Employee Highlight: Nick Reese

A graphic designer, problem solver and translator are all roles played by Nick Reese, Hirons’ newest creative assistant. His job is to interpret and visually convey an idea, message, brand or product in the most effective way possible. From complex campaign concepts down to simple fact sheets, Nick helps create a wide range of digital and physical visuals for clients. We interviewed the most recent member of the Hirons family to delve deeper into his creative mind and uncover more about his passion for art – at the office and outside of work.

 

How did you become interested in advertising/PR, and how did you break into the industry and land your first job?

I initially graduated from Park Tudor here in Indianapolis. I went on to attend High Point University in North Carolina, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in graphic design and digital communications with a minor in photography. In school, ads were my favorite projects. I love the overarching structure filled with intricacies that branding provides. I also love the emotion an ad can stir within a person. An image, combined with a well-crafted message and intricate thought process, is all you need to make someone grin from ear to ear or cause their stomach to drop. That’s beautiful to me.

I landed my job here at Hirons thanks to someone from RePro Graphix who passed along several names of agencies in the area. I ended up interviewing with Tom and the creative team. Shortly after, I became part of the Hirons family.

 

What are specializations/most important tools of the trade?

Creative is a bridge – and not just between two people. The work you present needs to speak to the client. You have to structure all of the input you receive into a path for the client to follow or a direction for them to go. For them, an adjective becomes something that performs. The client or account manager will use certain terms in an attempt to convey their vision to you. It is important to dissect those words and fully understand what the client is trying to achieve so you can help them reach the goals they have set for the project as well as identify potential flaws and suggest revisions.

 

As a graphic designer, what characteristics do you need to be successful in the advertising industry?

In this industry, it is important to understand that while your art may look good, it may not perform well. Thus, you need to have thick skin in order to handle criticism. The ability to remove yourself from a situation or project and seek out another point of view is crucial, so it is also important to have humility.

 

Do you have any interesting hobbies/second jobs/bits of information that make you pop as an individual?

I collect sneakers – any type of shoe really. Right now, I have around 200 pairs. I’ve been obsessed with them forever. I have notebooks from the third grade that are filled with shoe drawings. Looking back, my obsession with shoes started with a basic understanding of design in terms of form and function. The marriage between the two is the basis of design – something that is both eye-catching and serves a purpose.

 

When and where do you have your best ideas?

Honestly, I have no specific time or place. Sometimes I’m in my car, and an idea hits me out of nowhere. Other times, I’m hunkered down at my desk, and they come to me as expected.

 

What has been the most exciting project/campaign that you’ve worked on at Hirons?

My first pitch was a whirlwind. I had only been with Hirons for a few months, so I was still new to advertising as a whole. Seeing the details and nuances in prepping and pitching and watching it all unfold made me feel like I was watching a choreographed dance by the end. I learned a ton working under Pam and John, and it was amazing to see Tom present. He had everyone on the edge of their seats.

 

Why is effective advertising/PR so important for growth and success of organizations?

I am a firm believer that all problems stem from miscommunication, and I see myself as a translator. In the world of advertising, we have to take the time to study human behavior and learn what works and what does not. We also have the difficult task of capturing a client’s vision and making sure it is well-received by the masses in the most effective way possible. If a problem doing so arises, I keep peeling back layers until I eventually find a communication disconnect.

 

What’s one important tip you would share with anyone looking to go into the agency world?

The “9-to-5” concept does not apply to the agency world. Here, the work gets done when it gets done. It’s a fast-paced environment, and there is no hand-holding.

 

What is the most meaningful part of your job?

Right now, it’s learning. I’m trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible so I can eventually slay this world of creative direction and feel proud of the impact I am making. Luckily, I have great co-workers who have years of experience from which I can learn.

Designing Efficiently

By Chris Costidakis, Associate Art Director

Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesign

From photo editing to typography tools to sound design, the industry-standard Adobe Creative Suite gives creators of all kinds everything they need to create professional work fast – for literally any type of design project.

 

Whether you’re creating a logo, designing social media graphics or putting together a brochure, Adobe has created perfect app solutions with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

 

Before I dive in, here are some vocab words so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

 

Raster ImageRaster images are made of pixels. A pixel is a single point or the smallest single element in a display. If you zoom in on a raster image, you may start to see a lot of little tiny squares.

