Friday, April 30, 2010

A Quick Thought…

So many Americans are currently concerned, fearful that we're headed into a Communist, Marxist, Socialist, or even Nazi like era in American History due to various reforms. I'm wondering, today, how many of those same people are okay with certain groups of people in Arizona being required to carry around identification papers everywhere they go simply because they are different?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sure Signs that Your Date Isn't Going Well

Explanation: I used to write and produce these "comedy" books when I worked in fast food. They were usually a way of blowing off steam. I was young, single, angry… This is a highly edited excerpt from one of the pages. I know. It's sophomoric at best. My fast food friends used to enjoy them. I still laugh at some of this stuff, but as in the past, sometimes I'm the only one laughing. If you can't make yourself laugh…

Sure Signs that Your Date Isn't Going Well…

  • Shortly after attempting to steal a kiss, your date begins to gag.
  • It's no mystery to anyone that your date likes to throw rocks.
  • Your dates asks to make a pit stop at the health department before dinner.
  • Your date has prison stories.
  • You realize the strange object in your date's waste band is a gun.
  • You realize your date is easy, but not because they're having any kind of relations with you… yet…
  • You gladly break the law by stealing a car just to get home.
  • Multiple personalities are obvious.
  • The subject of "how much money you have on you" keeps coming up.
  • Part of your date takes place on a talk show.
  • One of you keeps shouting the word "rash" for no apparent reason while in a very public place.
I don't miss the dating scene.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Things from My Weekend - April 26th

  • How to Train Your Dragon was a great, fun movie. We took Owen Sunday morning.
  • I think every movie should be designed with 3D in mind even if it isn't shown in 3D. We saw the Dragon cartoon in 2D, and the angles and action were really great. You could tell it was supposed to be viewed in 3D.
  • On our way to Babies 'R Us, Owen asked why we were going there. I said, "To shop for a new baby of course." I eventually had him convinced that we were just looking at new babies today, but we were considering trading Gage in. That's when my wife became disapproving.
  • While Heidi was shopping Babies… I took the boys into the neighboring Toys 'R Us thinking that would keep them more entertained. Every time I go in there, which isn't very often, they have about 4 employees for every customer. How do they keep that up? Perhaps toys are just that profitable.
  • Avatar is out on DVD, and it's making me hate my ancient, small, standard television even more.
  • Celebrated my father-in-law's 50th birthday at Sharky's Saturday. I don't really understand why they have so much security there. Probably better that I don't understand.
  • Owen stayed at my parents' house last week for a few days. As we were leaving he asked my parents for hugs and kisses. My dad explained that grandpas don't kiss. Owen asked, "Why? Do you bite like a dog?"
  • Our church currently shares a building with another church. Not sure who, but someone brought in some Matchbox/Hot Wheels type jets to keep in the preschool room. All the boys wanted to take them home yesterday. Anyone know where you can buy such things? Walmart and Meijer were a no go. Maybe Toys 'R Us has a better selection.
  • Reading Lord, Save Us from Your Followers by Dan Merchant. It was on the clearance wrack at FCS. It's fun, but each chapter is a totally different format.
  • I'm getting really good at making homemade Guacamole.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

He-man Dorks of the World Unite! or By the Power of Grayskull!

I'm a dork. I know it, made peace with it a long time ago. I've taken some lumps for it, especially in junior high, when most of your lumps are doled out anyway.

When I was about eight years old, I received a boon for my birthday, what I perceived to be a crazy amount of money. We're talking at least thirty whole dollars here. More money than I had seen at one time in my entire life. The year was 1982.

The only time we'd ever drive all the way to Toys 'R Us in Flint back then was shortly after our birthdays. We lived in Lake Orion, and there were no freeways to get us there quickly. Star Wars was fully wound down at this point. My young, overactive imagination was in need of a new plastic outlet.

