Saturday, January 30, 2010

How Designers Can Help Haiti

If you have any heartfelt concerns about the survivors in Haiti and want to help, please read this article on the AIGA website
I'd like to add 2 other organizations that I've made larger donations to CARE and OXFAM.
To donate $10 to CARE, text CARE to 25383
To donate $10 to OXFAM, text OXFAM to 25383
Another way I thought of helping is to donate a little time to designing the print materials for these organizations events and to help spread their message. Whether you have some time from your busy job and want to do a little social outreach or you just don't want to sit around doing nothing when you don't have a job, this is a great way of helping those in immediate need. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Local Printers and How to Work with One

Here is a list of a few quality local commercial printers that I have worked with who do great printing:
Poster Printers in Brooklyn, NY - speak to Elliot and tell him Clovia sent you
     Elliot's email:  718-451-1790    brochures, menus, posters, signage
Printing Factory, sister company in Brooklyn; marketing materials
Southbridge Press in Manhattan - speak to Mitch and tell him Clovia sent you
     Mitch's Email:   212-233-4047
     brochures, menus, marketing materials, stationery and invitations
and my favorite one in South Florida who gives the lowest prices:
K2 Graphics - speak to Dave or Bob and tell them Clovia sent you
    Dave's Email:  800-480-8650

There are many others in Manhattan, but who are more expensive and only do upscale printing such as:
Museum Press - speak to Yan and tell her Clovia sent you
    Yan's Email:   212-933-4007

Tips on how to work with one: Contact the reps above and ask for a quote and tell them that you are a designer so that you can get the broker break. You should know about your job in advance. Include all specs such as client/company name, type of project, size W x L, 4/4 or 4/1 or 4/0 (colors), folding - include folded dimensions, bleed, weight and type of paper (i.e. 100# gloss coated text), and delivery zip code for a shipping estimate. Also include if the client needs mailing services or lists (which K2 provides). Then ask for printed samples so that you can show your client the quality and paper material that he/she can expect.
When you receive the quote, that should be the broker break price that you can add your markup to charge your client. Just don't let the client know your markup. Communication with the printer is confidential apart from the client's knowledge. I have both asked my clients to pay the printer separately and also have paid printing costs upfront myself, which I get reimbursed for.

Enjoy getting your artwork in print!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Search Engine Marketing

Here are some ways of effective search engine marketing with a brief look at social media— 

1) Most important in your marketing: Be FOCUSED! Get to know your customers. Know who you are reaching out to and what they are searching for. Place those keywords in your website, metatags and in the content of your message.

Google Ad Words: Can be very effective for a business to "stand out" in a Google search. Although you may not need to advertise yourself as an Artist, setting up and managing a client's Google Ad campaigns are a way of making an income. Microsoft Ads can also be used. Use Clean Links! Place direct page (subdirectory page) in the link with blue type (see example below) in the exact words that someone would use to find you or your product. The homepage is reserved for green type link. Google wants to know that you are directing the audience to an actual service or product you sell, so clean links are important. In brand messaging, use variable or AB testing of different words in ad messages to attract the most customers. Make the campaigns focused. Market one at a time. Track the campaign and see the one with the most responses and clicks will be the most successful for your business. You will be bidding on specific keywords for your ad. The more popular words are more expensive. Pay per click charged monthly to your credit card. You need to watch your budget spending tho, as these ads can get costly, especially for a small business. Actual Ad Example (links removed):
Buy Art Here
Art Prints & Posters for Sale
Custom Frame your Art Online!
Facebook Ads: These work for most internal events or specific issues related to a Facebook Fan page - not so much for ads with links to outside sources. As a working Artist, you could have a Business Facebook page where visitors become your Fans. Check out a successful painter like James Jean on FB. He's got over 16,300 fans! His artwork is awesome, by the way. A Facebook Ad can help to promote your art event that you create in FB. Then place the event on your own website, connect with Twitter, deLicious, etc. Try as many of the social media accounts as possible. The exposure will be good for your event and also increase the SEO traffic for your own website when you include links to the social media out there.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): is more effective with keywords on your website and also in its metatags (html). You will reach higher placement in front of others with the best keywords in a search engine like Google or Yahoo.

