Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Promotion Redefined!

Because of the technological advances of the last decade, an overabundance of communications in print, broadcast, and electronic media is being disseminated, and most of it is going by the wayside. Because the effectiveness of the familiar sources of promotion has diminished, creatives are beginning to explore new vehicles and initiatives. They are creating alternative ways for their work to enter and remain viable in the marketplace.

Check out an excerpt from my book The Art of Promotion called Promotion Redefined, which has been reused in The Little Book of Big Promotions (Rockport Publishers). 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Promotional Strategies: Summer Session

Promotional Strategies

Hartford Art School

MFA Program: Summer Session

In today's volatile marketplace, creatives face many challenges. To survive and call attention to their brand, they need to produce memorable promotions that are not only keenly strategic but also highly innovative from a production standpoint, spanning print, broadcast and new media. This insightful week-long course by author and artist Lisa L. Cyr will assist illustrators in breaking through the competitive landscape with engaging and thought-provoking promotional initiatives that will inspire, motivate and most importantly, get response. 

Branding, new business development, target marketing, integrated cross-media strategies, public relations, collaborative endeavors, social media and viral initiatives and entrepreneurial approaches are some of the topics covered. The role of the  illustrator is evolving and this  summer workshop will inspire all to think outside the box when it comes to marketing and promotion.

I will be working with you to develop promotional materials for your creative business. My goal is to not only assist you in elevating your brand but also guide you in properly positioning yourself in the creative marketplace. If you are working on an entirely new body of work with very little existing promotional collateral, don't worry. I am here to help you. This is your opportunity to make your mark. Take the opportunity to do something really extraordinary, making an impact on your career for years to come!

I have set-up this resource blog to serve as your interactive syllabus for the class. I would like you to review the suggested projects list. You can also do something outside the list.

The final project that you choose to work on is up to you. I highly recommend that you focus your efforts on a promotional endeavor that you can immediately utilize in your marketing mix.

In additiongather up what you have in place to date for marketing and promotion, making notes of your ideas and thoughts for a project that will move you forward in your creative endeavors. Make sure to bring digital files of your art work to utilize in your promotional materials.

Lastly, make sure to watch the video above on "Make Good Art" by Neil Gaiman. It is very inspiring, as he simplifies everything into three simple words! 

You must have your final project submitted on the last day of class. You will present your work to the class using the digital projector.

I am very excited to be working with you and look forward to a highly productive and creative week!

Navigating the Labyrinth
Building Fantastical Worlds
Interactive Storytelling


Personal Identity System (business card, letterhead, #10 envelope, catalog envelope label and note card). Send on actual stationery paper so I can see the color, finish, weight, etc.)  

Identity System Essentials

Business Card: 3 1/2" x 2", 2" x 3 1/2" or Custom
Letterhead: 8 1/2" x 11"
Envelope (#10): 9 1/2" x 4 1/8"
Note Card(s): Make sure to fit inside a commercially available envelope (custom envelopes are costly)

Color Inspirations:
Adobe Color Wheel

Paper Suppliers: 
Neenah Paper 
Jam Paper

Branding & Target Marketing
Brand Worksheet
Branded Head Shot Examples

Mind Mapping
Here are the latest in color trends for Spring 2016

Visual Documentary or Video Presentation using Imovie or Windows Movie Maker (music should be royalty free or self-generated). 

Instructions for Imovie and Movie Maker are included here. A high definition version can be posted on YouTube

See VIDEOS by former MFA students

Social Media presence on the web that is specific to your business WordPress or BloggerFacebookYouTubeTwitterLinked-in. To start building the profile, include at least one to two entries in each that incorporates a pic/link.

To make sure you are using correct grammar on the web, check out

Electronic Portfolio to be presented as a website, including at least 20 pieces, your bio with headshot, press, client list, exhibitions and links to your social media sites and blog, etc. Also include a contact page without an info request prompt. Make sure the site is brand-aware and is cohesive with other promotional material.   

Use cross platform website testing to analyze your site on different platforms.

