Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How To Inspire Our Clients with Mood Boards and Computer-Generated Decor ideas.

Well, it's that time already, and I am sure that many of you have bookings for Christmas and New Year's Eve parties. Earlier this week I spent the day preparing mood boards and design ideas for a potential client and thought that I would share how I go about the process.

Mood Boards

Mood boards (sometimes called "inspiration boards") are used by a number of creative businesses, such as interior designers, where fabric swatches and paint colour samples are grouped together to show a homeowner what type of atmosphere the new decor will create. I find that I can use mood boards to collect a range of ideas that can offer both me and my clients inspiration.

When a client asks you to propose ideas for their party, we need to establish what style of decor they are looking for. Christmas, for example, can be traditional, contemporary, or have a wintery look. We should never assume the style of decor our clients are looking for, and therefore, we can use mood boards to help to establish this. Here are three Christmas mood boards that I have created using images that I have downloaded from Qualatex.com and then used PicMonkey Collage to create the boards.

It is so easy to download all the different balloon images from the Qualatex website, and they are in a png format, which means that they have a transparent background making it easy for you to drop it into a document or a design! 

PicMonkey makes creative tools for photo editing and graphic design. However, recently they started to charge a small monthly fee. An alternative that I have found that is free is iPiccy.com

Traditional Christmas Board

Contemporary Christmas Board

Wintery Christmas Board

Each one of these Christmas boards offers a different "look," and although these do not show the full product range available within each theme, it will certainly give a client the opportunity to select the style that most suits their needs.

Sometimes we want to show clients other ideas, maybe a trend, accessory, or a design idea of decor that you have never made. Pinterest is a great resource.  our customers use it all the time! Create a Secret Board, add any pins that you want to show your customer, then click on the "+" button that appears in the top right centre. This will allow you to invite people to join your board! Only you and those you have invited can see your board. You can also invite your client to pin ideas that they have seen, giving you both an opportunity to share ideas.

The Design Process

Once we have an idea of the style of decor and the balloons that a client likes, we now have to put our creative skills to work! It might be that you only promote or sell designs that you have readily available to show a customer, and once again, that is where the Qualatex website can really help you! Simply visit the Inspiration page where you can explore Balloon Bouquets and Balloon Decor ideas, and don't forget to use the drop-down menus to refine your search. Once you have found a range of designs that you feel will work for your client, download these and drop the design images into your quote to add visual value - a page of words and numbers is very uninspiring whereas a picture is worth a thousand words and we want to sell the magic of the decor. Using visuals will help to create that magic! 

For me, I like to create my own designs. Rather than pre-make everything with balloons (very timely and expensive) to show my clients, I mock-up my design ideas on my laptop! 

Here is a design that I created.  I have used the wintery theme for this example. I wanted to feature the Qualatex "Snowflakes & Sparkles-A-Round" 3' and 11" balloons and the new 24" "Frosty Snowflakes" Deco Bubbles to create this elegant entrance decor.

I know many of you will say that you do not have the skills to create images like these, but I can assure you that it really is not difficult.

I work on a MacBook in PAGES, which is, I believe, much the same as WORD on a PC. I simply use "Shape" to import the shape that I require for my design, in this instance, a sphere. From there I "build" my decor. You will need to learn how to arrange your shapes - that will allow you to group a number of the shapes together, or send a shape to the back or move forward.

Here is a screenshot of one of the Columns that I made. The pink sphere is the shape that I dropped into my document. I can then alter the shape or colour to suit my design. I then build the style of Column that I want to show to my customer. The 3' Snowflake & Sparkle-A-Round was imported from Qualatex.com

Here is an example of the same style of Column that I designed for a recent Black & White party. This shows the computer image next to the finished result. I think you would agree that this is the perfect way to show customers what you are planning to make for them.

It might seem like a lot of work, but to be honest, I find it so much quicker to do this rather than spend a number of hours face to face with a client trying to work out what they want, and in most cases, they have no idea and are looking to you for inspiration! 

I would love to see how you inspire your customers. Please let me know, and we can feature some of your ideas along with this post! 

Happy Ballooning!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fabulous Balloon Tassels by Kerry Ferguson, CBA, and awesome Confetti Balloons by David Taylor, CBA.

It always amazes me when someone comes up with a fantastic new idea or technique with products that we use every day. 

Kerry Ferguson, CBA, of Pioneer Europe Ltd. recently demonstrated how to make fabulous balloon tassels - one of this year's top trends - using Poly Ribbon during the recent Autumn Fair at the N.E.C. Birmingham, U.K. And David Taylor, CBA, of Mad balloons in Sydney, Australia, recently shared his wonderful technique on how to create confetti-filled balloons. They both have kindly offered to share their videos with The Very Best Balloon Blog! 

