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  • February 28, 2017

    8 Ways to get More Visual Content in Your Blog

    8 Ways to get More Visual Content in Your Blog

    Visual content for blogs is a must-have, and there are so many benefits – it improves site SEO, more blog views, increased time spent on the page, improving your brand image and more.

     

    But, you don’t always have to create it yourself – In this post, I’ve laid out a few different types of great visual blog content, and the different methods for producing it yourself, or finding a good piece that already exists.

    Creating Visual Content vs Finding and Curating It

    The content you’ve made for your blog will always be more relevant to your audience and perform better, because it’s made by you and for a specific purpose.

    However, we know there’s not always the time and/or budget for original visual content, and you have to look elsewhere for visuals.

    The key is to find a good balance, and figure when it is really necessary to create your own, and when you can use something that’s already been made to illustrate your point.

    Photos

    I guess the first thing people think of in terms of visual content and a blog is photos.
    If it’s relevant, just take some photos, phone camera usually have a fairly decent lens these days – certainly good enough quality for a blog post, providing you have good natural light.

    Types of photos that can work well for blogs, are specific product shots, or photos of your staff, events you’ve been to, your space, any gadgets you use. Showing your company culture can make you much more personable and add a real voice to your blog posts.

    If you’re not up for photography, a few places to find specific imagery are Wikimedia Commons & Flickr CC – just make sure you get the attribution right (sometimes you need to add the author for example).

    Or for more generic stock photos you can head to Death to the Stock Photo. They pride themselves in being non-cheesy, which is great! However, any photos you choose still need to reflect your company, so pick carefully – it really needs to be applicable to the blog content and reflect your brand accurately.

    Graphics

    Often, a photo isn’t enough – you need a few words to fully explain your point, and help people remember your content better.
    If you have some design knowledge, then Photoshop or Illustrator are great for creating fully bespoke graphics, that will be the most relevant to your content  and really represent your company in terms of style.

    However, If you’re inexperienced in design, then I would head to something like  Canva. Canva can be a free service, and if you have no clue about design / layout / colours/  fonts/ whatever, don’t worry! It’s extremely user friendly for creating visual content that works well.

     

    Remember that while you may want to use lots of font and colours, often less is more. And as always it needs to be in keeping with your brand and easy to digest.

    It’s worth picking 1 style and keeping within that, or only varying slightly while you’re finding your feet. This will create more unity.

    Infographics & Charts

    If your blog post is numbers based at all – an infographic is perfect for Condensing lots of information into an easy to understand format.  Rather than just a list of numbers, you can represent them visually, and give much more impact.

    There’s many ways a professional would make these – if it were me, a mix of Illustrator and Indesign probably (but I’m very nerdy) – and keeping a nice grid layout for good comprehension.

    Creating infographics may seem daunting if you’re less nerdy, but again, there are foolproof ways if you have solid data! Canva also has great functionality for this and so does infogr.am. You’ll have lots of options for the best way to visually show your data.

     

    To find premade infographics, you can look on SlideShare and coolinfographics but one of the best ways to find infographics most relevant to your industry / niche is searching in google using your specific keywords + infographic.

    Graphs & charts

    If you don’t need a whole infographic, but you just want to illustrate one point at a time with a impactful chart, you can create these easily by using Google Sheets or Google Slides.

    They may not be the most ‘beautiful’, but they will be extremely relevant to your web audience and a useful asset to display data, and make it more easily understood.

    Videos

    Videos are known to be impactful on blog posts, and it can be fairly easy to create them. You can go the DIY route and have a go (but do invest in a tripod!), you can make a video with your smartphone – and the end quality will matter less if the content is good.

     

    Videos that are good for blogs are; animated infographics, tutorials, client case studies (whether animated or filmed) short videos with staff about specific topics, showing new products / premises, yuor if you’re more regular with production, then you can start a Vlog. A vlog is a great way to add a human face to your business, and give real, personal feeling, insights to customers.

    Tips for Using Video on Your Blog - Tubular Insights

    If you want to step up your game, you can hire a professional. If you’re using a video production company, I would recommend filming / producing a few videos at a time to create some economies of scale – especially if it will form a series, this means you’ll have a consistent output and a consistent look.

