7 Foods We're Craving This Fall

written by Georgia Schumacher 22 October 2014

Pumpkin soupFall is a season filled with appetizing, home-cooked meals and comfort foods. From Thanksgiving trimmings to aromatic soups and ciders, no other time of year has quite the combination of culinary flavors, and many of these seasonal delights pack nutritional value. Consider those vitamins and minerals the perfect excuse to indulge in the variety of dishes that fall foods offer.

1. Pumpkin

Nothing says fall quite like pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes to that slice of pumpkin pie after a Thanksgiving feast, this delicious flavor is easily used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes.

Health benefits: A cup of mashed pumpkin contains 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, and with beta-carotene, fiber, and more potassium than a banana, it's easy to convince yourself to cut an even larger slice of pie.

Try: Pumpkin chili

2. Apples

It's the season of apple cider and baked apple tarts. Fortunately, apples also keep the doctor away by providing ample amounts of fiber and antioxidants.

Health benefits: With 14 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 4 grams of filling fiber per apple, this antioxidant-rich fruit makes a sweet treat.

Try: Ravioli with apples and walnuts

3. Sweet Potatoes

The russet potato's healthier brother has more to offer than being a great alternative to french fries. With ample amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A, this flavorful addition to a fall menu is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Health benefits: Iron, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C make sweet potatoes ideal for increased energy, healthy cells, and improved immunity during cold season.

Try: Sweet potato casserole

4. Cranberries

Cranberries

Cranberries are far more useful than simply adding color to a Thanksgiving buffet. When it comes to food with vitamins, this sweet fruit boasts a hefty dose.

Health benefits: Known to help beat urinary tract infections, cranberries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and quercetin (a flavonoid that may help prevent both colon and breast cancer).

Try: Fettuccine with brussels sprouts, cranberries, and caramelized onions

5. Kale

With so many hearty fall dishes, vegetables often go unnoticed. Kale, however, is the ideal leafy green to add into practically any cooking creation.

Health benefits: Most people are aware that kale, like spinach, is high in iron, but it also contains vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try: Kale, quinoa, and avocado salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette

Butternut squash6. Squash

Not only does squash add texture and color to a variety of home-cooked dishes, it also packs a heavy vitamin punch with even more vitamin A than pumpkin.

Health benefits: In addition to vitamin A, squash contains energy-boosting B vitamins. Its low calorie content is also ideal for weight control.

Try: Baked spaghetti squash

7. Cinnamon

This sweet spice is the perfect addition to desserts and lattes, but it also transitions well into heartier dishes.

Health benefits: Cinnamon may reduce LDL cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, and prevent blood clots.

Try: Cinnamon roasted almonds

Interested in developing your business and management skills but don’t want to lose sight of your passion for the culinary world? Consider our programs in the areas of Culinary Management and Hotel & Restaurant Management!

What do your color choices say about your brand?

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 October 2014

Color is more than just a personal choice when creating art, or designing advertising and marketing materials. Every color choice makes an emotional impact on the viewer and can cement the understanding of a brand in consumers' minds.

Colors

Warm versus cool colors

Typically, colors are divided into two groups: cool colors and warm colors. Warm colors, like red, orange, yellow, gold, and brown, typically make you think of heat or light. Cool colors, on the other hand, are associated with tranquility and nature—colors like blue, green, purple, and grey. Cooler colors are found on the lower right hand of the color wheel while the warmer colors are on the upper left hand of the color wheel.

Choosing colors from one group or another can change how the viewer feels about a painting, product or brand. For example, say you are creating a logo for a company that sells blankets. To convey a sense of warmth, you might choose a color from the warm color palette. On the other hand, if you are creating a logo for a snow cone company, you want a color that feels chilly, like blue. Colors like blue, green and purple can literally make people feel colder.

Saturation

How these colors affect viewers has a lot to do with how bright or saturated they are. For example, red can be a very stimulating color, but if you bring down the saturation, the viewer may associate the color with a sense of calm.

Color by color

Psychology studies have shown that different colors have different affects on humans. Here are a few:

• Red raises blood pressure, encourages people to gamble more and is the color of love. 
• Blue is calming and is one of the most popular colors in the world.
• Orange makes people think of bargains.
• Green van spark creativity and outside-the-box thinking.
• People often think of boredom or cleanliness when they think of white.
• Black is thought of as sophisticated.

No matter if you are into fine art, design or marketing, considering color psychology can help you to convey your intentions to the viewer. When choosing colors, always think about your product and service and find colors that make sense for you!

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division Named a 2015 Military Friendly® School

written by Georgia Schumacher 15 October 2014

LogoThe Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is honored to have been named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, and Vetrepreneur® magazines.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15% of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. In total, the survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students. Now in its sixth year, the Military Friendly® Schools designation and list provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we strongly value the commitment to our country made by military members and veterans. As part of our efforts to recognize the commitment and service of these students, we are proud to offer qualifying students numerous military education benefits, including a military scholarship. We also offer all military students a comprehensive review of their military experience and training to determine eligibility for transfer of credit toward our programs.

