Thursday, October 18, 2018

"Good Design Matters for your Business" - Zoe Adams-Jones Shows You How to Create Fabulous Social Media Posts Using CANVA.

We all want to do a better job with our social media activity. We know how important it is to increase our customer base and to connect with our current customers. However, producing engaging content and having content consistency is not quite so simple.

I am always looking for an easy solution and when it comes to design, Canva is simply perfect! Canva, for those of you who have not used it before, is a graphic-design tool website. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to more than a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. It offers a wide variety of content types that include Facebook and Instagram post templates, posters, brochures, and so much more!

Canva is free. However, you can upgrade for a nominal monthly fee to increase its functionality. Personally, I would start with the free version and then upgrade later if you feel you need the extra functions.

Zoe Adams-Jones

Recently, the wonderful Zoe Adams-Jones, CBA, of Jaz Trading in Queensland, Australia, made a live online tutorial - "Creating Easy Professional Graphics using Canva" - that she shared with the Australian ballooning community and to her followers on Facebook. Zoe has a background in digital marketing and has many years of experience in this field. She very kindly agreed that we could share her tutorial with the readers of the Very Best Balloon Blog.

I had previously "had a go" at using Canva, but because it did not work for me instantly, I gave up. As with anything new, you need to invest just a little bit of time to go through the steps. Zoe's tutorial will guide you through the simple steps of how to use Canva with ease, and within no time you will be producing fabulous marketing materials that you can use across all your social media channels.

I recommend that you open up Canva first ( click on "Create a Design" and have a little play for a few minutes. Then watch Zoe's tutorial and everything will start to make sense!

I hope like me that you enjoyed Zoe's tutorial. I know that once I had watched it I was more than ready to have another go, and this time I found the software very easy to use. Dare I say that I am finding it a little bit addictive and will have a play whenever I have a few minutes spare! You can also download Canva as an app on to your phones and iPads! 

Here are a few designs that I have recently made using Canva for Instagram and Facebook. 

Using quotes on your Facebook page and Instagram posts can lead to good reactions from your audience. I added a quote over one of my balloon images and wished my followers a "Happy Monday," too!

Since social platforms are about being sociable, your followers desire content that is inspirational, informative, positive, hopeful, entertaining, or humorous. 

Here are a couple more designs that I created on Canva using two of my design images and added some text to promote my company and website. As you can see, I have been playing with backgrounds to see which looks better. I think that the second design looks more complete! 

Here is another example of with and without a background. Again I feel that the design with the background is more complete.

I still have much to learn, but I know that by using Canva I can transform an Instagram or Facebook post into something really exciting and eye-catching, and that is exactly what we are all trying to do.

A huge thank you to Zoe for her fabulous tutorial. I know that it really gave me the tools and information that I needed to get me started! I hope like me you are enjoying Canva. I would love to see some of your work! 

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

OnArt - "Convention of Balloon Artists" 2018

OnArt - "Convention of Balloon Artists," a Qualatex-sponsored event, has just celebrated its 11th Anniversary. From the 5th-7th October, 2018, the hotel FrontAir Congress in Barcelona, Spain, became home for nearly two hundred delegates, sponsors, and organisers, including eleven fabulous instructors from around the globe — twenty different countries, in fact!  

Fabulous "Barcelona" balloon wall and "Motor Bike" 
designed by Vadim Sushkanov, CBA.

OnArt founder Jósemarie Álvarez with his wife Cristina Cano of Globofiesta Party S.L.,   first started the balloon artist event in 2008. For me, this was very special as I was one of the first instructors to teach at this fabulous convention.

This three-day event promised to be action-packed, fun-filled, and with many amazing learning opportunities! It did not fail on any level. 

The event kicked off with a CBA examination under the watchful eye of Keith Stirman, CBA. Congratulations to the thirteen new CBAs who passed!

The welcome party was the perfect opportunity for everyone to meet up. The fabulous party decor below was created by Edward Muñoz and Vadim Shushkanov.

Beautiful "Candy'" theme entrance decor by Edward Muñoz

Fabulous "Candy" theme decor by Edward Muñoz

by Barbara Rosatelli 

Competitions are always a big part of any balloon event. Delegates had the opportunity to enter five different competitions: 
Table Decoration: Communion
Balloon Bouquets: New Born
Column Design: Happy Birthday
12 Minute Twisting: Open theme
Balloon Hat: Open Theme

Here are some of the fabulous competition entries.

"Flying Baby"
Marion Rudolph

1st place Balloon Bouquet - "Flying Baby" by Marion Rudolph.
1st place Birthday Column - "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" by Barbara Rosatelli.

Carlo Vavenotti
"Country Communion"

The competitors who entered the table competition had to imagine a very demanding customer who wants a special table decoration in the communion of their child. 
Mariann Nagy
"Green Dream"

They were required to design an unforgettable table that could include some type of structure, Columns, bows, table arrangements or helium balloons.

There were two 1st place winners in this category: Carlo Vavenotti - "Country Communion" and Mariann Nagy - "Green Dream."

OnArt always has a fabulous group of international instructors, and this year was no exception! 

Beautiful Table Setting Displays by
 Toñy Moncada

Fabulous Halloween characters by
Laura Sanchez
18th Birthday Column
by Valter Saladino

With Vadim Shushkanov, CBA, and Olga Baranova, CBA, both from Russia, Keith Stirman, CBA, from the U.K., Edward Muñoz, CBA, from the U.S.A.,  Tania Martín, CBA, Laura Sanchez, CBA, and Toñy Moncada, CBA, from Spain, Miguel & André Rego, CBA from Portugal, Valter Saladino, CBA, from Sicily, and  Nikita Fric, CBA, from Slovenia.

