Custom Vehicle Wraps and Graphics


Smart design and high quality materials + your vehicle = taking your business to the next level.

Why Custom Vehicle Wraps and graphics?

Announce your business in style anywhere you go! Vehicle wraps and graphics can increase traffic to your website, spread awareness about your company, and strengthen your brand’s identity with almost no effort. Turn your vehicle into a billboard while conducting day-to-day business. From full wraps for cars, trucks and vans, to vinyl lettering and custom die cut graphics, we can supply you with the perfect solution to make a powerful visual impression while on the road or parked!


Who would benefit from a custom vehicle wrap or graphics?

Anyone with a business or a cause to promote. Vehicle graphics are great for both for-profit and non-profit businesses. Using custom graphics, images and text, we can increase your brand visibility and publicize your business to a broad audience. Consider taking advantage of this sleek and stylish way to announce you company and you might be pleasantly surprised with the bump in business that follows.


Are the graphics and wraps safe for my car?

Yes, we work with manufacturers who only use the highest quality materials that can be removed without worry of damage to a car’s exterior. In many cases, a vehicle wrap will even preserve the life of the paint underneath it. Our wraps and graphics can last for years if taken care of properly.

Check out examples of graphics we have done in the past and see our design portfolio here!

If you are interested in learning more about what type of vehicle graphics would be best for your company or cause, contact us and we can give you a free consultation and cost estimate.

Creating Effective PowerPoint Presentations


Clear content and fluid design are what make an effective PowerPoint presentation. Once you have developed your main message content and structured the supporting content, it is then time to think about your presentation slide design.

The presentation needs to stand on its own; slide designs should only enhance the listening and viewing experience. They shouldn’t fill the role of the presenter. Here are a few tips to designing an effective PowerPoint presentation.



Keep Text Simple

A Powerpoint is meant to supplement a presentation, not to be the ultimate source of content. It is only a visual representation of a speech. The speaker presenting should be the main focus.

Avoid using complicated slides with a lot of text, especially if it is only repeating what the speaker is saying aloud. Having a lot of text divides the attention of the audience and will only hurt your message. The same goes for bullet points. People think by using bullet points to outline the important parts of their message is easier to read than a wall of text, but sometimes a long list of bullet points is just as distracting as using multiple paragraphs on a slide.

Don’t be afraid of having white or negative space on a slide. The less clutter you have, the more powerful your visual message will become. If you must show a lot of text or bullet points on one slide consider progressively revealing the text so you can show the text as you need it.

Limit Effects and Transitions

Microsoft® PowerPoint and similar programs come with the ability to create a lot of interesting effects and transitions. However sometimes this can suggest that your content is so tedious that you need something to snap your audience out of their disinterest. It is best to use these effects very subtilely, as they often do little to enhance the audience experience. Subtlety and consistency are key with slide animations and transitions.

Use Quality Photography and Graphics

Simple, punchy photographs are great for presentations. They help support what you are saying without drawing focus away from your words. Your photos can be metaphorical or something more literal, but it should be clear as to why the audience is looking at it, and why it’s paired with what you’re saying. You can take your own or use stock photos but be mindful of their size. Never stretch a small, low-resolution photo to make it fit your layout. Stretched or pixelated images will make your slides look unprofessional. Also, it is generally best to avoid PowerPoint Clip Art and other cartoonish line art.

Create a Consistent Look and Feel

You need to have a consistent visual theme throughout your presentation. Most templates included in PowerPoint have been seen by your audience countless times and often times are not that attractive to begin with.

Creating a new slide template that reflects your company’s current collateral look is a good place to start. Make sure you use related typography, colors, and imagery treatments thoughout your slides. But be careful though, too much consistency can be boring. You don’t want every slide to be identical. Using topic transition slides is a good way to break up the monotony. They can feel part of the same family but also give the presentation texture and are great for giving the audience visual cues. 

Use Appropriate Charts

When using charts try to keep them consistent with the look you’ve created throughout your presentation. Dropping in a chart that doesn’t match the look of your presentation can disrupt the look and feel. Consider recreating charts to match the colors, typography, and style of your slides. You can also take that time to simplify a chart to its clearest form. That way there is nothing extra shown that will take away from what you are saying.


