Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meet the Graphic Designer




On day #3 of the blog book tour for Ripple's Effect, I thought it would be interesting to show some of the behind-the-scenes planning of "collateral assets" used to promote a title, as well as how "branded" products are created. There is more to what meets the reader's eye than what they see when they open the covers of a book. Lots more is going on behind the scenes to support the successful launch of a new publication!



Sarah Seward is the talented graphic artist who uses the artwork developed by the illustrators in creative ways on other company products. For example, she created the moving carousel on the Little Pickle Press website. She is also one of the talents behind the free lesson plans we talked about in a previous post, in which she embellishes the projects with images from each picture book. Here is the lesson plan for Ripple's Effect.




But there's more. Even after the book is in print, the job of the publisher in many ways is just beginning. An important role is ongoing support to other team members like the publicist. So Sarah creates a special information sheet that enables information-sharing about each new book in attractive, concise, and rapid ways.






Field sales reps get similar information tweaked for their specific roles. Everyone who sells for Little Pickle Press also gets bookmarks to pass out to book stores, libraries, and anyone who might be interested in buying the book. Here is what the Ripple's Effect book mark looks like:

There is always a poster created for each title, a nice complement to the book and another little "extra" for teachers and librarians, as well as for walls of little bedrooms. The posters are also used as incentives at the many book fairs and festivals attended throughout the year.



You can readily see how all these images clearly support one title, can't you? That's called branding




Sarah has a special talent for this kind of cohesive identity developmentShe enjoys working with folks who get excited about the big picture. A long-time production artist, voracious reader of all-things design, and a graduate of the School of Graphic Design at the Academy of Art University, she creates design that embodies a healthy blend of professional experience, fresh creativity, and academic rigor. She has collaborated with a number of agencies, partners, and studios to contribute to work for clients including, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the California Charter Schools Association, Alive and Free Richmond, Motorola Mobility, Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Air New Zealand, and, of course, Little Pickle Press. When she’s not designing for the greater good, Sarah enjoys watching baseball and perusing the local farmers markets. Discover more about Sarah at her website


Ripple's Effect Kindle version is available by clicking here.

Sarah dropped in during the original tour to answer questions. Have a read through the comments! 

Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

26 comments :

  1. It looks like a wonderful promotional package.

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  2. This is terrific. Wonderful work by Sarah and helpful information for writers who are planning their own promotional campaigns. Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. I feel like I got the best crash course on book promotions. Awesome blog post - will be sharing with my writing friends and also my teacher friends. They love the free lessons plans!

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  4. Oo! Oo! I have a question! How do publishers and designers decide on how MUCH designing to do? From an eye-pleasing selection of bookmarks and posters to a glut of toys and key chains and breakfast cereals; how do you decide when it's enough?

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  5. I'm guessing the major issue, Audrey, is how much budget is available for the promotional support materials. Also, who on the team needs and uses book marks and flyers, that sort of stuff. I know having worked as a book rep that getting those nice order forms from a publisher makes it easier to sell when you're meeting with store owners.

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  6. Sarah has been such a delight to work with and truly stands out among designers. Thanks for your hard work Sarah!

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  7. "While not designing for the greater good..." I love that idea. It's neat to see the way the different people at Little Pickle Press all share common ideals and goals like educating and empowering children, taking care of the environment and working towards a better, more just and accepting society.
    The children and I absolutely love LPP posters (one graced their wall in Yemen!) and it was cool to see some of the process behind their production.

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  8. It's always amazing to see all of the incredible collateral materials, and all of the folks involved with the behind-the-scenes activities creating them for the Little Pickle Press titles. And it is such a beautifully curated collection.

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  9. Sarah is talented and lovely. I am so grateful to have her on her team. She approaches each project with enthusiasm, expertise, and a learner's mind, which is a rare combination. Thank you for featuring her, Dani.