There, in all of his muscle bound plastic glory, was He-man and the Masters of the Universe. I'd seen a few commercials on Saturday mornings. I was intrigued. The cartoon wouldn't hit for about a year. There were similar toy lines out there. I didn't really understand the genre this series was coming from. Were they all barbarians? Were the bad guys magicians, monsters? I left the store with two heroes, two villains, and a large green, armored tiger that the heroes were supposed to ride.

Each figure came with a mini comic that gave you the first glimpse into their world. The problem was, the comics didn't seem to match up in every way. It was kind of like different people were asked to come up with different concepts. I loved it. My imagination went crazy. As the next year progressed, the series exploded in popularity. There were books, comics, and eventually the first cartoon series, and none of it meshed together very well.

Most of the mini comics were very mature, swords, dragons, violence. The characters were brutish. Skeletor was truly an evil overlord. Beast Man was the savage king of his own people. The cartoon was almost the complete opposite. Most of the villains were more comedic than scary. There was always a moral to the story.

Despite it's corniness, I had to watch the cartoon every day. I was addicted. I didn't like the stories and characterization as much. I preferred my own imagination, but I still had to watch. I had to see if the newest character would appear in animated form.

I had endless adventures with those action figures. I incorporated other similar toys and knock offs. I drew my own pictures of my favorite characters. My Christmas lists for years were heavy with Masters figures and accessories. My younger brother Bob got into collecting, and we often strategically planned birthday requests to increase our collection. I always liked the bad guys better. They were just cooler looking. The heroes were too human, ordinary.

At age nine, I met a guy that would become my best friend. I got him into He-man too. The fifth grade wasn't too harsh on our boyhood heroes. That was also the year of Gremlins, G.I.Joe, and Transformers. Lots of kids our age were still dorks for toys.

Now, for those of you that couldn't already guess, taking a big, metal He-man lunch box to the sixth grade is a bad idea. It gets you picked on more than you normally would. Let's just say I already had a bunch of strikes against me a this age (I weighed about 65 lbs. and had Coke bottle glasses). I toughed it out. I was my own person, proud of my individuality even if I did get heckled and brutalized more often. Of course I made sure to hide any hint that I might still be into such things in the seventh grade. One year of extreme outcast-ism was enough. I was happy to settle back into my normal level.

The series was one of Mattel's highest grossing lines for boys ever, to this date. They even had a spin off series that was supposed to appeal to girls involving He-man's sister, She-ra. On more than one occasion you'd catch boys in the pink aisle looking over the spin off merchandise.

In late 1985 and early 1986 the series died off. The newest set of villains they had introduced were kind of lame. A live action movie came out in 1987, and it was a totally different take on the characters. It was lame. Mattel tried to re-invent the main characters with a more space oriented theme, which made no sense. I grew up, and He-man disappeared.

Well, until 2002 when the most famous action figure sculptures, The Four Horsemen announced that they'd worked out a deal with Mattel to re-imagine the series with more modern designs. Mattel had released some special edition, rare re-issues a few years prior. They proved that there was still a market. They made the mistake of trying to market the line to kids though, and it didn't really go over. There was a new cartoon, which was okay.

They also tried to use modern collectible ideas in this line: multiple versions of popular characters, short packing others to make them rare. That really only angered the people collecting. It was a fun line, but short lived.

More recently, Mattel approached the Horsemen. This time they would re-design all of the characters with a more classic feel: lots of muscle, re-usable parts from character to character, but this line would be bigger than the previous lines. These figures also wouldn't be sold in retail stores. You can only buy them online, one character is sold one day of each month. They sell out in around thirty minutes, and you're lucky to even get on the website at that time. They've packaged this newest line as the Adult Collector, Masters of the Universe Classics line. Each figure is $20 before shipping costs.

I've already given up on trying to collect this newest line, but it's hard to fight off the nostalgia. It's probably a good thing I don't have a job right now. We did get our tax return back recently, and it was much larger than we expected. The tax breaks really came through for us. I broke down. I gave in. I bought this guy to the right here, Webstor - Evil master of escape, my favorite character when I was a kid. He'll likely be the only one I purchase.