Look At The Slides as a Whole

Spend time in the slide sorter. Viewing your presentation all together will show you how it flows. In this view you may decide to break up or condense slides to create a more natural and logical flow. You might notice some extraneous pieces of data that can be removed to increase clarity and improve communication.


There is a lot of thought that goes into creating an effective PowerPoint. Our portfolio has some great examples of PowerPoint slide designs to inspire you. Contact Digital Canvas today, we’d be happy to guide you though the process.

Creating a Product Catalog


Producing a product catalog is an effective way to expand your customer base and to expose your customers to all of the unique products your company offers. However, getting started can seem like a daunting task. It can feel overwhelming to have a multitude of products that all need photographed, organized and placed into a compelling design to truly showcase them.

Luckily at Digital Canvas we love taking the vast amount of information you provide and turning it into an easy to use, well organized, and attractively displayed array of products. We help our clients from start to finished with both photography and design services. So where do we start? Read on and we’ll take you though the steps one by one.


We have our clients look through all the products that they’d like to include in their catalog. Creating a spreadsheet is a good way to make sure nothing is missed. We also make note of products that need grouped into certain categories. This is also a good time to make note of best selling products. We will want to place those at the font of the product catalog or category group sections.

The spreadsheet should include all the products that will be included in the final catalog along with any other content that will need to be shown. This can include; the product name, descriptions, specifications, and prices (if shown).

Collecting and organizing all this information first will ensure nothing critical is left out of the catalog and help us decide the best way to layout the catalog during the design process.


We’ve talked in previous posts about the importance of good photography. Showcasing items to highlight their best attributes, such as color, texture, size and proportion, is crucial in promoting products.

Once we have received all the products that will need photographed, we go through them with our clients and be sure we understand any instruction on how they would like the product to be photographed. We want to make sure we have photographs of every needed angle and we will also include any in-use images that are necessary.

The next step in our photography process includes color correction and touch-ups in order to make the product look its best. We will also remove the background, if necessary, through silhouetting to create a clean image that can be placed on any background.



While photography is going on we will start on creating the look for the product catalog. This includes creating the layout of the cover and interior pages. The look will typically follow the branding already established by the client.

With cover design there a couple routes we can go visually. It could be very product heavy, showing only the products themselves with no environment. Or it could have a more human element through showing the the products being use by a person or in their environment.

For the interior pages we will create a layout that allows the consumer to easily find specific product categories and will highlight certain products based on our client’s preferences.

The catalog cover on the left features a more human element by showing the product in-use. While the catalog cover on the right only shows the products.
The product catalog cover on the left features a more human element by showing the product in-use.
While the catalog cover on the right only shows the products.


Once we complete our initial design, the next step is proofing. This is where any changes to the design or content can be made.

For large product catalogs, we like to proof by catalog section. This means that once we have finished a section or category of the catalog we will send it to our client for proof. We feel this helps keep the project moving forward at a steady pace. The client will not be bogged down with a ton of pages to review at one time. They can focus on that one section and add their edits into the PDF proof via sticky notes then send it back to us. While they are proofing one section we continue to finish work on other sections of the catalog.

We usually do several rounds of edits to make sure that everything is correct and exactly how our client wants it. We keep each round of edited and updated PDFs organized by making sure they are marked with their round number by adding “_v(round number)” to the end of each PDF.


For this step we comb through the entire catalog file for spelling issues, missing links, missing fonts, overset text, bleed spacing, color modes, resolution of images, and consistency in formatting.

We also do a final page count. In almost every product catalog we have created there has been a need to shuffle and add or subtract from the amount of pages in each category. We always aim for page quantities divisible by 16 so we can offer you the best printing price. Although sometimes necessary, quantities divisible by 8 or 4 will yield a more expensive press run.

Sending to Press

Then it is off to the printer for the final press proof. If Digital Canvas or the client already have a trusting relationship with a specific printer, we will usually only request a digital PDF proof of the final product catalog. If it’s a new printer, we highly recommend taking the extra time to receive and double check a hard copy proof of each and every page.

