Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

Create Better Compositions with the Rule of Thirds

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

About Design, Principle 7: The Rule of Thirds
One of the easiest principles of design to learn is the Rule of Thirds. To create dynamic and interesting compositions, be it design or photography, divide the work area into thirds. Just put two lines horizontally and two vertically for a 3×3 grid. Then place the main subject or design element on one of those lines, and position the secondary element along the opposite 1/3 third line or point of intersection. This will create balance and a space in which the elements can interact. In the example below left, the secondary element is the sky and the space itself. The “centered” version lacks the feeling of the original. The original has perspective, a product of the Rule of Thirds.

What is the Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds as a general aesthetic rule can be traced to the Renaissance and has been part of layout design and visual composition since. An object placed on a 1/3 line draws immediate visual contrast to the 2/3 of space next to the object. This ratio 2/3, .666, is similar to the Golden Ratio, .618, and a lot easier to compute when shooting a photograph or designing a brochure.

We’ve looked at the effect space has on perspective, now take a look at how it affects movement.

The photo on the left, the Porsche is dead center in the frame. It looks like it’s sitting still. There’s no room for it to go anywhere, there’s no space it came from. It’s just there. Contrast that with the Porsche on the right. The front wheel is on the right 1/3 line, with space in front for this car to speed into. That space is the secondary design element.

We use the Rule of Thirds in the sense that it is part of our training and understanding of how design works. It helps us create compositions that are well-balanced and engaging. In the example below from Dr. Mark Jewell’s REVENEZ 1, the model’s right eye is at an intersection point and instantly engaging. On the right 1/3 line you find the name of the practice and the tagline.

Dr. Mark Jewell's REVENEZ 1 Home Screen

In Dr. Evan Sorokin’s REVENEZ 1, the design moves from the upper left third through the intersection points to the lower right third. For balance, the logo is in the right upper third. Notice the internal consistency: the line of the figure drawing, from right shoulder through left arm, is parallel to the line of the model’s body.

Dr. Evan Sorokin's REVENEZ 1 Homescreen
What can you do with the Rule of Thirds?
You can use the Rule of Thirds to take better photographs. And if you love movies, it can help you understand cinematography.

In movies, a lot of the story is told through the frame composed by the cinematographer.  Here’s Roger Ebert from his blog to explain movement in the frame:

In simplistic terms: Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so. The future seems to live on the right, the past on the left. The top is dominant over the bottom. The foreground is stronger than the background. Symmetrical compositions seem at rest. Diagonals in a composition seem to “move” in the direction of the sharpest angle they form, even though of course they may not move at all. Therefore, a composition could lead us into a background that becomes dominant over a foreground. Tilt shots of course put everything on a diagonal, implying the world is out of balance. I have the impression that more tilts are down to the right than to the left, perhaps suggesting the characters are sliding perilously into their futures. Left tilts to me suggest helplessness, sadness, resignation. Few tilts feel positive.

The same principles can be applied to the photographs you take. Even in a quick snap shot you can subtly change the expression and sentiment by simply switching the gaze from left to right.

If you want to learn to take better pictures, change the way you see composition by changing the viewfinder. Most point-and-shoot cameras, and even some DSLRs, have a menu option called “Grid,” which when activated will put in the 3×3 grid lines. The lines serve as a reminder to think in terms of thirds and will really help line up shots.

Photos are used with the creative commons license. Rothmans Porsche 2 taken by Brian Snelson via, Roock Porsche 18 taken by Tony Harrison via

No-Fluff, Aesthetically Smart Marketing

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“I NEVER THOUGHT MUCH OF MARKETING. Practices do it in my area: billboards, magazines and things like that, but I’ve never had to. I’m not sure what good it would do me or where I should start – if I decide to – and how much is “fluff”? When is good, good enough? Do I really need great design? What do I need, and what is best for my practice? I’ve had a fairly busy practice until 2008. Things are a little slow now, but we’re making it. It would be nice to have a few more bookings, but I’m hesitant to start marketing.”