Stunning Photo Frame design by
Edward Muñoz

Congratulations to the OnArt Team, Jósemarie Álvarez, Cristina Cano, Joao Laranjeira, CEO Balõs Festa, Portugal, Tania Martín, and Noe Bertomeu for organising such a fabulous event!

And thank you to Qualatex and the Pioneer Europe Team, Premium Balloon Accessories and John Bowler, and Hi-Float for their support. 

Entrance Decor by
Valter Saladino
This was an International event with classes taught in both English and Spanish. If you are interested in attending any future Qualatex-sponsored events, check out "Qualatex Events" on

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Taking the Fear Factor out of Organic Decor - Top Tips from Three Industry Experts!

Does the thought of creating an organic style balloon installation give you sleepless nights and fill you with dread? 

Fear no more - I have instilled the help of three amazing organic balloon art designers to share with us their top tips that will steer you through those worrying and confusing times!

The fabulous Caity Byrne, CBA of All About balloons in Washington, D.C., USA, has some truly great advice to share!

Caity Byrne of All About Balloons
"Don't be afraid to play! So many times, I have pulled out the color I think is just right for an organic piece, only to realize I'm completely wrong. I've pulled out other colors I'm dubious will look good together, and I end up with my new favorite palette. The cost to experiment is so minimal compared to the potential return on investment.
The principles and elements of design are of paramount importance in organic decor. Whether it's balance, scale, whatever- they should all be kept in mind when designing, planning, and constructing a piece. A 3-footer is completely out of proportion when nestled in with a bunch of 5" balloons, for example. An 8' swag behind a 25' stage is going to look completely underwhelming and out of place. A 25' swag on an 8' stage can be done well, provided there is balance (but not symmetry- gross!).
When it comes to actual hands-on construction of a piece, the most important thing I cannot stress enough is to keep balloons round! In my opinion, there is no place for anything other than round balloons in most decor (excepting helium balloons on a string, of course). Round balloons stack much more nicely and give movement to the piece. How many times have you seen an organic piece while strolling through Instagram only to have your eye stop abruptly on a pear-shaped balloon (or a bad color or size)?
The best business advice I have is particularly true in organics: don't be cheap and don't be lazy. Use Cloud Busters if the piece warrants it! Grab those foils and add them in for flair! Use SuperAgates- they're worth it! Take the time to make the confetti balloons and make your piece over the top. Your clients will be thrilled and your future clients will be calling!" 

Want to know how Caity makes her fabulous organic decor? She has two educational downloads available to purchase from

Here are some of Caity's favourite organic installations

This was the first organic piece that Caity ever did. It was in the East Room of the White House for the Obama’s final Halloween party.

"The rainbow ceiling is a close second for favorite pieces ever! I may have used literally every Qualatex solid/agate balloon in existence. It was such a happy piece and an extraordinary challenge in terms of color placement and rigging."

"The ombré wall was so elegant, in such a beautiful venue, and for a celebrity - which never hurts!"
Tina Giunta of Shivoo Balloons.

We all see and admire the stunning work of Tina Giunta, CBA, of Shivoo Balloons in Melbourne, Australia. Tina has created so many fabulous organic designs. I knew that she would be the perfect person to ask for top tips!

  1. One of the most important rules when making organic design work is to make sure that the balloons are round. Round balloons just want to snuggle together and leave less gaps than if they were inflated to the usual oval balloon shape.
  2. Don’t over-fill the gaps. It is important to leave some negative space in the design so that it doesn’t look stuffy and overdone.
  3. When making the Garland, attach the clusters to the line loosely. This allows you to shape the Garland with ease when attaching it to a wall or frame. It also allows room for the balloons to position themselves in the spaces they want to go naturally.
  4. If your Garland starts from the ground, ensure that the bottom balloons all touch the floor. This gives the design visual stability.
  5. Because this style of decor is so free-form, it’s very easy to get caught up in the finer detail! When you are close up you see gaps and feel the need to keep adding and adding, until you realize that it’s too busy or the overall shape is not working with its surrounding space. For this reason, it’s very important to walk away from your piece every so often and come back with fresh eyes. 

"This design was just so dreamy! I love working with pure white balloons. When I finished it, I sat on the floor and just took it all in for a while. It definitely helped that the venue was beautiful…I think it was the contrast from the Red brick and all the wood in the room. The glass ceiling let in so much light, everything just worked together perfectly."
Our final expert is, of course, the truly awesome Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia.

Chris Adamo, Balloons Online
"My top tip for organic decor is related to the WBC story. Organically textured garland in and of itself is like paint. Once you know the basics of how to use different brushes (textures) and colours (the balloons), anyone can start painting. The real artistry comes to life when you can use that paint to tell a story. This differentiates the same old organics with something beautiful and memorable.
Story telling relies on integration with the environment, not the room or the space but the event as a whole. You need to understand all aspects of the event and the elements at play before you make your first brush stroke."
"After much consideration, my favourite organic installation would have to be the piece we did in the trees at WBC. It was a huge honour to teach the basics on creating organics, but when we unexpectedly at the spur of the moment wove the garland through those trees, we gave the balloons life."
Thank you so much Caity, Tina, and Chris. Your top tips are all fantastic, and I will certainly be putting much of what you say into practice when I next work on an organic installation! I cannot express enough how kind and generous our industry is when it comes to sharing and helping others to grow their businesses. It's is truly appreciated! 

Happy 'organic' ballooning!