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Latest Graphic Design Trends for Your Branding and Marketing

Graphic design isn't just about aesthetics; it's the language that speaks for your brand. From logos to colours and fonts, visual elements define your business identity and make a lasting impression on customers. Staying attuned to graphic design trends is crucial, as these trends capture audience attention and make your brand appear modern and relevant in a competitive marketplace. In this blog, we'll explore current graphic design trends and how they can elevate your branding and marketing efforts.

Why do graphic design trends matter?

Graphic design plays a pivotal role in shaping a company's brand identity. 

It's not merely about creating aesthetically pleasing visuals; it's about crafting a visual language that communicates the essence of your brand. 

Your logo, colour scheme, typography, and overall design elements are the first things customers encounter, and they leave a lasting impression. A well-designed brand identity resonates with your target audience, instills trust, and sets you apart from competitors. 

Moreover, staying attuned to graphic design trends is essential. These trends are the pulse of contemporary aesthetics, and they have the power to captivate your audience's attention. 

When you harness the latest design trends effectively, your brand appears modern, relevant, and in touch with the times, making it more likely to stand out and engage your customers in a crowded marketplace.

Current Graphic Design Trends

Minimalism

What is minimalistic design?

Less is more, and minimalism embodies this principle perfectly. Clean lines, ample white space, and a focus on essential elements make minimalist designs visually pleasing and easy to understand. Take a look at Apple's website for a prime example of minimalistic design, where simplicity and functionality converge seamlessly.


How to Incorporate Minimalist Design

When embracing minimalism in branding, focus on simplifying your logo and visual elements. Use clean lines, a limited colour palette, and concise typography. Think of brands like Google and Airbnb, whose minimalistic logos instantly convey a sense of modernity and simplicity.  

Using Minimalist Design in Marketing Materials

Minimalistic design can be a powerful tool in marketing. Think about simplifying your email newsletters, social media visuals, or product packaging. By decluttering your marketing materials, you make your messages more accessible and memorable. 

Ensure that this minimalist approach extends to your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials. Consistency in your choice of colours and fonts helps reinforce the minimalist aesthetic throughout your brand.

Bold Typography

Typography can make or break a design, and bold typography is taking centre stage. Oversized fonts with strong, impactful messages instantly draw attention. Brands like Nike use bold typography effectively to convey their empowering messages.

 

How to Incorporate Bold Typography in Design

Integrate bold typography in your brand's messaging. Consider using bold fonts for your taglines or key brand messages to make a bold statement. Brands like Netflix use bold typography effectively in their promotional materials. 

Keep the same bold fonts consistent across all brand materials, from your website design to your business cards. Consistency in typography reinforces your brand's voice and personality. Incorporating bold typography into your ad campaigns can make your messages stand out. Consider using attention-grabbing headlines or taglines in larger, bold fonts to create an immediate impact.

Using Bold Typography in Advertisements

Incorporating bold typography into your ad campaigns can make your messages stand out. Consider using attention-grabbing headlines or taglines in larger, bold fonts to create an immediate impact.

Illustrations

Three-dimensional elements add depth and a sense of realism to designs. They can make your visuals pop and grab your audience's attention. Look at how Airbnb uses illustrations to make their online experiences more enticing.


How to Incorporate Illustrations in Design

Use illustrations to create immersive and eye-catching brand experiences. Incorporate illustrations into your website's design or product visuals. Brands like Apple employ illustrations to showcase their product features.

Ensure that the illustrations align with your brand's overall style and colour scheme. Consistency in the use of illustrations maintains a unified brand identity.

Using Illustrations in Product Promotions

Use illustrations to showcase your products or services in a dynamic and engaging way. Whether it's a virtual tour of a property or a rendering of a product, this trend can captivate your audience's imagination.

Retro and Vintage Styles

Nostalgia never goes out of style. Retro and vintage design elements are making a comeback, appealing to audiences' sense of nostalgia and authenticity. Coca-Cola, with its timeless logo, is a prime example of how a vintage design can stand the test of time.

How to Incorporate Retro and Vintage Styles in Design

To infuse your branding with a touch of nostalgia, adopt retro and vintage elements in your logo, packaging, or advertising campaigns. Brands like Levi's leverage vintage styles to connect with their heritage.

