Public Service Announcements

A well-written and produced Public Service Announcement (PSA) can be a vital part of gaining exposure for an event, organization or cause. Public Service Announcements are a form of advertising, but one in which you are not trying to sell a product, but make information known to the public. Many non-profit organizations use PSAs to announce fundraisers or charity events, draw attention to a specific cause or let the public know that a resource, or the organization itself exists.

When producing a PSA, it is always best to consider the medium with which the information will be broadcast; television, radio, print or online outlets each have their own unique set of criteria not only for the information that should be provided, but also by the outlets themselves. If a Public Service Announcement is not interesting, informative or well written, there is the possibility that it will not be broadcast at all, just as if a Public Service Announcement is written for a specific demographic that the outlet itself does not reach. Public Service Announcements are also subject to guidelines set in place by the Federal Communications Commission in terms of content, length or subject matter. Always contact potential broadcasters or publishers to see if they have specific requirements, as they may also have information beyond what you have already considered. If you have a background in advertising, you may already know what it takes to create an informative Public Service Announcement.

As a way of advertising for non-commercial interests, Public Service Announcements can go a long way in getting information into the hands of the public. Well thought out information that is delivered in a succinct, yet approachable manner will benefit the cause or organization, giving it a quick chance in the spotlight and gaining more and more supporters as your campaign moves forward.

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Organizing Your Closet

organizing your closetAn organized closet is a happy closet, or so they say, but organizing a closet can be a chore that is easily pushed aside because of the work involved. No matter the size of the closet, there are design solutions that help create a better space and help keep clothing, shoes and accessories organized.

Begin by clearing out your closet of everything it contains. A fresh canvas is easier to work with than a space filled with clutter or chaos, and you will be able to see the structure of your closet and determine if any additional elements are needed, such as racks, shelving or other organizational devices. Fitting your closet with items to help keep things organized doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can always consult with an interior designer to see if they have any suggestions to improve your space, as well.

Once you see your closet and improve its storage ability, it is time to sort through the items you pulled out. If you tend to keep things to wear “someday,” think of the possibility that someone else could really use the item you are storing, and consider donating it, and other items that you will likely never use. If your clothes are worn out or stained, sending them to the trash or repurposing them around the house or for craft projects is a great way to make more room in your closet. The items you wear daily should definitely stay in your closet, while seasonal clothing such as coats and sweaters can be stored elsewhere until needed.

Once you have finished with the sorting and donating the clothing, take a look at your closet and see where you can best store shoes, purses, belts, hats, ties or other accessories. Inexpensive hooks or racks may be mounted on the walls for smaller items, or for jackets or items you need to quickly grab.

Closets may come in all shapes and sizes, but regardless of the space involved, there are solutions to help increase the storage available and give your closet a more functional use. Always remember that the more organized your closet is, the more space you have to store new clothes and accessories.

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Virtual Reality Therapy

virtual reality therapyWhen it comes to video games, the last thing many people think of is how they can be beneficial and therapeutic to those who play. With the technological advances in video game design, games are taking on a new life as “virtual reality therapy.”

Psychotherapy has taken on Virtual Reality Therapy, or VRT, as a way to help people with anxiety, stress, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and there is even research into how VRT can help people with addictions. The concept is simple and is much like what is displayed in movies, a person is introduced into a virtual world through devices that encompass their senses, such as head-mounted displays for video and audio simulation as well as joysticks and other monitoring devices. The person experiences different scenarios through Virtual Reality Therapy that are tailored to their specific needs as a means to process trauma, calm their anxiety or stress or help desensitize them of their phobias. This gives the therapist and the client a safe way to cope with mental health issues and still provide solutions for afflictions that can be crippling.

While video game design continues to evolve and produce a more and more realistic gaming experience, the same technology can be used therapeutically and help people with emotional or phobic disorders gain control over their own lives again. The benefits of a virtual reality environment are still being researched, but with the progress shown by many recipients of this therapy, there is no doubt that the possibilities of treating these afflictions are growing just as fast as the technology itself.

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Smithsonian Magazine Sponsors "Museum Day"

museum dayWhen it comes to learning about history, different cultures, art or science, a museum is a great way to bring interactivity into education. Museums are available in almost every large city, and even smaller cities, as public places to engage in an educational environment, and on September 25, 2010, over 1,300 museums are free!

Smithsonian Magazine is sponsoring this national event and encouraging families to enjoy their local museums, planetariums, botanical gardens and more. This is your opportunity to your education than the ability to study displays and information presented by historians, geologists, and professionals in visual communication or art history. Certain museums including Adler Planetarium in Chicago, The Dallas Museum of Art, Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts, The Tampa Museum of Art and The Autry National Center in Los Angeles will offer on-site activities including contests, tours, and giveaways. To take advantage of the free admission you must download and print an official Museum Day Ticket from

Be sure to visit a museum in your area and be part of Museum Day. Its free, its fun and you and your whole family can benefit from the experience!

