Things, things, I got things.

I don’t always have the lux­ury of time when I’m doing what I do. Sometimes I have to go for some­thing fast, cheap and easy. This doesn’t always equal bad; some­times it even yields some non-​​excremental results.

F’rinstance, it was only the other day, when I got an emailed copy of our own press release, that I real­ized we had a can­cer aware­ness expo com­ing up, and there was no col­lat­eral mate­r­ial for it. No fly­ers, no ads, noth­ing. D’, as they say, oh.

I didn’t have a lot of time to lay hands on an image for it; ini­tially I was toy­ing with the idea of get­ting a group shot of var­i­ous peo­ple hav­ing what appeared to be a happy, some­what com­fort­able con­ver­sa­tion, tak­ing the sat­u­ra­tion way down and drop­ping a pink rib­bon on one of them (at 100% sat) to empha­size the hidden-​​yet-​​common nature of cancer.

Unfortunately (or per­haps not), no such stock images really jumped out at me. I was think­ing then of using sil­hou­ettes, but that didn’t grab me either, when I saw a pretty strong graphic that got my atten­tion. It was just a pair of sil­hou­et­ted cut-​​out dolls. They weren’t ren­dered in a way I could use, do I did my own.

In addi­tion to being pretty damn sim­ple, the ad is cheap. The rib­bon is all magenta, so it’s actu­ally only two colors.

Of course there are times when I do have a while to work on some­thing. I like those times bet­ter because I can do thumb­nails, for instance, sketch­ing out the idea and get­ting it set up in my head before I start work­ing on it.

One of the things we offer that doesn’t get as much notice as we’d like is reha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices. We have acute, chronic and car­diac rehab options avail­able, but not every­one knows about it, and some peo­ple are being sent to Las Vegas (90 miles away) or even Phoenix (180 miles), sev­eral times a week, for rehab they could have right here.

For this one I def­i­nitely had the image in my head before I took it; I didn’t even bother to look for a stock shot. There was no way there was a stock photo that matched what I had in mind. I just bor­rowed a pair of crutches and hit the road.

I even knew the approx­i­mate set­ting for the pho­to­graph. When I lived down­town I rode my bike to work fairly reg­u­larly, along a back road that was lightly-​​traveled and quite hilly. I became fairly famil­iar with the route and land­scape, and went back to it for this image.

If you look at the larger ver­sion of this ad, you might notice a lit­tle dark­en­ing around the text as it appears over the road sur­face. This is a cheap InDesign trick that I use from time to time to help text stand out against a busy back­ground, or one that to my eye doesn’t pro­vide enough con­trast. All I do is add a drop shadow with no off­set, a fairly large blur (some­times up to .25″) and about 10% spread. That makes a halo around the words, and helps them pop a lit­tle with­out it being too obvious.

Funnily enough, there are still some stretches of Highway 93, the route to Vegas, that look a lit­tle like this. Though usu­ally they’re crutch-​​free.

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