Maintain the retro vibe throughout your branding materials. Use vintage-inspired colour schemes and typography consistently to evoke the desired nostalgic feel.

Using Retro and Vintage styles in Campaigns

Leverage nostalgia to create a connection with your audience. Retro and vintage design elements can be particularly effective in advertising campaigns for products or services with a rich history or heritage.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Design

As environmental consciousness grows, sustainable design is becoming more important. Brands are adopting eco-friendly colour schemes, using recycled materials, and emphasising sustainability in their visual identity. Patagonia's commitment to eco-friendliness is reflected in its design choices.

How to Incorporate Sustainable and Eco-friendly Design

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Design: Showcase your commitment to sustainability through eco-friendly design elements. Implement earthy colour palettes, natural textures, and eco-conscious imagery in your branding. Companies like Patagonia incorporate these elements into their branding to convey their environmental values.

Ensure that sustainability is evident in your messaging and visuals across all touchpoints. Consistency in eco-friendly design reinforces your brand's dedication to environmental responsibility.

Using Sustainable and Eco-friendly Design in Branding

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Design in Branding: If your brand emphasises sustainability, carry this theme into your marketing materials. Use eco-friendly imagery, colours, and messaging to highlight your commitment to environmental responsibility.

Dark Mode Design

With the increasing prevalence of dark mode in apps and websites, dark mode design is a trend to watch. Dark backgrounds with bright accents offer a sleek and modern look. Twitter, for instance, has implemented dark mode effectively for a more comfortable nighttime viewing experience.

  Credit: Fabian Sommer / picture alliance via Getty Images

How to Incorporate Dark Mode Design

For a sleek and modern look, embrace dark mode design in your digital branding. Implement dark backgrounds with contrasting text and graphics to create a visually striking experience. Brands like Twitter offer dark mode options for users.

Maintain dark mode design consistently across your website, mobile app, and other digital assets. Consistency ensures a seamless user experience and reinforces your brand's modern aesthetic.

Using Dark Mode Design in Promotions

If you have a mobile app or website, consider offering a dark mode option. Promote this feature in your marketing materials to appeal to users who prefer a sleek, modern look.

Abstract and Artistic Elements

Abstract and artistic design elements can add a touch of creativity and intrigue to your brand. They allow for more artistic freedom and can be used to express complex ideas in a visually appealing way. Spotify uses abstract art in its promotional materials to capture the spirit of music.


 Credit: picture via Marketing Mag

How to Incorporate Abstract and Artistic Elements in Design

Infuse your brand with creativity by using abstract and artistic elements in your visuals and graphics. These elements can add a unique and intriguing dimension to your branding. Spotify, for instance, uses abstract art in its marketing materials.

While embracing abstract elements, make sure they align with your brand's message and identity. Consistency in the use of abstract art maintains a coherent brand image.

Using Abstract and Artistic Elements in Creative Content

Inject creativity into your marketing materials with abstract and artistic design elements. These can be particularly useful for conveying complex ideas or emotions in a visually appealing way.

In a world driven by visuals, graphic design trends matter more than ever. They're the brushstrokes that paint your brand's identity and the melodies that resonate with your audience. From minimalism to bold typography, illustrations to sustainable design, and dark mode to abstract art, these trends offer a dynamic toolbox to enhance your branding and marketing efforts.

Ready to transform your branding and marketing efforts with the latest graphic design trends? Contact us today!

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Marketing, Trending Design

Get Your Green On: Sustainability as a Branding Strategy

Sustainability is more than just being environmentally friendly; it encompasses social responsibility and economic viability. By integrating sustainable practices into branding, businesses can attract eco-conscious consumers, foster loyalty, and stand out in a crowded market.

Graphic design plays a crucial role in visually communicating a brand's commitment to sustainability. Through intentional design choices, such as colour palettes, typography, imagery, and packaging materials, brands can effectively convey their environmental values and engage eco-conscious consumers.

Importance of Sustainability in Branding

Sustainability goes beyond just being environmentally friendly; it encompasses social responsibility and economic viability as well. By integrating sustainable practices into their brand ethos, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to creating a better future for people and the planet. This not only attracts eco-conscious consumers but also fosters brand loyalty and trust. 

Sustainable branding also presents an opportunity for businesses to stand out in a crowded market. In a time when consumers have countless options, showcasing a genuine commitment to sustainability can be a compelling differentiator. It allows brands to tap into a growing market segment that prioritises environmental consciousness and responsible consumption.