Once this proof is approved by the client and us the designers it ready to print and be sent out to consumers.

Beyond Print

If a client can’t afford to print tons of catalogs or wants to go digital we offer another GREAT catalog option in online catalogs. Placing your catalog online can not only save you money, but it can also reach many more viewers than a printed version ever could. Digital online catalogs also give you the added benefit of making a change to only ONE page without having to reprint the entire catalog on press.


Give us a call 330-877-3075 today or email us and we’ll help you through the process of creating your product catalog.


Check out our online portfolio to see more catalog design examples.

Creating an Impactful and Appealing Business Card


Whether you need business cards for a new start-up or just want a refreshed look for your current business, there are several things to keep in mind…

Consider your audience. Depending on the type of business you have, your customers might respond to a conservative design over an edgy one and vice versa. We have all seen the flashy, over-the-top business card designs that look great in theory, but going with a design like this might not be the best way to portray your brand. Business cards should match other branding and marketing materials used by your company. The cards should provide you with an opportunity to reinforce brand recognition and reach potential customers with a design that is eye-acting and memorable.

QR codes allow quick access to your website from a smart phone

Be thoughtful about the content you want to include. Too many words can cause the card to look busy which probably means it will get thrown away. A web address with WAY TOO MANY characters to type in is a waste. You may be better served to include a QR code to allow quick access to your website from a smart phone.

Business cards are meant to be used as a tool to point customers to your web site, or provide them with your contact information. Keep it simple, you want your card to be remembered for being informative rather than overwhelming. Include your company name and logo, possibly a tagline or short sentence stating the services you provide, then your name and any necessary contact info. Two-sided business cards provide more space and usually have a higher end look. Go with a two-sided design if your budget allows for it.

Think about how many different cards will you need? Is your business best suited with one general card which contains contact info for the entire company rather than printing one different card for each employee? Or do you need separate cards for each person? When printing different cards for each employee, keep in mind that you will save on printing costs if one side of each card is the same the other side is customized with employee name and contact info. If on a tight budget, sometimes a company wide business card can do the trick and will be most affordable.

Selecting nice card stock and incorporating a special printing process is an excellent way to make your card stand out. Consider a foil stamp or embossing part of your card. Also, depending on your budget and audience, a die cut or going with an uncommon shape can make your card something memorable and it will be less likely to be thrown away.


Selecting nice card stock and incorporating a special printing process is an excellent way to make your card stand out

At Digital Canvas, we have taken into account all of the design considerations and created our own business card to best represent our brand and capabilities. From the photo above, notice the following attributes:

• Design-Focused to showcase our capabilities
• Spot UV Letters listing our capabilities
• Double-sided
• 2-layered thick card stock
• Rounded Corners
• Foil Stamp
• Circle die-cut to accentuate logo
• Separate cards for different employees

View our portfolio for more examples of business cards along with other design examples for both print and web.


Here at Digital Canvas, we specialize in knowing what attributes you should include on your card based on your business practice. Give us a call 330-877-3075 today or email us and we’ll help design the best business card for your brand.


WordPress Child Theme – Have Cake & Eat it Too


WordPress Child Theme:

If you use a pre-packaged WordPress theme, take precautions to prevent your custom styling additions from breaking during updates by creating a “WordPress Child Theme.”

Here at Digital Canvas we do a lot of website work using WordPress.

One of the great things about using WordPress for your website is that it’s pretty easy to work with, and there are so many ready-made themes. Themes are what give a website it’s distinct look and feel. With WordPress, there are thousands of free themes and thousands more that can be purchased for just a small up front cost.

With so many options to choose from, there are lots of people who have become do-it-yourselfers, building their own websites and opening up shop online.

We love that and applaud those who have the courage to strike out on their own! But there are a couple pitfalls that we see over and over.

Most Pre-Packaged WordPress Themes will get you 90% there


See, you can very often find a theme that does 90% of what you want it to do. But then, you have to do a bit of customizing to get that last 10% just right. So you dig into the online message boards and forums, and you find a bit of code that you can insert here or there in your theme, and it gets closer and closer to what you really want. Maybe even just perfect.