For the past few years, we have been seeing the growing trend of big balloons with festoons of tassels flowing from them. You only have to search "Balloons with Tassels" on Pinterest and Instagram to see some truly amazing photographs! 

Kerry shows us how to create fabulous tassels using a product that we work with every day - Poly Ribbon. We use Poly Ribbon to make bows, but did we ever consider that it would be perfect for making tassels, too! 

Balloon Tassels by Kerry Ferguson

Kerry's Top Tips:

  • Use 2" or #40 Poly Ribbon
  • Use one full pump of HI-FLOAT per 3' balloon
  • Inflate 3' balloon to 14" (approximately 35cms) with air before inflating with helium to give a helium-air mix. This will help to reduce helium cost without affecting the floating time of the 3' balloon.

We all love confetti-filled balloons, and so do our customers! Chris Adamo, CBA, showed us in an early blog Tricks of The Trade Part 1 how to make a confetti applicator - a fabulous tool to help us to fill our balloons with confetti. "Mad" Dave Taylor now shows us his wonderful technique to make confetti-filled balloons, and it's very different from previous techniques that I have seen. He also shows us how to save a little helium and gives some great safety tips, too!

Confetti Balloons by Dave Taylor

Dave's top tips:
  • Use 25 grams of confetti per 3' balloon.
  • Use one full pump of HI-FLOAT per 3' balloon
  • Dave uses the Conwin Stretching Tool to open up his balloons
  • Inflate the confetti balloon to 45cms (approximately 17") with air.
  • The overall size when inflated with helium, is 70cms (approximately 27.5")
  • 16" confetti-filled balloons he had named Confetti Puff Balls
  • Use half a pump of HI-FLOAT per 16" balloon
  • Use 10 grams of confetti per 16" balloon.
The great thing about this industry is that we love to share, and both Kerry and Dave have shared two amazing videos that will help us all in our businesses! A huge thank you to both Kerry and Dave!

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, October 6, 2017

Trick or Treat - Inspiration for Halloween 2017!

Halloween offers the perfect opportunity to conjure up decor made from the newest range of Halloween balloons from Qualatex®. Designed by Shoko Ushizaki of Balloon Sketch Limited Company in Morioka, Japan, these bewitching delivery and decor ideas are sure to scare up some profits and leave customers spellbound!

Silly Spooky Tree

This asymmetrical, orange trunk and organically-sized foliage in Shoko's tree are sure to turn heads at any Halloween party! The colours in this versatile design can be tweaked to create a multitude of different effects to fit your customers' needs.

Bone Shakin' Centrepiece

Throw your business a bone or two with this skeleton-themed delivery! Shake up any party with this design featuring the "Halloween Skeleton Mirror" Microfoil® and "Dancing Skeletons" on Orange, Lime Green, and Purple Violet latex balloons. The twisted White 260Q bones along with the Deco Bubble base will have party goers praising this piece as they shake, rattle and roll on Halloween.

Eight-Legged Delight

Create this creepy-but-cute delivery for Halloween featuring a few adorable little spiders. This designs pairs Orange, Lime Green, and Purple Violet latex balloons with a "Spiders Web" Bubble Balloon® as its base. It's an entertaining piece that's sure to entangle lots of customers into your business web!

Tricky Treats

Make this monster mash delivery drum up cash for your business. The "Halloween Message & Icons" Bubble for the base, helium-inflate "Halloween Line-Up" Microfoils, and Orange and Lime Green "Halloween Fun!" latex balloons make this a treat for customers. Plus, you can sweeten the deal even more by adding a couple of candies made with 260Q balloons.

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

Double, double, Halloween decor will be no trouble! The new "Oopsie Witche's Brew!" Microfoil is a cauldron-full of fun and the Red Orange Rainbow SuperAgate®  adds a fiery ambience. Your customers will love the spooky simplicity of this creepy column!

Macabre Monster Party

Make any party a Halloween party with this frightfully simple design, featuring the cute new "Halloween Line-Up" Microfoil. It requires minimal effort for maximum impact! Created using helium-filled 646Q weighted with a rubber ball, the coordinating monster, ghost, and jack-o-lantern figures move, sway, even travel around the room as guests walk by them, creating an eerie effect your customers will love!

To check out the full range of Halloween, Christmas, and New Year Collections click HERE. Please note that not all balloons are available in all territories. Check with your local Qualatex distributor.

For quick reference, here are the balloons and codes for the designs featured above.

This article was first featured in Balloon IMAGES Magazine April/May/June 2017. 

Happy Ballooning!