Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This blog won't be updated any more!

Due to only a few visits every now and then, I am no longer updating this blog!

However, you can visit the German version of this blog on agadugu.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple image optimization with Adobe Photoshop – Brighten pictures and change contrast

Mainly graphic and media designers are using Photoshop for image editing. This is partly due to the high price, but also due to the complexity of the software.

If you have access to Photoshop (no matter which version – an old one is perfectly fine too), you can seize the opportunity to acquire some tricks with the software.

Brighten dark images

If a photo is too dark, you can brighten it easily.

  • Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast
  • Image > Adjustments > Levels
  • Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight (to brighten dark areas)
  • Image > Adjustments > Curves

Adjust images that seem dull or too bright

  • Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels
    Usually works without problems and is the easiest way for Photoshop beginners.
  • Image > Adjustments > Levels
  • Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast

It is probably best for you to just try out these few functions in order for you to understand how each one works.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Color symbolism: Meaning of colors III - The colors orange and brown

The significance of the colors orange and brown in Western Europe and USA:

The color orange
  • Orange combines the energy of red with the happiness of yellow. Usually, the color symbolizes joy, sunshine, the tropics, enthusiasm, fascination, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement and inspiration.
  • For the human eye, orange is a very hot color. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red.
  • As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and also stimulates the appetite.
  • Orange is the color of autumn and harvest and symbolizes strength and endurance.
  • Design and Advertising
    Orange has very high visibility and is therefore used to attract attention and highlight the main elements of a design. The color orange is particularly suitable for the advertising of food and toys.
  • Color gradiations
    Dark orange represents deceit and mistrust.
    Red orange is associated with desire, sexual passion, pleasure, dominance, aggression and drive.
    Gold is associated with illumination, wisdom, wealth and high quality and evokes the feeling of prestige.

The color brown
  • Brown represents health, authenticity, down-to-earthness, steadfastness, simplicity, convenience and reliability.
  • Brown is a warm neutral color that can stimulate the appetite.
  • Color gradiations
    Red brown is associated with autumn and harvest.

Get to know more about the colors red and yellow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quote by William Bernbach - what counts is the truth

“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” /William Bernbach, revolutionary American advertising executive, 1911-1982

When working in advertising, sticking to the truth is very important. However, many advertisers do not care about this simple rule.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great software alternatives that are for free

Software can be pretty expensive. Especially for small businesses or associations that need a number of different licenses this can be a problem.
However, for many applications you use every day, there are great alternatives that are even for free. Here are some of the main software alternatives for Windows:

Office suite (word processing, spreadsheet,
  • OpenOffice
    Software package that is comparable to Microsoft Office.
    Contains a word-processing program (like Word), a spreadsheet program (like Excel), presentation program (such as Power Point) and others.

  • Google Docs
    Similar to Microsoft Office, but it is used online in the browser.
    A Google account is required. The created files are stored online and can be opened from anywhere (Cloud Computing).

    Very useful, but not a real alternative to OpenOffice or Microsoft


Creating and editing PDF files

Playing DVDs, videos and audio files
  • VLC media player
    Plays almost any audio and video formats.

  • Kantaris Media Player
    Plays DVDs, videos and audio files.
    Version 0.6.6 works with Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7.


Email (instead of Outlook or Outlook Express)

Internet Browsing

Programs for burning CDs and DVDs
  • CDBurnerXP
    Burns CDs, DVDs (including double layer and rewritable), Blu-Ray and
    HD DVDs. Reliable and not overloaded with extra features.

  • ImgBurn
    Burns DVDs, CDs, Blu-Ray and HD DVDs, and supports popular
    image formats.


Image optimization
  • GIMP
    With this software you can edit photos, create images, convert several files at once, use layers, fonts and effects. GIMP is developed by a large community.
  • Picasa
    For organizing and archiving photos, but also for image editing.


Anti-virus software
The free anti-virus programs protect against viruses and some also against spyware, but they do not protect against phishing attacks nor do they check your emails for viruses.

Mind Mapping

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Color symbolism: Meaning of colors II – The color yellow

In a post about the color red, you will also get to know more about color symbolism in general.

The meaning of the color yellow in Eastern Europe and the U.S.:
  • Yellow is the color of the sun and is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, energy, honor and loyalty.
  • The color yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, generates muscle energy and stimulates mental activity.
  • Pure yellow is an eye catcher, which is the reason that cabs are painted yellow. Often, yellow on a black background is used as a warning.
  • Design and advertising
    With yellow, certain parts of a design can be highlighted.
    Yellow is used to produce positive and friendly feelings.
    Especially when advertising children's and leisure products, the color yellow is used.
    For advertising more prestigious, expensive products for men, yellow should not be used, as men rather see the color yellow as "childish".
    Also when advertising products, where safety and stability are important, you should avoid the color yellow, as it is considered unstable and sponatenously.
  • Color gradiations
    Color gradiations of the color yellow do not look very appealing, as the color loses its serenity and starts to look dirty.
    Dull yellow stands for warning, jealousy, illness and decline.
    Light yellow is associated with freshness, joy and intellect.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creativity techniques II - How to allow creativity: 16 tips for creative problem solving

Allow creativity in your daily (working) life by following tips:
  1. Try out different things.
  2. Motivate others (such as your employees) to try new things. Routine kills creativity, because there is no need to be creative when doing routine tasks.
  3. Be curious. Complacency, indifference and disinterest disable creativity.
  4. Take failures and errors into account.
  5. Isolate your creative sessions from your usual work.
  6. Provide a relaxed environment, so that creative ideas can flourish. Avoid bad conditions, such as creative sessions in the office or a meeting just before lunch break.
  7. Avoid bad structures in your company, such as when the right conditions are missing to incorporate creative innovations or when transparency and internal communication are poor or absent.
  8. Sharpen your attention and look at things unbiased. Set thinking blinds you and will keep you from seeing variations.
  9. The problem itself should have priority.
  10. Track your goals persistently and stay tuned for ideas. Having an idea does not mean that it is also useful. Ideas must be developed first, which can take time.
  11. Focus on one idea and work it out.
  12. Put faith in yourself and also in your employees. Lack of confidence prevents creativity, because anyone who does not have confidence in himself does not take a risk and is convinced to fail.
  13. Do not rest on your success. Instead, follow developments and trends.
  14. Turn off competition. Competitive pressures make it difficult to collaborate and communicate and therefore creative work.
  15. Do not offer rewards to your employees. Rewards only raise the interest in the premium instead of solving problems.
  16. Do not work under time pressure. Instead, plan for enough time and take enough breaks. Time pressure can be deadly for creativity, since ideas need time to mature.