Tag Archives: graphic design

julena lifsey

Julena Lifsey Joins CK Group

CK Group, Inc., announced the hiring of Julena Lifsey for the role of marketing coordinator and graphic design.

Lifsey is a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a minor in business. She has two years of experience in freelance graphic design work and creating innovative design solutions for various clients. She specializes in print design focusing on advertising and marketing design but has experience in front-end web design, branding and creating company identities. Julena will provide the CK Group, Inc. with a wide range of talents and expertise. She will lead the process and development of an array of proposals, statements of qualification (SOQ), marketing materials, webpages, advertisements, press releases and design projects.

Common Cold Symptoms or Cancer?

Common Cold – Or Cancer?

Learn how to tell the difference between common cold symptoms and signs of cancer

You never miss your annual physical.

You check your breast regularly for lumps, and your skin for new moles.

You don’t smoke; you eat well and exercise regularly.

You’re in great health, so you would know if something was wrong, wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, cancer’s many forms manifest themselves through many symptoms. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize that some small, otherwise unexplained changes in health can be the early signs of cancer.

Provided below are some seemingly innocent symptoms that, if persistent, may signal deeper issues, such as cancer:

Breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath and chronic cough

Lung cancer can be difficult to diagnose early, so recognizing early symptoms is essential.  Coughing up blood is a potential symptom of lung cancer that people rarely ignore, but other subtle signs like wheezing or shortness of breath are often attributed to other causes, such as asthma or allergies. Even people who are not smokers should not ignore persistent and unexplained breathing problems, as thousands of non-smokers are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, as well as other types of cancers such as lymphomas present with similar signs.

Frequent fevers and infections

Having fevers and infections that don’t go away or occur frequently is an indicator of many cancers, including leukemia, as abnormal white blood cells begin to outnumber infection fighting normal, white blood cells. It is understandable to think it’s the flu. And it might be. But it never hurts to be sure.

Difficulty swallowing or swollen lymph nodes on the neck, underarm or groin

Many cancers can spread to lymph nodes, which are located throughout the body. If this happens, these swollen glands can increase in size and be easily felt as growing lumps.  The most common areas which people can feel these lumps (which may start as small as a pea) is in the neck, arm pit or groin. Enlarged lymph nodes under the arm are a common indicator of breast cancer and should be checked immediately by your doctor. Growing lymph nodes which can’t be felt inside your chest (which may be a result of lung cancer, lymphoma or esophageal cancer) may result in difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Excessive bruising or bleeding

Everyone has a few bumps and bruises, especially those who are accident-prone. However, it can also be a sign of leukemia or other cancers, which have spread to the bone marrow resulting in a decrease in blood products necessary for clotting. Look for frequent and unexplained bruises in strange places or bleeding gums.

Weakness or fatigue

Unexplained fatigue and weakness that doesn’t respond to sleep may be a symptom of many different kinds of cancer and other diseases, so it is important to look for additional accompanying symptoms. Let your doctor know so he or she can determine if further tests are needed.

Pelvic or abdominal pain or recurring upset stomach

Abdominal pain alone can mean a number of things, including fibroids, ovarian cysts and other disorders; so doctors don’t always think of cancer as the source. Many gastrointestinal cancers can present as abdominal pain. An enlarged spleen from leukemia can cause the same feeling of pelvic pain.

Bloating or weight gain

Of course, this could be attributed to snacking on salty treats or the normal holiday bloating. However, unexplained abdominal bloating that continues on and off for a long time is a common symptom of ovarian and colon cancer.

Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite

While it may seem like your prayers have been answered, unexplained weight loss is NOT something to be desired. Weight loss and loss of appetite may be a sign of many cancers, including colon and lung cancer. Other cancers affecting the digestive system, such as esophageal and gastric cancer, can affect a person’s ability to eat and digest food.

Swelling of facial features or extremities

Lung tumors and cancers that have spread to lymph nodes can block blood and lymphatic vessels in the chest, neck, arms and legs. This can cause puffiness, swelling or redness in the face, or swelling in the arms or legs.

Pain involving the back, ribs or other bones

The list of cancers that may spread to the bone is long, including prostate and breast cancer, making this a frequent problem for cancer patients. However, there are plenty of other causes of these symptoms unrelated to cancer because arthritis and chronic low back pain is so common.  Still, unexplained pain, which is worsening or persistent, justifies a visit to your doctor.

Almost all cancers are easier to treat and have a higher cure rate if detected early, so being aware of changes in your general health over time is important. Fortunately, most of the 10 signs described above can usually be explained by medical conditions unrelated to cancer.  But seeing your doctor early to make sure that this is true will help you sleep easier at night — and who couldn’t use that!

For more information, please visit canceraz.com.

Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

5 Tips For Creating Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

Don’t work harder: Market smarter

It’s time for that marketing brochure to be updated or to create a direct mail campaign to generate new business, but you are questioning the expense. Before you even begin, there are key considerations that will help control your costs and create a greater impact.

It is no surprise that the most expensive factor in creating new marketing materials can be the cost of production. But, buyers beware: Reducing production costs is possible if you plan ahead.

A collaborative effort between the designer and the print vendor is key. Graphic designers will always have a vision when creating a project. Your job is to ensure your designer and print representative are in communication during the development process. A knowledgeable print representative should and will ask questions in order to determine options that can ultimately lead to cost-saving.

