• The Rule of Thirds

    The rule of thirds is a well-known guideline for capturing great photos. To use it, visualize a three-by-three grid overlaying your image frame or camera’s viewfinder. The evenly-spaced horizontal and vertical lines create four intersections that are ideal spots to place the focal point of your shot. In doing so, you will balance the subject […]
  • How to Effectively Engage Your Audience

    Do you want to increase the chances for success from your next story, video, or other message?  Then learn how to engage your audience. “Engaged audiences” is a common term, but what does it mean?  To engage is “to attract or please; to secure for an action.”  When your readers, viewers, and listeners are attracted […]
  • Changes to Campus Typography Standards

    A few months ago, SMB surveyed campus designers to learn if our current typography standards were meeting their needs and to understand how the various brand fonts were being used. For the most part, the feedback we got was very positive. However, we did uncover a couple of typefaces that were underperforming and should be […]
  • Hail to the Orange.

    If you’ve been on campus for any length of time, you’ll know that we’ve run the gamut when it comes to the color orange. Today, we’re excited to announce we’ve landed on one single orange for the University to unite around.  Previously, there were two orange colors in use on campus – Athletics used PMS […]
  • Tips for reducing respondent fatigue

    It’s back-to-school season! Soon our students will be making their way back to campus, thanks to all the work the university has done to make this possible. As we celebrate the return of students, it’s also a good time to start considering how to respectfully access their valuable feedback.  Last year, students were inundated with […]
  • Gathering more useful feedback about your website

    I’m guessing that most of you who are reading my blog posts have developed or at least utilized email-deployed surveys as part of your job at the university. But have you also been looking at data from your website (or as I like to call it “the digital front door”) to understand the needs of […]
  • First party data (the most important party in town)

    About every five minutes, a new article comes out talking about the demise of cookies – the kind that contain data, not chocolate chips. With the demise of cookies comes the end of ad tracking, retargeting, and behavioral/locational targeting as we know it. For many of us, this is like a giant meteor hurtling toward the […]
  • Leveraging an often-overlooked brand power: Integration

    Integration. It’s one of our brand’s seven I-words, and probably the one that’s least-often used. Maybe because it’s a word that makes us think of other words we’d rather use, like "interdisciplinary” and “collaboration.” But "integration” made the brand powers list because it represents a very important U of I characteristic – one that could […]
  • High-fives: A quick look at 3 on-brand social graphics

    In my first weeks as a designer on the SMB team, I’ve spent a lot of time digging into the design section of our brand guidelines site. I’ve also enjoyed looking for examples of how campus units are using design aspects of the brand. Here are a few recent Twitter graphics that have done a […]