Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The EBAC blog is moving!

We are in the process of moving from Blogger to WordPress, so please remember to change your browser bookmark links to "" or add it if you haven't made it a bookmark!

There is one more post for this month (Sunday Design Tips this upcoming weekend on 10/30), which will appear on WordPress — everything from here on out will be posted directly on WordPress. There may be a slight lag or delay in posts during the switch.

Let us know if you find broken links, something missing, or have any suggestions for things to be added! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email us at ebacblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Donuts + croquettes,
Mayene Design

Wednesday Item Feature: A sophisticated Halloween choker

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you're not one for costumes and flamboyant decor, here's a more subtle item for those a little bit more quiet but still appreciative of the spooky holiday. Ohmay on Etsy knits a variety of goodies in San Francisco, and I spotted a cute one just in time for this orange-and-black holiday (or, if you'd like, in advance for that Thanksgiving dinner coming up in a month).

More like a toasty brown with dangling copper elements, this choker necklace is fitting for both the more refined Halloween lover or even just a San Francisco Giants fan looking for nice accessories to be worn on a daily basis. If you love Halloween color combinations outside of the holiday, this is a nice treat for your neck anyway. Multiple strands of dainty ribbon are clasped together in the back, with a beautifully knit pendant in front. The knit pendant is also removable and can be used as a brooch for a peacoat or plain little black dress with the addition of a safety pin that you might find laying around your house.

This is an absolute gorgeous find for those looking to buy something for the season and out of the season (fitting for both Halloween and Thanksgiving!), as this is a piece that can be worn beautifully at any time of the year and for many occasions. Looking for unique jewelry for your bridesmaids? A set of these choker necklaces for a bride and her bridal party can happen, and if you would like a different color combination, just send a message to the maker!

Crafted from cotton yarn and antique tone copper findings, this choker necklace is fitting for the older Halloween lover or just a lover of chokers in general. Get your hands on one (or two) and keep your neck cozy while you take your kids trick-or-treating or save its autumnal aura for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Check out ohmay's listing on Etsy now: Hand Knit Choker Necklace - Toasty Brown TieDye Angel Wings!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why reducing prices may not be the best idea

I met an artist at a design fair this summer who made beautiful miniature figurines encased in glass boxes. Each piece was a scene in a play and staged with obsessive detail. Well worth the $500 price. Maybe not a price that appeals to everyone which is probably why a customer who was browsing her art started backing away slowly after seeing the price tag. The artist stopped her and asked how much she would pay and even suggested a few prices…

"$100, $50…$25??"

$25?!? I thought she was kidding (and so did the customer). But no. She was serious.

As a pricing geek, I asked why she was offering such ridiculous discounts. Her answer was: "I'm just starting out and I just want to put as much of my art in people's homes."

That's a reasonable explanation. I make art and sometimes I've talked to the artist I partner with about ways to get our art into people's homes. We've toyed with the idea of reducing all our prices. The more we've talked the more it's sounded like desperation and insecurity. We stopped and asked ourselves, is price really the problem? What if it's something else?

Are we selling at the right venue?

Are we selling to the right audience?

And most importantly, if some pieces aren't getting any interest, is it because they're duds? (Oh yeah, we make a lot of duds.)

It's important to analyze that kind of stuff before reducing prices because once you do roll back, you send a few signals to your audience:

The most glaring of all is, previous customers who paid full price will feel cheated. Not even Apple fanboys can get over that hurt. Apple initially introduced the first iphone at $500 dollars, then dropped the price by $100 after a few weeks. For the first time, the fanboys blogged in anger. Apple hardly ever apologizes but in this instance, they did. They also returned $100 to everyone who bought at full price.

Another problem is, you're telling customers that they might be bringing a cheap product into their homes. This is a real turn off. To a customer dropping the price may not translate to "We're doing this because we want to get our art into your home." Rather "This isn't as valuable as we imagined."

Another side effect is, customers may start waiting for the price to drop even more. The car companies must have trunk loads of case studies to back this bit. Even video game enthusiasts waited for the Playstation3 price to drop (as always) and it never did, hurting sales.

If price is the problem—and in this tough economy sometimes it is—it may help to TEMPORARILY reduce prices to get stuff into people's homes. But how do you do that without hurting your brand?

All the best marketers I know use one tactic: Give people a GREAT REASON for lowering the price. The best reason is, you are doing for fun versus just to get them buy stuff. And by fun I mean customers have to feel like they've earned the discount.

A manager at new Ikea store in Sweden uploaded pictures of his store and asked his customers to tag their favorite pieces of furniture. The first person to tag an object got to take it home. Customers had fun and the promotion cost him nothing. Except the price of the furniture which he wanted to give away anyway.

Zappos keeps prices high but offers free shipping on sales and returns. We took a page out of the Zappos playbook. We just gave free shipping to a customer in Brazil. It cost us $40 to ship. But we got it into his home. We also said we'll give him another 50% off on his next purchase if he sent us a picture of the objects at his house with 5 friends. He wrote back saying he's throwing a party to gather some friends.

