Review Category : Design center

Thank You Cards for Great Teachers

On Teacher Appreciation Day, May 9 2017, this year, tell your favorite teachers how much they mean to you with a personalized Thank You Card. No matter if you are still in school or thinking back to teachers that had a strong influence on you, take the opportunity and show appreciation – don’t assume they already know how you feel.

You can thank them with a heartfelt Thank You message written on your favorite Printable Card or Design Paper, or by surprising them with a Best Teacher Award Certificate or Award Plaque. Use IClicknPrint Design Center to customize and print them at home. IClicknPrint is a free customization tool offering solutions for customers who want to customize Geographics Stationery and Royal Brites Poster Board, Foam or Project Board and Inkjet or Laser Photo Paper. It comes with a variety of unique features such as hover over fonts and colors, free clip art, shapes and lines, suggested wording as well as pre-set templates.

If you find yourself struggling for words, have a look at our Word Templates, Clipart and Wording section, under Teacher Appreciation Day. Choose the template that best describes how you feel about. Reach inside yourself, find your perfect, most authentic words and share them with a teacher or mentor.

Historically, the first National Teacher Day was celebrated on March 9, 1980, after Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded Congress to proclaim it. Currently, National Teacher Appreciation Day or National Teacher Day is observed on the Tuesday of the first full week in May. The National Education Association describes National Teacher Day as a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives”.  

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” So, take a moment and ask yourself who were the teachers that inspired you to dream big? Who made you feel those dreams were within your grasp? Who were the teachers or mentors that gave you the tools to start going after those dreams?

Once you know who they are, go tell them how much they mean to you! Expressing gratitude is good for you so write that Thank You Card, send that letter, make that phone call. It will also show your teachers that their efforts matter and will motivate them to keep going.

You can use iclicknprint to customize Geographics Thank you Cards and be creative using other stationery such as letterhead or invitations that you can creatively customize using your own clip art or artistic skills or the free clip art and wording iclicknprint offers under templates and clip art. Note: A new and improved Iclicknprint version will be launched later this year, in HTML.

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The Design Process in 7 Steps

IClicknPrint Design Center will soon release an non-Flash, HTML version that will make it easier for customers to access and customize printable stationery, from Geographics Award Certificates and Letterhead to Tri-Fold Brochures, Printable Cards, Invitations and more.

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If in our previous Iclicknprint blog article we’ve touched upon a few essentials of graphic design and defined elements such as line, color, space, etc., this post may help you with the design process as an iterative series of steps leading to the creation of a new product or approaching your target market with a newly designed marketing material.

Learn the 7 Steps of the Design Process:

  1. Define

Look at the assignment or the “problem”. Seek to understand its scope, your target audience and the constraints. The more thorough this stage is, the more chances you have to come up with a successful solution. Saying something like “I want to put together a cool product brochure” will not get you very far unless you properly define what “cool” means.

  1. Research

This is the stage where you need to look deeply at our target audience – who will “consume” your product, what is their lifestyle, their education level, their aspirations, their habits. In other words, who are you targeting with your product brochure, web page or presentation and what do I already know about these people who represent your target market.

  1. Ideate

Potential design solutions or variations are created at this stage. Ideas are created through brainstorming, sketching ideas, adapting a tried-and-tested design that already exists, etc. Ideation should be the fun part of the whole process. Arrange a successful brainstorming session with all parties that need to get involved in the design process and who understand the market needs.

  1. Prototype

After generating a few potential solutions during the previous stage, you can choose one or two best ideas to develop further, to provide a better starting point for selection. These ideas are turned into prototypes that will then be tested – after choosing two or three different design concepts.

  1. Select

Choose which design versions you have prototyped will be taken further. The key in making the decision is answer an essential question – it this solution fit for purpose?  You might like a certain design style or function but how appropriate is it for your target audience? Will your customers like it and, more importantly, how will they respond to it?

  1. Implement

Develop the actual product. For example, for a brochure add the final copy and images, proof it and send it out for printing print it yourself, in-house, using  iclicknprint.com or Geographics templates.

  1. Learn

For any company, this final stage is one where the team learns from what has happened during the design process, where they might seek feedback from the client or customer. The generated feedback can serve as a learning opportunity for future projects.

In his book, The Shape of Design, Frank Chimero talks about the design process as a dance. He says: “Dancing requires music, and we each have our own song. These songs are the culmination of our individual dispositions […] and a demonstration of the lens we use to see the world.”

So, what are your dance moves?