The Update that Breaks Everything

PrintBut then, the theme gets updated. You get a notice about the update in your WordPress dashboard that you should update your theme. And, YES, you should update your theme. Updates take care of security issues and any number of other things that keep your site in top shape.

So you click “Update Theme.” It seems to go as planned. You get a “Success!” message. But then you go back to look at your site and (GASP!) all your changes have been wiped out and you’re back to the original theme with your 10% to perfection gone!

Enter the WordPress Child Theme


What many beginners don’t realize is that the whole Theme Update Disaster scenario can be avoided by making all of your customizations inside a **WordPress Child Theme**.

A Child Theme, simply put, is a mini theme that inherits most of it’s characteristics from a parent theme. Simple enough. Just like your real kids are chips off the old block. Only children are never *exactly* like their parents, are they? They have their own individuality.

By using a child theme, your website inherits the “code genes” of the parent theme, but can re-mix or mutate those genes to do it’s own individual thing. You get the best of both worlds, a site that has all the major stuff taken care of, but has the ability to keep that 10% difference you need to make the site truly your own.

Best of all, if something changes or gets updated in the parent theme, you get all the benefits of the update without losing all the hard work you’ve done to get things just the way you want them. If you decide to change your customizations in your child theme, you don’t have to worry about breaking something in the parent theme.

Do Yourself a Favor

We’re all for you getting out there and doing your thing online. And, if you choose to build your site with WordPress, we’re confident you’ll find it’s one of the easiest ways to get started.

Just keep in mind: you’ll save yourself a lot of time and heartache if you start using a child theme from the beginning. You’ll find easy to follow instructions for getting your child theme started on the WordPress Codex.


Of course, as fun and exciting as *we* think it is to build websites, we know it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather work with a team that’s built lots of websites, loves doing it, and has the experience to avoid the pitfalls — well, we’re here to help. (And if you get started and then get stuck, we’d love to help with that, too!)

Contact Digital Canvas for help with your WordPress website today!

Patriotic Favorites in Graphic Design


With the 4th of July holiday weekend still fresh in our minds, and the 2016 Presidential Election gearing up, we thought we’d look back at some of our favorite designs that represent the red, white, and blue. Below we’ve gathered some examples of patriotism in three forms of graphic design; Print Design, Packaging Design, and Logo Design.


Print Design

“Two Thousand Thirteen Stripes” Poster by UnderConsideration

We’ll start off with a poster that celebrates the holiday itself.

A Fourth of July-themed poster that celebrates the independence of the thirteen original colonies by replacing the “13” of the year it was produced (2013) with their representative thirteen, red-and-white stripes in the United States flag.


Packaging Design

You can’t get more American than the United States Postal Service.

The postal service packaging went through a update in the summer of 2013. The results were not groundbreaking but it was definitely an improvement over the old design. The new packaging is much more simple and sophisticated with only minor embellishments and a lot of white space.

A while after the initial release of the packing, GrandArmy (a NY-based agency) presented a comprehensive look at the work they did for USPS. Included in this scope of work is the redesign of the packaging. Their original version had a little more flair than the final work they inspired (which was produced by another vendor).



Above is the originally proposed packing design by GrandArmy

They also created a lot of signage and other print materials that are just as beautiful. You can view more of their projects here.


Logo Design

Lastly we’ll look at newer designs being used right now by the 2016 presidential hopefuls. There are so many candidates/logos that we are only showing our favorites so far.


hillary_clinton_2016-1Hillary Clinton : This is one of the most radically simple logos in presidential design. This mark will never get lost in a sea of other logos. It communicates exactly what the candidate represents.


rand_paul_election_logo-1Rand Paul: This mark uses the negative space between the “A” and “N” to create a torch (a libertarian symbol). The type is bold and simple and the symmetry in this mark is very pleasing.


BernieBernie Sanders: The past two marks are unusual for previous presidential years in they both only use the candidate’s first name. Following this trend is Bernie Sanders. It is a simple and classic looking political logo and feels more laid back than the aggressive marks above.