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Decorating Your Dorm Room

decorating your dorm roomAs you settle into your college life, enjoying the new freedoms and responsibilities as an adult, you may want to try to make your dorm room feel more like home. As a place to study, relax or enjoy time with new friends, your dorm room should say something personal about you. Most college students do not have the time or budget to hire an interior decorator (and really, would you?) but there are ways to take your dorm room from its cinder block or plain white walls into something unique and inviting.

The focal point of many dorm room is the bed, so be sure to have linens that show off your style and that are comfortable and feel like “home” to you. Reversible comforters give you extra options for when you need a change, and throw pillows can be covered easily with different fabrics for a new look any time. You can also consider stringing up some holiday or other novelty lights for fun and to give you softer lighting. Decorate your walls with homemade murals of photos, your own artwork or use colored chalk to create your own wall designs. Hang curtains or use sheer fabrics to help screen out sunlight.

Your dorm room does not have to be just a place to throw your books between classes, and it should incite feelings of relaxation and fun while you study. Making your dorm room into something reflective of your own personality and tastes can be simple and easy, using your own creativity and design skills.

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Tips for Basic Website Design

When building a website for your business or organization, it is always best to put your best design skills forward if you have the time and basic skills it takes to create and maintain a website. While hiring a web designer is always an option for a professional design, it is possible to create your own website that will get your message or brand out to the public, giving you a sense of accomplishment as well as benefitting your business or other online ventures.

basic website design tipsWith today’s different websites, it can be confusing to know what type of information and design applications to include in your site. Many consider the best designs to be those that use current technology and a design that is easy to navigate, as well as visual aspects that connect with your end-user.

The text on your site can make all the difference in how your website appears to users, as well as to search engines. Be sure to use words and phrases that grab attention and inform the public of your website’s purpose or product, but don’t overload the amount of information given. People are known for skimming website copy and may move on if you have too much text. Consider well-placed headings or bulleted lists instead of long-winded paragraphs.

Keep your color scheme simple and easy on the eyes. Remember that while you may love certain colors together, many people cannot tolerate vivid, flashy websites and will quickly close a window if the colors are too bright. Be sure to include a header, a side column (or two) for navigation or important information and a footer to help users quickly find the information they want. Keep the visual structure of your entire website the same throughout and always have a way for people to find your home page, as well as links to any social networking sites your business may be part of. A good web designer, whether professional or the do-it-yourself type, should always keep the end-user in mind when creating a website.

A good website design can make your company or organization stand out from the competition. If you take the time to focus on basic design elements, you can make a great website all on your own.

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Facebook, Business and Web Design

Social media and online networking are important buzzwords in today’s marketing and advertising. No longer is a static web page the standard for a business or organization. A web page that is interactive and linked to a greater audience or online community has become the trend, giving your end-user the ability to have his or her opinion heard, ask questions and generally be part of a company’s brand and the ability to choose a product wisely. In order for a web designer to keep up with the latest website trends, integrating a social presence on a website is an imperative and valuable skill to master.

facebook logoFacebook is a constantly evolving social networking website that has been hailed as one of the most important places a business can have a presence. With over 500 million users, and growing, businesses and organizations are recognizing the value of the audience that can be reached on this social network. Many businesses now have Facebook Fan Pages on which they can advertise, open up discussions, promote specials or any other number of socially-integrated applications. In order to best take advantage of the benefits of Facebook, a web designer needs to know about FBML (Facebook Markup Language) and how it can customize a Facebook Fan page in order to connect with customers and best use the resources that Facebook provides.

FBML allows a web designer to integrate graphics, video, Flash, or other visual and Internet marketing tools to create an impressive and accessible way for businesses and consumers to communicate together. It gives a business an impressive image that can distinguish it from the competition on Facebook and engage customers and clients in a way that cannot happen on a regular website, plus, taking advatange of a relatively new area for a business' web presence adds credibility to that organization.

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Bringing Claymation to Life

Claymation, the art of animating clay models into movies or other visual entertainment, is not just for children’s shows anymore. From the earliest Claymation phenomena, Gumby, to today’s modern movies like Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit or the preschool staple, Bob the Builder, Claymation has come a long way and has integrated itself into our children's daily lives. Claymation has also begun to appear in media for adults. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas took Claymation to a newer, more mature level and has since help open the Claymation industry to a broader audience than the typical “under 10” crowd.

To make a Claymation movie, you will need clay (oil clay is traditionally used for Claymation, but polymer clay may be substituted), a digital still camera or video camera, a secluded place to use for your set that is free from distractions and disturbances and, of course, patience. Its always best to have a creative story and script prepared before filming, as well as several characters to help carry the movie along. Claymation takes time and dedication. Most Claymation movies are short, due to the time it takes to actually film them (approximately 10 frames per second, with each frame requiring the clay to change its shape). You will also need software with which to produce your movie. Programs like Adobe Premier or Windows Movie Maker. If you are a Visual Communications or Animation expert, you should already have experience using both of those, or similar, programs and understand the basics of lighting, set design and creating an engaging storyline that flows well. Once your Claymation project is complete, you can share it on video websites such as YouTube or even Facebook or on a forum like Mamsham.

Claymation is a fun and creative way to create commercials, shorts or even full-length feature films or television shows for a broad range of audiences. The biggest investment you may have is your time and vision and in time, you could have the next big Claymation production.

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