Branded Holiday Cards

2012 is upon us and before you throw away all those holiday cards, take a minute to learn what to do and not to do for next season. The cards that made a more memorable impression were the ones that showed more of the business’ personality, rather than the generic ones, right? The holiday season is a perfect time to send out well-wishes and thank yous, but there is no need to shy away from branded materials when sending out cards. Below,we showcase great examples of digital and printed holiday cards that we created for the 2011 season.
This year’s Arizona Technology Council holiday card featured design elements based on their new logo. The “nodes” in the logo transform into festive ornaments and announce the celebration of the 10 years the Technology Council has existed. The email blast replicates the printed piece in design, but is formatted to be digitally appealing.
This holiday card’s purpose was two-fold. The printed piece was created specifically for Miss Details Design’s clients to announce the two businesses (Miss Details Design and Tempo Creative) coming together in 2012. The front is an ornament composed of winter celebratory words, branded with Miss Details Design colors. The card opens to reveal the Time’s Square ball filled with New Year’s themed words and phrases branded with the colors of Tempo Creative. This piece not only brings warm greetings, it also helps introduce the new direction for 2012. The email blast focuses less on the merger of two companies, but contains similar visual elements to the printed card. Since the companies will be working under the newly re-banded Tempo Creative name, there was no need to confuse current Tempo relationships with the Miss Details brand message.
Carat Smart’s tagline, “Simply Brilliant,” is truly brought to life through their 2011 holiday card. The simple, yet majestic look of Carat Smart’s brand was incorporated into the holiday cards with bokeh photography and sparkling diamonds.
Eagle Luxury Properties builds exquisite homes and then provides concierge services for property owners. One of the many services they provide is holiday decorating, and is featured in their holiday email blast.


Going green? Font matters







10 Sustainable tips for print and graphic design

1. Print in Century Gothic. Century Gothic uses 30% less ink than Arial, and is considered one of the most frugal fonts.

2. Use recycled paper. each 20 cases of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 390 gallons of oil, 7000 gallons of water, and 4100 kwh of energy. It also eliminates 60 pounds of air-polluting emissions and saves 8 cubic feet of landfill space. That’s a LOT of saving. (Bonus: some recycled paper products have an interesting texture creating a sensory design element!)

3. Buy paper derived from a sustainable forest. These trees are actually grown to be used for consumer products. The initiative has helped curb illegal logging and destruction of forests in North America.

4. Use soy based ink. It might dry a little slower, but soy based ink is much more environmentally friendly than it’s alternative which is petroleum based. (Bonus: provides more accurate colors!)

5. Alcohol free printing.

6. End product recyclable or biodegradable. Try to use products that are good for the environment even when you are done using them.

7. Shop locally. There are less transportation costs and resources used when you buy from the supplier down the street versus the supplier on the other side of the country.

8. Use digital options. Send out coupons through e-mail, and let consumers show their inboxes on their cell phones instead of asking them to print the e-mail.

9. Print double sided. Use less pages when possible.

10. Utilize page space. Why do you need margins that are 1.5 inches wide? Utilize the space on every page by decreasing margins and using a smaller font size.

Do you have any sustainability tips?

Print Finishing Touches




At first glance, printing might seem like the end of a long design project. Printing however is one of the most important parts of the entire design process.  For someone new to printing, the different finish options can be confusing. We’ve compiled a short list of the most common options for finishes, and what they mean:

  • UV Varnish: creates a gloss on the page.  A UV finish can be used as a spot treatment (on a few specific areas of the page) or across the entire page.  A spot UV treatment can be effective in making a logo really pop!
  • Matte Varnish: gives the printed page a smooth, non-glossy finish. This coating reduces glare and improves small text readability.
  • Gloss Varnish: usually used to enhance the colors of printed photographs.  The gloss reflects light and makes colors appear more vivid and enhanced.
  • Foil blocking: when metallic foil is added to the printed material with heat to set it.
  • Satin/silk: this varnish is a middle option between gloss and matte varnishes.  It provides some highlight, but is not as flat as a matte varnish.