Conveying Environmental Values Through Graphic Design

Graphic design plays a pivotal role in shaping a brand's visual identity and messaging. It has the power to evoke emotions, communicate values, and create a lasting impression on consumers. When it comes to sustainability, graphic design becomes a powerful tool for conveying environmental values and fostering a connection between brands and their target audience.

Through intentional design choices, such as colour palettes, typography, imagery, and packaging materials, graphic designers can effectively communicate a brand's commitment to sustainability. By using nature-inspired colours, eco-friendly fonts, and images that showcase sustainable practices, designers can create visual cues that resonate with environmentally conscious consumers. Thoughtfully designed packaging and print materials made from recycled or sustainable sources further reinforce a brand's commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

How can sustainability be used as a branding strategy?

Sustainability in the Context of Branding

Sustainability, in the context of branding, refers to the integration of environmentally responsible practices and values into a brand's identity, messaging, and operations. 

It encompasses a holistic approach that considers the environmental, social, and economic impact of a brand's actions throughout its entire lifecycle. 

Sustainable branding goes beyond greenwashing or superficial efforts; it involves genuine efforts to minimise harm and make a positive difference in the world.

3 Benefits of incorporating Sustainability into Brand messaging

Integrating sustainability into brand messaging offers numerous benefits.

  1. Allows for Value Alignment
    Sustainable branding allows brands to align with the values and expectations of an increasingly eco-conscious consumer base. Consumers are actively seeking out brands that are socially and environmentally responsible, and incorporating sustainability into brand messaging creates a stronger connection and builds trust with these individuals.
  2. Enhances Brand Reputation
    Sustainability-focused branding can enhance a brand's reputation and differentiate it from competitors. By showcasing sustainable practices and values, a brand can set itself apart in a crowded market, attracting attention and loyalty from consumers who are passionate about making conscious choices. 
  3. Leads. to Saving in the Long Run 
    Sustainability as a branding strategy can lead to long-term cost savings and operational efficiencies. By adopting sustainable practices throughout the supply chain, from sourcing materials to packaging and distribution, brands can reduce waste, conserve resources, and lower their carbon footprint. These initiatives can result in financial savings while also benefiting the environment.

The Rise of Eco-Conscious Consumers and their Impact on Branding

The increasing number of eco-conscious consumers has significantly influenced branding strategies. 

Awareness of environmental issues - today's consumers prioritise brands that share their values and actively contribute to sustainability. 

Willingness to pay the green tax - eco-conscious consumers are willing to pay a premium for products and services that align with their principles, making sustainability a crucial factor in brand success. 

Increased expectations - The rise of eco-conscious consumers has also created a shift in consumer expectations. They expect brands to be transparent about their sustainability efforts and demand authenticity. Brands that fail to integrate sustainability into their strategies risk losing credibility and market share.

Graphic Design Elements for Sustainable Branding

Colour Palettes and Symbolism: Choosing Eco Friendly Colours

Colour plays a significant role in branding and can evoke emotions and associations in consumers. When it comes to sustainable branding, selecting an eco-friendly colour palette is essential. 

Opt for colours that reflect nature, such as earth tones, shades of green, and blues reminiscent of water. These colours not only convey environmental values but also create a sense of calmness and harmony. 

Additionally, consider utilising colour psychology to align with specific sustainability messages. For instance, green is often associated with growth, balance, and sustainability, while blue can convey trust and stability.

Typography: Selecting Fonts That Convey Environmental Values

Typography is a powerful design element that can reinforce a brand's environmental values. 

When selecting fonts for sustainable branding, consider those with clean and minimalist aesthetics that align with eco-consciousness. Sans-serif fonts are often associated with modernity and simplicity, which can convey a clean and eco-friendly image. 

Additionally, explore custom font options that have an organic or handcrafted feel, evoking a sense of nature and authenticity.

Imagery and Visuals: Using Eco-Friendly and Nature-Inspired Graphics

In sustainable branding, the imagery and visuals used should reflect a connection to nature and eco-consciousness. 

Incorporate nature-inspired graphics, such as leaves, trees, or animals, to evoke a sense of environmental responsibility. Utilise images that showcase sustainability practices, such as renewable energy sources, recycling, or sustainable agriculture. 