References:
Frank Chimero – The Shape of Design;
Gavin Ambrose & Paul Harris – Design Thinking

 

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Graphic Design Essentials

Our mission at IClicknPrint is to help you customize printable stationary (Geographics Certificates, Envelopes, Business Cards, etc.) quickly and painlessly and to design your projects with ease and the best results.

iClicknPrint offers a great selection of fonts, colors, clip art, shapes, templates and suggested wording but, for those of use looking to create from scratch or to personalize their projects even further, here is the first of a series of 3 blog posts to help you understand more about graphic design and the design process and elements.

We’ll start with the Basic Elements of Graphic Design

• Line • Shape • Texture • Space • Size • Value • Color

A line is defined as a mark connecting 2 points and it can be straight, curved, fat, thin, squiggly, dashed, patterned, etc.

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Lines are used to:

  • Organize information
  • Highlight
  • Connect
  • Outline
  • Create grid, chart or graph
  • Create pattern or rhythm through many lines
  • Direct reader’s eye
  • Create sense of motion
  • Suggest emotion

 

 

Shapes have height and width and can be divided into Geometric (circles, triangles, squares, etc.), Natural or Organic (animals, plants, humans) and Abstract (icons, stylized figures, graphic illustrations).

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Shapes are used to:

  • Symbolize an idea
  • Highlight information
  • Make text or photo more interesting through masking

Angular shapes are considered masculine while curved are more feminine.

Texture is the look or feel of a surface. It gives the overall ‘feel’ to something, provokes emotions and adds richness and depth.

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Design_iclicknprint (7)Space is the distance around or between things. It separates or unifies, highlights and provides rest for eye. White space is t is the portion of the page left unmarked – the space between graphics, margins and gutters. It is the space between columns, between lines of type or figures and it is especially important because it provides visual breathing room for the eye. It is also often overlooked by beginners so please remember that less is often more and resist cluttering your design.

 

Design_iclicknprint (8)Size refers to how large or small something is. It adds contrast between elements, it can help create a consistent theme and can be used to give the impression of distance or that something is three dimensional.

 

 

Design_iclicknprint (2)Value refers to how light or dark an area is.  It is used to:

  • Lead the eye
  • Create patterns
  • Give illusion of volume or depth
  • Add drama or Emphasis
  • Arrange objects in front or behind each other

 

Color is she part of light that is reflected by the object we see. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue and they are called primary because they are not mixtures of other colors. Color is used to:

  • Highlight
  • Attract the eye
  • Signal importance
  • Create mood
  • Tie elements together
  •  Organize, group
  •  Provoke emotion

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – Make a Poster, a Project Board or Host a Party

 

 

st patricks day_iclicknprintMillions of people are getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this week, both in Ireland and in the US. Whether you have Irish roots or not, resisting the urge to join in the fun will be close to impossible. You might choose to join a parade, prepare a special meal with your friends of family or even host a St. Patrick’s party or challenge your students to a themed class project. Whichever way you choose celebrate, we have a few ideas to help you plan and get organized.

Class or family project

With close to 35 million Irish – Americans living in the US, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations offer a perfect opportunity for a class or family project. Divide class in smaller groups, give each group a Trifold Poster Board or a sheet of white paper that they can turn into a large poster and ask them to work as a team and create a St. Patrick’s display. Allow them to choose what to focus on – the history of the celebration, the meaning of some of the popular symbols, etc. As a family project, you could work on a family tree to celebrate your Irish roots. Check out our IClicknPrint video tutorial on how to design and print large sized posters.

Attending a parade

To get ready for a parade, make your own “green gear” – grab some Royal Brites Green Poster Board and use to make little paper shamrocks for you to wear or even cute leprechaun hats for the kids. Alternately, use 6’’ Royal Lace Green Shamrock Doilies, they are small enough to pin to your bag or clothes and they are great if you don’t have much time to make you own.

Hosting a St. Patrick’s dinner or party

Everyone loves a tasty meal and a great time with friends but it’s the details that will make your party extra special. Use Printable Design Paper to send out personalized invitations or to print out your menu or place cards. Add a mix of Green Shamrock Doilies and 4’’ Gold Foil Paper Doilies as party decorations or under your coffee or tea saucers for a bit of flair.

Add Flair 4.

To add more fun to your party, print out a few funny or less known facts about St. Patrick’s and place them on the dinner table or glue them on your wall creating a Did You Know display – use green poster board paper or place info cards inside Green Greeting Card Envelopes.

