I’ve been working on a children’s book for use with the Kindle Reader. Numbers 1-10is a digital board book for preschoolers. It’s full color, so it’s best viewed on the Kindle Fire, or the Kindle Reader on your smart phone. Check it out!
Part of PBS’ Off Book documentary series, the Art of Logo Design explores the logo’s origins, and what makes a good logo today.
Use these 9 key building blocks to create, strengthen and evolve your company or product brand. Each carry weight. Each add to the nuance and depth to your image as a whole. Consider each when building your brand. They should all support and add to your identity as a whole.
- Product or Service: At the core of your business brand is the product or service you offer.
- Name: A powerful brand has a memorable name. The best are typically short in length, have an interesting illiteration, are fun to say and/or inspire confidence in the company as a whole.
- Logo: When people think about brands they typically think about the company or product’s logo. A strong, memorable logo is important, and is usually the foundation for a brand, but it is just one element.
- Tagline: While the logo says who you are, the tagline says what you do, what sets you apart.
- Color Palette: Most brand palettes are built off the brand’s logo colors, but not always. Perhaps the logo merely inspires a palette of bright colors, or pastels, or jewel tones, utilizing the logo colors as the base. Alternatively, the palette might be a single color.
- Fonts: Limiting your fonts to 2-3 font families that are used consistently across all your media supports and strengthen your brand.
- Voice: Your voice is the tone set in your copy across all media. It can be friendly and casual, professional and direct, clever or funny, even raunchy or sarcastic. Whatever your brand, it’s voice should match in tone.
- Imagery: This can include graphic elements, photography, video, illustration, animation and icons. Imagery adds depth to your brand. Whatever your brand, the imagery that supports it should be consistent across all media.
- Brand or Identity Vehicles: Where you promote your brand can be as important as the brand itself. Print, web, social media, radio, television – these are the vehicles that carry your brand.
When working with a new client on their website, I invariably ask if they would like to include a blog as part of their site. Most would not.
“Why would I blog?” and “What would I write about?” are questions that often come up. Along with, “I don’t want to do that.”
But wait, let me tell you a little bit about why you might want to.
Most new clients are building a website for one reason only: to grow their business. They want new business, new customers.
For the small, local company, blogging is a great way to do just that. Why?
First, blogging on the topic of your business demonstrates that you are knowledgeable and have expertise in your chosen field. It builds trust with your audience. In fact, they more they read, the more that trust grows. And everyone prefers to do business with someone they trust.
Second, the more you blog, the more you improve your SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the stuff that helps you get found on search engines like Google. That’s because search engines like fresh content, and a blog provides this.
Third, you can use your blog to provide important information to your customers, like how-to’s and reference materials.
We have moved to a new office!
Shimmin Design is now located in San Jose, CA and continues to serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Our new address is:
521 Charcot Avenue
San Jose, CA 95131
By appointment only.
Phone remains the same for the moment: 415–699-9542
Way back when you started your business you didn’t have a lot of money, so you cut a few corners on your logo. Either you designed it yourself (and you’re not a designer) or you bought a pre-made logo from one of those $99 logo websites or possibly you hired your cousin’s sister-in-law’s kid ’cause she’s “good at art and stuff”.
What do you do?
Having a bad logo will definitely hold you back when you’re looking to take your business to the next level. You may not even realize you have a bad logo, but you find that you can’t seem to gain traction with your brand.
There are two approaches to changing your logo, each with their own merits and challenges.
The first is to toss the old one and start from scratch. The advantage to this approach is you get the strong, targeted logo you wanted right away (assuming you hired a good designer).
The problem with this is that maybe you have a lot of clients who won’t recognize you when they see that new, splashy, completely different logo from the one you had. With this approach, you’ll also need to launch a campaign to existing customers telling them all about your new look. And depending on what you offer, you may need to reassure them with copy like, “brand new look, same great service.”
Depending on how big your company is or if your reach is wide, this could be an expensive endeavor. You might need to send a printed direct mail piece in advance letting them know about the upcoming change, and follow up with a second after the launch. You’ll want to announce it in emails and on your website and on your Facebook page if you have one. You might even need to include new tv and radio spots, if you’ve advertised there in the past.
The second option is if you have a good idea, but a bad, or dated looking execution. You can evolve this type of logo over time, making small changes over the course of a year or several years. This solution doesn’t require the big announcement and expense of the first option, but it requires patience and an ongoing relationship with your designer.
When is a bad logo a good thing
Does your logo look dated and cheap? If you’re in the discount business, or sell cheap products, a bad, dated logo can actually help you. That’s because it’s conveying just how cheap you are, which is what we call a selling feature.
Ultimately, you don’t have to put up with a bad logo. The sooner you change it the sooner you can start building and positioning your brand exactly where you it.
We’re happy to announce that you can now better manage your business’ cash flow by spreading your payments to Melissa Shimmin | Shimmin Design over 6-12 months when you pay by credit card via PayPal.
This is for new projects over $1000 and there is a nominal fee. Email us for details…
I just had a long email dialog with a potential client who wanted a website developed along with ongoing maintenance. I finally got around to asking her what her budget was: $300-$400.
I just about fell out of my chair laughing.
$300 would just about get her a single templated page with no design, no SEO, no social networking integration. There might be time to slap together a banner with her logo on it. And perhaps a contact form to cut down on the spam. After that I would be working in the red.
Good design does not happen instantly. It’s a process.
There must be time for research: research about your market, your potential clients, your competitors.
There must be time to develop design concepts, and then thoughtfully edit and evolve them.
And then, once you have your concept (be it a logo or a website or a brochure) you go into production. Depending on the project, this can be the biggest block of time.
As we all know, time is money.
So you have to ask yourself: Is the company I plan to pour my heart and soul into only worth the $99 it cost for a pre-made logo that looks like everyone else’s (or $499 website) from one of those hack shops? Or does my company deserve a logo that shines, that sets it apart from the competition and wins new business?
And does my company need a website that helps it capture and connect with new clients? One that will grow and evolve as my business does?
You see, if you don’t invest now in the things that will build your brand and your business quickly, now, it’s unlikely you’ll survive. And if you do survive, you’ll find yourself having to spend even more money later fixing the mistakes you started with.