Wacom PTZ630 vs. Huion H610Pro

You may remember on Instagram that I posted about my new drawing tablet, the Huion H610Pro.

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For some background, I’ve been using the Wacom Intuos 3 (model PTZ-630) since 2008. Or 2007. I can’t remember. It’s been my all-purpose mouse for most of the last decade. I LOVE this thing, and am certain that using a drawing pen for ALL mouse input has protected me from any form of carpal tunnel.

I needed a new tablet since after a decade of daily use, my Wacom was starting to show some wear and tear (the tablet’s drawing surface started peeling up), plus the driver was giving me more and more attitude as Adobe and Microsoft released newer and newer versions of their software. I shopped around, dead-set on another Wacom, but figured–what the heck–a medium-sized Huion is a fraction of the price (only $77, versus Wacom’s $350 one I was looking at) and has a 60-day return policy. I’m not a Photoshop Painter, unlike my buddies Gavin and Sita (who are amazing), so I didn’t need Wacom’s $1,000 beast (and if you’re reading my humble blog, you probably don’t either). I’ve been using the Huion for a week.

Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet with Carrying Bag and Glove

Features Smart Sensitive Performer Varying the pressure of the pen against the drawing pad can create variations in line width and opacity, which makes you feel as if you are drawing with a real pen on paper. With 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, Huion H610 Pro gives strokes of what you d…

For those interested, I’m running a Windows 10 PRO PC installed with an Intel Core i5 processor and 16G of RAM on dual Samsung monitors with NVIDIA GeForce 9400GT graphics card. I ain’t playin’ around.

Well, I have updates.

I am going to assume you’ve been using a Wacom, and want to know what a Huion is like. This post is for experienced designers who are thinking about making a switch, not designers new to drawing tablets and trying to decide between them.

Now on to the update.

Most annoying: the pen lags.

Like I said, I use my tablet + pen for all mouse input: Browsing the web, in Illustrator, Microsoft Word–everywhere. Using the pen in Adobe Illustrator CC while creating this logo was a bit frustrating: the pointer on-screen would “lag” or get “sticky,” staying in one part of the screen after I’d moved to another. Sometimes the problem would resolve itself, sometimes I had to hit ESC or plug the pen into its charging USB to “reset” it.

Second, if I haven’t used the pen for a while because I’ve switched to my ultra-sensitive Razer Salmosa Gaming Mouse out of frustration with the lagging, I have to tap on the tablet with the pen to get my computer to recognize the pen input method again. It doesn’t just pick up where we left off like we’re old pals.

While we’re talking about the pen…

The pen has a battery.

The pen must be charged. This eats up my highly-prized USB port real estate. The pen does stay charged for quite some time, so I guess I could unplug the cable from my USB port when the pen isn’t charging, but then I’d lose the cable. I am a mess.

If you don’t make a habit of charging it every night, the pen could potentially die in the middle of whatever you’re working on. Sure, you can use the pen while it’s plugged in, but that’s a heckin’ AWFUL experience…

Second most annoying: Text Selection.

I cannot make copypasta with any significant reliability. To highlight a ton of text (say, like in Word) is a pain and sometimes the pen just doesn’t do it (like from a webpage). Double-tapping will select a word or a sentence or nothing or bring up those little iPhone-like teardrop selectors. Whatever the pen is in the mood for. It only works this way on some text, not all, and I haven’t figured out the pattern yet. I’ve resorted to shift+click to select text when the pen won’t play nice.

The construction is definitely China.

I am not hot about the construction. The pen is very lightweight, almost so much that it feels flimsy. Unlike the solid-feeling Wacom tablet, the Huion feels hollow. Like you half-expect the Huion to be filled with packing peanuts or butterflies. I do like a little more weight to my pen, but for reference the Huion pen weighs about the same as an unsharpened No. 2 Pencil. A knockoff Mont Blanc pen is heavier. The weight of the hardware gives me concerns about its durability.

There’s no mouse option.

