Thursday, February 21, 2013

How do you put your tray down at the end of the day?

Recently I read the following post on a friend’s Facebook page and was reminded of it at 3 AM this morning when my mind was racing from one work or life-related topic to another.

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ..."How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

In today’s world, we don’t only carry one glass. Sometimes it feels like there is a tray of 100 different glasses we are lifting carefully as we step over the loads of laundry and scattered kid and canine toys. There are different sized glasses, some holding more water than others. Hopefully, none of the glasses is too full so that it throws the entire tray off balance and everything comes crashing to the ground.

So, this post is a call-out to all of you. What are your tricks for making sure you place that tray in a safe spot at the end of your day, tucked away out of your mind, hopefully some of the water having evaporated leaving it lighter when you pick it up along with the Legos the next morning?


Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of
ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What the heck is a JPEG and do I even need one?

So you have designed your logo or other elements of your look and feel or had someone design them for you. As we discussed in our recent blog The Many New Faces of Your Logo, logos or similar graphic elements should first be designed in vector format so they will be fully scalable up or down and will meet any of your future design sizes and needs without compromising the quality of the graphic. But there are so many other things to consider. For example, you can’t use an .eps or .ai vector graphic on a website or on your blog. So what the heck is a .gif and a .jpg? And, when should you just use a Word doc with your graphics or photos inserted in them (hint: NEVER!)?

As graphic designers we’ve seen it all. We often receive logo files or ads to place in conference program books, on websites, in collateral and the like, and we receive everything you can imagine. We’ve seen teeny, tiny low resolution photos, small ads that are actually small graphics with a lot of white space around them in an 8 ½” x 11” file, and yes, even graphics placed in Word documents. It’s important that businesses understand the importance of your graphics and what formats you will need in order to assure your brand is always best representing you. If you use a graphic designer, be sure they know your needs and goals so they provide you with all the files you need up front.

Following are some graphic dos and don’ts as well as some different graphic and photo formats, each with a small explanation of what they are and when they might be needed.

Graphic Do’s
  • Do know the basic graphics formats you will need
  • Do get your files from your graphic designer (they are YOUR graphics!)
  • Do hire a graphic designer if you don’t have the talent in house to look your best – it will cost you less in the long run!
  • Do use high resolution photos and vector graphics for your printed materials

Graphic Don’ts
  • Don’t design your look and feel, logos, ads, or other collateral in Word or some other non-graphic program
  • Don’t stretch photos, resize them
  • Don’t use photos or other graphics off the web for your printed materials
  • Don’t ever take a low resolution graphic, turn it into an .eps and think it will be high resolution

Basic Graphic Formats for Small Businesses

AI - Adobe Illustrator's metafile format. This is the native Illustrator file type and is a vector format. You can create .eps files from an .ai file.

EPS - Encapsulated Postscript files can be created using Adobe Illustrator plus a host of other software programs. If the original file is a vector file, your .eps will be vector as well. This is a common graphic file type and you should have a vector version of your logo (in multiple colors!) as an .eps so it can be sized up or down to meet any need.

GIF - Graphics Interchange Format  is a very efficient and still quite popular picture format. GIF animations are a popular form of Web multimedia, because they're small and display in most current browsers without needing a special plug-in or taking up many computer resources. GIF’s only have 256 colors, or 256 shades of grey. This is a format you may want to use for online graphics, but not for your print materials.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), commonly called JPEG and with the filename extension .jpg, can be an efficient image type. Your digital camera may save files as JPEGs. JPEGs can be optimized and some of their data discarded so they can be useful for web-based applications. JPEGs can also support CMYK (four color separation) so they can be used in printed materials as long as the resolution is high and the compression is low.

PNG - The Portable Network Graphics format, pronounced "ping". We like .png files for use on the web because they can have a transparent background and still have a high resolution at a low file size.

PSD - Adobe Photoshop's native format, which stores all of its layers, selections, and miscellaneous other image data. This is a source file similar to AI.

TIF - TIFF stands for Tag Image File Format. TIFF is a very popular professional graphics format used for printing because it allows for CMYK separation with out compression.

There are many, many other graphic file formats, but these are just some of the basics that may be helpful as you run your business and work to put your best brand forward every day. Do you have all the graphic files you need?
Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.