Portfolio Sites:


Mail-away Portfolio that is a custom, brand-aware and easily updatable physical presentation of work that and can be produced in multiples to send out to prospects with leave-behind samples and a comment card. Packaging of the mail-away (box, wrap, label, etc must also be included).
Phd Bookbinding  Ka-blam
TPI Solutions Ink

ISSUU (online catalog)

Drop-off Portfolio:

a collection of work that can be easily updated, including a digital presentation. 

Promotional Initiative: create a targeted promotional campaign

Mail Chimp

Constant Contact

Event Marketing
Facebook Live Event


Merchandising: create a line of products using your work. Books, paper products and stationery, gift products, collectibles, prints, etc.

Teaching Package: updated, targeted to each application and professionally designed on your letterhead in a electronic PDF format.  For vitae include your education, work experience, teaching & speaking experience, relevant books and articles written, exhibitions, awards, press coverage etc.  Also have a cover letter, 15-20 samples of your work and the same of your student work and a teaching statement. Bio and client list can also be included.
For Art Teaching Jobs, go to College Art Association here.

Press Kit: create a media kit to send out in print or as an interactive PDF.  

Instructor: Lisa L. Cyr

I will be working with you to create some amazing promotional work for your unique brand! I love teaching and working with other artists that are as passionate about the creative process as I am. You can check out an
 interview from The Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market  on me that does a good job on explaining my philosophies on art, creativity and the importance of creative collaboration. To know a little about my background and interests there is another interview from CreateMixedMedia.  

I have authored seven books as well as a hundreds of articles for many of the industry's leading art publications. In addition, I teach in several of the top MFA (Master of Fine Art) programs in the United States, assisting talented artists in elevating their brand and promoting their work. I have lectured and taught workshops at the following institutions:

American Institute of Graphic Arts
The Society of Illustrators, NYC
The Art Students League of NY
The National Illustration Conference
The Norman Rockwell Museum
Columbus Society of Communicating Arts
The Hartford Art School
University of the Arts
The Artist Network University
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online
NH Creative Club
Pratt Institute
Parsons School of Design
Savannah College of Art & Design
Kendall College of Art & Design
Southern Utah University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Syracuse University
Sage College of Albany
Marywood University
Kutztown University
New Jersey City University
The University of New Hampshire
The University of Kansas
Keene State College
Notre Dame College
NH Institute of Art
Rochester Institute of Technology
Delgado Community College
Sharon Arts Center
Northampton Community College
NYC Final Cut Pro
Rivier College
Notre Dame College
Hesser College

East Stroudsburg University 
Ohio Tourism Bureau 
Mohawk Valley Community College 
Shanghai Normal School Cultural Exchange

For the Lectures: (If you are interested in the images/content used in the lectures for your teaching/school, I utilize the following books that I have authored:)

Innovative Promotions That Work

To make their audience stop, look, and listen, creatives need to produce memorable promotions that speak to a prospective client’s needs in unique and innovative ways. Rather than relying on any one venue, firms should penetrate their target market on many fronts. Image and brand-building initiatives, campaign endeavors, keepsake promotions, publication and newsletter promotions, event invitations, announcements and greeting cards can all be employed as ways to build brand recognition and make a long lasting impact with key clients. Whether a creative company is new and embarking on a launch or a seasoned firm looking to maintain or expand their market share, a distinctive promotion can prove to be very effective in calling attention to what a business has to uniquely offer. For creative professionals, both seasoned and newcomers, Innovative Promotions That Work shows how to create distinction through promotional initiatives that speak to the marketplace in ways that inspire, motivate and get response.

The Art of Promotion

With the overall decline in the global economy, many creatives find themselves at a crossroad. Work is no longer abundant and budgets have decreased significantly from years past. In today’s volatile marketplace, survival is dependent upon the ability to make an impact with key clients. The Art of Promotion offers innovative ways to create distinction. The author, Lisa L. Cyr, deconstructs a global array of exciting promotions to enable anyone to choose the right option for their budget, ability and market. The addition of insightful technical tips takes the fear out of venturing outside the norm. In addition, many pieces include cost-effective alternatives to achieving high-end effects. The book will enable both seasoned and newcomers to confidently employ alternative approaches and techniques. As creatives push the envelope and try new things, the industry evolves and grows as a result.

