Marketing bonanza

Graphic Design and the Dark Side of the Moon

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On the 3rd January 2019, China’s unmanned Chang’e-4 probe touched down to explore the dark side of the moon. What is it about the dark side of the moon that so fascinates and intrigues us? And what relevance does it have to graphic design?

About the moon

The moon is tidally locked to our planet (i.e. Earth), meaning that the same side of the moon faces us at all times. Hence, we never get to see the far (read: dark to us) side of the moon.

However, the moon is still spinning in order to constantly point one face at us, so it experiences days and nights, with a moon ‘day’ lasting approximately two ‘earth weeks’.

So, the dark side of the moon is merely a relative concept – it is only dark from our perspective here on earth.

The dark side of graphic design

As soon as something is hidden from view, our mind starts to play tricks, and our imagination runs riot, as we conjure up all sorts of weird and wonderful scenarios. 

Deciding to use a graphic designer to help build a business presence can seem like a step into the unknown, much like trying to imagine the dark side of the moon.

Typical questions at the outset include:

  • How much will it cost?

  • How do you ensure it will be effective?

  • How do go about choosing the right design company?

Three challenging questions to ask of any design company. So here are three answers that pull no punches.

  • Clear pricing – ask upfront about what is included in the estimate. How many changes can the client make before there are extra costs?

  • The recognised benefits of good design in business success – see the Design Council’s report Leading Business by Design.

  • Chose a company whose work you admire – talk to them and make a judgement on whether they are right for you by considering their relevant experience and design nous, rapport (can you imagine working with them), transparency regarding pricing and delivery of projects on time and budget.

What have you got to lose?

Just remember, a graphic designer can change your customer’s perspective on your business and take it to the moon…relatively speaking.

Marketing bonanza

From gore-fest to love-fest

Posted on by in Stan's Log, Marketing bonanza and tagged , ,  

The modern-day image of Valentine’s Day is one of cute Cupids, fluffy kittens and glowing hearts. However, the origins of the story couldn’t be more different! Read how, with some clever marketing and great design work, Valentine’s Day was turned from a gore-fest to a love-fest.

How Valentine’s Day was graphically redesigned
The image of Christians being tortured and executed isn’t usually one associated with declarations of romantic undying love. However, over the years, Valentine’s Day has become one of the most popular (and profitable) days of the year for the retail industry. 

1. Exaggerate the positives
The Christian values of love and forgiveness are ones that resonate through the ages.

2. Borrow and adapt
The image of Cupid (the Roman God of Love) was legal under the Roman Empire and Christian clergymen routinely wore purple amethyst rings with the image of Cupid as a recognisable symbol of love. The ‘heart’ shape became popular during the Victorian period. 

3. Higher aspirations
When Valentines were handmade and hand-delivered in the early 1800’s, the look and feel was very important, hence luxurious materials such as silk and lace were utilised. Valentines cards began to be posted, the suggestion of luxury became even more important, hence the accompaniment of gifts such as chocolate and flowers.

4. Bold colours
A primary colour (red) against a plain background stands out and is instantly identifiable as a Valentine’s card and the addition of gilt writing further complements the look and enhances the luxurious experience.

5. Fear or greed?
Valentine’s Day taps into both of these core tenets of marketing – FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and YOLO (You Only Live Once).

So, is it time to fall in love with your business again?
See how a graphic designer with marketing brain allied to top-notch presentation skills can both simplify and enhance your business proposition.


The early origins
Valentine of Terni (a bishop) was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Aurelian.
AD296: Just over 20 years later (AD296) a priest referred to as Valentine of Rome was similarly martyred by Emperor Claudius. Whilst imprisoned, Valentine of Rome is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. On the evening before he was due to be executed, Valentine of Rome is supposed to have written the first ‘valentine’ card himself, addressed to Julia (who was no longer blind), signing as ‘Your Valentine.’ 

Courtly love in the middle ages
It was here, in the European courts, that the image of St Valentine was first used for love purposes.
1382: The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in ‘Parlement of Foules’ by Geoffrey Chaucer
1400: The earliest description of February 14 as an annual celebration of love appears in the Charter of the Court of Love issued by Charles VI of France.

Modern day commercialism
 A British publisher issued ‘The Young Man's Valentine Writer’, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own.
1840: The introduction of cheap postage (via The Penny Black) saw 400,000 Valentine’s Cards posted and marked the start of the anonymous sending of Valentine’s cards
1847: The concept was introduced to America by a shop in Massachusetts selling Valentines of embossed paper lace. It was so successful that, within 2 years, Saint Valentine’s Day had become “a national holiday”.
1868: Cadburys created Fancy Boxes in the UK – decorated boxes of chocolates – in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day.

And the rest, as they say…is history!