Fonts for Dummies

You may be thinking “I don’t know anything about design, how do I deal with type in my project?” “Should I make the text on my video neon pink?” “Why is my bellybutton on backwards?” We can help you with two out of three of those questions. Let’s get started.

The font of a text controls how we see the letters on our screen. It can be a powerful feature of good design. But like any power, it can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Good type can make the difference between confusion and communication. Here are some basic tips to avoid a font fail:

1. Choosing a font

Remember when there were only a handful of fonts to choose from? Nowadays there are almost too many options. Want your text to look like it was written by a 4th grader? There’s a font for that. Want your text to look like it was eaten and spat out by a grizzly bear? There’s a font for that, too. All those possibilities can distract you from your purpose: getting your audience to read and understand your message.

Take road signs as a good example. Did you know most official highways signs are written in the official “Highway Gothic” font? It was designed to be read quickly and accurately. Imagine the chaos and confusion if road signs were written in Papyrus. Let us all take a moment of silence to give thanks for Highway Gothic.


Now let’s look the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the early Middle Ages. Its text is aligned closely with its spiritual purpose. Its pages are ornate, intricate, and visually arresting. It is meant to be studied closely and slowly.


Figure out where your project falls within that range. Are you I-40W or a medieval monk? Let your purpose guide your font choice.

2. Styling: Keep it simple

The following example should hurt:


Blueforest Studios is not responsible for any injuries that may occur as a result of looking at this image.

Just because you can apply five different strokes, a gradient fill, drop shadows, and ten different fonts doesn’t mean you should. If your text is meant to be read, legibility should be your number one focus. Styles should be applied with the greatest reserve and good reason.

3. Bring it together

Now that you know how your individual letters will look, you can begin deciding how they will sit on the page or screen. Make a hierarchy and apply it consistently. Decide how your headers will look compared to your paragraph text. What about links and sub-headers?

A great example of this comes from Pelican Books’ clean, crisply designed website.

pelicanbooksWithout thinking, we know exactly where our eye should go. Scrolling through their site is easy and intuitive.

4. Observe fonts in their natural habitat

Type is everywhere. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.

Take Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl commercial. It features a bold sans serif centered in the frame. There’s no voice over, so they need the words to do the talking.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.07.52 AM

5. Go forth and font

Here are some resources to get you started:

Font Squirrel – Great collection of free, professional fonts.
Dafont – A glut of everything from basic to illegible.
Art of the Title – Online collection of movie title typography. A good starting point for references and ideas.
The Design Blog – The best way to develop your design intuition is to absorb good design. The Design Blog is a perfect way to marinate in the latest and best.



Blueforest Gives Back – CASA Video Debut July 21st


The moment we’ve all be waiting for – the winner of Blueforest Gives Back CASA’s Video Reveal! We had our First Annual Blueforest Gives Back for local nonprofits and we’re proud to announce that we will debut the final product July 21st at The Cary Theater.

CASA is a Raleigh-based nonprofit housing developer and property manager. They focus primarily on multi-family rental properties for people living with disabilities and veterans who have experienced homelessness. CASA’s housing model ends homelessness for people in great need by offering safe, permanent places to live. CASA manages more than 340 apartments and homes across the Triangle (Wake, Durham and Orange counties) and has 22 more currently under construction.

We’ve really enjoyed this exciting collaboration, learning more about what CASA does and how they positively impact our local community. Together we’ve creating an amazing animated video that embodies CASA and their message. We can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Come learn about Blueforest Studios, CASA, and the importance of animation! See how Blueforest tells CASA’s amazing story and learn more about the annual Blueforest Gives Back for local nonprofits. Open to everyone!


When: Tuesday July 21st

Time: 3:30pm- 5:30pm (2 showings of the debut video, no excuse to miss it!)

Where: The Cary Theater 

Who: Open to everyone!

Tickets : FREE! And choice to donate to CASA.

Reserve your tickets HERE.

You don’t want to miss this!


Durham Tech Fish Wall

Do Great Things! Durham Tech Video Project

What’s Your Great Thing? Durham Tech can help you discover that.

Blueforest Studios worked alongside Engine Brandmakers and Durham Tech to create this great video project. Blueforest Studios focused on capturing the energy of the students as they found their “great thing” at Durham Tech among downtown Durham. These videos capture how students gain diverse experiences through their peers and the different opportunities available to them at Durham Tech.


This message of finding your “great thing” is the important central message in Durham Tech’s mission. They help students find their passion and career goals through their many classes and programs. Blueforest Studios focused on embodying that message in these videos through the vibrant background of downtown Durham and strong student interviewees who are eager to learn.