Infuse your designs with visual elements that communicate the brand's commitment to sustainability and capture the attention of eco-conscious consumers.

Packaging and Print Materials: Sustainable Choices For Branded Collateral

When it comes to packaging and print materials, sustainable choices are paramount. 

Opt for environmentally friendly materials like recycled paper, vegetable-based inks, and biodegradable or compostable packaging options. Avoid excessive packaging and explore innovative solutions that reduce waste, such as minimalist designs or reusable packaging. 

By selecting sustainable materials and reducing the environmental impact of branded collateral, you can align your graphic design efforts with the values of sustainability.

4 Tips for Implementing Sustainable branding through Graphic Design

  1. Conduct a sustainability audit of your brand
    Before implementing sustainable branding through graphic design, it's crucial to conduct a sustainability audit of your brand. Assess your current practices and identify areas where improvements can be made. Consider factors such as energy consumption, waste generation, material sourcing, and supply chain practices. This audit will provide a baseline for developing sustainable design strategies and allow you to set goals for reducing your environmental footprint.
  2. Incorporate eco-friendly design principles into brand guidelines
    To ensure consistent and cohesive sustainable branding, it's important to incorporate eco-friendly design principles into your brand guidelines. Establish guidelines for sustainable colour palettes, typography, imagery, and packaging materials. Specify requirements for using recycled or sustainably sourced materials, as well as guidelines for minimising waste and optimising printing processes. By integrating these principles into your brand guidelines, you provide a clear framework for sustainable design practices across all brand touchpoints.
  3. Collaborate with sustainable suppliers and printers
    Collaborating with sustainable suppliers and printers is essential for implementing sustainable branding. Seek out suppliers and printers that prioritise environmentally responsible practices and offer eco-friendly materials and production processes. Look for certifications or partnerships with organisations promoting sustainability, such as FSC certification for paper products or using vegetable-based inks. Collaborating with like-minded partners will ensure that your graphic design projects align with your sustainability goals.
  4. Educate and Engage Employees in the Brands Sustainability Effort
    Employee engagement is a key component of successful sustainable branding. Educate your team about the importance of sustainability and how graphic design plays a role in conveying environmental values. Encourage employees to generate ideas for sustainable design solutions and involve them in decision-making processes. Foster a culture of sustainability within your organisation by organising training sessions, promoting awareness campaigns, and recognising and rewarding sustainable initiatives. By engaging your employees, you can amplify the impact of your sustainable branding efforts and create a sense of shared responsibility.

Measuring the Impact and Success of Sustainable Branding

Once you've implemented sustainable branding strategies through graphic design, it's important to measure their impact and success. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Tracking Consumer Response and Engagement

One way to measure the impact of sustainable branding is by tracking consumer response and engagement. 

Monitor metrics - such as website traffic, social media interactions, and customer feedback related to sustainability initiatives. 

Look for increases - including in positive sentiment, engagement rates, and brand loyalty. Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather direct feedback from consumers about their perception of your brand's sustainability efforts. 

This data will provide insights into how well your sustainable branding resonates with your target audience and whether it positively influences their decision-making process.

Analyse Brand Perception and Market Positioning

Analysing brand perception and market positioning is crucial for assessing the success of sustainable branding. 

Conduct market research - to understand how your brand is perceived in relation to sustainability compared to competitors. 

Evaluate the brand - including recognition, reputation, and associations with sustainability values. Look for shifts in market positioning and increased market share in the eco-conscious consumer segment. 

By understanding your brand's standing in the market and how it is perceived, you can gauge the effectiveness of your sustainable branding efforts.

Monitor Environmental Impact and Improvements

Sustainable branding goes beyond perception; it should also lead to tangible environmental improvements. 

Monitor and Track - key environmental indicators related to your operations and supply chain. Measure reductions in carbon emissions, energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and material sourcing. 

Keep Records - of your sustainable packaging choices, such as the percentage of recycled or biodegradable materials used. 

By monitoring these metrics, you can quantify the positive environmental impact of your sustainable branding and identify areas for further improvement.

Sustainable branding through graphic design allows brands to align with eco-conscious consumers, differentiate themselves, and create meaningful connections. By incorporating eco-friendly design elements and measuring impact, brands can foster trust, inspire change, and contribute to a sustainable future.