· Explores innovative production techniques to give any project the edge it needs to standout in the marketplace

· Features the use of unconventional surfaces and printing techniques; unique constructions, folds and die-cuts; interesting bindings, fasteners and wraps; and alternative uses and add-ons

· Provides valuable insight into the process behind a multitude of unconventional techniques

· Technical tips take the risk out of exploring outside the norm while “Do It for Less” sections provide cost-effective alternatives to high-end effects

· Special sidebars offer the latest in strategic approaches and marketing venues that will prove lucrative in the future

Experimental Painting
Experimental Painting investigates exploratory methodologies, techniques and approaches in mixed-media art. Throughout the highly visual book, many exciting in-depth demonstrations are featured, documenting cutting-edge mixed -media painting processes from concept to final execution. To offer an extensive array of visually-stimulating possibilities for artists to explore, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional techniques are covered in a range of subject matter. Conceptual and thematic approaches include using symbolism, metaphor and allegory, incorporating pluralism and non-linear storytelling, utilizing automatism and freeform painting and employing costuming, props and theatrical settings. Developing works both in multiples and in a series is also included. In addition, special sections on creative exploration detail the playful act of experimentation, utilizing alternative tools, materials and techniques. By delving into the myriad applications of mixed-media painting, the creative process is reignited, opening up a gateway for artistic works to grow and flourish.

To assist artists in venturing out on their own creative path with a unique voice and vision, topics on nurturing the creative spirit within, developing personal content through journalism, embracing a multidisciplinary mindset and creating message-driven art provide insight into the development of an artistic personality. The book closes with a chapter on creative self-promotion, revealing the latest marketing and presentation strategies for the working artist. There is an ever-expanding interest in exploring unconventional processes and approaches to establish aesthetic distinction in the marketplace. For artists that are looking to push their work to a new level, this book will be a valuable resource and an ongoing source for creative inspiration.

Art Revolution
We are currently in the midst of an artistic revolution. No other time has seen such innovation in the way art can be intellectualized, produced and presented into the culture. Artists are breaking from conventional approaches, reexamining the fundamental methodology in which they work. They are becoming much more forward-thinking, almost entrepreneurial, venturing out with a content-driven approach to discover new pathways for their work to flourish and prosper. The traditionally accepted roles of art and the artist are being reinterpreted, reinvented and redefined to embrace a new paradigm, opening the door to a more progressive social consciousness.

Art Revolution is at the forefront in exploring alternative, innovative ways of conceptualizing and creating art that is on the cutting-edge. Throughout the highly visual book, insightful and thought-provoking profiles of leading artists and illustrators accompany stellar, multi-media work. The book also provides insight into the historical influences behind contemporary thinking and approaches, investigating the origins of alternative, unconventional picture making throughout the decades. In addition, exciting splash spreads featuring demonstrations and behind-the-scene looks at groundbreaking artists at work help shed light on signature processes and techniques. There is a rich amalgam of media available to creatives today, offering a wide range of possibilities for exploration and experimentation. Art Revolution reveals how alternative, mixed media aesthetics is uniting the disciplines of two-dimensional, three-dimensional, digital and new media art in inventive combinations. For those wanting to venture outside the norm, the book includes a directory of the manufacturers and suppliers used by the featured artists so that sources for materials, access to health and safety procedures and additional information on unconventional techniques and approaches are easily accessible. For artists that are looking for an edge, wanting to push their work further, this book is a valuable asset and ongoing source for inspiration.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Building Communities through Content

Today, there so are many avenues to promote your work online to a diverse, international audience. There are pros and cons to this abundance of media. I have found that there are only a small handful of creatives that utilize what is out there effectively. The majority of artists either get consumed by it or ban themselves from utilizing it at all. 

