Many swimming teachers dream of owning their own swim school and once you are over the major hurdle of finding a suitable swimming pool, what about the business logos, uniform, business cards and all the other design bits and pieces?
To employ a graphic designer is one option, but could also be expensive. So what is the alternative? If you can draw, know someone who can or know what kind of design you are looking for; this is a great start. All you need now is to sit down with a pencil and paper and start to sketch – it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes and rub/scribble them out, in fact the original sketch can be really scruffy and be completely devoid of colour as that can be added later.
Once you are happy with the sketch, scan it into your computer and save in a jpeg format. From past experience, the next stage is more successful if you have an up to date computer as otherwise, the program Sumopaint will run slow. To use Sumopaint, log onto the web and go to the address www.sumoware.com>. Click on “Try Sumo Paint”.
A new file will open up. To work on your design, click on "file" in the top left corner and then select "open from my computer" from the drop down menu.
Select your file and it will be uploaded to Sumopaint.
In the bottom right hand corner of the page, you should see "Layers", click on the icon of a page with a plus sign (text will appear telling you what each icon is); this will be your outline layer. To be honest, I like to add lots of layers to make up different parts of the picture and then merge them down into one layer when it suits (to get the alternative menu, keep the cursor in the layers section and right click).
Once you have completed the outline, using the tools on the left of the screen (I tend to use the curve line tool mostly), you can delete your original drawing and add a new layer with a solid colour for a background.
The final stage is to colour in the image and bring it to life. Now the majority of the filling in can be completed in the outline layer, but you will be left with an empty margin where the fill does not quite meet the outline. To fix this problem, add a new layer and position it between your new background and outline layers (select the new layer and use the arrows to move it up or down). Using the paintbrush tool and the fill colour, paint up to the line, it doesn't matter if it goes slightly into the line as it won't be seen, just don't go past the other side of the line. When you are happy with your image, save in the jpeg format to your computer.
Sumopaint really gives you the opportunity to come up with something that is completely your own and when the first image is complete, the choices of what you can do with it are endless. The Splash 'n' Swim logo at the top of this webpage, was drawn on Sumopaint along with all the other drawings found on this website. You can photo edit, add text, adapt old drawings to your hearts content and then apply your work to all sorts of media.
For business cards and stationary, I would highly recommend MOO at www.moo.com. MOO will let you upload your chosen image and take you step-by-step through the process of laying out your own stationary. There is a wide choice of products and the team give you updates on the stages of your order. I designed my own MiniCards late on a Wednesday afternoon and they were delivered to me the following Friday morning - I was extremely impressed!
Use your swim school characters to jazz up your lessons. For the Saturday swim school that I teach, I have five groups: Froglets, Splash!, Wave, Piranhas and Tritons (these names were chosen by the children). Each group name then had a character designed for them and instead of just leaving it at that, I produced an information sheet based on the Moshi Monsters idea. These sheets are then given out to the children when they join the swim school or they move up a group.
The swim school that I work for has used Vectra Promotions for t-shirt design in the past and I was given permission to design my own uniform t-shirts based on the characters. These have been extremely popular with the children and adults, who have commented on the lovely bright colours. The t-shirt material is a synthetic that is quick drying and suitable for wearing in the water and even though, the t-shirts have had a lot of use, the colour hasn't faded at all.