    Again, finding the time and resources to create blog videos may not always be possible, but there’s so many videos already online now, we’d hope that at least 1 shows your point!

    Finding relevant videos can be a bit of a minefield but Youtube, Ted Talks and Vimeo and are good places to start – have a keyword in mind, and keep trying variations of that until you find it. If you find someone or a channel who creates good videos quite frequently – it’s worth bookmarking!

    Summary

    It’s been shown that visual content on your blog will earn you higher engagement, and there are so many options – with different levels of difficulty and cost – so just find what’s right for your company right now.

    You can invest as little or as much time as you want, and still have more impact with your blogs.

    In an ideal world, we’d always create our own content, but not everyone is at this stage.

    So, the key with finding the right content for your blogs online is very careful consideration – question each item – does this speak to my audience, does it suit my brand, does it say what I want to say, does it have the right tone for my site?

     

    If you’re ready to start producing bespoke content for your blog, and you want a hand with graphic design or video for your company, have a look at our portfolio and get in touch!

  • January 25, 2017

    Highlights from 2016

    We’ve had quite the year in 2016 – so here’s a quick highlight reel to show what we’ve been up to. And just a snippet what lies ahead.

    New Clients

    2016 was certainly a busy one. We worked with 34 new clients (as well as loads of our existing customers) last year across USA, UAE, UK, and throughout Europe. Though sadly as studio nerds we don’t get to visit all this great places, we can only imagine!

    Motion Design

    We’re constantly upskilling here, and although Victoria is trained in fine arts and graphic design – classes specifically for design for motion didn’t really exist until very recently. So we jumped at the chance, and we completed the highly regarded School of Motion Design Bootcamp Course. 

    Character Animation

    Not one to be left out of the fun, our animation expert, Harry, has been delving further into the work of 2d character animation and rigging.

    It’s pretty tricky work rigging a character correctly, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to movement – and getting it realistic (not just kerky and sporadic). He completed training at the end of last year to further improve – and  we’ve had some great results!

    New Sectors

    For us, 2016 saw a low of new video and design work across the medical, education and technology sectors in particular. We love learning about new businesses and organisations  – and their markets. There’s nothing like a video production to help you learn in depth about a new field relatively quickly. It’s so interesting!

    Working Internationally

    We now have a second base at LX Factory in Lisbon. From Summer 2016 and continuing into this year we’ve been working between both locations. It’s great, Lisbon has really grown as a creative and technological hub in Europe.  

    This year ahead

    OFFF Festival

    So we’re heading to  #OFFF17 . It’s a multi disciplinary design and art festival in Barcelona. In their own words “It is more than just a Festival hosting innovative and international speakers, it is more than a meeting point for all talents around the world to collaborate, it is more than feeding the future.”

    We’re looking forward to hearing from some amazing speakers and meeting some like minded people!

    3D

    We’re also making some great advances with 3D design and animation. This is still under wraps at the moment, but we’ll be unveiling some great new 3D projects soon and are looking forward to fully expanding our offering.

    Gif Page

    We’re working on a web page just for our gif animations. It’s going to a be fun and very silly, there may or may not be a dancing taco…

    Lastly – if you want to see some of of our latest projects, whether design or animation head to our lovely Portfolio Page. We update it all the time 🙂

  • January 23, 2017

    Captions in Web Video – A Quick Guide to maximise your message

    Browsing online we’re seeing more and more videos showing with captions – what’s this all about?

     

    This is due to the rise of mobile video which is growing massively, recent research shows mobile video views grew 6x faster than desktop views in 2015. (Invodo, 2016)

     

    One of the main problems for marketers is that mobile users may not always have the sound turned on – or want to turn it on. So although the visual message may come across – crucially half of the video could be missing.

     

    So how do you get your message across if your video is voiceover or interview-based? This is the same issue, whether filmed or animated video production.

     

    Captions are a great way of letting people preview the video content, and letting them decide to watch with the volume turned on. Or letting them take on board the full message when the volume isn’t an option.

    Making the assumption people will always listen from the start is a mistake.

     

    However, sometimes you may not want or need captions, and it’s not always straightforward.