“The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is proud to announce that we have been awarded Military Friendly® status once again for 2014-2015,” said Brandon Corley, Director of Student Financial Services. “We are honored to service the millions of active and veteran service members along with their families. We are committed to dedicating resources and staff to serve as military experts and to ensure that these service members receive the highest level of personalized customer service.”

For more information about our commitment to educating and supporting military students, visit http://www.aionline.edu/tuition/military-aid/.

How to Take Stunning Black and White Photos

written by Georgia Schumacher 14 October 2014

In today's digital world, taking a photograph may seem easier than ever. For the more advanced photographers, there’s Photoshop, but, even for the novice, there are countless apps that can add colors, tints, and filters to photos to give photos a unique, colorful flair. In reality, however, there's nothing more classic than the traditional black & white photo -- the original two-tone photo that made photography a classic art form in the first place.

Want to know more about taking black and white photos? Check out these simple tips below. For more in-depth information and guidance from our experienced instructors, consider enrolling in our photography classes and earning your degree or certificate.

1. Learn to look for lines

In a color photograph, color can guide a person's eye. The same isn't so with black and white photographs. Thus, to capture an impressive image, you should observe lines, shapes and shadows -- not color. A great way to practice is to watch black and white movies and see what images in the movie are visually pleasing.

2. Take advantage of texture

Because you won't have color to give your photos dimension, photographing a subject with texture helps make your photo stand out. Consider antique objects that are worn, brick walls and other objects with contrasting textures.

3. Contrast helps

Color photos with tons of high contrast are often unpleasant to look at. The opposite occurs for black and white photos, where high contrast can create staggering differences between blacks and whites and give the photo extra dimension. You can also bump up the contrast in your photo through the editing process if you're not happy with the original image's contrast.

4. Photograph patterns

Items with patterns are great subjects for black and white photos. Color is an extra dimension in a photo of a pattern, and it often distracts the human eye from fully processing the beautiful symmetry of the pattern. In black and white, patterns tend to be extremely eye-catching and dramatic.

5. Go for gloomy days

Of course it's possible to take good black and white photos on sunny days, but the best days for black and white photography are often gloomy, gray days when the light is flat or soft. This is the opposite of color photography, which often benefits from bright sunlight.

Interested in photography classes? Find a program that’s right for you!

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The Ideal Client: How and Why to Create Personas

written by Georgia Schumacher 9 October 2014

If you want to launch a career in a creative field such as web design, fashion design, or video game development, you should understand the vital role of personas. Personas, which should be used throughout the creative and development process, are in-depth profiles of potential clients. Those make-believe individuals will represent precisely the kinds of customers that you're trying to reach.

By creating personas, you help yourself and your colleagues to analyze andunderstand your customers, audience, or users. Once you’ve built personas, all of your decisions should rely on these imaginary people and what would—or would not—resonate with them or move them to action. Ask yourself about their wants, their needs, and their goals. Think about their prior knowledge and background and how that will influence the way they interact with what you create.

Be aware, however, that you should only rely on three or four personas for one project or campaign; have more than that and it starts to get confusing. Therefore, those personas you select must accurately represent your largest groups of potential customers. Of course, you won't be able to capture every potential user in those personas; the key is to cover as many as you can.

How to create a persona

To create effective personas, you'll first have to do some investigating. That is, you must learn about the backgrounds and needs of the people who are most likely to seek your services. This kind of inquiry is called market research.

Step 1: Market research

There are several ways in which to conduct market research. For starters, you can interview past and current customers over the phone or in person, and you can direct them to online surveys. To ensure that enough people complete such interrogations, you could offer them discounts in exchange for participating. You may also be able to conduct research about those who purchase products from your closest competitors. You could even contact trade associations, major industry publications, and even friends who are in the same business as you; ask them to send you some of the customer data that they've collected over time. Even if you don’t have customers yet, you can create personas based on information you find about your target customers or the people most likely to purchase your product or service.

Step 2: Find patterns

Once your market research is complete, it's time to turn those statistics into personas. To get started, identify recurring patterns in the customer information that you've gathered in order to settle on three or four archetypes. For example, if teachers and women between the ages of 50 and 60 are among the people who appear the most often, one of your personas could describe a female, 55-year-old high school teacher. 

Step 3: Templatize

Your next step is to create a template for your personas so that they'll have a uniform layout. It's wise to search the Internet for personas and to study as many as you can; borrow the elements that most appeal to you. Your final product should be clean, attractive, and easy to read; you’ll probably be sharing this document a lot! Each entry should also include a photo of the person's face: You can purchase the rights to stock photos, or include of friends and family members.

Step 4: Fill in the details

When it comes to the text of a persona, provide the person's first name next to the photo. Below the name, supply information in several categories. The first grouping should be a demographic outline, which might include:

- age
- ethnicity
- place of residence
- educational history
- marital status
- any other relevant factors

Other categories could be employment details, technical knowledge, and relevant interests. Finally, set up a section that describes what the person would need and expect from you and your business. Note that you should use short phrases and bullet points to present these facts, rather than complete sentences.

Step 5: Distribute your personas

Once, you’ve assembled personas, make sure to share them with other designers, your stakeholders, manager, and anyone else on the project team. Remember, your persona will help you focus on your audience and ensure that your design is functional and relevant for your customers—making you more likely to succeed!