If you have lots of extra time on our hands and want to play with social media for fun, that's fine. But, for most professional artists who are running a business, time is a very valuable resource. So, it is important to know how to utilize the media in the most effective way.

Your goal, first and foremost, is the create GREAT CONTENT. You can do all kinds of things to get people to your site. If you don't retain those prospects, you have gained nothing and have lost a lot of time and effort. You need to change your focus. Use the media to promote a project that has a way to either make a sale, retain a prospect for future sales or both. Ultimately You are BUILDING  COMMUNITY.  This community building ideology is also important/valuable when pitching projects to publishers, film, merchanding etc.  If you establish a strong community/fan base, you have something marketers want to be a part of.

Website: Determine what your site will provide for prospective markets and communities.

Create the site to be engaging enough to sustain an ongoing interest from your target audience.

Design the interactivity to be easy to access from a multitude of devices.

Think ahead and allow the design to be flexible for adding, updating and changing as time goes on.

Use a Statcounter or Google Analytics to track pages and visitors. Use Google Alerts to track content mentions on other sites.

E-commerce aspects for direct purchases can use Paypal or credit cards using secure access like Verisign.

Affliate programs are also a way to make money through your site. 

Dick Blick Affliate
CJ Affliate 
Link Connector

Partnering with Etsy, Fine Art America, Zazzle, Cafe Press and other such vendors can make purchasing and even order fulfillment easier.

Blog: Set-up and monetize a blog through Blogger or Wordpress. Your blog can be linked to your social media so that each time your blog is updated, it is shared through your various sites. Be a contributor to large community sites with a targeted audience in your market. 

If you are a published artist/author, you can set-up an Amazon Author Page. Blog links, embedded video and other content can be displayed on this page. You can also set-up an Amazon Bookstore directly on your site.

YouTube: Develop your own channel and monetize your videos. Promote your products and other content using video that can be easily created using imovie or moviemaker.

Periscope Live videos to an audience. 

Facebook Livestream

Videos are great promotional initiatives to place on all your social media! 

Use social media to distribute your promotional initiative. Facebook can show links with icons and direct video access.  Join all the appropriate groups and post your links, video, etc. to these groups. This will distribute your news out to the masses.

Twitter can be linked to Facebook, so that each time you post to FB you are tweeting. Adding appropriate #s to you FB posts will further distribute your message.

Linked-in also has groups to join where you can post promotional content to. 

Behance and Instagram are also great ways to share content.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Branding & Target Marketing

Before you can begin to put together a portfolio of work, you need to fully identify the unique voice and vision that you bring to the world, articulating what makes you different from the competition. A brand and market analysis is integral to establishing a clear picture of your work and determining its positioning in the marketplace. It will also guide me in assisting you in putting together the appropriate presentation and target market for your work.
If you have not yet established or identified an existing brand, it is best to start the process. Begin by taking an honest look at not only your working process and approach, experience, capabilities, client relations and market preferences but also your core beliefs and values, creative interests and aspirations. They are what collectively make your offerings unique. By defining your brand from the inside out, you are setting a foundation from which to strategically position yourself in the marketplace. You are also placing in the buyer’s mind a certain profile of what you have to uniquely offer. If you offer nothing unique, then you leave open the opportunity for buyers to seek alternatives. The profile that you create in this assignment is very important in that it will aid in not only your strategic positioning but also your overall presentation and promotional messaging.
Being selective in your approach to new business is essential to building your market value for the long term. By developing relationships with clientele that share your vision, you begin to build industry recognition and leverage to do like projects. Actively pursuing work under a synergistic approach is the best way to capitalize on what you do best. I will need you to define your target market(s). Since it is important to channel your time and money resources wisely, I want to focus on one particular target market at a time. If we create an initiative that is too generalized, you will lose impact with any one market. For the purpose of the course, we will focus our efforts on one key market.