These are questions and concerns I hear weekly. For an industry that historically has believed marketing is wrong, these are legitimate concerns. “Everybody’s doing it” just doesn’t fly with me. And as you’d imagine, just average design doesn’t either.

My industry, the advertising and marketing industry, still really doesn’t know the plastic surgery industry deeply enough to always do you the best good. It is even more difficult because each practice is so unique. For some, you’ve found that a cable TV buy generates calls. For others, your website is your top dollar producer, and for yet others, your patients are your best advocates.

The most important thing I can tell you is that your marketing needs to resonate with your target audience. PATIENTS ARE ATTRACTED TO PHYSICIANS AND STAFF WHO COMMUNICATE VALUES AND PERSONALITY TRAITS SIMILAR TO THEIR OWN. Any marketing effort you engage in needs to be a trust builder, a genuine relationship builder. It’s got to be emotionally beautiful, respectful, just right for the personality of the practice, and the very best quality you can afford.

SO, WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR MARKETING, WHAT IS FLUFF? FLUFF IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Fluff happens when you don’t know what your goals are for each particular marketing effort. Fluff is not having an emotionally engaging and beautiful brand. Fluff happens when you have to do a project over, you don’t use vendors you can trust – or you don’t take time to understand your contract and what you’ve purchased. Fluff is spending too much money on external marketing when you already have a good-sized database of loyal patients who love your practice. Fluff is not looking at your consultation process through the eyes of a patient. Fluff, to me, is marketing efforts that don’t produce. Fluff is a waste of money.

Let me encourage you not to be afraid of marketing but to be purposeful about your brand, and especially, to be aesthetically smart. Give me a call, I’d love to hear what you think is fluff.

Candace – 877 884 7676


Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Marketing is fundamentally a conversation between your patients/potential patients and your practice. All marketing whether it is internal or external needs to have the heart of great customer service and guide, educate, and encourage your patients. External marketing tells your target audience you have a service that can help them reach their goals. Internal marketing’s goal is to create and retain loyal patients who will recommend you.

Your website is a great example of external marketing. At its basic level, it can help new patients find you – but it can be much more than that. A great, patient-focused website will project an image that inspires confidence in your services.

Loyalty programs, keeping in touch with consults and patients through email, personal notes, phone calls, seminars, great patient education, a video loop that features all of your services for your waiting area, are all great examples of internal marketing. Internal marketing generally costs less and produces a higher return.


Did you know that fear motivates 400% more than pleasure? Do you really want fear to motivate your marketing decisions? It’s better to stick with your well thought out plan. While you may see immediate results from your marketing activities, achieving a balance in your marketing is really a long-term investment and like most investments, it requires patience, determination, consistency and commitment if you want to realize your desired goals. Let me encourage you to work towards creating a strategic, integrated marketing plan based on measurable goals that are right for your practice. Especially in today’s highly competitive marketplace, it is well worth your time.

Wishing you a superb plan,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director
Candace Crowe Design

Educating Patients. Marketing You.

Time Waits for No One. Take Time…

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Time Waits for No One. Take Time to Attract New Patients.

Face it. Time and resources are limited, so use Franklin Covey’s big rock principle. This jar, depending on what order you put them in, will hold three large rocks and several small ones without overflowing. The large rocks represent my three most important goals or tasks (for the day, week or year). The little ones represent smaller goals, tasks and interruptions-the urgent, but not always important. You see, I have to protect my three most important goals and make room for them first. If I do that, they all can fit.

Plastic surgeons are some of the busiest people I know, so you aren’t just simply going to “find time”. Schedule regular time in your appointment software to focus on your marketing efforts. If you can’t do it, delegate one person who can. They become your designated “keeper of your brand”, keeper of deadlines, reorders, marketing files… That way your brand will be stronger and you’ll be sure to make every dollar of your marketing budget bring a big return.