Now, let me be clear, I don't play with this thing. But, just having it around takes me back to relive so many memories of Christmases, birthdays, lazy afternoons in my backyard, play time with my little brother. I know it makes me a dork, but the nostalgia… I'm so glad there's enough of us dorks left to make this worth a toy company's efforts.

My kids now watch the old cartoons, and the newer ones too, on DVD. Owen runs around saying he's He-man. I'm so proud.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Do I Want to Be?

I've posted similar things before, but my wife is getting understandably anxious with me regarding my future career choices. I don't blame her, but I also don't feel like I have a clear path laid out before me.

She asked me this weekend to think about when I was a teenager. Her question was, "When someone would ask you what you want to be when you grow up, what did you answer?" My response is, I've already done all that.

When I was in first grade, my doodling hobby caught the eye of the art teacher. They entered a poster I drew into some contest, and it won. Ironically, it was draw a poster depicting what you want to be when you grow up. At that point, I could only imagine being a waiter. I don't know why. The attention I received from that one drawing convinced me that I wanted to be an artist.

Illustration as always my thing. I did tons of projects all throughout elementary and high school. My college portfolio was illustration heavy, but when I actually got into college, I saw that it would be easier to get into graphic design. Graphic design meant computers and pay checks. Illustration meant years of being a starving artist, struggling to make a name for myself.

A graphic artist can still make a name for himself, but that's never what it was about for me. I wanted to do my thing, be creative in whatever way appealed to me at the time. If I could get a creative job that paid the bills, allowed me to have a "normal" life with a wife, house and kids, that was my goal. Instructors would often warn against newspaper jobs. They said those types of jobs only allowed you to be someone else's hands in exchange for a steady paycheck. Seemed like a perfect fit for me.

I still had dreams and aspirations. Most of them were more personal (see wife, kids, house). I also wanted to work for a good company. If I was going to work in the newspaper field, I wanted to work for the best in this area, and that was The Flint Journal. I achieved all that. Before the company decided to drop all of it's current artists, I often thought that I had already lived and realized all my aspirations. It was something to be happy about.

That's kind of flipped on me now.

The print industry, in Michigan at least, has shrank. The companies that are still in the running are looking for people to do a ton of work, bend over backwards on scheduling at the drop of a hat, work in "catch all" departments, and do all of this for pay that isn't much higher than your average fast food job. I've worked in those situations before. That's usually how you get into the business. It's not an environment that lends itself well to family people. There's guaranteed stress, and few moments of happiness or even creativity.

I don't think it's a totally lost line of work. I just haven't come across many opportunities, even for worst case scenario jobs, in the past year. I'll never stop being a creative, artistic person, I'll always do my thing, but it just seems like this career path has come to an abrupt dead end. Maybe it's just taking me through some bad neighborhoods right now.

So my wife wants to know what I want to do now. What would make me happy? What would I want to do every day until I retire or beyond? I wish there were easy answers.

I think I can narrow it down to two choices. One would likely be difficult. It's not likely to go smoothly, but I'd be happy. The other would be relatively easy, it would probably hold a lot of security and an easy paycheck, but I wouldn't be in love with it. It would be something I slog through. I have no problem slogging if it means my kids get to eat and have a roof over their heads.

Quite frankly, the first option terrifies me. Not because I'd dislike it. I'm afraid of what certain people would think. I'm afraid there might not be a huge market for this career. It's a leap, you could say, that really doesn't have anything to do with my ability.

So, I'm in turmoil today. What do I want to be now that I've already grown up?