     

    3 Main Types of Captions

     

    Animated Captions – inbuilt into the video that just show highlights and keywords

    Open Captions – like subtitles but can’t be turned on and off – they’re embedded within the video

    Closed Captions – abilities to turn the subtitles on and off, set by the video player.

     

    Social Video

     

    If your marketing is very social media-based, for example, Facebook adverts, (and who would blame you!) 100 million hours of video per day are watched on Facebook. (Tech Crunch, 2016) There can be a lot of silent video playback, so you’ll want to incorporate full sub captions, or make your visuals very self-explanatory. The latter is only really possible with animation or motion graphics based videos. 

     

    And so now more often on Facebook and youtube, we do see full sub captions are being used. Which means people can still get the content, but without having to turn the sound up –  it’s a great user-focused approach.

     

    For those heavily invested in social video, Open captions are a great option, as it gives you more flexibility with the design than video player generated closed captions.

     

    This means your video will never show without captions by mistake, the full message will always get across.  

    Example of Open Captions from AJ+

    Obviously they still need to be clear, so you can’t be crazy with font choice or colour, but you can be sure they don’t overlap with any visuals, the font is suitable, and you have full control of the process.

     

    If you’re still dabbling with social video production – then Closed Caption system is a great way to start and increase engagement.

     

    Website video

    For your website, you may not need full subcaptions. If your service or product is heavily B2B – you may still have a good majority of desktop users, who have access to speakers or headphones more easily.

     

    So for a website video or a video just for presentations, you may find that a few key highlight messages, animated nicely do the trick along with the voiceover.

    The best to way to find out if your visitors are coming by mobile, tablet or desktop, is to check your wenbsite analytics for the screen size and device used most frequently. You can also check the time on page – to see if you’re putting off mobile users with your site.

    There are a few downfalls

     

    It can take a bit of effort and knowledge required to produce the right files for Closed Captions – it requires generating an SRT (or similar)  file, which is basically a text file of the script that is formatted so that each line is associated with a time code – so if you’re not familiar it can be a little daunting and time consuming.

     

    Facebook and Youtube now offer automatically generated captions – woohoo! But sometimes what it hears is incorrect, so this is not a foolproof method. Especially when you’ve spent time and money producing a video to generate sales (imagine loads of a typos in a proposal!).  

    Here’s a quick example where I have put Youtube Closed Captions on a preexisting video. You can see the client didn’t plan to have this, as the captions over overlap the animated text somewhat. And Youtube initially did quite a bad job of guessing the captions! So, it’s not always straightforward.

    If you’re not up for a DIY approach, You can hire companies to easily make a perfect transcript if you’re getting errors, then upload that SRT file to youtube or facebook.

     

    If you choose to have animated captions that are ever present and part of the video design – then it’s crucial they are timed well for those who are listening and match the voiceover – as hearing and seeing them as different messages will create a little confusion.

     

    This seems obvious, but marketers are still doing this! It’s so difficult to take one message fully on board if you’re hearing another.

    Getting started

     

    So to get started, first look at your analytics and your marketing efforts.  Is your audience website and desktop based or do you drive large amounts of traffic through social media and mobile?

     

    After you have a clear idea of your own users you can decide what level of captions to use.

     

    It’s good to know this info at the beginning of a video project, so that nothing is overlapping that area of the screen, or that the video producer can add animated highlight captions which capture the message in an elegant way.

     

    If you already have videos online on youtube or facebook – see if the automatically generated captions work for you – and there you go, you’ve already increased watching potential!

     

    In the meantime – check out our newly updated portofolio, and see a wide range of web videos with animated captions!

  • July 28, 2016

    New Showreel Release

    We’ve been so extremely busy this year so far, that it really called for a new Showreel to reflect our latest work. It’s amazing how quickly our most recent portfolio has built up in just a few months.

    We’ve been lucky to work with a range of fantastic creative agencies around the world, to produce soo many different kinds of video. Thank you everyone!

    Without further ado – here it is!

     

  • November 26, 2015

    What Makes a Good Poster Design?

    A great poster can make a real difference to your company or event’s credibility. Bad or just low-quality design, while often cheaper – reflects poorly on your business – which reflects in your ROI.


    The primary purpose of a poster is communication.