That’s pretty self explanatory, but it’s significant because see annoyances number one and two. It would be nice to have a wireless mouse come with the Huion, but I already have a dozen mice, so I guess this is more of me being spoiled by the Wacom than any fault of Huion. Plus my gaming mouse has surgical precision and I prefer it anyway.

Summary

If you’re a student or a newbie to drawing tablets, buy the Huion. If you’re a professional Photoshop painter or a professional digital illustrator, buy the Wacom. The rest of us will fall somewhere in between. The Huion isn’t terrible, but it is inferior to the Wacom if you need an insane degree of accuracy. I’m not set on keeping the Huion, but I’m not set on returning it, either. I am set on giving it a real chance. While my intention with any tablet is to use it for all mouse input, I can say that the Huion is not that tablet. Maybe the new Wacoms aren’t either. Maybe I’m just SOL.

If you have a tablet (purchased new in the last five years), tell me. I want your input; maybe I’ll even update my blog later with what others have said about their tablets.

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Graphic Strategist Wins Two National Design Awards

Thanks to all of my clients, partners, and colleagues for helping make 2017 a great success in design! Graphic Strategist has earned a 2017 Health + Wellness Design Award and a 2017 American Graphic Design Award, both from the 50-year-old awarding body, Graphic Design USA (GD USA). These mark the fourth and fifth awards, respectively, my clients and I received. These awards acknowledge the team effort and collaboration involved in brand strategy and graphic design. According to GD USA, winning multiple awards in a year is “rare,” and only 15% of the over 10,000 entries are considered for recognition.

 

2017 GD USA American Graphic Design Award

GD USA awarded an American Graphic Design Award for Destin Brewery’s Can Label Designs, which were based on the brewery’s unwavering vision of supporting and representing the local community. These cans stand out on the shelves like no other.

GD USA 2017 Health and Wellness Design Award

The Health and Wellness Design Award was earned for the Three H Medical Logo, a by-veterans, for-veterans prosthetic limb company. The health + Wellness Awards were a newly minted competition for GD USA, started in 2017.

For Clients

What these awards mean for you, the (potential) client, is that you receive top-notch creative services from Graphic Strategist. We offer branding, identity development, logos, websites, eCommerce websites, online stores, social media management, photography, writing, and a host of other creative services executed to the level of all our award-winning design.

Destin Chamber Ribbon Cutting

Clients , friends, and business affiliates showed support for Graphic Strategist at my Ribbon Cutting ceremony
Clients,  friends, and business affiliates showed support for Graphic Strategist at my Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

Please join me and my clients, friends, and partners on Thursday, August 10 at 4:00 p.m. for my Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. I’m celebrating one year in business in Destin, and I’ll provide beer from Destin Brewery, wine from Vintage Distributors, and lots of elbow-rubbing at the reception to follow.

Click here to see the Facebook event hosted at the Destin Chamber of Commerce, 4484 Legendary Drive, Suite A.

Survey Results: How do you use e-mail?

In September, I shot a survey out to friends and strangers to gather information about how my peers use e-mail. The results were interesting, and even had some surprises.

Age ranges of the survey respondents.
Age ranges of the survey respondents.

Here’s the age breakdown of the respondents.  As you can see, 54% were in the 18-25 range. You may think since “Millennials” comprised the bulk of the respondents that you could predict them, but you may be surprised. Let’s go through some of the main takeaways.

84% of respondents are still checking their e-mail at least daily.

No surprise here! Many people still check their e-mail multiple times a day, even the generational groups that purportedly don’t use e-mail. If we add those who said they peek at their inbox “a few times a week,” nearly everyone in the survey is included. E-mail is still widely used, and people are checking it.

People use throwaway e-mail addresses.

Think visitors who sign up for an account on your website are giving you a monitored e-mail address? Think again. When asked why they had more than one e-mail address, the top three responses were for work/school, personal use, and one…to send spam to. A throwaway.