The purpose of these videos is to promote Durham Tech and encourage new students to enroll. These videos show the connection between Durham Tech and downtown Durham, how they go hand in hand in the students lifestyle when attending Durham Tech. The message conveyed in the videos is how students gain real world experience in the diverse and energetic environment as a student at Durham Tech and as a resident in downtown Durham.

Like this video or want something to embody your company message? Let us know what you think!


A First Time For Everything

The following post was written by Bennett Northcutt. He is one of our 2015 summer interns learning about business and finance in video production and marketing. Welcome aboard Bennett!

View post on



Earlier this week, I began my internship here at Blueforest Studios. Not knowing what to expect, I walked into the office Monday morning to find an intrinsic group of people dedicated to what they do, and boy, do they do it well. Blueforest offers an array of avenues for companies to increase local awareness. One way Blueforest does this is by offering an annual competition for one lucky nonprofit in the Triangle area to receive a free video called Blueforest Givesback. Nonprofits submit applications as to why they deserve the video and Blueforest selects one company which they feel has the most compelling story. How awesome is that? Then Blueforest creates a free video worth $5,000 to $10,000 for the nonprofit. This year CASA was the lucky winner of the Blueforest Givesback competition. The other interns and I were tasked with brainstorming a radio spot to advertise the screening of the winning video Blueforest created for CASA. CASA is different from any other organization I’ve worked with in the past. CASA’s mission is to provide affordable housing to those who are homeless and disabled in the Triangle. With over 300 apartments in the Triangle and constant need, CASA cannot continue to thrive and house those in need without your help. Visit and help make a change today.
The radio spot we created can be heard here:



MOTIVATION for you and your customers!


[moh-tuhvey-shuh n]

1.  the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way

2. the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something

3. something that motivates; inducement; incentive



Think about how important motivation is. It is the main mechanism in everyone’s brain that says, “Hey! Do that! Don’t do that!” It guides our basic human needs and all our actions.

Along with personal motivation, it can also be applied to marketing and the business world. What motivates customers to act? What motivates you in your business? Motivation is often overlooked as it’s a subconscious decision that is rarely discussed.

This TIME article discusses 3 important steps to motivate yourself and I thought how these important tools can be applied to marketing and business. Let’s go through main drives and emotions that can help you individually and in your work:

1. Positivity! 



You: Emotions are often overlooked in productive systems. People procrastinate most when they are in a bad mood. To stay optimistic, you can monitor your progress and celebrate success.

Your business: Consumers need to feel positively about your business. It’s important to convey in your message and marketing how your work is important to the consumer. Even if your work isn’t all about happiness, you can still portray how your business will positively impact customers, which will motivate them to look into your business.


2. Get Rewarded! 



You: Studies show that reward motivates almost everything you do. You eat because you need food. Eating is the “reward” when you’re hungry. Your stomach hurting when you don’t eat is the punishment. So in order to motivate yourself, reward yourself for being productive and completing important tasks.

Your business: When presenting your business to the world, you need to make clear how your business will ultimately “reward” the customer. How will your service make their lives better or satisfy a need or want? The reward drive is a basic instinct in humans that motivates people to act.


3. Get Peer Pressure! 



You: By surrounding yourself with individuals with similar goals you’re striving for, you will be more motivated to be productive and do your best. When your peers are hardworking, you will be hardworking. The right amount of positive peer pressure can push you to be your best.

Your business: “Peer pressure” can be applied to the consumer being exposed to what’s popular. Consumers that receive more stimulation will keep those businesses in mind. That’s why big name companies such as McDonalds still advertise constantly even though they are an instantly recognizable brand name. They advertise to dominate the playing field.  When consumers are constantly seeing a brand’s name on social media and on TV, they will remember that brand and will think of them when they need that service/product.

Remember, motivation is key. Use these three tips to increase motivation for yourself and your business!


LinkedIn Basics: Fix your Profile Today!

Pretty much everybody is on LinkedIn by now, right? And, all the profiles are searchable and contain useful information that potential clients or employers can access, right? And, lastly we all know the LinkedIn is for professional networking and not necessarily to share your pet photos or funny jokes, right? So maybe not.

If you don’t have a  LinkedIn profile or it doesn’t have the following be sure to update it right now.

1. Headshot – Just like any social network people want to know what you look like. The headshot should be professional or at least a photo of you by yourself with professional attire.  Here’s a nice head shot for a google rep.  The head shot is clean but you get an idea of his personality. This is also helpful when you’re meeting people at an event so be sure to include a recent photo.

