iPad early adopters

Aug 24, 2010

As I watched Apple's keynote introducing the iPad, late one night back in January, lights went on in my head. "These things will revolutionize our tradeshows and presentations; do you realize what we can do with this technology?!", I yelled to my sleeping wife. The disappointing news was that we would have to wait until April for the shipments. I quickly preordered three units and tried to go to sleep. The next day the idea was presented to the licensing and sales teams, who quickly embraced it with excitement. An amazing brainstorm session proceeded.

The iPads arrived as ordered and the art department began testing applications and busily loading them with our complete archive of nearly 100,000 images with over 300 artists. The iPads had no trouble with the amount of data storage, though problems began to occur with the application we were using and the amount of individual files the program could handle. Back and forth calls with the development company quickly escalated the issues to their VP. "We have never encountered anyone pushing the limits of our software as you are," explained the developers. We worked over a month with them as they added some enhancements; the software became more robust and we completed the transfer of our massive archive - just in time for the tradeshow season.

If you haven't been to our shows, Applejack traditionally reserves a three unit booth at the SURTEX show, one of the largest of spaces on the floor. We’d setup three tables and roll in three large carts containing our entire library of printed portfolios. The portfolios are used to show artwork to clients, artists, and manufacturers. The portfolios contain thumbnails of each image in our archive and the books are flipped through like a catalog. If you do the math you'll realize to hold our entire portfolio of artists, custom collections and some duplicate books you'll need over 10,000 pages! That’s quite a lot of printing, sorting, assembly and weight for our staff to carry around and this all comes at a cost as well. Because we have so much new content daily, the books were instantly outdated and completely obsolete by the next year.

The iPads completely replaced all of this in one fell swoop and made for a much better presentation! We no longer need the books, saving weeks of work for our art dept staff, saving transportation costs in renting a van for the heavy carts, and reducing our booth space to two units. Add the fact that the iPads can be updated by our staff while at the show means that the sales managers have the most up to date images.

The SURTEX show and the iPads were a complete success! We were one of the first companies at the show to feature this new technology and the feedback was amazing. I think Apple sales tripled overnight due to our showing (if only we had worked out a commission plan with Apple prior to the show...). By the next show, Licensing International, many other companies had adopted iPads to replace their technology and were showing their artwork and creations with the iPad. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

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Eye-Catching Bold & Bright

Aug 18, 2010

Bold & bright is the way to go in today's market. Brights can be used for images and products across any theme, but what better way to showcase bright tones than in florals?  Flowers are naturally colorful, so mixing them with patterns and backgrounds that complement them and highlight their colors makes perfect design sense. Whether these images are graphic and modern or detailed and more traditional, bright tones are being incorporated to freshen them up!   


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Birds & Butterflies!

Aug 06, 2010



It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a butterfly! These little creatures are a growing trend in the marketplace. They’re being used on dozens of products from prints to nesting boxes and stationery.


Perhaps this is tied into the rise of outdoor artwork, which is a place more and more people are decorating.  They’re making their patios and decks a haven to retreat to and, like any indoor space, they need artwork for it.  Gardens, bird baths, bird houses, these all serve as some inspiration for this work.


Or perhaps this is just the next phase of the eco trend that has surfaced and dominated in the last several years.


These images provide a beautiful and upbeat visual backdrop for any space in your home!

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Trend Letter 1, 2010

Aug 06, 2010


The ebb and flow of home decor trends has always kept us searching for the latest and freshest palettes.  Now,

as we come into a new season, we look towards new colors, varied tones, and updated looks to keep us on the

cutting edge of the art industry.

As we slowly, and cautiously, look ahead at a more promising economic future, our optimism grows. The safer,more comforting colors of the last several years will fade into the background a bit and make way for a new generation of color.  This is one of the more dramatic shifts of the last several years.  We’ll see overall color palettes brighten and darker, muted tones become accents rather than main colors.  Citrus colors play an important roll in this newer, brighter way of life.  One of the newest introductions is coral – a tone that hovers between both red and orange.  Yellow has shown its form subtly in recent months, but will continue to grow in popularity when paired with other emerging citrus hues. 

Of course, on the cooler side of the color palette we find blue and purple still making

headway.  The blues are fresh and watery while the purple flirts with reddish hues to look

like plum.  Green stakes its claim in both the warm and cool sides of the palette.  It plays on

the blue side in aqua and turquoise and becomes acidic when mixed with shades of yellow.


Amongst all these bright, fresh hues, we still have a need for the basics that ground us. 

Chocolate brown, sandy taupe, and cool gray still work as a strong backdrop to showcase a

newer palette.  Pantone’s seasonal color forecast features strong neutrals like Oyster Gray

and Chocolate Truffle mixed with punchy tones like Purple Orchid, Lagoon, and Lipstick Red.


While establishing the color palette is certainly the most dominant aspect of a trend, using it

properly is still hugely important to its success.  Although we’re beginning to see a rise in optimism,consumers are still being incredibly cautious in their purchases.  Consumers will

want to incorporate the newer trends with their existing ones and be able to blend the two

together.  This is more of a dabble in new trends rather than plunging in headfirst.  So to

satisfy the consumer’s desire for a new look, it’s smart to incorporate it in with some of the

old stand-bys.



Using these trend right colors with popular subject matter is the ace-in-the-hole.  Natural elements continue to be a highly popular category.  Elements like leaves, trees, and flowers have been strong sellers for several trend cycles and are still in the spotlight.  Slightly newer on the scene are the birds, butterflies, and dragonflies that have been hot recently across many product categories.  The embellishments and enhancements that the last trend cycles featured have given way to more simplistic sophistication with subtle accents.








We think of trends in terms of how we live our lives. Throughout history, in times of struggle the colors were deeper, darker, and more muted.  In more hopeful times, the colors we surround ourselves with become brighter, more cheerful, and more saturated.  We’re now living in a time more focused on nature, fresher eating, and healthier living.  This is where these citrus and farm fresh colors of veggies, fruits, and open pastures help illustrate our way of life.

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