Google Analytics: Can be used for stats on your website. In a more relaxed form, I also use WebStats or RiteCounter

Blogs: It's content can be used to promote your PR. Fill a page with information and photos of your business. Send an email with the weblink to the blog page(s) to prospective clients in your mailing list for media exposure. This electronic "press kit" is a good alternative to the printed version or send both when you are trying to get a write-up in a magazine or newspaper. It is better than sending an attached PDF or s slideshow that editors may not be able to open. Try using Constant Contact or Vertical Response to send out and track mailing list database. Link yourself to other blogs and add a link to your own website.  The SEO traffic will increase for your own website when you include the links. To search for any blog, go to

For Public Relations:  You can use the services of or  These are services which need to be paid. They will blast your media release to thousands of clients with the correct tags.

Social Media: Such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube and Blogs are online venues that can help to spread your message and your brand. Yes, even as an artists, you should get used to the idea of branding yourself. What is it about you that makes you stand out amongst the others? What do you specialize in? Put these together together in your business image or logo and marketing materials and brand yourself. Social media is used for conversation, awareness, research and acquisition. You will need to manage your time, content, resources. They measure sales, recommendations, awareness and engagement. Although these types of social media named above offer free accounts, you will need to invest all these things, especially your time into them and in the end, they do 'cost' you.

Most of the information above was learnt from attending a Branding Seminar hosted by Justin Boone of  Thank you, Justin!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

How to Prepare an Online Portfolio

Are you confused about what to put on an online portfolio or don't know how to prepare for one? I will try to answer some of your questions here:
Why have an online portfolio? Ok, so you've been securely working in your corporate environment as a graphic designer. But for some reason, maybe it's the hard hit economy, maybe you're getting bored, problems with coworkers or on the job and you feel it is time to move on. At some point, hopefully before you take action to leave the job, you should put your artwork on a website. The same goes for students who are recently graduating. The world has become very visual and wants to see your work. With a website, you can show them, anyone who you direct your site to and who come across it in a search. Perhaps you're an illustrator and your client is in another state or country, you will need a way to show him/her your portfolio that is fast and easy for them in order to get that new job.

Select your best and most favorite works and organize them in a presentable manner and order. The viewer should get a sense of flow when looking at your online book. It would be best to categorize the selections. Here are some technical tips:

To do so, you should be collecting tearsheets or printed samples as soon as they are published. This is an ongoing practice that you should get used to doing. I like to collect 3 clean complete copies or tearsheets. Scan your work at 300 dpi (in case you decide to print them for your promotionals) then reduce the image to 150 dpi when you Save As under the File menu using Adobe Photoshop. I know the web displays at 72 dpi, but I've uploaded some works at this higher resolution and it actually looks better. Working in 72 dpi does not render results as good, when uploading, the web will automatically adjust.  If needed go back and sharpen using the Unsharp Mask filter. Adjust accordingly to what looks close to the printed piece or the original art. You can also lighten the image under the IMAGE menu, go to Adjustments, check the Levels manually first, then use Curves to lighten/darken overall image by pulling the curve back and forth. You can also adjust by color by using any of those controls under Adjustments. Then save again when it looks right. You should save the file in RGB (color mode) as a JPEG at High or Maximum. I like 9 or 10. Title it in a way where you can remember what it is in an abbreviated format but begin with your intials. It should look like yourinitials.title.jpg
Now, if you have the final digital file at hand such as a pdf, jpg or tiff, then that saves you all the trouble to scan it. To create pdfs, you can use Adobe Acrobat, InDesign or Photoshop. I think Illustrator does it also. The final digital file is ready to be uploaded. All this goes the same for illustrators, except when scanning original art, you may want to do it at 600 dpi for print reproduction then save down in another file. When making giclees yourself or selling to a licensee, you will want to scan at this hi-res.

Websites (free) that you may want to subscribe to (You DO NOT need to know html coding for these): For designers try: and Both of these are easy to upload, just follow directions on the site. NOTE: Most portfolio sites do ask for a thumbnail of the design. Preferably, you want to zoom in on a 80px x 80px section of that work. The site will give you their own specs. This is the highlighted area that viewers will see first. Illustrators can also use Another good site is that offers 5 free images or up to 20 images in a PAID portfolio. See an example at my design site in my first Website Portfolio posting. Creativeshake can be used by illustrators and fine artists as well. You can upload jpgs, gifs and even Flash files to show every page in printed pieces like in a booklet - in slideshow format.