We hope this helps, if you have more questions about print finishes, leave a comment!  To see how different print finishes can enhance your business card, click here.

Here are some print finish websites we find helpful, do you have any you’d like to share?

Restaurant’s brands are greatly influenced by front of house staff





Does a restaurant’s brand reflect in the front-of-house employees’ appearance, attitude, and guest interaction? These employees are communicating with guests from the moment the guest walks through the door and is greeted by a host.  That host just made a first impression, and that hello was an opportunity to reinforce the brand.  Every impression the staff makes on a guest is a reflection of a restaurant’s brand.

The following are a few guidelines to ensure employees are reinforcing the core brand values of a restaurant:

1.    Appearance. Are the employee’s uniforms consistent with the company?  A steak house and sports bar usually have different uniforms for a reason.  Giving uniforms a more unique appearance by adding design work can make your brand stand out and reinforce the brand in the employee’s mind.

A restaurant’s logo should always be visible to the guest.  This means more than just signage at the door and on the menu.  Everything from the pen used to take an order or sign a credit card receipt to an after dinner mint can have a logo on it.  The more times a guest sees a logo, the more likely they are to recognize it.

2.    Talking to guests.  All restaurant owners want their guests to feel comfortable and welcome, and try to hire friendly, personable employees to fit this need.  But employees should be interacting differently in different restaurants.  This can be as simple as referring to the guests by the name that was taken down with the reservation, as opposed to just “sir” or “miss”.

Remember that negative interactions between guests and staff are more memorable than those that are positive. Here is Aaron Allen’s encounter with Le Bernadin and how his experiences were broadcast to thousands of followers via social media.

Communicating expectations for how employees are expected to interact with guests can be done through proper and continuous training.  Creating a brand book as part of an employee handbook is a great way to reinforce a restaurant’s brand.

3.    Sales.  Restaurants need sales to survive.  Employees should be trained to go into specific detail about each and every item on the menu.  It is much more persuasive to hear about the preparation, marinade, side dishes, and taste than it is to hear “it’s good.”

Servers with photographic memories are few and far between, so this goal may seem far-fetched.  Creating an insert for the check presenter that servers take down orders with is a great way to give employees a cheat sheet.

4.    Attitude. We’ve all had that tired server that seems to hate their job. That server probably affected not only your dining experience, but everyone they waited on that night, that week, or even that year. You, and everyone else that encountered that server, might have told friends, or posted a review on Yelp, or Tweeted about their experience. Many opinions were shaped and affected by one server.  Companies can make certain they keep employees happy by hiring people that have similar core values, expectations, and brand vision as the company. Do you want to use your employees to your advantage in the online world? Here is a great blog on the subject!

The best employees are those that love coming to work because it doesn’t seem like work – it’s a passion.  At Miss Details Design, our passions combine to create exceptional work for our clients.  Remember that the employees in your restaurant are a team, and their efforts in working together are what create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your guests.

Have you had an exceptional restaurant experience lately? We’d love to hear about what stuck in your head after you left! Please share your stories.


Menu Design: You think you’re ordering what you want, but you’re wrong. The psychology and design behind menus

A menu should reflect your business, entice your customers, and increase profits all at the same time.  These goals can be realized with the three secrets to menu design: typeface, overall aesthetic, and diction.


First, ask yourself a few questions.

  • What is the theme of the restaurant/menu?
  • What kind of feeling are you looking for? i.e. sophisticated, minimalist
  • What words describe the feeling you’re looking for?
  • What kind of lighting will there be when customers are reading the menu?
  • Are there any practical constraints? i.e. lighting and space

Take the answers to these questions, and choose a few fonts.  Then, with the fonts in mind, ask yourself a few more questions.

  • Is it easy to read?
  • Does it distract the reader?
  • Does it look to big or too small (usually font size over 12pt. is too big)?
  • Does it relate to the restaurant logo and other signage?