You want to establish a clear picture of your target market in order to create something that will be appealing enough to motivate them to give you work! Please be very detailed in your evaluation. I will be reviewing your assignment and working with each of you to help you meet your goals. Some of you may need to improve on what you have provided. 
The Branding and Target Market Worksheet PDF will help you identify your unique position in the marketplace. It will also establish a target market for which a  strategy can be developed.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Navigating the Labyrinth

For illustrators, the road ahead presents many challenges. A persistently uncertain economic climate has changed the playing field, forever altering the competitive landscape and significantly diminishing the traditional role of the freelance illustrator. To penetrate the instability in the marketplace and remain viable for the long term, illustrators must take a more active, forward-thinking, leadership role. They need to become more entrepreneurial, looking outside traditional venues to discover alternative markets for their work to move, grow and flourish.

Read more here from my Communication Arts Illustration Annual article Navigating the Labyrinth.

Visual Documentary/Video Presentation

Using Imovie , Windows Movie Maker or other video software, you can create a documentary style clip, video portfolio, a step-by-step demonstartion of your work and a combination there of.  Adding music, which should be royalty free or self-generated, along with animated graphics will enhance the viewing experience. 

There are a few things that you should consider when developing your video:

1. INTENT: What do you intend your video to do for you? 
Will you be promoting a particular project or body of work, selling prints or other merchandise, introducing a new book project, promoting an upcoming lecture or workshop, etc? Have a focus for the video along with a landing page link for the audience to follow through with. 

2. DESIGN: Design your video to specifically address your intention and target a particular audience.
Don't make your video an all encompassing catch-all for everything and everyone. Be specific and and your returns on your investment will be greater. 

3. SEQUENCE: Structure your video in a way that tells your story.
Utilize story boarding techniques to create impact. Start by doing quick sketches and notations on potential directions in which to take your video. Put all of your imagery and video clips in a folder in the appropriate order to assist in importing them into iMovie.

4. SOUND: Select the soundtrack that will enhance BUT not overpower your video.
I have created custom tracks for all of my videos. If that is not a skill set you have or want to acquire, I suggest you explore royalty free music options. Voice-overs are also a great way to enhance your video.

Talking About Your Work Podcast with Caroline Goyder
5. PRODUCTION: For detailed instructions on how to create a video in Imovie and Movie Maker click on the appropriate link.  Design your movie to function in high-resolution to be seen on a full screen or projected onto a large wall in a theatre-like presentation. BUT your video should also be able to be seen clearly on a mobile device.

Slide Format Set-up:
1. In Photoshop, select NEW under FILE. 
2. Preset to HDTV 1920w x 1080h pixel format. This will give you the right size in which to create your slides for imovie.

Once I have approved your video, you can post a high definition version on YouTube and other social media outlets!

Here are some videos that have been created in my class: 

Tereze Strautmane

Christine Kornacki

Christine Kornacki, Children's Book Writer and Illustrator from Christine Kornacki on Vimeo.

Clara Hartman

Interview of Clara Hartman

Debra Ferguson

Michael Nunez

Christopher S. Phillips

Kelsey Phillips

Leslie M. Ward

Meg Auchenbach

Victoria Wright

Kvita Horbaliuk

Lisa Gurzo

Vince Bonavoglia

Monique Maloney

Jess Meoni

Daniel Swartz

David Deal

Thomas M Notrangelo

Tomlynn Biondo

Andrea Smith 

Chris Piascik

Interview with Christina Galbiati

Q: Can you talk about your brand and how you incorporated that vision into your promotional materials?

A: My design aesthetic is simple, clean and contemporary, while my illustration and artwork is detailed, tactile, layered and full of energy. Having promotional materials that showcase my artwork without competing with the design of the piece was instrumental to conveying my brand effectively.

Q: What advice can you give other illustrator/designers when it comes to developing successful self-promotional materials?
A: Promotional materials should be dynamic while still representing your aesthetic vision. Consider your medium, audience and what work you are trying to attain. Design something that not only allows your work to sing, but also showcases how your abilities can benefit their business.
Q: Do you work in a sketchbook to develop your ideas? Please detail your conceptual approach to design.

