Shawn Nesaw

We’ve made it to week two of 2011 – did your resolutions make that far? Here’s a look at a few creative resolutions we’d like to see stick this year.
1. Word is for writing, not designing
Yes, it’s true! Microsoft Word should be used for writing. Sure, you may get that creative itch to throw together some cool colors and fonts, maybe even some clip art, but there are many other creative outlets! Be strong and stay clear of designing in Word this year.
2. Use your Twitter
Twitter is an effective marketing tool – if you use it! This year, make it a plan to set up a Twitter account and keep it active. Ten Tweets over the year doesn’t count. Set up a plan or a simple rule to live by: One Tweet a day, keeps the competitors away!
3. Only use a few cohesive fonts in your design
Using six fonts won’t make your message stand out any more – it just creates more clutter! Stay true to your brand and let it speak for itself. If you’re still having trouble with this one in 2011, consider a Brand Style Guide to help keep your usage in check.
4. Allow white space to be your friend
Clutter kills and more white helps the important parts pop. Now that we’re finished dreaming of a White Christmas, let’s hope for a whiter 2011.
5. Know when and how to use key messages
They’re there for a reason – use them! Key messages are designed to keep your target audience engaged and keep your brand identity strong and consistent. With that, we’d like to see businesses utilizing their key messages through all forms of communication in 2011.
6. Be realistic about your advertising ROI
Don’t expect the results of your advertising campaign to simply pay for your media budget. This year keep in mind, return on investment can also be seen through increased awareness of your service/product and word of mouth buzz among your target audience.
7. Say no to ‘to be’ verbs
Instead of using ‘to be’ verbs – am, is, are, was, were, and be – try infusing some action into your everyday list – remains, continues, stems, maintains, analyzes, etc. These action packed verbs will liven your writing and intrigue the reader.
8. Avoid using stock imagery
If you have access to stock imagery and photography so does everyone else with a computer. Set your print collateral apart from the competition with custom photography, illustration and imagery, and say goodbye to stock!
9. Set a trend, don’t just jump on one
Of course you always want to be on top of the trends, making your target audience aware that you’re on the forefront. Take it a step further this year but making the trend your own with an innovative approach or interpretation suited for your target audience and their needs.
10.  Proofread, proofread, proofread
Make 2011 a year of proper grammar and punctuation, free of spelling errors and typos. A fresh set of eyes continues to be a great way to double check your work and make sure all written communication remains in tip-top shape!
Here’s hoping 2011 is a year of creative resolutions kept. Cheers!