I welcome any advice.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Things from My Weekend - April 12th

  • Heidi sold our recently de-commissioned car seat Friday to one of her coworkers. We used some of the money to take the boys out for breakfast at McDonald's. We haven't done that in a while. It was fun. They can really eat pancakes.
  • We met an older lady there that was raising her grandchild. We just talked and talked and talked. Her circumstances were unfortunate, but the result was beautiful.
  • Saturday night was poker night. I lost, but still had fun.
  • My wife and I started watching the True Blood HBO series on DVD. Heidi has read most of the books. I've only read the first. Of course the show deviates from the source material. We're enjoying the show.
  • One of the great benefits of not paying for cable has been watching an entire television series with my wife as slow or as quick as we please. We're still working on Arrested Development, and I'm on season three of the X-files.
  • I think someone should launch a movie based on a book with the tag line: "We didn't change a thing." I just want to see if it will work or not. Movie producers say it won't, but if the source material is good enough to gain that much attention… I just don't get it.
  • I've never really watched porn (please don't send me emails about this statement), but I think True Blood could be flirting with what constitutes soft core porn. Of course, what do I know? And, I'm not being judgmental.
  • We finally celebrated my dad's birthday yesterday. He cooked us ribeye steaks on the grill. I made him this illustration and gave him a pound of cherry smoked bacon for his gifts.

  • Today, at the grocery store, Owen wanted me to make sure we bought some steak.
  • We flew our old Buzz Lightyear kite too. It soared higher than we've ever had it before. Then it crashed to the ground, and we couldn't get it in the air again. It was still really cool.
  • Owen watched a hawk scoop a fish from a river on PBS today. He wanted to know why the bird was doing that. I explained that the bird would soon eat the fish, just like he enjoyed eating fish. He said that the hawk's fish looked different. I explained that it hadn't been cooked the way that he was used to. He replied, "Oh" in a doubtful tone. I hope he'll continue enjoying fish.
  • Gage now knows his lower case letters. I caught him singing along with the Elmo song last week. When Elmo came on screen and said, "Hello," Gage replied, "Hi!" This morning he was doing pretty good singing the ABC song. We were worried about his speech for a while, and he has an appointment next week with a therapist, but I'm a lot less worried now.
  • I think I've been going through a "dark night of the soul." In faith based circles, it's a time when God can seem absent. Brennan Manning says it's a time when God asks whether you're in love with Him or just in love with what your faith can do for you? Do you love the gifts or the gift giver? These times can either draw you closer to God or drive you away. So far, I'm feeling closer.
  • I'm also feeling like the night is coming to an end. Church is feeling more like home again. Friends are getting more numerous again. Prayers are being answered.
  • Hallelujah.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm Intolerant

I'm intolerant of intolerant people, and I think it's a problem. I was at a gathering where I really only knew about half the people. Friends of friends were there. In the middle of the festivities I hear the "N-Word" being used along with the phrase "ruining our country." The fact that I didn't know half of these people also meant that those speaking this way didn't either. So, in a group of perfect strangers, these individuals were being blatantly racist.

Whenever I'm in these situations, it bothers me for days. I wasn't part of the conversation taking place. I was kind of passing by. Ever since then, I just can't stop thinking, in disbelief, that there is still this kind of thing going on.

The few times that I have found myself face-to-face with this type of stuff, I clearly point out my disagreement. To me, even if you're not a God-concerned person who feels we're all made in God's image and are therefore equal, I feel we live in a country that was founded on diversity. Anyone not enjoying our colorful makeup needs to realize they're living on the wrong planet.

Yesterday my wife and I met an Asian grandmother that was raising her grandson. We talked enough to learn that much about her. Today, my kids played on a playground with what sounded like a German family, and English was clearly not their first language. There was also the Caucasian grandmother with the African-American grandkids. I know it's not a utopia, but this is reality. I can't believe there are still people out there that don't see that, or worse, don't appreciate it.

I just don't get racists. I don't understand where they're coming from or where they think they're going. We live in an ethnically diverse orb spinning through space. Nothing is going to change that. Most people equate those that have tried to change that with the greatest evils perpetrated by mankind. Do these people never leave their homes? Do they not see how the majority of the world has moved past a lot of this? Have they never spoken to someone of a differing heritage? Is it crazy that I have?

