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Dec 2013

Behind the Scenes of the 2013 AVID Christmas Card

It’s difficult to wrangle my family together for a Christmas photo, and last week I found out my new work family is no different. Tom did a great job creating our Christmas card backdrop, and we wanted to do a good job posing in front of it…but grouping 20 creative people in a room together is harder (and louder) than it looks!

Office Christmas cards are so much more fun when you have a creative boss

Office Christmas cards are so much more fun when you have a creative boss

Look out for our official AVID Christmas 2013 card in the mail, and don’t forget to send us your family Christmas Card outtakes…we know better than anyone that sometimes the reject poses are more fun than the actual card!

behind the scenes shots of the AVID Design Christmas Card

AVID Design offers full-scale written and visual communication services for hospitals and healthcare systems, including SharePointWeb designSEO and PPC content development and assessmentonline video and rich mediaanalytics and measurementcontent management systems and more.

Whitney Stuart | Web Content Manager | AVID Design

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Dec 2010

Do Your Physician’s Bio Pictures Look Like Mugshots?

It is December 27th. If you’re like us, you still have a ton of deadlines and a lot to do this week before the start of the new year, but there may be some of you out there that are twiddling your thumbs looking for something to do. May I offer a suggestion…

Does your ace cardiologist look like this?

I’ve seen your physician finder applications. You know that there are one or two physicians whose head shots came straight out of the credentialing software that provided them a security badge when they first started working for your hospital. There’s also that one doctor who looks like he is still stuck in 1984, there are those doctors whose heads look fat or skinny because the batch resizing that was done messed up an entire group of headshots, and of course, there is that one female doctor who doesn’t look to be wearing any clothes because of the horrible cropping job that was done to her headshot.

Why not spend one afternoon and make a plan to fix this problem?

There are 52 weeks next year and 26 letters in the alphabet. Make a plan now to update ALL the photos in your physician directory. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Figure out a location that you can set up a clean and non distracting background.
  2. Get off the wall! Have your physician stand in front of the background, but not up against it. This will dramatically improve the quality of the shot.
  3. By the way, this should be the same location and background for all your photos. If you can dedicate the area and leave it for the duration of your shoot, it will make the process that much easier.
  4. Take some test pictures. Make sure you like the lighting. Harsh shadows on your subject and the background behind should be avoided.
  5. Use a Tripod!
  6. Make a schedule. Plan on all physicians with the same last letter to come in at once. Or have similar specialties come in during the same week.
  7. Sell it to your physicians. Tell them how the newer, clean and friendly photos will look better than what you currently have.

If you really want to get an A on this exercise you could work on updating their bios while they’re in for photos. Have a simple worksheet or even an online form that they could fill out while they wait (Google Doc forms are great for this)

And if you are a real overachiever, this is a perfect time to plan some videos with the physicians. Maximize your time in front of them and get a quick soundbite video that could be associated with their bio.

Does your hospital have a trusted and reliable partner to build, manage and plan your online marketing strategies? Let AVID Design show you how we can become a valuable part of your marketing team.

Andy Darnell | Director of Web Development | AVID Design

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Aug 2010

Tuesday Ten Minute Tip – August 3, 2010 – Pixlr

Many times I have been on the phone with a client or sitting in a conference room with a group of stakeholders and I get asked a variation of this question:

What is the best way for us to edit images for use on our Website?

The quick answer that most firms will give their clients is to use Photoshop or some other premium image editing software. Many of our clients don’t own Photoshop and don’t know how to use it. In the past we’ve recommended Picasa as an option for image editing. When my Adobe suite quit working on my computer the other day, I needed something a little more powerful than Picasa. I found Pixlr.

Pick Pixlr for your image editing needs!

Pixlr claims to be the “most popular advanced online image editor in the world!” I would agree with them. It requires no installation, no sign-up and no fee.

Many of the features that you expect in Photoshop are in Pixlr, such as a familiar looking interface, layers, image adjustments and other common tools.  Plus, Pixlr also sports some cool features like a crushed paper brush and a cloud brush, tutorials for the novice, and even an express feature (Pixlr Express) that allows for quick edits.  It’s a perfect way to edit your images.

By no means is it a substitute for all of the power that comes with Photoshop, but it definitely takes the cake in accessible and affordable image editing.  Try for yourself!

Have you used Pixlr?  What do think about it?  Let us know!

Andy Darnell | Director of Web Development | AVID Design

AVID Design is a full-service healthcare marketing agency that builds progressive, cutting-edge healthcare Websites, rich media applications and physician videos.

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Feb 2009

Royalty-Free Images: What Makes Them Free?

Royalty free images are an affordable solution for finding quality photos and illustrations. This very photo is an example of a royalty free image.

Royalty free images are an affordable solution for finding quality photos and illustrations. This very photo is an example of a royalty free image.

When searching for free images for a blog or Website, don’t let the word “free” in “royalty free” mislead you.

Most royalty-free images (at least decent ones that don’t look like chintzy clip art) will require a fee—and this is often determined by the file size. The larger the image, the more you pay.

But I Really Need a Free Image!

In that case, you really might want to consider shooting your own photo or drawing your own illustration.

Oh, but you don’t want to or don’t know how—and you definitely don’t want to steal. All of a sudden, royalty-free doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it?

But if you really really need an image and don’t want to or can’t pay, public domain and Creative Commons images might be an ideal solution.

Derek Rudnak | Communications Specialist | AVID Design

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Feb 2009

Online Images: Copyright, Public Domain and Fair Use

What’s the difference between copyright, public domain and fair use, particularly with online images? Here are some points to consider, especially if you are trying to find free or cheap images for your Website or blog.

Virtually every image is copyrighted to somebody. Especially in the United States, the moment you snap a picture with a camera, draw an illustration or create any other kind of intellectual property, you own the copyright to it.

This includes an overwhelming majority of the images you’ll find on the on the Web, as well as all royalty free and Creative Commons images.

James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic “I Want YOU for the U.S. Army” recruitment poster is a perfect example of a public domain image.

James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic “I Want YOU for U.S. Army” recruitment poster is a perfect example of a public domain image.

Public domain images don’t have copyrights. This is for a number of reasons, but most often because the copyright expired.

Fair use images are copyrighted. Fair use is a legal concept that allows for copyrighted pictures and intellectual property to be used as if they were part of the public domain.

Satire and academic uses are two examples of fair use.

Are Google Images Copyrighted?

Most likely. When you do a search with Google Images, most of the pictures are probably copyrighted to somebody.

But here is where it gets interesting: Google Images can legally show the thumbnails because they are considered fair use.

However, lifting those thumbnails—or the larger images from which they link—to use on a hospital Website (or any other webpage or blog) is likely to be a copyright infringement.

Final Thought: How to Use a Copyrighted Image

If you find a copyrighted image that you simply must put on your Website, contact the owner and ask if you can use it.

Derek Rudnak | Communications Specialist | AVID Design

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