Contact us and join the sustainability movement: Enhance your brand with eco-conscious graphic design and attract socially responsible consumers today!

Posted in Branding, Marketing

Creating an Impactful Logo Design

Female graphic designer working

A well-designed logo is a powerful tool in establishing a brand's identity and making a lasting impression. By following certain principles and guidelines, designers can create impactful logos that resonate with the audience. In this article, we will explore the dos and don'ts of logo design, including simplicity, originality, versatility, memorability, relevance, typography, and colour choices.

Why is having a strong and impactful logo important?

Logo design plays a crucial role in establishing a strong brand identity. A logo serves as the visual representation of a brand and is often the first point of contact for potential customers. It acts as a symbol that communicates the essence of the brand, evokes emotions, and leaves a lasting impression. A well-designed logo has the power to attract and engage the target audience, differentiate a brand from its competitors, and foster brand recognition and loyalty.

Understanding Your Purpose and Target Audience

Define the Purpose 

Before diving into the design process, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the purpose and goals of the logo. Ask yourself questions like: What message do you want the logo to convey? What values and emotions should it evoke? Is the logo intended to represent a product, service, or the entire brand? Defining the purpose and goals will provide a solid foundation and direction for your logo design.

Identify Your Target Audience 

To create an impactful logo, it is crucial to understand the target audience you are designing for. Research and identify the demographic characteristics, interests, and preferences of your target audience. Consider factors such as age, gender, culture, and industry. Understanding your audience will help you tailor the design elements, colours, and typography to appeal to their tastes and effectively communicate your brand's message.

Research Your Competitors and Industry Trends 

Analysing your competitors' logos and industry trends is an important step in the logo design process. Explore the logos of your competitors and identify common elements, styles, or themes. This research will help you differentiate your logo design and ensure that it stands out in the market. Additionally, keeping up with industry trends will allow you to incorporate relevant elements while still maintaining a unique and timeless design.

By thoroughly understanding the purpose, target audience, and competitive landscape, you lay a strong foundation for creating an impactful logo. In the next section, we will delve into the dos of logo design that will guide you in crafting an effective and memorable logo.

Do’s in Logo Design

1. Simplicity - Keeping the design clean and uncluttered

  • One of the most important dos in logo design is to prioritise simplicity. 
  • A simple and uncluttered design allows for easy recognition and memorability. 
  • Avoid overcrowding your logo with unnecessary elements or intricate details that can confuse or distract viewers. 
  • Opt for clean lines, minimalistic shapes, and a balanced composition.
  • Remember, simplicity enhances the visual impact and ensures that your logo remains timeless and versatile.

2. Originality - Developing a unique and distinctive logo

  • Creating an original logo is essential for brand differentiation and recognition. 
  • Strive to develop a logo that stands out from the competition and captures the essence of your brand. 
  • Avoid using generic symbols or cliché design elements that can dilute your brand's identity.
  • Instead, explore unique concepts, symbols, or visual metaphors that align with your brand's personality and values. 
  • Originality in logo design helps create a memorable and lasting impression on your target audience.

3. Versatility - Ensuring the logo works well across different platforms and sizes

  • An impactful logo should be versatile enough to adapt to various applications and sizes. 
  • Consider the different platforms and mediums where your logo will be displayed, such as websites, social media profiles, business cards, or signage.
  • Ensure that the logo remains recognisable and legible, whether it is scaled down for a mobile app icon or enlarged for a billboard. 
  • A versatile logo design allows for consistent branding and maintains its impact across different contexts.

4. Memorability - Designing a logo that leaves a lasting impression

  • Creating a memorable logo is a key goal for any designer. 
  • A memorable logo leaves a lasting impression in the minds of viewers, helping to reinforce brand recognition and recall. 
  • To achieve this, focus on developing a unique visual concept, utilising distinctive colours, and incorporating creative typography. 
  • Consider using visual elements that are unexpected or evoke emotions to make your logo more memorable. 
  • A well-designed logo that stands out from the crowd will leave a lasting impact on your audience.

5. Relevance - Reflecting the brand's values, products, or services 

  • A successful logo should be relevant to your brand's values, products, or services. 
  • It should visually communicate what your brand represents and resonate with your target audience. 
  • Research your brand's core values, mission, and unique selling points.
  • Use this information to guide your design choices and incorporate elements that align with your brand's identity. 
  • The logo should effectively convey the essence of your brand and create a connection with your audience.