Are you starting to pick up on my intolerance? In describing the intolerant, the racists, I really sound very similar to them, and that bothers me too. It bothers me quite a bit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I know I still have a Challenge response to answer for, but this was on my mind today. I've been doing some freestyle writing on whatever pops into my head. Today I was thinking about Heaven. The subject often sparks some great conversations when you get people going. The Bible has a few sections on Heaven, but I don't think we know much about what to expect.

The following is just fiction inspired by my imagination. It's not Biblical. It's not based on any creed. It was done quickly, so it might be more prone to spelling errors.

If you enjoy it, please let me know. Maybe I'll expand it a bit.


Did someone just call my name?

I'm lying on my back, comfortable. Feels like cool grass beneath me. My eyes are closed, but I can tell it's daytime out by the light. I was just in the hospital. Is this the hospital? I can hear birds chirping.

I open my eyes. No. Blue sky above with a few lazy clouds. We're not in Kansas anymore Toto. This isn't the hospital.

I sit up, quickly looking around. I must not have left the hospital. Where are my wife and kids? I don't see anyone else.

The sun is there, but I have no idea what time it is. I try to remember what I had just been doing, but everything is hazy. I was in the hospital. Everything is a little blurry. What time was it there? This doesn't feel like the same day. It feels like I've been… resting. It seems like I've been resting for a while.

I'm on a hill. Long, green grass all around leading down into a valley. A few trees here and there. The trees are green, full. There's a warm breeze. You can hear it weave itself through the grass and trees. It's comfortable.

My eyes, I can see things crystal clear. I've never been able to do that. They feel different, whole, no glares or blurs. All the parts feel… real. Something I'm not used to.

I pinch myself, and it hurts. I could still be dreaming, but it really doesn't feel that way. In fact, I feel very awake. I can smell the grass. Each breath is full, clean.

I stand up and look down at myself. I'm wearing a loose fitting, black Dickies work shirt and carpenter jeans. One of my all time favorite outfits. For some reason the Dickies logo makes me laugh. If I'm where I think I might be… it's just funny to see a logo. I giggle again at the thought of checking to see what kind of underwear I might have on. Nothing is covering my feet. The grass tickles them in the breeze.

Then I realize something else, I'm thin. My eyes jump to my arms. They're a bit fitter than I ever remember them being, more muscular. My skin is younger than it should be. I don't see any of my familiar scars or marks.

I realize my hair is hanging down to my shoulders in ringlets, the way I wore it when I was in my twenties. I run a hand down my face. I've got a goatie. Everything else is smooth, young feeling.

I take another longer look around. No buildings. The trees get closer together down in the valley. Behind me is more hilly incline, more open field for as far as I can see. I think I'll check out the valley a little more. That feels right.

Every step down the hill is soft, full of green grass and soft soil. I feel leisurely, like I'm out for a stroll. I keep thinking about my wife and kids, but not even that is stressing me out in the least. I'm just going to walk for a while. See what's what.

I think about how strange it is that I'm not panicking. I don't know where I am or if I'm in danger, but I just don't feel any of those things. I'm calm. I'm not hungry, tired, or overly warm or cold.There's a very natural feeling grin on my face.

The trees get more numerous and taller. I hear a cicada buzzing. There are birds in every tree, chirping. I walk for a few minutes before noticing movement out of the corner of my eyes, not the trees, not the birds.

People! Maybe four or five coming through the trees into a clearing up ahead. They're still yards away, but people! I'm smiling again, the craziest thing. I don't know who these people are. I don't even know where I am for certain. Without explanation, I'm happy to see them.

As I get closer, I see that they're all smiling too. Maybe we're all crazy, but that doesn't seem to matter. A few of them are waving.