References: new_packaging_for_usps_priority_mail.php#.VXbqJFxVhBc

Email Marketing – Avoid the SPAM Folder


How to Avoid the SPAM Folder:

Your email marketing efforts may be “for not” if you can’t avoid the spam folder of your recipient. Here are some methods we’ve found to be helpful. The best way to avoid your emails from being filtered as spam is to understand what spam is and how the filters work. Even if you are sending legal and engaging emails is good to have a understanding of the process. Keep in mind, there is no real quick fix to avoiding the spam folder.


What is Spam?

Spam at its core is an unsolicited extraneous email sent to a bulk list of people. Wiki explains email spam as “unsolicited, undesired, or illegal email messages.”

How Spam Filters Work?

Spam filters look at a long list of factors when determining whether or not an email is spam. Each offending factor is weighed and added up. If your campaign’s total “spam score” exceeds a certain threshold, then your email goes to the junk folder. These scores are not universal. So an email that passes one filter won’t pass them all. The practices for factoring the scores are never published in order to prevent spammers from abusing them. Though there are still some common mistakes you can avoid your emails going in the junk folder.

Common Mistakes

The first thing to think about is creating quality email content. The best tactic to get past filters is to produce high quality emails in order to create healthy subscriber engagement. Be mindful of the following mistakes.

Spammy Phases – Avoid spammy words and phrases like “CLICK HERE!” or “FREE! BUY NOW!” Don’t mention getting rich quick or making tons of money or getting free everything today.

Professional Formatting – Avoid using CAPS LOCK, especially in the subject line. Excessive exclamation points and wild colors, such as bright reds and greens should never be used.

Healthy Linking – Don’t send emails with 40 links and minimal text. This is a popular tactic by spammers. Keep a balanced text to link ratio.

Clean Coding – Sloppy HTML coding could land your email in the junk folder. Hire someone who knows how to code… and code well.

Balanced Images Creating an HTML email that’s nothing but one big image, with little or no text. Spam filters can’t read images, so they assume you’re a spammer trying to trick them.

Minding Your Email List – Sending an email to several people within the same company can come across as spam from that company’s firewall.

Not getting any action? Move on. If the people on your list have not engaged in the campaigns through opens and clicks, it’s time to remove them from your list. Subscriber engagement is a big part of getting emails into the inbox, when an ISP (internet service provider) sees low engagement rates they will often begin to send the emails to the spam folder. They will then block the domain and IP addresses used to deliver the email.

If it’s stale, throw it out. Permission generally goes stale within about 6 months, so if your subscribers haven’t heard from you within that timeframe, you’ll need to reconfirm your list.

How can you know if your emails are going in the junk folder? Look at your open rate. If your average suddenly drops you may have a spam-filter problem. High bounce back rates are another indicator. Most established ESPs now receive alerts when someone marks your emails as spam. You can then remove this person from your list.

False Abuse Reports.

You don’t have to be a spammer to get reported as spam. It is sometimes a simple mistake, like when a user clicks the spam button to unsubscribe from an email.

When people receive an email they think is spam, they can just click a button in their email program to label it as such. An abuse report is then often sent to the recipient’s email program or ISP. If enough of these are received, a warning message will be sent to the sender. If complaints continue within a specific timeframe, all email from that IP address of the sending server is blocked temporarily.

Common Mistakes

So why would your legitimate emails get reported as spam? It can be a simply mistake or it could be your own fault.

Taking Too Long – Even if your list was generated legitimately (e.g. opt-in forms) if you take too long to send out a campaign the subscriber could forget they opted-in.

Using Non-Opt in Emails – If you have a list of emails from a non opt-in source, (e.g. customers who have bought your products, trade show attendees, business cards, or purchased email lists) avoid using the addresses before asking them if they’re cool with being on your list. You need to ask them to join the email marketing list before sending out offers. Just remember the biggest factor is permission.

Hiding the Unsubscribe Button – The unsubscribe button should be prominent. If they can’t find it people may mark your email as spam. Some even will place the button at the top so it is easy to find.

Unprofessional Design – If your emails look cheap or unprofessional, you can come across like a spammer. It needs to show that you are reputable company. No one will trust an unsubscribe button if it looks like you are “phishing.”