    So above all, make sure it sends out the right message, and in the right tone.
    Here’s a quick breakdown of the main components for a well-designed poster that visually communicates and is impactful.

    Composition

    It’s important to have a good visual balance – so that the image is not overcrowded (resulting in none of the information being taken in)

    As with traditional art, you need a strong sense of composition – and visual hierarchy – you want the viewer to look at the heading, look at any images, and read the smaller text.

    So you need to guide them through this process – and make sure the text and images lead towards each other and aren’t fighting.

    But importantly – you want just 1 focal point. Pick 1 central point – image or text that you want to be the focal point – you can’t have all corners of the poster fighting for attention!

    Otherwise, it’ll be a mess and no one will look in the right order, or remember the info.

    If you need to – then use a grid in the design process – this will help you to keep everything aligned.

    This example has great composition – everything is focused towards the mic and below – so it’s easy to follow and read all the info.

    What Makes Good Poster Design - Telegramme

    Image from Telegramme

    Typography and Text

    Limit text – think about how much someone can remember – so limit the details
    provide a link for people who want to find out more.

    If you’re not great with words – get someone who is to help make it more concise – there’s nothing worse than rambly text on a poster, with numerous messages.

    You can mix type fonts – which if done well can make it very interesting to look at (don’t go overboard!). But they need to have the same tone and go well together.

    Keep fonts legible and fairly bold – ( this’ll help the poster to be read from a distance – 5 feet +)

    and Please don’t use Curlz MT for the main body text.

    Here’s a nice example – where they’ve created the whole design from the typography. Because it’s a lot of text, it’s very simple in its approach, which has worked really well.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design - Tank Jazz Poster

    Image from Tank Design

    White space

    White space is just negative space – ie not filled up with text or imagery.

    White space is a key component of great design. Just because you have a whole piece of paper it doesn’t mean it needs to be all filled up.

    Not only does it make it more aesthetically pleasing, but it can aid readability and comprehension.

    It’s not just adding space around the text or imagery, but even small areas of white space, ie between sentences can make a big difference to legibility.

    Non-designers have the urge sometimes to make use of all ALL the space on a poster, but it will only detract from the message!

    This example is very simple – but space and emptiness really bring attention to the main focus of the posters.

    What makes a good poster design? Studio Hands Flow

    Image from Studio Hands

    Images

    Photos do work well on posters – and can have a great impact.

    But they need to go perfectly in sync with the message at hand. Generic stock style photos generally will not do for something this large scale.

    So it’s best to have a photoshoot / get photos for this specific purpose (and mobile phone pics will not do sorry!).

    Designing a poster is a great excuse to be really creative with imagery – as you can be more unconventional than with a brochure, for example.

    This example uses just one image – but it fits perfectly and brings a real dynamism to the design.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design? Diana Dubina

    Image from Diana Dubin

    Colour

    Use strong colours if it’s going to be printed – especially by a poor printer – everything washes away.

    Although I would recommend getting anything printed properly of course and on good quality paper.

    Imagine that your poster is on a wall surrounded by others of posters – you want it to stand out, and the colour is a great way to do this,

    This doesn’t mean you should use every colour – usually, you would stick to a theme of 4 colours at the most to start with.

    They can be complementary – ie all shades of blue, or contrasting – so an orange and blue together. It’s best to come up with a palette for limited colours before you start so everything co-ordinates.

    Here are 2 websites withs lots of set palettes to give you ideas on colour schemes that go well together – http://www.colourlovers.com and https://color.adobe.com

    Even though this example seems to be random and multicoloured, they’ve still limited the palette. So it’s colourful, and a mixed, but they’ve kept to just 3 colours – which works fantastically.

    What Makes a Good Poster Design - Sprectrum

    Image from Spectrum

    Audience

     

    Remember that while your design may look good, it might not be the best possible communication for your audience – it needs to relate.

    The design and tone of the poster will look very different if you’re communicating to business people or communicating with teen gig-goers, or to children.

    Keep the tone of the poster (which includes text language, font, colour and image style ) relevant for the audience. If you keep the audience in mind from the beginning, and think, ‘does this appeal to them?’ that’s a great start.

    This is a poster aimed children, and the tone is perfect, it’s playful, clear and the info text is short enough and simple enough for a child to comprehend quickly.