Their clothes are weird. They're a motley crew. One lady is wearing a long, full dress like something from the 1920's and a fancy hat. There's a guy wearing clothing I've never seen the likes of before. It's some form of shirt and pants, but the style is strange to me. There's an Asian guy wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. They're all about the same age, maybe eighteen or twenty. Everyone is fit looking, strong, healthy, smiling.

Before I can say anything, I hear a voice, "Come. Follow me." I recognize that voice. It's like a voice that I've heard every day for my entire life, but I also can't exactly place it, though I have my suspicions. We all turn toward it, and there, just above the trees, miles away still, is what appears to be a city.

Social Justice

I'm a Social Justice Christian_PSA from New Name Pictures on Vimeo.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Random Things from My Weekend - April 5th

  • What is it about holidays that make me want to eat candy? I'm not a candy person, but around holidays, something takes over the craving zone of my brain.
  • My sons were fighting over a plastic, play hoe yesterday. The only time I'll ever be able to say, "Hey boys! Bros before Hoes!" without getting into trouble with the wife.
  • If you type in "hoe" to my desktop widget, it doesn't even give you the traditional definition anymore, only the slang for street walker. Sad.
  • Our Easter was great. We went to church, heard one of the best sermons ever about the Gospel of John. Okay. I'm a little biased. John is one of my favorite Bible contributors. We spent hours outside in our front yard with our boys playing with frisbees and foam rocket launchers, which caused some people driving past to honk at us. We had a great dinner at my parents' house. MMMMMM… sauteed asparagus and mashed potatoes. Ate way too much chocolate and finished the night reading books in bed. I think if we could cut out the chocolate, we could repeat this every Sunday.
  • The movie, Brothers - highest possible recommendation. Marvel had decided this guy isn't going to be Spider-man anymore? What are they thinking?
  • I've learned that taking my kids to free events always ends with disappointment all around. Expect a blog post about it soon.
  • Let the grilling begin!
  • Detroit has Kowalski. Flint has Koegel's. I pity the people that have to eat brands like Eckrich, tastes so much like smoke infused bologna.
  • Coloring Easter eggs with two years olds often ends up as leg coloring and the little collapsable dye cups look like female condoms.
  • Owen, back from a few days at Grandpa and Grandma Buckley's house, pretending to be on the telephone says, "This lady keeps calling my phone, telling me I'm going to die soon." Kids can really be creepy sometimes.
  • Fun Easter things to check out: Rob Bell and Peter Rollins' videos. Enjoy. I did.
  • When I became a Christian I bought into this idea that sometimes we do things for people that they aren't expecting. Conversely, if you are going to do loving things for people, you have to allow people to also do kind things for you. You can't deny them the opportunity to bless you. That's a hard thing for most people, including me. Someone did something nice for me yesterday. Something I would have never expected. I was speechless and nearly in tears to be honest. All I can say is 'Thank you.'

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chibi Friday

Here's some Chibi work I did a few years back. Produced in Adobe Illustrator (I'm not responsible for his badge). If anyone likes this, I have a few more I could post.

(inspired by J.K. Rowling characters, books published by Scholastic, movies by Warner Brothers, did I cover everyone?)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Makes a Good Design?

A good design, whether its straight artwork or some form of advertising, sells or conveys whatever the producer was trying to sell or convey. There are structural rules you can employ to make the overall appearance of what you're doing pleasing to the eye. There are other tricks that can be employed to elicit certain emotional responses. Understanding and employing either of these two camps can get you half way there, but half way isn't always good enough.

Believe it or not, the structural rules have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. These rules have to do with balance, proportion, symmetry, grid structures, and oddly enough, deviation from all of the above. Visually, people like things broken into thirds, laid out in grid patterns, or arranged in triangular formations. Most people don't even realize that they're looking at such things.

Anyone can study these guidelines. There are tons of books out there. You could sit in an art museum all day and study the commonalities contained in each piece that really stand out to you. It wouldn't take you long to discover these often overlooked structures. You don't have to have a great love of art or even a long history of artistic ability to tap into these concepts, but it doesn't hurt either.