Don’ts in Logo Design

1. Overcomplicating the design with excessive elements 

  • One common mistake in logo design is overcomplicating the design with too many elements. 
  • Avoid the temptation to include unnecessary details, intricate patterns, or excessive text. 
  • A cluttered logo can make it difficult for viewers to understand and remember your brand. 
  • Keep the design clean, focused, and visually balanced. Remember, simplicity is key in creating a memorable and impactful logo.

2. Relying too heavily on trends that may quickly become outdated  

  • While it's important to stay informed about design trends, relying too heavily on them can lead to a logo that quickly becomes outdated. 
  • Design trends come and go, and what's popular today may lose its appeal tomorrow. 
  • Instead of following every trend, aim for a timeless and enduring design that will stand the test of time. 
  • A logo with a classic and timeless aesthetic will maintain its relevance and impact, even as design trends change.

3. Using cliché or generic symbols that lack originality 

  • Avoid using cliché or generic symbols in your logo design. 
  • Overused symbols such as globes, arrows, or generic icons can make your logo appear unoriginal and unremarkable. 
  • Strive for a unique and distinctive visual representation of your brand. 
  • Conduct thorough research to identify symbols or visual metaphors that align specifically with your brand's identity, values, or industry. 
  • An original and thoughtful logo design will help your brand stand out and make a lasting impression.

4. Incorporating too many colours that can confuse or distract viewers 

  • Colour is an important element in logo design, but using too many colours can be overwhelming and confuse viewers. 
  • Aim for a colour palette that is harmonious, balanced, and meaningful to your brand. 
  • Limit the number of colours used in your logo to two or three, ensuring that they work well together and evoke the desired emotions. 
  • Remember that colours have psychological associations, so choose colours that

5. Neglecting scalability and legibility in different sizes and applications 

  • A logo should be versatile enough to maintain its legibility and impact across various sizes and applications. 
  • Neglecting scalability can result in a logo that becomes distorted or illegible when scaled down or reproduced in different mediums. 
  • Ensure that your logo remains clear and readable, even when it's reduced to a small size for a website favicon or printed on a small promotional item. 
  • Test your logo in different sizes and applications to ensure its visual integrity and effectiveness.

Typography and Colour Choices

Select fonts that align with the brand's personality 

Typography plays a significant role in logo design as it conveys the brand's personality and sets the tone for the visual representation. 

When selecting fonts, consider the brand's values, industry, and target audience. Fonts can be categorised as serif, sans-serif, script, or display, each with its own characteristics. 

Serif fonts - often convey a sense of tradition and reliability, while sans-serif fonts give a modern and clean look. 

Script fonts - add elegance and playfulness, while display fonts are bold and attention-grabbing. 

Choose fonts that align with your brand's personality and create a harmonious visual impact.

Understanding the psychology of colors and their impact on perception

Colours have a profound effect on human psychology and perception. Different colours evoke various emotions and can influence how your brand is perceived. 

For Example: 

Blue - is associated with trust, stability, and professionalism, making it suitable for financial institutions. 

Yellow - conveys energy, optimism, and creativity, making it ideal for brands in the entertainment or food industries. 

Green - symbolises nature, health, and sustainability, making it relevant for environmentally conscious brands. 

Research colour psychology and choose a colour palette that reflects your brand's values, resonates with your target audience, and aligns with the message you want to convey.

Harmonise typography and colours to create a cohesive design 

To create a cohesive and visually pleasing logo, it's crucial to harmonise the typography and colours. Ensure that the chosen font styles and weights complement each other and work well together. Consistency in typography helps establish visual hierarchy and enhances readability. 

Similarly, the colour palette should be harmonious, with colours that complement and enhance each other. Consider the contrast between the font colour and the background colour to ensure legibility. Pay attention to the balance between text and graphical elements, ensuring that they work together seamlessly to create a unified and cohesive logo design.

Test and Refine Your Logo

Gather feedback - Share the logo with stakeholders, clients, or your target audience and encourage open and honest feedback. Their perspectives can provide valuable insights and help you understand how your logo is perceived and whether it effectively communicates your brand's identity. 