An artist we know offered a customer 50% off a San Francisco themed print if he could answer three questions about the city. The customer got all the answers right. He earned the reduced price only because he aced the quiz. Fun!

Sometimes lowering prices is a good idea but do it in a way that protects your brand. If you're a new artist, that may be a way to get your stuff into people's homes. I'd love to hear what you've tried. Go ahead and share it in the comments.

This is a monthly post of the touchiest of all subjects, pricing! See you again in November. For the October feature, "What's the price of garbage?", I've updated the post with the answer here. Thanks for all your comments!

Posted by Vinit (TheWhiteout)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign: When to use what

If you're planning on doing some basic design or photo work for yourself, it's important to know the differences between the basic Adobe Creative Suite programs. One of the most basic packages Adobe offers is the Creative Suite Design Premium; this includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. You might want all three, you might only want one. So, how do you know what's good for you?


If you're dealing with photographs, you're most likely going to want to work in Photoshop — the name is the big hint. When you're retouching photos, digitally cleaning up a little dust from your camera lens, brightening photos that came out to dark in an otherwise sunny location, or cropping unnecessary background clutter out of the picture, you'll want to do it all in Photoshop.


Illustrator is a "vector based" program, which means if you're planning on designing something in a vectorized style, such as a logo, or working mainly with type and text, Illustrator would be the best choice. With a few exceptions, think about "illustrating" something in Illustrator — one of the main tools used in Illustrator is the pen tool. It's a daunting tool that cause many users to shy away from the program, but once you start to understand how it works and play around with the pen tool, it's a fun thing to create things with, including shapes and abstract images.


Generally understood to be a good platform to create multi-page documents in (e.g. books), InDesign is a good program where you can combine text and images. While you cannot heavily edit photos in InDesign like you can in Photoshop, if you want to combine photographs and text in flyers, posters, or small books, you can do this easily in InDesign. You'll be able to combine images and text without worrying about accidentally flattening layers (as in Photoshop) or directly affecting your photograph. If you think you have a basic understanding of Photoshop and Illustrator already, InDesign might be a good supplemental tool for you. This is a better alternative to programs such as Powerpoint (which should only be used for presentations, really) and Microsoft Publisher.

Let's not worry about InDesign for now and we'll focus on Photoshop and Illustrator first.


While you can still type and edit text in Photoshop, text may be treated as a rasterized image in Photoshop in your final product, which might cause blurriness or pixelation on the edges of larger display sized text if you're not careful. But, If you think that you'll be doing more photo editing work than designing, then Photoshop will most likely be your answer.

Illustrator can produce sharper images and objects, but cannot edit photos. You can draw and create shapes and images in Illustrator using the pen or shape tools (you can do this in Photoshop as well, but it is much easier in Illustrator). While Illustrator can do limited 3D rendering, its generally best known for its ability to generate 2D (flat) images sharply, also known as vectorized images or objects. For example, pineapples, cucumbers, and oranges!

These are just the basic ideas of each program — you aren't limited to playing with text in Illustrator, as Photoshop can produce some wonderful typographic-centered images as well! Each program has its strengths and weaknesses, and I'll be touching on specific features and tools in future EBAC Design posts.

Have questions? Looking forward to next Sunday's Design Tips and want to know or learn something specific? Comment!

Cheese + butter,
Mayene Design

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Item Feature: Happily hanging skulls

When we think of skulls, we normally think of them in black and white or otherwise pretty monochromatic. Bone color, dark settings, creepy feelings. Erin Crocianni from Oakland (also known as PuffyWoodson on Etsy) steps away from this feeling and presents skulls in a colorful environment, with brightly colored chains.

Erin carefully paints tiny skulls and makes them into beautiful wooden cameo necklaces, adorned with crystal accents. Choose from a purple, red, green, or pink chain to go along with it, and you've got yourself a happy Halloween necklace that your friends or co-workers can hardly accuse you of being morbid for wearing. With the cameo measuring 2" by 3" hanging on a 20" chain, this would accompany a plain black t-shirt (v-neck or crew neck) very well to help this little buddy pop out at viewers without scaring them.

Handcrafted from wood, chain, and gems, give your little daughter a happy take on Halloween if the holiday appeals to her or get two and present your best friend with a pair of these colorful necklaces to wear as symbols of your friendship if you're into that kind of thing. Know someone's birthday is coming up near Halloween? Cheer them up with a sugar skull cameo! Great as a gift, a personal accessory, or even as a decoration to hang on your wall at home by your desk or at work to give your space a little color, this necklace is one to talk about.

Remember, this listing is for one necklace only! Order one and set a bright Halloween trend; the wide grins on these skulls are sure to put a smile on your face!

Check out PuffyWoodson's listing on Etsy now: Sugar Skulls Cameo necklaces 1!

Tune in next week for the Wednesday Item Feature!

Love & donuts,