Learning the structure will get you most of the way there. Of course, I've met people that have college degrees that couldn't design their way out of a paper bag, and people that have never even thought of these structures before and design beautifully. Sometimes design talent is like gymnastic ability, some of us have it and some don't (I can't do a head stand to save my life).

The other emotional marketing tricks are pretty easy to understand, but they're also often incorrectly used. People like to see people in their advertising. People like babies, cute animals, and of course, sex always sells. These ideas have to be used appropriately. Here are some examples of using these ideas incorrectly:

After a few weeks of working with the client, we had a campaign narrowed down to two or three consistent looking ads that they were going to run. The only thing that had to be finalized was a photo they were going to take to showcase their store. Since they were selling furniture, we expected a photo of… get this, furniture. Instead we received a photo of their granddaughter sitting on a couch. When we asked why the child was the obvious focus of the photo, they indicated that they wanted to showcase their love of family. There was already a line in the ad that indicated 'family owned and operated.' If you want to sell furniture, you need to emphasize your great furniture.

Another example: Within weeks of the recent Financial Bailout of large banks, we received a request for a logo/mascot design. A small, local bank was trying to expand their loan department. They requested that we use a cartoon because people like cartoons. The problem was, they wanted a cartoon monster alongside the phrase "Loan Monster." People were already upset with banks. A monster is generally a negative thing. We pleaded with them to let us come up with something else.

Some of the other common mistakes:

Most people don't realize, and most advertising sales people won't tell you, you have about 2 seconds to get someone's attention, and possibly another five to re-engage them and keep them. Another words, even the best designed advertising is likely only effective for mere seconds, if you're lucky, you might get a minute.

If you try to cram too much information into one advertisement, you won't sell or convey anything. People will give up on trying to take it all in. It's very common for a potential viewer to glance at an ad and immediately perceive too much text. If you have paragraphs of info, you'll likely cut your effectiveness by half right off the bat. You want to keep things simple, make a fast impression.

Color is a great thing to include in any design, art or ad. That doesn't mean the more colors the better. You want a color scheme. That might only be three colors that make sense together.

Colors elicit their own emotional responses too, and you have to keep that in mind. If your bank runs an ad all in red, people tend to make negative associations with the color red and their finances. Green is tricky when you're working on restaurant ads. Green can easily make people think of spoiled food.

Fun fonts are great, but you have to use them responsibly. No one wants to read more than a word or two when Old English is the font. Too many fonts in your design can make things look so disconnected, no one will try to piece it all together. You'll likely miss your critical two seconds.

Time can be a design's best friend. Rushing things will make things look rushed. One of my college instructors taught us that a good design is never 100% finished. You can always make little tweaks here and there, apply new skills or ideas. Sometimes a design has to be mined, chipped away through trial and error. Sometimes the creative mind needs to chew on an idea for a while. That doesn't mean that changes should be made for the sake of making changes.

Both of these ads aren't too bad. They both have strong calls to action with consistent looking use of fonts. Both of them are pretty simple. We don't have tons of text to read.

The one on the left is on the verge of having too many colors, but it helps that each character's color also splits the ad into four horizontal sections. Vertically it is split into three sections, two of which are triangular. The colors do repeat above and below the dividing bar, which helps the balance a bit. The images they chose make perfect sense because they're advertising a movie, you would want photos from the movie included. The images help portray what the movie is about. You know this is a superhero movie even though it doesn't come right out and say that with words.

The ad on the right has a great, simple color scheme with purple and green dominating. It highlights benefits and has a call to action. I think I would have centered or evenly divided the two points in the top of the ad, but I think this is the better of the two ads. The only image they chose to use is their logo.

So, for a good design, you have to learn to balance all of these things. You want to sell or compel a simple main point with balanced color, fonts, and appropriate images. If you give a decent graphic artist a fair amount of time, balancing all these things shouldn't be too hard for them.