 

Vector Image – Vector images are mathematical calculations from one point to another that form lines and shapes. If you zoom in on a vector graphic, it will always look the same.

 

So how do you know which app to use? Here is the breakdown:

 

breakdown-update

 

When should I use Photoshop?

Well, it’s in the name … photos! The app was originally designed as a comprehensive solution for creating, editing and retouching any type of raster image.

 

When should I use Illustrator?

Illustrator is used to create vector images. Anything created in Illustrator can be scaled to teeny-tiny favicon thumbnails or ginormous Times Square billboards – all without losing any quality or adding any weird pixelation. A design created in Illustrator will look identical on a business card or a bus wrap.

 

When should I use InDesign?

Adobe developed InDesign for the desktop publishing market, and it’s primarily used to lay out newspapers, magazines, books, posters and fliers. Pretty much anything with large amounts of text should go straight into InDesign.

 

What makes the Adobe Creative Suite superior is that all of these programs work together seamlessly! For instance, if I was designing a pamphlet, I would edit the photos in Photoshop, design the logo and icons in Illustrator, then bring them all in and finish up the text in InDesign! Cool, huh?

 

 

Long Copy in 601 Words (and Numbers)

Let’s keep this short. It’s a blog.

But, there are times when long-form writing is called for. If you are writing to seniors, know that they are readers. And, especially before making a buying decision, they want to know all they can know. Imagine your mom or dad and how they would read a booklet before making a major purchase decision. Research suggests their approach would be very different from your own and even more different from your children.

If you are selling yourself at a job interview and the interview was scheduled for a half hour but lasted an hour, what would you think? Sounds like the interview went well.

Would you stand up after thirty minutes and walk out of the room if you were selling yourself, or any product or service? Of course not.

And you shouldn’t stop writing in direct response advertising. You’re engaged in the conversation and it’s rude and unproductive to terminate your conversation prematurely. There is a reason why direct response television is in a longer format than 15 seconds. And, the same reason applies to print or direct mail if you are seeking to close a sale and get an order.

So how can you write copy that will engage the reader from the first sentence to the last?

Here are the top eight tips for better long-copy writing:

  1. Make it personal, relevant and a reward to read. Your reader will appreciate it.
  2. Tell a story. And, make the story about someone, not just something. People are interesting. It’s called a human interest story for a reason.
  3. Pay close attention to your sentence leads. Try action-verb sentence leads (look at this list for examples). Or use transitional sentence leads such as so, and, or … to pull a reader through your copy. And please never start a sentence with the word “the.” Phil Burton, who is possibly the greatest copywriter of our time, said, “Writers beginning sentences with the word ‘the’ are placing signs at the beginning of their sentence saying, ‘Graveyard ahead’. Weak sentence leads are the death of sentences and the morbidity of unfortunate readers.” No, you will NOT find a “the” lead in this blog. Never.
  4. Make good use of extensive punctuation:
    1. “Quote someone”
    2. If you’re excited show it!
    3. Question marks? Absolutely!
    4. Use a pause – give your readers a moment to catch their own thoughts.
  5. Vary your sentence lengths. Some sentences can be long but they should always be clear. And make some sentences short. It works. It’s conversational. See?
  6. Write to one person. Get close. Whisper, don’t shout.
  7. Edit viciously. Justify every word. Find stronger nouns, more vibrant verbs and eliminate any unnecessary adjective or adverb.
  8. Use lists. Number your list instead of using bullets. Your list has a specific number of things you want your reader to know, in order of importance. Using numbers tells your reader you have 7 things that you want them to know. Bullets kill reader interest.

Let the reader get in the last word. Ask a question. Force them to think.

What would be the impact on your organization if you were able to significantly improve internal and external communication?

Listen to and agree with your customer’s thoughts. Make their next steps clear. Call them to action.

Improving your internal and external communication will make a significant impact.

Learning to Code Just Got Easier

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By Chris Costidakis, Associate Art Director

Wouldn’t it be cool to know how to create your own iPhone game? Apple just made learning how to code so simple and fun, a kid could do it!

At Apple Inc.’s World Wide Developers Conference 2016 (WWDC), app developers from around the world gathered to hear the latest announcements from the tech giant and to learn ways to make their apps better.