    Image from Ninette Saraswati

    Summary

    Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of the basic principles for good poster design, and the basics of visual communication.

    So, next time you’re designing a poster, keep these factors in mind.

    Composition and visual hierarchy 
    Typography & Text
    Whitespace
    Images
    Colour
    Audience

    If you want any help with design, just send us a message.  

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  • September 28, 2015

    22 Ideas to Boost Your Event Promotion

    22 Ideas to Boost Your Event Promotion

    Here are some  ideas and practical tips to help you make sure that everyone who needs to know, knows about what you’re planning!

    1. Write a press release – Keep it no more than 1 page. It needs to be descriptive, with all the main details, but not boring please!
    2. Send the press release out to local and related magazines and newspapers along with a photo or event logo for them to publish.
    3. Run a small contest that asks users to like and comment on a post on facebook or use a hashtag if on twitter to get your name out.
    4. Produce 1 or 2 promo videos to let people know very quickly what to expect – it creates a big impression.
    5. Follow related people on Twitter. Generally the more people you follow, the more will follow back, so if it’s a gig, then follow music lovers in the area, gig promoters, music news, bands etc.
    6. Get in touch with any local bloggers who are related to your industry – eg fashion or dance – ask them to come along and cover the event.
    7. Make sure your website has a very easy to find tickets page, and that the home page is written and designed for guests, and not just gaining staff.
    8. Keep blogging on your website with the latest news – not only is it good for guests – but it’s good for Google (Google will see you have an active site and push your further up the rankings).
    9. Ask any speakers / performers  to write a short guest post about their involvement or themselves for your blog.
    10. If your performers or speakers are not big on writing, then do an interview with them – and post the transcription as a blog post instead.
    11. Email your subscriber list – you can do this once per month before the event, as long as you have interesting news for them and don’t spam them too often!
    12. Produce lots of graphics – for use on the website and social media. Of course you need the main poster, logo and leaflets, but it’s also good to have supporting graphics to post on social media, for example announcement of news or a ticket promotion.
    13. Don’t make the graphics yourself, even if the event if fantastically organised – amateur design will make you look bad and can put people off.
    14. Get some photos taken for online use – eg behind the scenes / the venues / the staff / any pre show activities that look interesting. Social posts with images get way more views and clicks.
    15. Get leaflets printed and distributed around town – get as much help as you can with this (it’s a tiring job)!
    16. Ask to put posters in local shops / cafes.
    17. Track down any related online forums that would be ok with you posting there about your event.
    18. On the day of the event, get some staff / volunteers outside the venue and around the local with leaflets.
    19. During the event, keep posting on social media with updates of what’s happening to generate excitement throughout the day.
    20. Make sure you photograph and video the event – for post event promotion.
    21. Produce a post event press release – recap what happened and send (along with a few great photos) to any press / news who are interested to posting the review.
    22. Produce a general promo video from the footage captured on the day – it’ll be invaluable for any new events you hold in the future.

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  • August 21, 2015

    8 Reasons to To Update your Brand Identity

    When you start a new business, it can be tough thinking of just the right name for the company and style of Corporate ID. Sometimes it’s rushed – and yet you’re stuck with it for a long time.

    And so after a time, sometimes its no longer suitable – it’s just not fit for purpose any more – or maybe not even that – it just doesn’t look fresh any more.  You feel like it doesn’t represent what your company has become.

    Here are 10 popular and worthwhile reasons for rebranding:

    1 – It looks dated

    Design styles change rapidly, so it’s obvious to spot a logo produced in the early 2000s – if you want your company to appear modern, it’s the first place to start

    2 – Your services have changed

    If your logo includes any specific icons and you have changed your offering or they’re no longer relevant, you may be able to get away with a small update.

    3 – The business name has changed

    This is very obvious! But you may not just want to just adapt the old logo and ID to the new name – it’s a great opportunity for a new approach.

    4 – Need to update your slogan

    Often you’ll have a slogan to accompany your logo – that further explains your business offer in a short meaningful way. And over time this offer may change – so you can just tweak part of the Logo identity without an overhaul.