Google Rep LinkedIn Profile

Google Rep LinkedIn Profile

2. Title – Think about what you would like to be called as it relates to your current or future position.  Use facts but it can be general i.e. Marketing Intern.

3. Position – Add any relevant positions that you’ve held.  If they are internships or real jobs put them under experience.  If they are volunteer positions place them under volunteer experience. As you gain knowledge add them to your position.

Position and Recommendation

LinkedIn Position Info

4. Ask for Recommendations – During or after your internships and work experience ask people that you have worked with for recommendations.  Don’t wait until 3 years down the road when you need a recommendation.  These will stay with your profile and you can accumulate any number of recommendations.

5. Connections  – Ask people that you know to connect with you.  These could be family friends, people at the same company, teachers or professors or people in the same field whom you’d like to connect with in order to share information. It’s important to personalize the invitation if the potential connection does not know you well.  Indicate where you met or what you have in common.  All of these people have sent invitations but they just say “I want to connect with you” and I don’t know why they want to connect.  Keep in mind that they can see who you’ve connected to and that you’ll see what they post. Connections are important but maintaining quality is important as well.

LinkedIn Invites

Personalize the invite.

Personalize the invite.

6. Profile Completion – LinkedIn will give you tips on how to complete the rest of your profile.  It will ask for schools, additional experience and any certifications.  Add that information as you acquire new credentials.

7. Join groups – for the WWDUC2 interns be sure to search for the WWDUC2 group on LinkedIN and feel free to post relevant inquiries or articles.  Look for other relevant groups as well.

WWDUC2 Group

8. Sharing – People on LinkedIn do like jokes and funny pictures but in general you’ll want to share professional information. Share new jobs and credentials, share blogs and articles that you think may be helpful, and by all means share job posting if you see them so the people in your network might apply.  If you have questions that you need answered see if there is a relevant group and ask the question there.

Any other questions?  – check out this Mashable Article or ask below.  We will answer all of your questions.





How to Conduct an Interview for Your Nonprofit Video

Conducting an interview is a skill that takes years to master. I consider it one of the most important skills I’ve developed over 12 years in this business.

Here are a 7 tips that will help you get the best results when you are interviewing someone for your nonprofit video.

#1 Be what you want.

Probably the most important thing you can do when you are interviewing is to lead by example. If you want your interviewee to be relaxed and comfortable, make sure you speak in a relaxed and comfortable way.

#2 Give them some coaching.

Once the lights are on and you are both sitting down, give them a little coaching on how to answer the questions. This will give you a chance to demonstrate how you want them to speak, will give them a chance to get used to the lights and cameras, and will give them a bit of valuable information.

#3 Only ask one question at a time.

If you ask multiple questions at a time it will confuse them and encourage them to give you long winded answers that will be harder for you to use in the video.

#4 Have a list of questions, but don’t use it.

You should always be prepared with a paper that has their name and the questions you want to ask. But once you start talking, you should be flexible enough to make follow-up questions that relate to what they just said and go with the flow.

I usually ask the first question and don’t look back at the paper until the very end to make sure I didn’t miss anything I was planning on.

#5 Go for the story.

Most nonprofits are built around great stories. You are changing peoples lives! When you write your interview questions, you should ask questions that reveal their story. Instead of asking who, what, or how, ask “why?”

#6 Don’t be afraid of silence.

Sometime they will give you a short answer that didn’t address what you were asking. Or you may sense they are holding back to hide their emotions. This would be a great time for an awkward silence. Just keep looking at them and count to 5 in your head. I’ve gotten some of my best answers by just not speaking and waiting for them to really open up. (And yes, I learned that from Barbara Walters!)

#7 Keep it loose.

Occasionally you will get someone who is so nervous about the lights and cameras they freeze. If your interviewee gets stuck on a question, don’t let them hang frozen for too long. If you just sit there they will begin to get more and more embarrassed and the interview will fail. After a few moments of freezing, I like to move on to the next question and come back to the one they froze on if we need to at the end.

So there you are. Good luck with your interview!


Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.31.58 AM

YouTube Blog: How to get the related videos to make sense!

How does YouTube decide that a police chase is related to a birthday prank video for our boss?  This and many other questions arise when using YouTube for our business and for our clients.  We once had a client who had the ‘Top 7 Reason’ in his description; well it turned out that the number 7 brought on a bunch of crazy videos in the YouTube algorithm.  See on the screen shot below that 4 of the 6 related videos were produced by our company – however the other two (with motorcycles) seem totally random.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.31.58 AM

Since YouTube can’t actually watch the video it is relying on the title, description, tags, and captions that are included with the video. In the case of our client with the “Top 7” we made it into a “Top 6” and the totally unrelated videos disappeared and others that were actually related started to appear.