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  10. Oh my goodness! Thank you everyone for the outpouring of positivity! Dani- I am honored to be featured in your blog! I am so inspired by the work we do at Little Pickle Press and I am thrilled that genuine enthusiasm shines through the supporting pieces we develop. I have to be honest though, every piece is the product of the team's feedback, brilliant illustrators' work and Rana DiOrio's tremendous leadership.

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  11. Here are a couple more options. First, there are companies whose specialty is "premium fulfillment." Basically, that means that you decide you'd like to add something a bit special to your promotional packet, contact them, and they research and price the cost of adding your special item. For example, a "no-brainer" for "Ripple" would be children's swimming caps or pool floatation devices. Since these things cost more than bookmarks and posters it's a good idea to have a concrete, tailored plan for how you're going to use these things--and how you expect to track the results of spending your precious marketing dollars. For example, a book like this would be a natural for partnering with the local Red Cross swimming classes, the library, and possibly a medical-centered class on child safety.

    Another, less costly option is to prepare your art work and create a CafePress store. You upload your art and then select what items you'd like it applied to--the sky's pretty much the limit--t-shirts to tiles, shower curtains to stickers, pet dishes and shirts--you get the idea. This can become part of your branding, but it's not something you'd hand out with your promotional kits--it's actually using your wonderful art to develop products. I do this with my books. The upside is that it costs you nothing to set up the store and upload your art. The downside is that this becomes another component to market. It can reinforce your book marketing--but only if your customers like your products enough to buy them. While the wide range of placement options is wonderful, the downside is that you pay for each piece as a print on demand project--you won't get the same economies of scale you'll get by ordering in bulk through a premium fulfillment company.

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  12. First, I love the name "Little Pickle Press." "Ripple's Effect"—also very cute.

    This is a beautiful package. You said the posters are an "extra": is one included for schools who purchase X number of books, or are they for sale?

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  13. very well done. I am so glad I have young nieces to buy for!

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  14. This looks like solid, professional work.

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  15. Oh, I get how it works ... why can't I have resources and talent of a Sarah Seward on my team?

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  16. Beautiful. I admire gifted artists, and wish I could be one!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com

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  17. Kathryn, we include free bookmarks and posters when schools buy books for author events and book fairs. They are for sale on our site, and educators (including homeschoolers!) receive a discount on all of our books and posters.

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  18. Good points, Sherry. But here's a conundrum and something to consider. Since LPP is an eco-conscious publisher, all the added products have to be environmentally-manufactured to support their missions statement. Right? So CafePress would be largely out-of-the question as many of their products come from China. Well, any supplier of goods. If the stuff is manufactured off-shore or not in a organic way, it would have to really be reviewed and pass a tough litmus test to be included in the product mix. Right? Right.

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  19. The pieces she's created are really eye-catching. The posters would be great for teachers and librarians.

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  20. The whole eco-friendly thing does complicate things at CafePress--it mnight be something they add in the future, if enough people express interest. In the meantime, I think the answer's to stick with premium fulfillment companies, where it's easier to control where and how fulfillment is done.

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  21. Bodie, I'd love to find a good POD printer in America who uses recycled papers. You know of any? It's my big complaint with CreateSpace and Lightning Source. They maybe be affordable to individual pocketbooks but they're murder on the planet when it comes to pollution.

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  22. I love how she used bits and pieces of the graphics on various items. My favorite was the book marks. Simple and elegant and not cluttered with lots of words.
    Wendy

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  23. Sarah has the touch, all right. The lesson plans are beautiful - if you know teachers and homeschoolers, download those. They are really great!

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  24. Beautiful examples of all that goes into creating a book beyond the writing. It's truly a team effort.

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  25. This article definitely earned a "repost, Dani." Writers often fail to count the cost of packaging and marketing their product (book). While it might be really nice to type "The End" at the conclusion of a story, it really isn't--the end, that is. In fact, it's just the beginning. The easy part's over. Now comes the real work. Marketing needs a focused, well-developed plan, as well as a great team to implement that plan. Branding: that's what it's all about.

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