Refine the logo based on feedback - Analyse feedback looking for recurring patterns or suggestions that align with your brand's goals and objectives. Experiment with different iterations, incorporating the feedback and making adjustments to the design elements, typography, colours, or overall composition. 

Consider long-term scalability and adaptability - A logo should be designed to withstand the test of time and remain relevant as your brand grows and evolves. Consider how the logo will look in different sizes, from a small social media profile picture to a large billboard. Ensure that the logo remains legible and visually appealing across various mediums and platforms. 

Designing an impactful logo requires a balance of creativity and strategy. By prioritising simplicity, originality, versatility, memorability, and relevance, designers can create logos that effectively represent the brand and leave a lasting impression. Additionally, careful consideration of typography and colour choices helps create a cohesive design. Through testing, gathering feedback, and refining, designers can continuously improve their logo designs. With a well-crafted logo, brands can establish a strong identity and connect with their target audience.

Leave your logo design with us, get in contact today!

Posted in Branding, logo branding, Marketing

Why You Should Still Have Business Cards

Business man in suit handing out a business card

In a world driven by digital communication, the role of business cards may seem diminished. However, professionals continue to recognise the value of business cards as a tangible representation of their brand and expertise. This blog post will explore why you should have a business card and how to design it effectively. From making a lasting impression to enhancing credibility and facilitating seamless information exchange. Business cards play a vital role in establishing a professional identity in today's competitive landscape.

Do professionals still use business cards?

Business cards may seem outdated. However, professionals continue to use business cards despite advancements in digital communication. Business cards serve as tangible representation of professional identity and are still widely used in various industries and networking settings.

The importance of establishing a professional identity

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, establishing a solid professional image is crucial for success, as people are naturally drawn to individuals who project professionalism. 

Your professional image encompasses various factors, including appearance, behaviour, and communication skills. Employers, clients, and business partners are more likely to trust and engage with individuals who have a professional image. 

A professional image enhances your chances of securing job opportunities or business deals and fosters long-lasting relationships built on trust and respect.

Why you need business cards

Tangible Representation -  Business cards serve as a tangible representation of your brand and expertise. It allows you to showcase your unique identity and communicate key information about yourself or your business in a concise and visually appealing manner.

Networking Tool - Networking events and professional meetings often involve exchanging contact information with numerous individuals. Amidst the sea of digital connections, a well-designed business card stands out and makes a lasting impression as a physical reminder of your encounter. 

Enhances Credibility and Professionalism - A professionally designed business card signals that you take your work seriously and pay attention to details. Presenting a well-crafted business card instils confidence in the recipient, showcasing your commitment to professionalism and excellence. 

Exchange Details Seamlessly - Business cards provide a hassle-free and reliable way to share your information. Handing over your business card ensures that your contact details are easily accessible, allowing for a smooth and efficient follow-up process.

Digital is not enough - While digital platforms offer convenience in exchanging contact information, they can be impersonal and prone to technological glitches. Business cards eliminate the need for typing or searching through contact lists, allowing for a seamless exchange of information in face-to-face interactions. 

How to design professional business cards

Your business cards should…

Reflect your brand identity and values

  1. Choose a colour scheme that represents your brand to evoke the desired emotions.
  2. Use fonts that are legible and align with your brand’s personality.
  3. Strategically place your logo for maximum visibility.

Ensure readability and clarity

  1. Choose fonts that are easy to read, even at smaller sizes ensuring text is not too small or too crowded.
  2. Arrange the information on your card in a logical and easily scannable way. 
  3. Use hierarchy to emphasise essential details, such as your name and job title.

Include essential information

  1. Display your name and position and/or job offering 
  2. Include your phone number, email address, and physical address if relevant.
  3. Include your website URL and social media handles to encourage online engagement if applicable.

Use high-quality materials

  1. Use thick cardstock to give your card a premium feel and durability. 
  2. Consider finishes like matte, gloss, or textured coatings to enhance visual appeal.
  3. Consider using special finishes like foil stamping, embossing, or spot UV to add a touch of uniqueness and make your card visually distinctive.

All business cards should be optimised for the business card dimensions 90mm x 55mm

Layout and Composition

The layout and composition of your business card play a more important role than you may realise in creating a visually appealing and effective design.

How do I layout and compose my business cards?

