Category Archives: Creative Inspiration

A Unique Way to Celebrate College Football Season

Georgia Tech mascot
When I travel, I like to scope out college campuses. At the very least, I like to take a peek at a campus from the roadways on the edge of campus. It’s interesting how different and how similar campuses can be.

On my latest trip, which took me to areas near Atlanta, Georgia, I saw a unique way to celebrate colleges and their football teams: topiaries of SEC mascots from the region. These topiaries were on display at the Callaway Gardens Sibley Horticultural Center in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Here are a few of the topiary mascots:

Alabama topiary

University of Alabama

LSU mascot

LSU

Auburn mascot

Auburn University

Florida mascot topiary

University of Florida

 


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses, including colleges and universities, communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, marketing e-mails, blogs, magazines, and books. She frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative

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Importance of Packaging for College Recruitment Materials

College and university marketers can take a lesson from Newegg.com in how to package their recruitment and admissions materials.

Just look at the packaging on a recent item my husband received from Newegg.com:

creative packaging

In case you can’t read it, the package says: “May contain awesome. Take it from a geek.”

Newegg.com knows its customers—and the packaging shows it. Because of these eight words printed on the box, it creates even more excitement for the person receiving the package to open it.

How much excitement do the envelopes that enclose your recruitment marketing materials create? If your envelopes simply have your university’s logo and return address, I’m guessing not much. That level of excitement—or lack thereof—may impact the reach of your materials. We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do.

How does your packaging show you know your audience? As shown in the Newegg.com example, a little copy, plus a little design can go a long way. It can show (rather than tell) your prospects (and/or their parents) that you understand them. And it may set your materials apart from the piles of materials they’re getting from other colleges.

Distinguishing yourself from the others via your packaging can mean the difference between your piece being tossed in a recycling bin or being opened.

Does your university use a creative packaging to deliver your materials to prospective students? Please leave a comment or tweet @DanasCreative on Twitter. I’d love to see the creative ways you’re packaging recruitment marketing materials.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative

Photo Coaster Family History Craft Project

Family Photo CoastersWhile writing an article on family history craft projects for Family Tree Magazine, I came across several awesome examples of how to create tile photo coasters to display family photos. After being inspired by The Frugal Girls and Oopsey Daisey blog posts, I decided to create my own set of photo tile coasters—and they turned out great, if I do say so myself.

With my cousin’s wedding coming up, I used old family wedding photos on the coasters to create a unique, personalized wedding gift.

Below is a step-by-step guide to how I created these photo tile coasters, but to get started, here’s a list of the supplies I used:

Family History Photo Coasters

Project supplies

  • photo paper
  • a paper cutter
  • 4×4 white tiles (obtained from the home improvement store)
  • a foam brush
  • Mod Podge
  • adhesive felt circles
  • a skinny felt-tip pen
  • a clear, glossy sealer

Step 1. Gather and edit photos. I knew my aunt, who is interested in genealogy, had several old family photos. I asked her for copies, and she scanned them using her Flip-Pal mobile scanner to create digital files. I took the digital files she provided and used Adobe Photoshop to convert them to grayscale (black-and-white) images. I also adjusted the levels and contrast, so the images wouldn’t print too dark.

Step 2. Print and cut the photos. Once I had edited the photos, I used a desktop publishing program (I used Adobe InDesign, but you could also use Microsoft Publisher), to place the pictures in 4×4-inch boxes. I then adjusted the image to center it in the frame.

Next, I printed the images on photo paper using my home printer. Finally, I used my scrapbooking paper cutter to cut out the images.

Family Photo Coasters

Apply Mod Podge before and after placing the photo on the tile.

Step 3. Apply photo to the tile. Before applying a photo to the tile, I set the photo on the tile to ensure it was the right size and to see how it lined up. If it was a little large, I trimmed the photo with scissors. I then wrote the name of the wedding couple along the bottom of the tile, and allowed the ink to dry.

Next, I used a foam brush to coat the tile with Mod Podge, and then pressed the photo on the tile. After allowing this to dry thoroughly, I put three coats of Mod Podge on the top, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Family Photo Coaster

Sealer to use on top of the photo

Step 4. Apply sealing coat. To ensure the photo would be sealed and water-resistant when drinks are set on it, I used a water-based sealer I already had on hand from a different project: Minwax’s Polycrylic clear gloss, water-based protective finish.

I applied three layers of this sealer, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next. (Note: Other bloggers have used other materials like a clear acrylic spray or resin to seal their photo coaster projects.)

Family History Craft Project

Close-up of final photo coaster project

Step 5: Adhere felt backing. To create a soft surface on the back of the tiles that won’t scratch a coffee table, I adhered four adhesive felt circles to the back of each tile. I placed the felt circles in each corner of the tile.

For more family history craft and holiday gift ideas, check out Family Tree Magazine.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.