A: Absolutely! Organic free-flowing sketches are instrumental to the creative process. I start each project by creating a word list and thumbnail sketches in pencil, one idea right after another. The key is getting down as many good (or bad) ideas as possible. The number of thumbnails varies, from a few to several pages. I know when I’m heading in the right direction when I see it and feel it. Intuitive acumen is a necessary part of this profession. It’s the unexplainable, the ‘a-ha’ moment you are striving for, when you allow yourself to trust your instincts. Once I identify a few solid ideas, I enlarge the sketch by hand, do some color blocking and then sketch an outline on my canvas or illustration board (for my design work, this is when I start computer construction). I tell my students that this is what sets them apart from those who overlook the conceptual process of design and just hop on the computer without any direction. If you skip this foundation step, you will end up not only wasting time but your work will most likely end up looking mundane as well.

Q: You have lots of very tactile traditional materials in your work. Can you talk about what inspires such choices in your design work?

A: I gravitate toward clean and contemporary materials such as metal and clear acrylic in order to balance out the detailed, handmade look of my work. Since my art is very colorful, I need to showcase it, so I am careful to pick good quality paper, usually a smooth white 80-100# cover stock. I utilize a limited color palette throughout all of my branding materials (white, gray/black, purple and green) in order to create a consistent visual identity.  

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to visual communications through the layers of mixed media you employ?

A: I am enamored with tactile forms of communication and have created a deeply personal aesthetic journey of photocopying words and sometimes images to create unique patterns. I then hand tear the resulting paper to form my collages. The unexpected outcome of rough edges, uneven tones, broken lines and dot patterns that arise from the xerography process are intentional. My work symbolizes the importance of print media communication despite society’s increasing reliance on intangible, digital forms of communication.

Q: You are drawn to dimensional surfaces as well as unique elements. Can you tell us more about this aspect of your work?

A: It’s my natural instinct to create something that is robust in order to exaggerate my concept. This aspect of my work aligns with my approach to visual communication.

Q: Describe your artistic working environment and how it helps support your distinctive process and approach.

A: I work on a large art table and do not concern myself with the messiness that occurs during the collage process. However, this is one of the main reasons I usually complete each piece in one sitting. This approach allows me to work unencumbered and promotes a productive working environment. 

Q: What are your artistic and design influences and where do you look for inspiration.

A: Everything that is beautiful inspires me. It may be a melancholy sunset over a still beach, an exquisitely designed living room that showcases harmony and warmth, or that perfectly designed poster that shows emotion. If it captures my senses, I take notice. I am particularly drawn to art and design that utilizes type and geometry, specifically the bold and meaningful work of the Constructivism, De Stijl and Bauhaus movements. Some of my favorite illustrators/designers are: El Lissitzky, Alvin Lustig, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol and Paula Scher. I am also inspired by León Ferrari and Mira Schendel’s work, which explore the written word through art. It’s quite impressive. In the end, inspiration is about surrounding yourself with things that make you feel good in order to put you in that right frame of mind to get your creative juices flowing. I’ve accumulated a library of books and design publications, as well as several file folders of beautiful samples of print material (pre-Pinterest). Basically, if I see something I like and it’s well designed, I save it.

Q: What do you see yourself incorporating in your work as your vision evolves? Any other advice that you would like to share when it comes to promotional endeavors?

A: I would like to incorporate different types of paper, handmade perhaps, as well vintage ephemera.

Promotional materials are much like a billboard on a busy highway: many will glance, several may see, but even fewer will remember. So, it’s important to spare no time, effort or expense to create something memorable.   

Christina Galbiati specializes in art direction, graphic design, as well as contemporary mixed-media art and illustration. Her 15 years experience has allowed her to create conceptually strong, visually dynamic work for a multitude of clients in a wide range of industries. She received her M.F.A. Graphic Design degree at Marywood University in Scranton, and her B.F.A. in Communication Design from Kutztown University. She is an adjunct professor at Kutztown University and has also taught at Penn State - Lehigh Valley and Marywood University. In her free time, she likes to read, sketch, craft and travel. She resides in Hazleton, Pennsylvania with her husband and two beloved furry felines.