The Creative

And the winner is… Awards at PPG

July 22, 2014, Brian Roff, ProPoint Graphics Designers

PPG Award Winners

Brief, weekly standing meetings at ProPoint provide a forum for getting everyone on the same page and discussing company business. Topics range from workflow status to kitchenette etiquette (FYI: the fridge is cleaned out the second Wednesday of every month). This week, ProPoint turned the meeting into an all-out awards ceremony.

Since the early oughts, ProPoint has recognized the top two designers of the year with a cash bonus at the holiday party. Recently, this evolved into an award given quarterly to any employee for “an outstanding contribution to the company,” Jim Confalone, ProPoint Founder and Creative Director, explained. Only last year, did this award get a name, the Prophy—think ProPoint + trophy—and matching hardware. If you won a karate championship as a kid, you may have the exact same trophy at home. Stanley Cup style, the trophy resides at the desk of winner for the entire quarter they are reigning Prophy champion. This quarter’s awardee, Jeff Sholl (AKA “bathrobe guy” from the ProPoint 2013 holiday card), admitted to being “very, very happy to be a two-time Prophy award winner.” Already one of ProPoint’s most eligible bachelors, Jeff now has some extra dough burning a hole in his pocket.

ProPoint kept the awards coming and honored employees who have given five or more years of service to the company: Demitri Alexander, Lauren Blair, Adam Grossman, Erika Harada, Rachel Jones, Mike Rentzel and Rich Robinson. All received gifts that were remarkably (almost eerily) personal and thoughtful. ProPoint HR/Talent Acquisition Manager, Alina Arias, has nothing short of Santa-like intuition. Gifts included a custom leather laptop bag, a Four Seasons gift certificate (“I’m going to get a massage!”), a gift certificate to a farm with grass fed meats, (“They have an eight pound brisket!”), and a mutewatch (just Google it).

Scott Falivene, ProPoint Art Director, had the singular honor of working here over ten years and received a Taylor acoustic guitar (which is one hell of a guitar). Having played since age 13, Scott was “overwhelmed and flattered.” His own guitar is in sad shape and barely playable after it fell into the hands of “a malcontent roommate.” Asked how ProPoint could have known this was exactly what he wanted, Scott admitted “Gabe [ProPoint Project Manager] sleuthed it out of me.” Turns out the two go way back as both friends and bandmates in multiple bands including Robots are Strong and Piston Honda (no joke).

The meeting was followed by free, office-wide lunch. With such a bounty of gifts, Wednesday, July 16th was not a bad day at the ProPoint Graphics office. Not a bad day at all.

Written by: Brian Roff, PPG Designer

Millennials: The First Generation to Come of Age with Interactivity

July 15, 2014, Camilla Cooper, Interactive, Millennials, Monica Siguenza, Rich Media, Strategy

Millie and Interactivity

Dear Reader,

My generation of Millennials is pretty unique. It’s not because it’s hard to keep our attention, that’s the case with any group of young people.  We’re unique because our generation is the first to grow up with interactivity and the internet, which means we expect to be able to control how we receive information.  Static information just won’t cut it and we’ll have moved on after 8 seconds.

Interactivity gives us freedom to explore and keeps us intrigued.

Google Interactive Infographic

Being able to interact with your message allows your users with short attention spans to not only see your message visually, but also ‘touch’ upon your story in a way where we can guide ourselves. Adding a quick video for us to click on and listen to doesn’t hurt either, whether it’s on your website or embedded in an interactive newsletter. As you’re making your travel plans this summer, check out our interactive Google HTML5 sample to experience what I’m talking about.

Millennials may not be the top decision makers for most companies just yet, but we’re on our way. We’re probably still a large portion of your audience – both in and out of the office. Don’t just give us words to read and forget. Give us an experience we’ll remember. By making your content less static and more interactive, you’ll find we might just stick around long enough to stop and smell the roses.

Until next time,

— Millie

Millie the Millennial is the nom de plume of Camilla Cooper, PPG’s Strategic Accounts Coordinator.

Illustrated by Monica Siguenza, PPG Designer

Taking a Chance on Google Slides

July 11, 2014, Adam Grossman, Google Slides, PowerPoint Design, Presentation Design, Presentation Development, Presentation Preparation

Google Slides Wheel

 

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”

—Arnold Bennett.

 

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to scare us. Something new may be a huge leap forward; we just have to get past our fear of the unfamiliar. On that note, I’d like to discuss Google Slides and why you should be using it.

First off, getting started is easy. All you need is a Gmail account. That’s it. There’s nothing to buy and nothing to install. Most of Slides features will already look familiar since Google was clearly influenced by Microsoft’s functionality.

Like PowerPoint, you can begin with a pre-set theme. Also like PowerPoint, these themes are not ideal, but if you have to choose one, go with something simple and clean. Since you probably already have a PowerPoint template, just go ahead and import that. Your color palette and fonts will automatically appear (as long as your font is offered in Google’s web font library).

You can also create your own template by manipulating the master slides. This may involve a slight learning curve, so if you have any issues, just give us a call. Now, you’re ready to get started, so click Ctrl+M to add a new slide (just like PowerPoint) or right-click and select that option from the menu that appears. There’s no worrying about losing work if something crashes because changes are automatically saved.

Almost all of the PowerPoint tools are available with the notable exception of a graph/chart feature (I am assuming that is on the way). A good workaround is to go into Google Spreadsheet and create your graph there. Just save it as a .png and insert it into your slides.

Inserting a video is easy as long as it’s on YouTube (but what’s not on YouTube?). You’ll find it’s easy to add animation. Just remember to keep the animation simple. In our experience, too much animation can be distracting and cause “presentation motion sickness.” Google Slides also works well with gifs—just note they won’t animate until you’re in presentation mode.

The most innovative features are the sharing, collaborating, and commenting tools I discussed in my previous post. Having multiple people work in one document at the same time with real time updates is incredibly useful for any collaboration. What’s the equivalent in PowerPoint? There is none. Exactly. You can always export your presentation as a PowerPoint (for your friends too scared to get onboard the Google Slides train).

I know, in the end, it’s really all about your message and how you communicate it. I just think you’ll find Google Slides to be a handy tool. Give it a shot.

Written by: Adam Grossman — PPG National Account Executive