Holiday Wish

By Bill Alpert / December 25, 2007

Christmas presence
+++++++++++++++++++

There is a light in the darkness. It is love; it is joy.

There is a pure and simple radiance with a positive, joyous
power. It warms the hearts of those who value peace and
love.

The spirit of Christmas transcends beliefs, traditions,
culture and customs. It speaks directly to the heart, of
love and grace, of giving and of renewal.

In the pure, limitless power of love, life is created and
sustained. In the radiance of this day, love’s presence is
joyously expressed again and again, in countless ways.

In this moment, new life begins. And love is the
ever-present purpose that drives every other purpose.

On this day, you have a glimpse of how truly blessed you
are. Give love, give joy, and you have even more.

Ralph Marston

On the Road

By Bill Alpert / December 22, 2007

Posted by Bill Alpert

December has been my month to travel cross country; if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share a highlight of my trip.

bourbon.JPG
Bourbon Street, New Orleans on a recent weeknight

There is, and could only ever be one New Orleans. My family’s trek across the country gave us a day to savor the city’s unique flavor. The Red Fish Grill provided a dinner I’ll remember for years to come. Check out their double chocolate bread pudding for dessert. OMG.

The real treat came with a stroll along Bourbon street. It was buzzing with activity, even on a Wednesday night. Music streamed out of practically every doorway. We were awed by a makeshift brass band which took up residence on a street corner. Their robust almost cacophonous sound, a funky, updated tribute to traditional dixieland playing was at once honest, vital and virtuostic. Most amazing of all, none of group appeared to be older than a teenager.

Beyond the French Quarter, one doesn’t have to look far to find evidence of Hurricane Katrina. The local newscasts still feature stories of the many struggles this proud city still faces.

What an embarrassment that such destruction and poverty can continue to persist so long after the hurricane. This is our country, these people our citizens, this music our heritage. Dear Lord!

jazzband.JPG
Impromptu street concert worthy of Lincoln Center

It’s been a wonderful trip. Still, we’re looking forward to being home, and sharing the holidays with friends and family. On behalf of the everyone and Copies&Ink, I’d like to extend warm and wonderful holiday wishes along with a healthy and prosperous 2008.

No vacation for good marketing

Posted by Bill Alpert on Dec. 11, 2007

December’s my month for traveling; it’s a road trip through the deep south with a long promised family destination of Disney World. It’s vacation, and part of the fun is (at least for me) has been tracking the good, bad and ugly of marketing and graphics across the USA.

Marketing 101 preaches placing consistent and persistent impressions in the target market, carrying through on “the brand” in every way possible. A good example of that is Hampton Inn, a national operation(part of the Hilton family) that caters to the mid-price market, including a good number of business travelers. It’s an organization that knows its customer, and has created a consistently high quality niche product to match.

Coffee Caddy at the Hampton Inn
Coffee at “The Hamptons”

Hampton’s marketing is a bit non-conventional, at least by motor-inn standards. Its a clean visual approach, with a touch of humor. Highlights include great black and white photography, offset by a no-frills approach to typography. The effect sells on the theme of quality, in a decidedly non-snooty way. IMO it’s a perfect fit for the road weary, and price conscious business traveler.

But back to the brand, you’ll see this image and text combo throughout the property, from elevator doors to shampoo holders, to room coffee caddy (see photos). “Some like it hot” sells the brand more than just the beverage, and the close-up cropped images on the coffee pouches whisper the quality and comfort message to the customer.

Hampton Inn shampoo caddy

The real beauty here is the simplicity factor. There aren’t any color hexachrome color seps, no gold foil and embossing here, just some well chosen stock photography and a clean visual approach that (with the requisite skills) could easily be adapted to any business. Kudos!

Photo Editing on the fly, for free!

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Picnik online flash based photo editor

There’s an old proverb about not looking a gift horse in the mouth. It certainly applies in this case. Picnik is a fully web based, easy to use and FUN photo editor, available free. It’s a great tool if you need to do a quick resize of a photo, apply a red eye filter, etc., and you don’t feel like waiting 5 minutes for Photoshop to start up.

More than anything else, this type of online software is a trend to watch; it’s an interesting snapshot of how the internet is developing, and how our daily work becomes inextricably connected to being “connected.”

But don’t take my word for it; take it for a spin yourself. And let me know your thoughts by adding a comment. Check it out at http://www.picnik.com

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