I love networking. I hate networking. I like people, I like meeting people. I like finding out about the people I meet.
What I hate is the ‘what do you do’ bit. I’m a designer, of many years experience and have specialised in a number of different areas over the years. My umbrella – catch-all is ‘Graphic Designer’, but I am also an information designer, book designer, journal designer, logo designer, website designer, branding developer, illustrator, typographer… it goes on. So when I meet someone who says ‘what do you do’ – which by the way is a new ‘no-no’ to the networking elite, I want to say ‘right brain for hire’ or ‘geek translator for my clients customers’, or even ‘design slash creative consultant’ (and add a couple more zero’s) – but then do I sound like I should have a small goatee on my chin and live in a shepherds hut on Hackney Marshes…
It’s tricky. The mantra of ‘authenticity’ means that we should be upfront and honest – be ‘real’. I really am a designer, and I really like to have a varied work life and be as useful to my clients as I can, so add any prefix that suits you, for whatever project you have for me today – logo designer, website designer, brochure design, PowerPoint tamer…
Colour is a powerful marketing tool, reflecting the message and meaning of your brand. Because first impressions count, and colour is the first thing you notice in a logo or visual footprint (80% of visual information is related to colour), your colour palette works really hard to tell your story before even getting to your logo shape, typography, image style, use of white space, your tone of voice, and use of language.
Why green this year?
Here is the ‘Sollox*’:
“There’s a growing desire to reconnect with Nature and what is real, and find ways to disconnect from technology. We need a break. We need to stop and breathe,” Laurie Pressman, the Pantone Color Institute’s vice president. “(Greenery) is about unity and community—connecting to oneself and others and a higher purpose, Nature.”
Do I need to go Greenery?
It’s a trending colour, if you are doing something to catch the zeitgeist, consider weaving it in to a campaign, you don’t have to change your core colour palette. If that doesn’t work for you – how about a bowl of Granny Smith’s in reception?!
When the colour green strikes the eye it requires no adjustment. It is at the centre of the spectrum, it is cool, the colour of balance, positively symbolising: nature, stability, abundance, fertility, tranquility, good luck, health and healing. It has a negative of course … judgemental, jealousy, greed. And for fun, don’t forget Kermit!
Colour is an important part of how we express ourselves. Colour can make us feel more comfortable, more assured, more attuned, whether it’s what you wear or what your company wears. Is your colour palette working for you? Does it need a seasonal tweak, perhaps some new accent colours. I’m not saying go green! Have a think, and then contact us to discuss!
It all starts off well. It’s just you and a dream, an idea for a company – a unique product or service, something that you are really passionate about.
You create a logo with a graphic designer, or maybe you even do it yourself, to describe your brand. It’s easy, you are ambitious; the idea is simple and you really know your potential clients.
You are up and away!
You put your logo onto all the social media sites. You can’t think of any mast images, so that’ll do for now.
From the logo you have the colours, and you match the font style of your logo for your stationery. You do it yourself, and why not – we all love Moo!
You find like-minded people to help you when your business grows, and it really takes off.
You have to create some presentations, so the new guy you brought in to shoulder some of the load creates a new PowerPoint slide set. He really likes a font that he found in the drop-down font list, so he uses that.
The new marketer you hired needs some leaflets. She has a contact from the last place she worked and gets something put together. It doesn’t look great, but all the right information is there, and the good news is that a nice graphic was created. The graphic gets picked up and used by the new person in IT to go on the website had them build – it’s got all the right information on and looks not too shabby!
Before you know it, you have branding evolved from your logo.
The trouble is, it’s all been done ad-hoc, and that’s what it ends up looking like – ad-hoc. Somewhere along the way, it’s lost something, and it’s hard to see how to fix it.
This is the time to do a design audit. Bring in a graphic designer.
A graphic designer can help to bring it all together – weed out bad typography, make suggestions on colours and fonts, add white space and update image styles. A graphic designer can create templates for Word and PowerPoint; review your website graphics and architecture and make suggestions on how it might look or work better. A graphic designer can review your graphics and infographics: do they make sense?
Crucially, a graphic designer can also create simple branding style guidelines, so that anyone in your company can create files that go to your customers with a consistent look and feel. Now the people in your company can concentrate on getting the content right – which is what your customers really need, rather than deciding on colours and fonts.
It’s not a branding refresh, it’s a branding reframe.
An audit is also a great opportunity to review all the pieces of marketing collateral that you have created. If you incorporated a way of measuring their success with a unique contact email, webpage or hashtag, you can see can also see if they worked – and how well they worked.
Style guidelines needn’t be a straitjacket. Instead they can be a living document, providing a framework that allows your team to be constructively creative. By having at least basic principles in place, you can ensure that there is a consistency to your branding, and the image and ethos you want to convey to the world accurately represents your vision.
Please get in touch if your branding needs a reframe, it’s not rocket science Call me, or email me
Designers makes the complex easy to understand. #designersmakeiteasy
Snapchat is no longer the app anyone past puberty couldn’t work out how to use, or if you did, couldn’t see the point of. How do I know this is true? Forbes has changed its Twitter profile image to its Snapchat avatar.
The fact is, in Social media you have to be where your customers are – and if they are young (13-34), Snapchat is where you need to be.
The attraction of the App is its immediacy. It’s like a Mayfly, just lasting for a day. So your message is honest (hopefully!), and it’s intimate. You can Snap to all your friends (also read as customers), some friends, or just one. You can Snap images (with your own captions/ graffiti/ filters), short videos or a message. It’s a real-time personal view on the world, reflecting who you are in the moment – to use the word of the moment for anything ‘brand’ related – authentic.
Major brands have their own place on Snapchat in the Stories ‘Discover’ zone. Buzzfeed, MTV, National Geographic, Daily Mail, and Cosmopolitan are the types of company there, and the stories are like mini-magazines. There is also ‘Live’, which curates community Snaps from live events like football, boxing, to Paris fashion week, and Mother’s day.
Let’s get cosy
Snapchat has one pretty unique offering – the Geofilter – free for communities (think University campus), or paid for by big brands. A Geofilter is a marked boundary identified within Snapchat using Googlemaps. You are effectively claiming your Snap real-estate, which you identify with an illustration that can then be overlaid onto any photos that are ‘Snapped’ while in that specific location. This feature was not affordable for small business until the new ‘on-demand’ Geofilters, where you buy time on a Geofilter location (hours, days, weeks). This is a great way for small businesses promoting events like a grand opening at their place of business, or for social events like a wedding party.
How big is it?
Last year Snapchat had a $16 billion (yes!) valuation and has just raised $175 million in fresh funding (2016/ Reuters). With 100 million daily users and the Snapchat main publishers attracting around 3 million viewers a day, the platform could start to look a little different as there is ‘duh’ incentive to sell ads with a wider reach. Relying on those millions of Snappers who just choose to watch the publishers channels to be afflicted with ads could be a thing of the past …
Thinking outside the box
Rania Kurdi, a Jordanian/ British performer and broadcaster, who for the last 20 years has been working across all digital media platforms, is now using Snapchat to broadcast her comedy shorts to her audience. Because you can save your own Snaps, she re-purposes them for her Facebook page as videos. What a great idea!
If you’d like to learn how to use Snapchat – Melissa Opie has a sweet little free intro course that runs through the basics.