So why should you even worry about the related videos?  If YouTube thinks that your video is about police chases, it may not return it as a result when people are searching for Birthday Pranks; and if you really want to be known for Birthday Pranks than you will be unsatisfied with the results.

The power of YouTube really lies in the fact that it’s the number 2 search engine  – so you want to make sure that YouTube knows what your video is about and gives it as a potential result when people search YouTube and more importantly Google.

For instance, we definitely want to rank high for our own name – and if a potential client sees our website, social media channels and a video by us they might just click on the video.  Imagine if your business’s video was ranked high for your most important keyword??

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.33.24 AM

So the next time you post a video be sure to go back and check on all the text associated with the video and for the ‘related’ videos that show up.  This might give you an idea for what YouTube thinks your video is about. You can also check your YouTube analytics after several days and many views to see what keywords your viewers are entering when they find your video.  We always go back and check our videos and our client’s videos to make sure that the keywords and phrases match the content and those related videos.


The Winner of the 1st Annual Blueforest Gives Back!

It was a very tough decision. Every applicant is an important nonprofit helping to better our community. We started Blueforest Gives Back because we love getting involved in the community in many different ways. Blueforest Gives Back is another way for us to help local nonprofits with what we do best, telling a great story. After much consideration, we’re happy to announce the winner.

Drum roll please……



CASA is a Raleigh-based nonprofit housing developer and property manager. Focusing primarily on multi-family rental properties for people living with disabilities and veterans who have experienced homelessness. CASA’s housing model ends homelessness for people in great need by offering safe, permanent places to live. CASA manages more than 340 apartments and homes across the Triangle (Wake, Durham and Orange counties) and has 22 more currently under construction. CASA’s CEO Debra King was recently Tarheel of the Week by the News & Observer!

Blueforest Studios is excited for this opportunity to work with CASA in creating a video that will help CASA accomplish their mission. Blueforest Studios and CASA will work together to broaden their impact and raise awareness of the organization. CASA was selected to receive the 1st BlueForest Gives Back award because of its successful track record of assisting often overlooked members of our community, its dynamic leadership, and their plan to further their measurable impact. Learn more about CASA at

We thank all the applicants that applied to our first year of Blueforest Gives Back and for all the work that they do. We encourage all to apply for 2016’s Blueforest Gives Back.

Keep a lookout for updates of Blueforest Gives Back and for the winning video!


Public Relations Graphic

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations Graphic

The PR Puzzle

“A developing company is looking to hire a PR/advertising person,” I read yesterday in a Facebook status of Katya, my former colleague in Russia. “PR slash advertising, right,” I thought to myself. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a PR guru like James Grunig, for example, putting an equals sign between public relations and advertising… In many companies around the world, however, such association is pretty common. In Russia, the words PR, advertising, and marketing are often used interchangeably and essentially refer to one thing and one thing only: promotion of goods or services. Is that in any way different from the American culture? Let’s get brainy and try to figure it out.

Curiously, the abbreviation ‘PR’ for Russians would typically evoke a set of negative emotions. The deal here is that excessive political PR blackened the reputation of the whole PR process in the 1990s – right when it came into existence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Take PRopaganda for instance, which is the name of a large local public relations firm: Can you really expect good things from the company where PR and propaganda merge?!

PR in Russian language is also often used as a verb describing a public figure or an organization trying to boost their popularity through dubious activities. See a politician in a news report bragging about equipping local schools with newest computers? Don’t doubt for a second that the guy is ‘PRing’ himself. Such skewed understanding of PR is not unique to just Russia and is observed in other countries of the former USSR as well – in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

So what would the ‘correct’ interpretation of PR be? Most likely it would sound something like ‘communication between an organization and groups of people affected by this organization, where all parties should benefit.’ PR would imply listening for feedback and allowing for dialog between the organization and the society. Unfortunately, most organizations are far from working in line with this ‘true’ purpose of PR. Public relations practitioners usually act as marketers, trying to urge people to buy the product instead of putting efforts into upholding the company’s reputation in the society.

Blueforest Studios recently held a contest for local nonprofits in the Triangle area called Blueforest GivesBack. Factors determining proper PR, such as community presence and social engagement, served as important criteria for our judges in selecting finalists. Blueforest is going to announce who the finalists are really soon!

What do you think public relations stand for? Press releases? Corporate social responsibility? Two-way communication? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

About the author: Vlad is an intern at Blueforest Studios and a 2nd year grad student at NC State. Today he’s sharing thoughts on his field of study – PR – and how the purpose and functions of PR in his home country – Russia – differ from the U.S.