“To register multiple accounts on the same website; to send emails that aren’t from my email address; to register accounts that aren’t connected to my email address; gmail likes to link to a second account as a security measure”

Further, if businesses are sharing the e-mail addresses they collect, customers get pretty darn clever to avoid be bought and sold.

“I have my own domain with which I use different addresses for each site or service e.g. for reddit I use reddit@mydomain.tld and for a bank I use bankname@mydomain.tld. That way, If I start getting spam, I can see who leaked/sold my address, and decommission that address to stop the spam.”

It isn’t that the elusive 18-25 and 26-34 age range doesn’t use e-mail, it’s that they don’t use the one they gave you. 

87% of people don’t give out their primary e-mail address because they don’t trust or need you.

The 13% that does give out their primary e-mail address includes the 2% of respondents who only have one e-mail address. Largely, the 18-25 group only gave out their primary address if you are providing them with something they need, such as electricity, rent, or insurance. Rarely did anyone answer that, yes, they give out their primary address regardless of whether or not they trusted you, needed your product, or were subscribed to your service. Often, respondents of all ages wanted to both trust your business and need whatever you were selling.

The TL;DR.

People have more than one e-mail address, and they probably aren’t giving you the one you want most: the one they use most. So while, yes, someone might boast a large collection of e-mails in their subscriber list, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

This absolutely supports my previous entry about building relationships with your customers, avoiding cold sales, and providing them with relevant offers. I’d recommend using a different platform to build your relationships, and using e-mail as a more personal form of contact after you’ve established a level of trust with the customer.

But that’s another entry for another day.

Pantone’s Color(s) of the Year 2016

…are friggin’ Pink and Blue…?!

Pantone, the “world-renowned authority on color” calls these colors Rose Quartz and Serenity. The nomenclature kind of reminds me of enthusiastic brides naming their wedding colors  “A Candle at Midnight” when they really just mean “black and white.”

I kid, I kid.

AWGAWD MY EYES!
AWGAWD MY EYES!

With Rose Quartz and Serenity, you may at first see a throwback to women’s shell suits of the 1980s, or the last baby shower you were invited to, but Pantone’s inspiration goes a little deeper than that this year.

Why should I care?

Pantone is offering a visual representation for what the general mood of consumers is–essentially, our current outlook on 2016. The color is intended to influence your approach to your market, not necessarily what color you should be using now.

A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.  -Pantone.com

Although many fashion designers and interior designers jump on the color of the year to inspire their creations, Pantone isn’t suggesting that everyone run out and change their marketing communications–or to even include these colors.

Interestingly, this year’s interpretation contrasts last year’s color, and seems only vaguely similar to 2014’s color of the year, where there is little no mention of symbolism in the selections or their how they are useful outside of the design industry.

What if I want to use them?

Pantone's colors paired with mine.
Here, you see Pantone’s Color of the Year accompanying my color scheme. It would only work in certain color pairs.

I would not recommend everyone who is starting or re-branding a business utilize these colors just because Pantone made them Color(s) of the Year. If one or both colors fit your philosophy or industry, then sure, knock yourself out. Make all the shell suits and baby shower invitations you want!

In all seriousness, Pantone ultimately promotes Color of the Year to sell their color swatches. You could feasibly incorporate the Color(s) of the Year into your communications, but you should do so extremely carefully so you don’t dilute your brand. You don’t want your customers wondering what color your logo is going to be today.

If your brand already experiments with color, then switching it up could work. The only brand off the top of my head to frequently play with their color scheme is Polo Ralph Lauren. They allow consumers to choose what color the horse logo is on custom polos.

Introduction to Government Contracting

Soon, State and Local Governments will find The Graphic Strategist in their SAM databases as a Woman-Owned Small Businesses. Currently, I am plugging through the requirements to be on the procurement registry’s vendor list, and hopefully this process will be complete.

If you are a school, college, or a city or county organization, give me a shout. I have worked with the State in the past, and can certainly help you with publications, custom desktop publishing templates, annual reports, or event stationary design. Please contact me to set up a free meeting and to see samples of my previous work.