What does it mean to be an artist?

July 18, 2014 3 comments

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I was trained in college to be a graphic designer and worked in that capacity for many years. I tell people that I am a Neanderthal – that I go so far back that I worked with a chisel and stone. Well not that far back. I started my career in the late 60’s and my medium for creating layouts and comps for my designs was markers. I had every color in the rainbow. That was pre-computer days folks.

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Color – It is EVERYTHING in Face to Face Marketing

July 17, 2014 2 comments

AuthorI am a chatty guy – no secret and no excuses – my brain never stops (ADD), my filter is low, and I tend to share my opinions at the drop of a dime. A very strong opinion of mine that is grounded in 20+ years in the visual / face to face / 1:1 advertising world is that COLOR is king. We, as industry professionals, our customers, and our customer’s customers all have the ability to recognize minor deviations in color or say “that’s not right”. Now, if a piece of extrusion is short, box frame out of square, wall slightly out of level, carpet a bit out of square… we can easily miss those things…but when Home Depot Orange is slightly askew – we are all on it. Read more…

Inside the Industry with the Optima Sales Team

July 11, 2014 3 comments

authorRecently, we had our yearly sales meeting. A lot of things were discussed and action items given to accomplish the rest of this year forward. In the middle of this week-long event, we thought it would be a good idea to do something fun and different with our sales staff.

So, in the vein of the James Lipton show ‘Inside the Actors Studio’, the sales staff was asked the 10 questions asked of every guest on that show (modified for the Trade Show Industry). The top 5 answers were recorded and tabulated at our home office in Fenton, Missouri.

Without further ado, I give you the answers to the 10 questions:

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Independence Day 2014 – 3 Quick Thoughts on Freedom

July 3, 2014 3 comments

garyAs we make plans for celebrating Independence Day and our Freedom, thoughts typically are with our family and friends, BBQs, swimming and fireworks. It occurred to me that very few people would take the time to read the Optima Blog this week. What a great opportunity to shift our focus away from work. Besides those obvious initial thoughts, I challenged myself to ask – what are the first three things that pop into my head when I think about the 4th?

The first thought that popped to mind is reflection on the extreme sacrifices our forefathers
(including the indigenous population and recent heroes) endured to provide for our version of freedom. Memorial Day can be everyday. As a direct result of those sacrifices we, as Americans, are free to do sometimes-crazy things, like swim with sharks in the San Francisco Bay. (Well, Dave Brown did it…I am exercising personal restraint on anything that involves me becoming the main course.)

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Yaka Yaka Yaka Vroom Vroom

Originally posted on Optima Graphics Blog:

garyTop Five Reasons to Pick Up the Phone… One Reason To Hang Up

Just recently I discovered that the phone exists outside the car and WOW that thing is magical…

People havenʼt stopped using phones, we just use them in different places. Vehicles for example. Have you noticed that most people, (not you), only talk on the phone while driving? If you live in one of those neo-socialist states that long ago removed the personal responsibility of in-vehicle communications, then think way-back, back to when you had the choice to be stupid. Cruising at highway speeds, turning one-handed into school parking lots to drop off kids – little darlings madly texting away in the backseat before school, driver laughing with one hand holding the phone to their ear, the other hand waving and gesturing wildly. Whatʼs steering that beast-a-burben anyway? Letʼs not even talk about texting while driving. Text me…

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Categories: Examples

Sharkfest 2014 – Golden Gate Bridge

June 27, 2014 6 comments

First, there are no sharks in the San Francisco Bay. Sure, someone will post something to prove me wrong, but as far as I am concerned, there are no sharks anywhere and especially near where I was swimming this past weekend. On Saturday morning, I and several industry compadres (Steve Riches – Laguna Displays, Tom McAndrews – Grapevine Exhibits, and Alex Hill – Visual Merchandising) hopped on a ferry along with 350 other swimmers, jumped into the bay underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and swam back to Sausalito in time for breakfast. Read more…

Has the QR Code been cracked?

June 20, 2014 3 comments


Like most of us I am a member of multiple groups on LinkedIn and I try to check each one out once a month (if not more often.) On a recent visit to the group page I came across the QR Code Strategy & Creative Group. This made me think “Have QR codes ran their course? Do I have any recent examples of utilizing a QR code?”

The answer was yes!
Let me explain with these examples three.

Example 1:
Recently I added a QR code to my business card that links to my LinkedIn page. Obviously, I feel I am very important. My mother will concur. Now I am thinking I should have linked it to a video where I introduced Optima and myself. Read more…


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