The List

Optimal results in a direct mail campaign can be attributed to a combination of things – cool eye catching designs, attention grabbing message, strong calls to action – but it all begins with the list. Are the addresses on your list accurate? Are you reaching the right audience?

All too often the mailing list is a last-minute thought pulled together after materials have gone to print. Supplying and processing mailing lists ahead of the print run will help reduce waste by establishing an accurate count number of your actual needs. Investing in a service to thoroughly cleanse your list can remove old records and improve accuracy. The cleaner the list is, the higher your return on investment.


Most innovative printers today are running various projects in combination to help offset costs.  If you are able to provide flexibility regarding paper stock and printing time you can take advantage of an opportunity to print your marketing materials in combination with others. This helps save you money up front by sharing the set-up costs.

Finish The Job

A large portion of the costs incurred producing marketing materials derive from the set-up costs, the materials and the cost of labor or time it takes to put your project together. The more finishing services you can complete in-line, the lower your overall cost. For example, if you need 20,000, 16-page, 8.5 x 11 catalogs, think about sourcing it to a printer that can fold and glue the spine on a web press, opposed to a vendor that can only print flat sheets and then must separately fold and spine staple your catalog off-line.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In any print project the actual size or dimensions of your piece can have a significant impact on production costs. A larger postcard means less pieces fitting on a page. The more units you are able to fit onto a full-size sheet, the less time your job spends on the press, which results in savings. Additional factors to strongly consider are the postal regulations on each direct mailer.  Reducing a standard 8.5 x 11 catalog to 6 x 10.5 can reduce postage by as much as $0.12 per piece depending on the weight.

The Digital Age

When you are printing a large volume and seeking a high quality finish, more conventional, off-set printing is the method of choice. But, advancements in technology now allow a greater level of customization with digital printing, which is typically best for short runs and quick turnaround times. Digital printing is perfect for a short run, four color, print on demand project, like business cards or postcards.

Managing the production budget of your marketing materials can easily get away from you and significantly increase costs with what appears to be small decisions or choices. Adding things like a fifth color or spot varnishes, choosing an out-of-the-ordinary paper stock, or even adding a small foil stamp can put you over budget.

As a former print production manager, I’ve been tasked with controlling costs on marketing collateral for many years. In looking beyond cost saving practices like size reductions, paper selection and combining production, one particular project comes to mind that is a great example of how planning with your team can save on costs.

The client had a limited budget, but needed 25,000 two-piece pull card window mailers, which traditionally require a great deal of handwork to put together. By involving the bindery supervisor in the design process, we created an automated one-piece mailer, with a zip strip opening and perfed-out windows on both sides. The automation not only saved roughly $3,000, the finished piece was fun and very interactive for the end user.

Whatever the project, it is always best to incorporate unique design elements and strong messaging in order to create effective marketing materials without going overboard on cost.

It all goes back to the importance of planning during the design stage and enlisting the expertise of those involved.

Jim Todd in a helicopter - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Jim Todd Never Dreamed He Would Be The Valley’s Main Aerial Photographer

Jim Todd
Todd Photographic Services
Title: President
Est: 1990  |  www.toddphoto.com

“We’re the only aerial photographer in town that can shoot it, process it, print it, mount it, frame it and get it out the door same day — and that’s huge.” – Jim Todd

When Jim Todd began Todd Photographic Services 20 years ago out of his home, he never dreamed that one day he’d be the main aerial photographer in the Valley. When the economy collapsed as soon as he bought his current 9,000-square-foot building, that accomplishment seemed even less likely.

“Everyone struggled with the recession, but we had this extra burden,” Todd says. “Just the little things, like new business cards and letterheads, add up. The cost really increased and yet the revenue was decreasing. It was a real struggle.”

But Todd found ways to get by. He cut back from 12 employees to three. He rents out the 3,000 square feet upstairs in his building. And, most significantly, he increased the number of services available.

“We thought, ‘let’s bump it up,’” he says. “Let’s create a unique solution to everyone’s photographic needs.”

Today, in addition to aerial photography, Todd Photographic Services provides custom framing, custom photo finishing, mounting and laminating, architectural photography, graphic design, portraits, and custom wall murals. Plus, the building houses an art gallery. Now that things are starting to turn around, Todd hopes to start hiring back some of the employees he had to let go.

“It breaks my heart that I had to do it, and now I want to start bringing people back one at a time because we’re picking up,” he says.

Despite all of the new services the company now offers, Todd’s favorite part is still taking the aerial photographs.

“I just find it tranquil,” he acknowledges. “It’s just beautiful, and it’s the biggest part of our income. The biggest part of our income is the thing I like to do the most — how lucky am I?”

Very lucky indeed to have survived so many challenges in only the last two years. In fact, Todd considers the simple fact that the company is still standing to be one of its greatest achievements.

“Two years ago, our greatest achievement would have been different,” he states. “But becoming king of the hill and keeping our doors open is enormous. The other thing is having a good reputation. A reputation’s a hard thing to get.”

Todd attributes a lot of his success to being located in Arizona, with its weather being perfectly conducive to aerial photography. Another bonus is the rate at which Arizona is growing and houses are being built, even with the recession, which leads to more architectural photography opportunities.

“We build more homes than anywhere else in the country,” he notes. “People want to live here.”

With all that Todd Photographic Services accomplished during the recession, the possibilities for the company are endless now that things are starting to look up.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010