    5 – Your target audience has changed

    The tone of the logo can change how people perceive you – for example the same writing can be designed in a fun and happy way – or in a more corporate

    6 – It’s too fiddly

    Intricate details in design are nice – but they don’t have many places in a logo. You need to it work as black and white, small, large – everything, and be recognisable as a shape.

    7 – You designed it yourself

    If you have a little experience in design, a homemade logo could be ok, but a professional eye can always take what you’ve done and improve it – for both legibility and versatility

    And making sure it actually appeals to your customers.. Not just your friends and family

    8 – You need square, long & icons versions

    With so many social accounts, all needing different logo sizes and banner images – some need small square images, others need 1000px wide banner images!

    It can be daunting task to make sure that your branding looks good, whatever the size and shape.

    But It’s worth getting your brand right at all opportunities – and so having a logo and slogan that fits each instance should be a priority.

    Click to see our extensive video, design and animation portfolio 

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  • August 17, 2015

    A 2015 Guide to B2B Visual Content Marketing

    Throughout the buying cycle – B2B is getting more visual – no doubt. No longer is it down to just lengthy text-based proposals and text websites to win deals and get ahead in marketing.

    There’s been a shift in sharing and online, it’s no longer limited to B2C brands.

    Studies from last year – particularly an in-depth study from Demand Gen – have shown B2B buyers are sharing blog posts frequently, along with infographics and videos more and more.

    Peer referrals is still a very persuasive tool for marketers and are a high-value channel for B2B so this type of online content sharing fits perfectly – and amplifies their peer reach.

    Infographics

    Infographics are a simple and increasingly popular way for a researcher or buyer to access a lot of information quickly.

    In 2014, 39% of B2B buyers identified that they share infographics on social media frequently – so it’s obviously worth looking into.

    Basically, It’s an easy way to digest what could be complicated information – in a fun visual style.

    You can build and design these for free, but for that extra wow factor, there are plenty of companies who will do it for you – on basically any topic and any design.

    Video

    Video content has been continually on the rise for years – and this report from Demand Gen shows that during 2014 -2015 its popularity has not slowed down one bit – particularly for B2B – with an 8% increase last year.

    It’s the most effective way to show a consistent and easy to absorb message to a wide variety of people.

    It’s also so versatile – you can film, have animation, show news – anything. So customers needn’t spend ages reading long text pages on your site again – they can take in the information in, in a fun and memorable way.

    An animated explainer video is particularly helpful if your business is quite complex (as B2B often is!) As it’s the perfect medium for showing the abstract or complicated information in an engaging, rich way.

    Presentations

    Presentations give the users an interactive element online – so they are able to learn at their own pace. And like any good visual content – they’re very easy to embed on your site and share with others.

    Slideshare is a great example of this growth – it’s simply a presentation hosting and sharing site – but year on year it’s becoming more popular – with a 7% increase in usage last year.

    Producing a presentation is relatively simple if you start with a good design template and content, so amplifying your message and establishing credibility with a site like Slideshare is invaluable for B2B.

    White Papers

    White papers are still used by B2B buyers and specifiers to research topics before making a decision or even enquire.

    They are a great way of showing depth information on a particular subject, and really educating the audience, but incorporated within the great design, making it simple to read and absorb the knowledge.

    While they are text-heavy, they often use a combination of charts, text and images – to make the user experience really rich.

    So although they are more geared towards text – importance is going more and more on great design and graphics – which makes it much more readable and enjoyable.

    Images and Photos

    Simply using more still images will make an impact – to accompany blog posts or product pages.

    They don’t always need to be as complicated as an infographic, a photograph or illustration will still have an effect.

    Within a blog post, an image every 350 is considered most effective according to Quick Sprout.

    It breaks the text up and makes it easier to read in bite-size chunks – take in the info, see a nice relevant image, then back to reading.

    Simply, It makes your blog more readable.

    Summary

    As a B2B Marketer – you need to cover a wide range of platforms and content types – and harness all of these and reach as many customers as possible.

    It’s worth having a team member who has real design skills as well as business knowledge – or contracting out the work to a professional company.

    It’s definitely a bigger job than you think producing all of this original content.

    However, this work far outweighs the downside – leaving your business to text-only content only – you will soon be left behind.

    As always we welcome your comments – how do you plan to include and produce more visual content into your 2015 marketing strategy?

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