Websites (paid): There are many of these. To name a few for designers and illustrators alike: Serbin Communications offers website templates that you can use without too much difficulty or build a custom site from it.  You will need to sign a contract with Serbin and build it on  They also offer design services for any custom requests.

For illustrators: there is also The Directory of Illustration website which is included in your PAID advertisement in the book they put out. American Illustration does one also. I've used both these books when looking for an illustrator when I worked as an Art Director. Easy upload where no html coding is needed. However, they are the most costly way to advertise and have online presence. Ads and a website can run you about $2,000 per page. Other sites exist for specifically contemporary illustration - all which you can find in a Google search. You can find almost anything these days in a Google search.

Custom Site: Then of course, you can build your own using Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop and even Flash for displaying slideshows or for animations. I can offer tips on preparing your PSD files in layers, however beyond creating the graphics for a website, I cannot post information on using DW or FL, as I am not trained to be a web developer. Maybe someone else would like to post information from all their years of education and experience? Your contributions to this blog as greatly appreciated. You can post through comments.

If you can't develop your own site, then try building one with templates on for free. Hosting through wix may also be available for free. Or you can pay to register a domain and host through

However, anyone wanting to post a weblink or images on this blog, please email me all your info offline to

So, what's your hesitation on putting up a website, now? It is really a necessity these days when on a job hunt as most employers want the fastest and easiest way to look at your artwork. Alot of art directors and studio managers do not call you in for a portfolio interview before looking at something first anymore. It's also very effective for getting work from new potential clients. Continue to send out postcard promos and be prepared to understand when an art director has no time for an interview, especially if he or she is across the country or in another town - that goes for freelancers.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting Involved :Participating and Interacting

Many students wonder where their career is going to take them and what is going on. As a student we learn what graphic art is supposed to provide and what we need to do to provide it. But we never know the details. What happens when we do "graphic art" practically and not in class? For one thing it involves understanding that design in a large field/ industry and being able to produce not only what you want to but what is needed helps to keep things going along. Here is a really good Article defining graphic art. This article gives a little insight into some of the things that a graphic artist will have to know. Wondering what is going on and what you should do even thought you know you can draw?

Take a look...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Graphic Artists of Westchester and NYC Meetup

This Blog began January 2010 with members from the Graphic Artists of Westchester and NYC group found on Visit The Meetup is based in White Plains and serves the Greater NY area. I organize art related events and hold discussions on the pressing issues and concerns in today's design and illustration industry with my Assistant Stephen Richards. I also hold sketch sessions outdoors and inside in the summer months. Please visit at the weblink above and join our group if you feel it will benefit you. It caters to all working artists and art students who shape today's art world and the future.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Portfolio Websites of Clovia M. Ng

Hello Stephen and I are the administrators of this new Art Blog. We'll start off displaying links to my online portfolios. As subscribers, you can follow and post your own in this Portfolio section. Add images if you like. NOTE: Anyone wanting to post a weblink or images, please email me all your info offline to and I will upload.

Clovia M. Ng - owner CNGraphics Art & Design
View restaurant graphics at
Purchase giclees and greeting cards at
A new custom designed site will be at
See my new business logo and more at the CNGraphics Art & Design  Facebook fan page.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Help with Marketing and Finding Jobs

In these tough economic times, those freelancing or who recently lost their full time jobs may have a difficult time finding new jobs. This section will help to provide information on jobs and also give tips on marketing, mailing lists, enewsletters, postcards and other printed promo materials. I encourage all hard core graphic artists who really want to find work to market themselves in any of the following ways versus bidding on small meaningless jobs on the internet on sites like I was taught that pounding the pavement is the best way to go - you get the best results for high-valued and high-paying jobs.