Here are a few of our Did You Know suggestions to get you started:

The world’s first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day Parade took place in Boston in 1737 followed by the New York Parade of 1762;
In traditional Irish folk tales, there are no female leprechauns;
In 1961, 100 lbs of vegetable dye was used to turn the Chicago River green, a huge amount compared to the 25 lbs used today. The river stayed green for a full week.

 

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Celebrate Happy Name Tag Day. Play the Name Game!

Did you know that March 9, is the Name Tag Day? In 1997, Jerry Hill, American onomatology hobbyist started the Name Tag Day initiative. Every year, on this day, we are encouraged to think about the names we were given and celebrate them as important components of our identity.

A human being’s name is a principle component of his person, perhaps a piece of his soul – Sigmund Freud

Many researchers have investigated possible links between an individual’s name and their academic performance, behavior in terms of choice of profession, product brands, place to live, etc. Some of the conclusions have been interesting and even controversial. Some researchers argued that people are inclined to choose a spouse among partners whose names begin with the same letter. In that logic, someone named Mike will be more likely to marry someone named Mary than, say, someone named Jessica.

Other researchers have demonstrated the effects of name-signaling i.e. what names say about ethnicity, religion, social and economic background on aspects such as treatment by teachers in school or possible employers during a recruitment process. To put it briefly, our names “speak” a lot about where we come from and can trigger conscious or unconscious biased treatment.

To have some fun on this day, the IClicknPrint team is happy to share an idea for a game you can play with your family, friends, work colleagues or students.

Play the Name Game with IClicknPrint!

Make a note of the 10 most popular male names and 10 most popular female names – choose from the list of the most popular American names in the last 100 years. Print each of the twenty names on cards – we recommend using Geographics Business Cards. Using IClicknPrint Design Center, you can also add graphic elements, special fonts and Clip art. You can also use Free Word templates for cards. Search the web to look up the meaning of each of the twenty names and print each meaning on a separate set of cards.

To play the game, divide the players into two teams and give each team 10 name cards along with the cards containing the meaning of each name. The team that matches the most names to the appropriate meaning wins. For extra thrills, you can also time them.

Have Fun!

 

 

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Encouraging Children’s Creativity and Why That Matters

Every year in March, millions of fans celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, cartoonist, animator, book publisher, and artist. Selling over 600 million copies, he wrote some of the most well-known and most translated children’s book of all time. With his quirky characters, memorable rhymes and zesty humor, his books both entertain and teach children about courage, creativity, curiosity and responsibility, respect while at the same time encouraging them to explore and be creative.

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As great believers in the power of creativity, Geographics.com, TheRoyalStore and IClicknPrint Design Center join the celebration, reaffirming our mission to help customers make the best of our products and offer tools to explore their own creativity.

Here are a few steps that you could take to today to encourage and support children to be more creative:

  • Be a creative role model yourself. We all have our ways of doing things and we rarely question them because routine saves time and energy so why not try to consciously set a goal to try and do something in a new way and involve your children in the process. If you usually listen to the radio when driving the kids to school, try to turn it off and sing a song – maybe even invent your own song. Grab a Royal Brites Project Board and spend time together every week working on different projects – a family tree or vision board, a creative calendar for the month, etc.

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  • Allow children to be bored. Resist the urge to fill all your kids’ time with activities and let them get bored every now and then. This usually gets their creative juices flowing and when they start using their imagination – they make up their own games, they turn objects into toys, they make up stories, songs, etc.

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  • Foster a creative atmosphere. Take away the fancy toys, give them a few sheets of Geographics Design Paper and challenge them to an essay or story telling contest or a few Royal Lace paper doilies from TheRoyalStore and see what they come up with. A white or color Royal Brites Poster Board sheet would be as good as it allows them plenty of space to pour their ideas on.

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There are now extensive studies and compelling evidence showing how involving children in creative activities comes with many positive consequences:

  • They learn to look at the world from different perspectives;

  • They can better identify and express their emotions (through art, drama, etc.);

  • They become more empathetic as they learn to put themselves in other people’s shoes;

  • They develop their capacity to focus;

  • They learn to solve problems by exploring different possibilities;

  • The creative process boosts their imagination, etc.

If creativity is “the ability to challenge, question and explore and involves taking risks, playing with ideas, keeping an open mind and making connections where none are obvious” per the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, wouldn’t we all want to encourage, support and guide our children in ways that fosters creativity especially when we can make it fun for all?

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