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Three Flyers Outside Paris, London and LA - Keep It Simple 

A few weeks ago I got a message from someone in distress. Allison, the founder and manager of the Satin Dollz whom we have worked and performed with, in LA for 10 years and more recently in Paris and London was in a pickle. The Paris group were about to do a showcase and the promo flyer that was presented to Allison was this... As you can see, it is less than satisfactory for a number of reasons: The colour schemes, the random fonts, the placement and size of the text, the bad (blocky) extraction of the images (where the photos have been cut out of other backgrounds), the placement of the main subjects, the odd fade out, etc etc etc. With only a few days before the showcase and having to get them printed, she had a problem.

So, I was in the middle of a US tour and we had a pretty busy schedule. I didn't have a lot of time and had to think up something simple yet effective that would communicate who and what they are. I don't really do graphic design jobs for anyone else anyway as we are so busy but I like to help out friends when and where I can so I stayed up late for a couple of nights and threw together a flyer for her.

Ultimately, apart from showcasing the talents and image of the Satin Dollz, I wanted to create some classy because apart from being great singers, dancers and tappers (and all being stunning) they are a class act. The current flyer did NOT communicate this in any way and almost went out of its way to say the opposite.

Here is the flyer I came up with for the Paris Dollz:

She was very happy with it and they printed and used it the next week at their showcase.

The only thing that changed from the above was that I replaced the custom logo for their standard one to keep in with their other branding:

Then I got the next call... "Ooh, wouldn't it be nice to have matching ones for the London and LA Dollz too!". Yes. Yes, it would...

Since it was a simple design and I find that half the battle is coming up with the idea and the placement of things. Sometimes I have spent a couple of hours on a flyer, had a crash and lost all my work but it has then only taken 20 minutes or so to recreate what I had done as all the "think" work and trial and error was not wasted. Anyway, that's an aside. Here are the other two flyers:

Los Angeles


Yes, I even snuck in a cheeky plug for The Jive Aces on those ones too (Shut up, it's my job! ???).

I like the versions with their logo but for this design, I prefer my logo as it is very clean lines and adds to the simplicity but overall it was better to go with their own logo for general branding purposes to integrate with their other promo.

The main lesson from this is that if you are short of time, you don't have to settle for something crap. Just keep it simple and add only things that integrate to your message, style and design aesthetic and get rid of the stuff that doesn't.

Hope this helps. Leave me any questions in the comments below.

Cheers, Alex

Photoshop Quicktip - A5 Flyers "Quick bleed" 

Here is a quick tip for photoshop users who are designing their own flyers for events. If you are in the UK and Europe you will most often be using the A5 size of paper for flyers, usually portrait.

For flyers, you will need what is called a bleed. This is where the flyer is printed on a slightly larger paper than A5 and then cut down to size. This is to ensure that the image or background image goes right to the edge as printers cannot print edge to edge as they then have nothing to grip on to.

In Photoshop when you open an A5 document it has no bleed attached so you have to add it. If you are like me and can't be bothered to work out how to set up and save a template which would be sensible, or you are working on someone else's computer or just "reasons" then this quick tip will help you out and save you from having to calculate mm or pixels numbers. You'll thank me later for saving you from maths!

Open up an A5 document in Photoshop. Do not alter the width and height at this stage to add the bleed. The reason is if you add 6mm to both height and width you will get the correct size of the document however if you want to add guides then it is a pain to calculate.

Once the document is open, make sure your rulers are on. If they are not on then click CMD/Ctrl + R. Then make sure "snap is on" in the "View" menu.

Then click and drag a guide from the ruler to each edge of your document.

Next, you go to the "Image" menu and choose "Canvas Size".

Then make sure the "Relative" checkbox is checked and that you have your units set to the correct one. I am working in mm but in the US they often use inches and the standard bleed is 1/4 inch. Then you add double the amount of bleed (i.e. for a 3mm bleed all around you need 6mm, 3mm for each side). Also, make sure the anchor is set to the middle. This will ensure that the additional white space is added evenly all around the document and not to one side only.

This tutorial has probably taken you a few minutes but once you have done it once it should literally take you about 10 seconds to do this. Now you can go about creating your amazing work of art to entice people to your show or buy your albums etc!

You're welcome!

Cheers, Alex

Facebook Event Invite Woes 

Facebook has been making it harder and harder to reach people through your Page and Events recently, basically because they want you to pay more.

Sometimes you get ridiculous restrictions when inviting people and even get threatened or hit with temporary banning for inviting people to your event even though Facebook has, in the very previous screen told you to invite people to your event and made a special button to do that and even despite the fact that these people have signed up to your band page presumably because they like your band and want info such as things like, when and where you are playing. I know, logic, right!?

One thing you can do to circumvent this and get the most invites possible to let people know about your gig is to "trick" Facebook into thinking you live in that town.

To do this, press the "Edit Profile" button on your profile's homepage. You'll see it on the bottom left of your big banner/header image










Then scroll down to your locations.







Then change your "Current City" in your settings to the city of your show. Sneaky, right?!?!








Then go to your event and choose the "invite friends" button.















On the left of the pop-up box, it has a group where it shows you people in your "home" town. Click that and then wait a few seconds and then hit "invite all".

















Then go through the list on the left-hand side and invite all people from any event or group that is nearby. It is best to fill your invites with the most relevant people though as Facebook seems to restrict your reach if people don't respond (e.g. don't invite friends in Timbuctoo to a gig in Brussels).

If you want to go deeper (and I recommend you utilize every invite Facebook will give you) then open up a second browser window and pull up your friend list. Then choose "current city" and you can manually search in the invite box for those friends in case any were missed (sometimes they are). This takes a bit longer though but is worth it as the auto search function above does tend to miss a few.

As you only get a limited number of invites per profile to an event, be sure to do this from all band members accounts but make sure you make them admins of the band page first. you should get 500 per person as opposed to only 50 if you are a regular punter inviting people to an event.

Hope this helps fill your gigs!

Cheers, Alex