Although the jobs are becoming more demanding with the need to know how to handle html, Flash, write javascript amongst being an expert in the entire Adobe CS3 or 4 design programs, there are believe it or not still an abundance of jobs available- especially for graphic designers. I see about a dozen of them weekly on sites like: and
Indeed is the motherload of all full-time to part-time job search sites including entries from Monster, Hotjobs, NY Jobs, Talent Zoo, etc. etc.
Just plug in the discipline you want in the area your looking for. Have send you a daily or weekly list of jobs that interest you to your email inbox. Reply to them and you are on your way to landing that new job.
Craiglist offers some legit jobs but watch out for the shady ones. Illustrators can sometimes find good gigs there.

Register with agencies such as and
When I had an agent with CGR7 a couple years ago, he gave me several leads in editorial design every week. I never went on any interviews because at the same time, I was getting very busy working in restaurant graphics for over 15 places. I created my own niche, which supplied me with constant work for the past 3 years. There has hardly been more than a couple of weeks when I didn't have work freelancing. Niche marketing can be very profitable and to your advantage. I'll talk more about this later. Also search on

Then of course, go back to your alma mater and search through the career office. You never know what jobs you can find. I recommend this more for those who've just graduated, however, there can also be jobs on occasion for professionals at any level.

Then there are mailing lists which you can use to target your marketing with either printed promotionals or e-postcard or e-newsletter. Some places online where you can buy lists are at and
The lists consists of thousands of names and contact information including websites, addresses (mailing and email) and telephone numbers from the head in charge to all the assistants and lower level managers. Companies are drawn from ad agencies, magazines, book publishers, design studios, TV and movie industry, and on and on. You can find other mailing lists from many other online sources for any industry. Pick one or two and learn to specialize in that field.  These lists can be costly. They start at about $300 for one-time usage of a limited amount of contacts or over $1,000 for an unlimited annual usage- probably the best deal. Considering that you can earn tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars using these lists, they really would be worth it. Both Adbase and Agency Access offer the lists as labels and the ability to send out email promos. And they use a wonderful database set-up to manage everything you do with stats on all responses.

For more marketing tips, contact Ilise Benun at

Hope this helps. Would love to hear about the successes of your job search.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Basic Copyright Info

For all artists in the commercial and fine arts, get used to copyrighting all your artwork as soon as it is created. For published work, do it even before it gets published so that you can group it with others that are unpublished and get a copyright for one fee or less money than if done individually after the work has been published. Published work means any public distribution of the work in print form or sold on the web. The advantage to early registration of copyright is that if you should ever have a work infringed upon - where your rights were violated - you will be able to sue for statutory and punitive damages as well - that means your lawyer's fees will be covered. Warning: the longer you wait, the less $$$ you can probably recover should there be an infringement. It just gets more difficult and there becomes a grey area where you may not even be able to get any money from the case or there will be no case. An author has up to 90 days to register a work for full coverage. For example, art lawyers have noted cases where $150,000 was recovered. This is money that you get from certain infringements and you are no longer do any extra work on the art! In cases where punitive damages cannot be sought, i.e. a late copyright registration, lawyer's fees can go up to $50,000, so watch out! Copyright right away or risk losing your rights. Register online using eco or download paper forms at

Yes it is true that as soon as you create a work of art, you are the copyright owner, however without a registration, none of that stands in court and major companies can take your art and do as they wish. Most published works are those that are printed in magazines, books, marketing materials, websites, those used in licensing (a licensee will not print work that is not copyrighted), etc. Single fee for each work or collection. Any other work unpublished like personal work that you think you may put in public domain someday should also be copyrighted in a group registration. One fee for the group - it doesn't matter when they were created as long as they have some relation to each other. When titling works, it may be helpful to use quotes in a title. That will allow you to change the name of the
work(s) without registering a change of title form and paying more in the future should you decide to change it!

To file a basic claim, the easiest and fastest way is to do so online and submit digital images at the website noted with this post. It costs $35 versus the $50 if you do it by paper and snail mail with form CO and a barcode. The old way used to use form VA, that is no longer the norm. It costs more for form VA anyway if you do use it now.

Always managing to keep the original copyright and by selling limited rights in a contractual agreement to your work for publication is the bread and butter of an artist's livelihood. A single work of art can generate a million dollars or more from repeated usage, so don't you think a mere $35 investment would be worth it?