brand and this is for solely educational purposes.

With Valentine’s Day being just around the corner, many brands are taking advantage of this holiday for lovers. For retail companies, Valentine’s day is more than just a fun holiday–it’s the perfect opportunity to market their products in a seasonal way. The obvious players are brands that sell chocolates, flowers, cards and gifts, but lots of other brands enjoy the festivities as well. One such brand is Francesca’s, a clothing boutique targeted at young women.

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Across the company’s online outlets, such as their website, Facebook, and Instagram, you can see that the company is pushing their Valentine’s Day products. Francesca’s messaging feels young, flirty, loving and feminine, and it encourages women to feel pretty on the special holiday, no matter what their plans are.

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For my Design Showcase this week, I was assigned to create a 600 x 800 pixel graphic that could be used on the web to accompany an integrated marketing communications (IMC) campaign. I chose Francesca’s because I personally am a huge fan of the company, and I thought that their Valentine’s promotions were well executed.

I began by looking through all of their social media profiles to make sure I really understood the feel that the brand wanted to convey to it’s consumers. With any IMC plan, the most important aspect is that the message sent is compatible across all media channels. After I felt that I had a good understanding of the company, I started the process of designing my graphic. In order to keep consistency with the brand’s visuals, I took assets from their websites, including banners from their Facebook profile and examples of dresses from their catalog. Since many of their promotions stress finding the perfect Valentine’s Day outfit, I decided to create a design that could be used on social media channels for last minute advertising.

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I took care to choose dresses that conveyed the “Valentine’s Day” feel and kept within the colors of the campaign. Once I knew how I wanted to organize my graphic, I put in the images on the top and bottom. I lowered the opacity and put in a color balance adjustment layer until I felt satisfied with the look of the image. For the text, I knew that I wanted to keep a romantic tone. I chose Lobster because Francesca’s is a feminine brand that often uses script fonts. To make the text really pop and give it a polished look, I applied layer styles to the text, including bevel and emboss and stroke styles. I used the same styles on the logo, with the addition of a color overlay, since the logo I worked with was originally black. I also changed the color of the text in the “Be Mine” banner by creating a mask and cutting out the letters and placing the new color beneath it. My final step was to add in the hearts to help draw the viewer’s eye down the graphic and fill in some of the white space.

My favorite part of this assignment was having a set tone to achieve and planning out how to create a graphic that would flow with the rest of the brand’s imagery. I created this with the mindset that it could be used as a post on the brand’s Facebook or Twitter to compliment their other messaging. It was also fun to get to work on a brand that I love, though it did make me want to go out and buy a Valentine’s Day dress myself!