This year’s conference was full of new firmware updates for iOS for iPhone, macOS for Mac, watchOS for Apple Watch and tvOS for Apple TV as usual. But there was one announcement that stood out to everyone at the conference.…

Swift Playgrounds™ is an innovative new app for iPad that makes learning to code fun and easy for anyone. Swift Playgrounds brings coding to life with an interactive interface that encourages students and beginners to explore working with Swift™, the easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers to create world-class apps. Swift Playgrounds includes Apple-developed programming lessons, where students write code to guide onscreen characters through an immersive graphical world, solving puzzles and mastering challenges as they learn core coding concepts. The app also features built-in templates to encourage users to express their creativity and create real programs that can be shared with friends using Mail or Messages or even posted to the web.images

“I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It’s an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity.”

In addition to the lessons, Swift Playgrounds comes with a number of built-in templates to help aspiring developers express their creativity. Students and developers can modify and build on this code to make it their own by adding graphics and touch interactions.images (1)

A preview release of Swift Playgrounds is available to Apple Developer Program members, and a beta release will be available to the public in July. The final version of Swift Playgrounds will be available in the App Store for free this fall.

For more information, including videos, images and demos, visit, apple.com/swift/playgrounds.

 

Source

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2016/06/13Swift-Playgrounds-App-Makes-Learning-to-Code-Easy-Fun.html

 

 

A Way with Words

By Madeline Morgan, Senior Editor/Writer

First, a caveat:

I’m a bit of a throwback. I cook dinner just about every night, bought my first smartphone earlier this year and have no clue when women stopped wearing pantyhose.

But as lead editor here at Hirons, I see a lot. And one thing I see is a bright future for good writers.

Granted, I want to see a bright future, not only for me but also for my youngest son, who is majoring in journalism at IU. Nevertheless, I see in him and in several of the young people I work with an appreciation for this very old form of expression —  the drive to find the right word, to say what you mean,  to say it in a way that is not only true but fresh.

It’s a love of language, and it is as much an art form as painting and music. Writers, like other artists, want to explore the unexplored, to show their audiences a new way of looking at the world. And, despite what you may hear, it is not a lost art.

Naysayers point to the dwindling ranks of newspapers and magazines as evidence that writing isn’t prized anymore. And they charge that email and texting are making nouns, verbs and entire sentences obsolete.

Well, businesses, governments and social institutions expect you to use all of those fine words and more when it comes to pleading their cases and telling their stories. They want words that are descriptive, persuasive and riveting. They want punctuation that is correct, unobtrusive and helpful.

So writers: Take heart. If your goal is to work for a newspaper, you might need to be open to other media. But most companies and nonprofits employ writers in communications, marketing and development departments, and ad agencies employ them to fulfill the communications needs of their clients. The subject matter may not be of your choosing, but the process is the same: innovation, clarity and precision in language.

I’ve written all my life, and I believe some of my best stuff – the most fun stuff – has been on subjects not of my choosing – the Baby Boom generation, parade floats, septic systems. But therein lies the challenge: How can I make this interesting to the reader, and to myself? How can I make the words sing?

It never gets old.

Change is the Only Constant

“Change is the only constant.”

You said it, Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus. Especially in this industry. Creative concepts and new business opportunities constantly shift with the wind, but we’d be remiss to assume outer currents of change aren’t reflected within agency shops as well.

A decade or two ago, it would be commonplace for an employee to stay with one company for 10-15 years. Today, the average worker stays 4.4 years. But even that is old news to advertising and PR companies, where 4.4 years at one firm is considered a lifetime by today’s standards. That’s what happens when Millennials flood the job market.

This dictum is reflected in strategic and creative projects as well. A social media campaign takes approximately 90 days to build momentum, typically lasting three months before the message has peaked and the audience needs something new. Is it because constant multitasking has become an audience norm? Or is it just the nature of our work?

The truth is, we live in a world of momentary exposure: 30-second spots, 140 characters. Fireworks alight for a moment in a sky full of stars.

What separates good firms from great firms is the ability to capture that moment, with the talent you have and the client at your door, and make something spectacular.

We cannot lament lost ventures and missed opportunities or hang our heads when change inevitably comes to collect. What we can do is take the passive concept and make it active. Seize the moment. Pursue the fleeting idea. Realize that change creates opportunity and challenges monotony.

Embracing change, ironically, supplies a consistent long-term strategy to keep an agency afloat.

Change is the only constant?

For a great firm, change is the only necessity.