“Example of a professional looking email designed by Digital Canvas. See more examples of our email marketing campaigns in our portfolio.”

Set Expectations – If subscribers expect a monthly newsletter then you also start sending weekly offers, they will most likely mark them as spam. You can set up different lists for each frequency of email to keep them separate.

Email Firewalls.

Before an email even gets to the spam filters it first has to pass through a firewall. Firewalls are used by ISPs, large corporations, and small businesses alike, and they all communicate with each other to help identify spam and spammers.

If a firewall thinks your email is spam, it will shoot it back into no-mans-land and the recipient’s spam filter won’t even see it. It won’t even let anybody know what went on and won’t appear on a bounce back report.

But how does a server know what spam is? Your recipients teach it. When you send an email to your list, and if someone on your list thinks it’s spam (doesn’t remember opting-in to your list or if you never had permission in the first place) that recipient can report you to SenderBase, the world’s largest email monitoring network. If you get enough spam reports, SenderBase will send your data to all the firewall servers around the world, letting everyone know you’re a spammer.

All firewalls rely on reputation scores to block emails before they even get to spam filters. They all add up sending reputation differently. You can make sure your reputation is good by sending clean emails to clean lists. You can’t switch to a new email server, once you get reported, your company’s name and domain name are on the lists. All emails with your name in them, from now on, will be blocked.

If you make an effort to avoid these mistakes, you’ll likely avoid the spam folder. Your emails will be less likely to be deemed as junk and your email marketing campaign will be MUCH more effective.

Contact us at Digital Canvas today… we’d love to help in the creation (or facelift) of your email marketing campaign.

Don’t Build A Website Out of Thin Air – Use Wireframes


Don’t Build a Website Out of Thin Air – Use Wireframes

You’ve got big plans for your new website! In your mind’s eye you can already see it in living color, ready to connect you to the world.

But between the site of your dreams and the actual pixels lighting up the planet with your message you suddenly realize there’s a huge gap. Somewhere, somehow, you need a plan on which to hang all those beautiful pixels.

Enter the Wireframe.

A wireframe is like the rebar that provides the strength for the walls of a building. Or, if you like, it’s all those 2x4s that go up first that hold the drywall in place. It’s the structure of your website. And it’s the first thing (after you know how your site fits into your overall business plan) you’ll need to consider once you’re ready to begin your website build.

Wireframes, like the rebar and the 2x4s, aren’t the most exciting things to look at. The best ones are black and white line sketches. They show what the elements are that will go on the web page, and where they show up. That’s it. If you start messing with colors, backgrounds, images and fonts at this stage, you’re trying to hang wallpaper before you’ve put the wall up.

Take the sample wireframe below:












(credit: [Profilewireframe](by – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via [Wikimedia Commons](

Notice how the image is just a box with an X in it that shows that an image (eventually, it’ll be someone’s picture) goes to the left of a block of text that shows someone’s profile name, address, etc. The wireframe demonstrates how those vital statistics stay left-aligned to the right of the image, even when they extend below the bottom of the image, and they leave room for another, smaller right-aligned block of text on the top right. The main text is full width below the vital statistics-top section. The bottom of the page will have three sections: left, a media player; center, a section for four small images; and right, a list of links to downloadable files.

As you can see, this simple, plane-jane wireframe packs a lot of information, all of which is essential for the person who will turn this page into code.

Every page type on your site will need it’s own wireframe. Your home page, your blog page, your contact page, your gallery page, all of them. And if your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll need wireframes for each of these pages as it should look on those smaller screens, too.

You Can Do It. We Can Help.

There are lots of online tools that will help you draw your wireframes, and they run the range from super-simple to rocket-science advanced. Just google “Web page wireframe” and all the best ones will come to the top.

But when you’re doing a custom site design, nothing beats having an experienced designer working through your wireframes with you. A good designer will be able to help you think through proven wireframe layouts and steer you clear of common pitfalls. A good designer will also be able to help you place page componants to maximize your site’s impact based on what you want your visitors to do when they interact with your page.

At Digital Canvas, we aim for maximum effectiveness at every stage of your site’s design and build. We’d love to explore your project with you. Feel free to reach out to us for help on your next web site design.