Time is our great equalizer. You can’t add to it. You can only manage it better. So choose your efforts wisely.

Wishing you (if you celebrate it) a very Merry Christmas! Peace, Hope & Joy.

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.
Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved

Does your marketing show you understand…

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

MARKETING TIP. Think for a minute, does your marketing show that you understand your patient’s cares and concerns?

Wishing you marketing success,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.
Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved

Be sure not to overwhelm your patients with…

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

MARKETING TIP. Be sure not to overwhelm your patients with too many “special offers” or by using “shout marketing” tools.

Wishing you marketing success,

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.
Copyright © 2010 | Candace Crowe Design | All Rights Reserved


Monday, November 16th, 2009

Sitting on the beach with two of my sons and their girlfriends. Two out surfing, the sun on my shoulders. Life is good. Moments of true contentment. Thankfulness for this peaceful, perfect place in time. A Sunday before the work week begins and I’m back at a much more task-oriented day.

The laws of physics say that an object in motion stays in motion. It’s so easy to get caught up with staying in motion. How close I came to staying home this time. But, for this day, this beautiful Sunday, it is my time to recharge. A day to honor God, to honor myself and to honor others. Tomorrow I resume motion with the memory of this peaceful perfect moment with my family.

Wishing you a wonderful week!


Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

Trust… what causes patients to trust you?

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

After the year we’ve all just lived through, it’s understandable that consumers are scared and tired and distrustful of just about everyone, from the media and politicians to banks and insurance companies.

Trust… what an interesting, elusive intangible. What causes patients to trust you? How do you inspire trust in people you have never even met? Why should they trust you when they might perceive your efforts to market your services as just another clever way of trying to separate them from the money they feel compelled to hold on to right now?

In business, trust is built in much the same way as it is in our personal lives. It is built on relationships, and good relationships are built over time through effective communication. How are you communicating these days with your patients and prospects? Is it often and consistent? Consumers are busy and bombarded by information, so you’ll have to be polite and creative to get through. Is it patient-focused and genuinely caring? Is it motivated by fear or is it inspired by hope? Consumers are savvy and usually see right through.

There are so many great opportunities to build trust by just being sincere in your desire to consistently offer what you promise. No one in business right now can afford to not deliver what their marketing messages promise. Make certain everyone in your practice is encouraged to uphold your practice’s high standards at every touch point— on phone calls, in email correspondence and certainly in person at the consultation through procedure to follow-up appointments.

Maybe one of the best way to build trust right now for all of us is a little laughter. Sound cliche? Maybe, but it’s hard to be skeptical when someone makes you laugh.

Wishing you a week full of profitable work, joy, and laughter.

Candace Crowe
President, Creative Director

Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.

© 2009 Candace Crowe Design

A word of wisdom when you least expect it.

Monday, April 6th, 2009

One day, nearly 13 yeas ago, my then five year old gave me a gift I’ll never forget. After a particularly hard day working and balancing the demands of being a “hands-on mom of four boys” I was in my bedroom with the door shut feeling overwhelmed, when I heard a little knock. It was my third born Evan. He had a bright pink picnic tray filled with everything he could find from the kitchen that he thought would make me smile; a cup of yogurt with flowers from the yard stuck in it, some graham crackers and milk, a cup of orange juice, and a heavy dose of sprinkles covering the tray. He placed it on the floor in front of me and proudly stated “mom, you’ve got to have a little party everyday!”. And we sat on the floor that day and indeed did have a party.

Today, as a focused and busy professional, I have that bit of advice written on a yellow stick on my computer. It’s so cliché but so true. The years pass through the sands of time SO quickly. I want to celebrate life daily.

I am very fortunate to love the work I do on a daily basis. I love the beauty of this world and working with plastic surgeons. Share a little wisdom you’ve learned,  and post a comment back — I’d love to hear from you.

Candace Crowe, President
Candace Crowe Design
Educating Patients. Marketing You.