A study in Psychological Science states that, “People infer that if something on a menu is difficult or hard to understand or hard to read that it takes great skill and effort to prepare.”  Other menu experts disagree.  Founder and CEO of Quantified Marketing Group, Aaron Allen states that he raised sales of a restaurant just by making the font easier to read.  He suggests using simple language, few capital letters, and a sans-serif font.  Whichever method you decide, make sure you test it first!

Overall look of the Menu

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as “menu engineering.”  Also referred to as menu psychology, it refers to “the field of study devoted to the deliberate and strategic construction of menus”.

Keep in mind where guests look the most on your menu.  On a three-page menu, the guest will look to the top right and left corner, and to the middle of the center page.  On a one-page menu, the guest will look to the area right above the center.  These are key places to position the restaurant’s most profitable items.

Prices should not be aligned to the right and stacked beneath one another.  Stacking allows the guest to find the cheapest item without even looking at the descriptions.  The price should be integrated with the description of the menu item and placed only a few spaces away from the last words of the description. The prices should not have “…” leading to them and should not be bold.  Bold prices give the guest the impression that the dish is more expensive than it actually is.

Photographs should be of fine quality.  Tantalizing pictures of food and drinks are going to make your guests want to try the item.  If a picture looks dull, or the color is off, the guest will think that it tastes dull too.  Photographs should be professional, bright, and vivid.

If you have specialty items, you want your guests to notice them.  Do this by making the items bold, using a different font, or adding a star or logo next to them.  Another group of items you want to stand out are the new dishes. Create menu inserts that are easily replaced when new items arrive.

Choosing the Right Words

How do you make a dish sound appetizing?  Evoke emotion in your descriptions, and view them as little advertisements for every dish.  Be specific: “with a hint of cinnamon,” “sautéed onions,” or “lightly sprinkled with parmesan.” Think of what flavors or spices are in the dish and then analyze the way it is prepared.  Use a dictionary or thesaurus as a resource to expand your food vocabulary.  Longer descriptions should be used on more profitable, specialty items.

Remember that your menu is a reflection of your restaurant.  It is brand identity that guests see over and over again.  Use your menu as the window into your guests’ heart and soul – and make sure you make a great impression!

Do you have a favorite menu? We’d love to hear about it!

Did you enjoy this? You might also like:

Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners

Organic bananas, good for you and your paper! organic papers are created using a special blend of 100% post consumer waste and tree free agricultural bio-products. That’s where the bananas come in, discarded stalks of banana trees are mashed up and transformed in to sheets of paper, envelopes and even notebooks. This all-natural paper is smooth, uncoated and great for printing. But wait there’s more! Banana paper isn’t the only delicious flavor; others include mango, coffee, and lemon. By purchasing paper from a percentage of each sale goes towards an orphanage in San Jose Costa Rica.

Giving back to the environment and the ones living in it.

Neenah Paper

Neenah Paper offers a variety of “green” paper for your printing pleasure. Not
only green in color [see Green Tea], but also green as in environmentally

Environment Premium Recycled Papers have four recycled options.

1. 100% Recycled Fibers-also known as paper produced without the use of
chlorine and recycled paper material.

2. 80% Mixed Resources-which is made up of 80% post consumer ber and even
better, the paper pulp comes from well-managed forests, certied by the FSC
[Forest Stewardship Council].

3. 50% Recycled Alternative Fibers-here we have a combination of fibers such as
bamboo and bagasse [a fancy word for sugarcane] and 50% post consumer
ber. This process uses less chemicals and energy than the others. Bonus!

4. 30% Mixed Sources-a blend of 30% post consumer fiber and 70% FSC certied

Take your pick!

Questions About Green Printing?

We hear a lot about “being green,” “doing our part,” and “sustainability,” but even if we want to act more environmentally responsible, how can we do it?

Well, one thing that affects all of us is printing, especially if we have a business.  The good news is that there are a ton of ways that we can become more sustainable by making certain printing choices.  The bad news is that there are a lot of ways, meaning that things can get confusing.

Here is an excellent article that shows how to take some basic steps to make more sustainable printing choices.

Happy Hunting!