Balance visual elements and incorporate graphics

Placement - strategically position your text and logo to create visual hierarchy. The most important information, such as name and job title, should be prominent.

Utilise white space - leave sufficient white space (empty space) around each element to improve readability and create a clean and elegant design. White space also helps guide the viewer's eye and highlights important information.

Experiment - create multiple options with different arrangements until you achieve the one that is most visually appealing.

Graphics - use relevant icons, images, or patterns to enhance visual interest. Icons can be used to represent contact information (e.g., phone, email) or social media handles.

Maintain clean design - keep the design clean and uncluttered, allowing each element to breathe. This ensures that your information is easily readable and creates a professional impression.

Should my business cards include a logo?

Yes, including a logo on your business cards is highly recommended. A logo is a visual representation of your brand and serves as a powerful tool that can strengthen your brand identity, enhance professionalism, and help you make a memorable impression. When designing your business card, consider the size and placement of your logo to ensure it is prominently displayed and easily recognisable. Ensure your logo is in high resolution and properly scaled to maintain quality when printed on the business card.

Printing and Production

Once the card design is finalised, it is time to get quality prints of your business cards.

What should I consider when getting my business cards printed?

Select a reputable printing service and double check the information

Research - Researching print quality, options, and pricing: Look for printing services that offer high-quality printing options suitable for your desired card design. Consider factors such as paper stock options, finishes, and printing techniques.

Request samples - request print samples and proofs before committing to a printing service so that you can evaluate the quality of their work. Additionally, ask for a proof of your business card design to ensure it appears as expected before proceeding with the full print run. 

Proofread for typos and errors - carefully review your business card design, paying close attention to contact details, job titles, names, and any other textual information. Look for spelling errors, incorrect phone numbers, or outdated information.

Double-check the design - ensure the design aligns with the printing requirements of your chosen print provider. There may be specific guidelines for file formats, bleed areas, and colour modes, so ensure your design meets these requirements to avoid any issues during printing. Convert your design to the appropriate colour mode (such as CMYK) and include necessary bleed areas.

Here is what to avoid on your business cards

  1. Cluttered design - Avoid overcrowding your business card with excessive text, graphics, or images. A cluttered design can make it difficult for recipients to read and process the information. Maintain a clean, organised layout that allows the key elements to stand out.
  2. Illegible fonts - Choose fonts that are clear, legible, and appropriate for your industry. Avoid using overly decorative or complex fonts that can hinder readability. Ensure that the font size is large enough to be easily read, especially for contact information.
  3. Poor colour choices - Be mindful of your colour choices and avoid using too many colours that clash or distract from the overall design. Stick to a limited colour palette that aligns with your brand and maintains visual harmony.
  4. Inconsistent branding - Your business card should be consistent with your overall branding, including your logo, colour scheme, and typography. Inconsistencies can confuse recipients and dilute your brand identity. Ensure that your business card aligns with your other marketing materials.
  5. Outdated or incorrect information - Double-check all the information on your business card to ensure its accuracy. Outdated or inaccurate information can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. Keep your contact details, job title, and other relevant information up to date.
  6. Low-quality printing and materials - Opt for high-quality printing and materials for your business cards. Avoid using cheap or flimsy cardstock that can make a negative impression. Poor printing quality can also result in blurred text or images. Invest in professional printing services to ensure a polished final product.
  7. Irrelevant or excessive information - Include only essential information on your business card. Avoid including irrelevant details that can clutter the design. Stick to your name, job title, company name, phone number, email address, and website. Optionally, include social media handles or a QR code to access online profiles easily.

How can I utilise my business cards to their fullest potential?

Beyond the design and printing of your business card, there are additional strategies you can employ to maximise its impact and leverage it effectively in various professional settings. Consider the following tips:

Engage in networking interactions

  1. You are proud of your business cards, right? Well, so are others. When someone hands you their business card, take the time to engage in a meaningful conversation and show genuine interest in their work or business.
  2. After receiving a business card, make it a point to follow up with a personalised message or email.
  3. When following up, reference your conversation or any points discussed to demonstrate that you value the connection.

Use them strategically in networking or professional settings

  1. Carry a stack of business cards to networking events and exchange them when you meet potential collaborators, clients, or employers. 
  2. Ensure your business cards are easily accessible and present them professionally.
  3. Use the opportunity to establish connections and follow up afterward.

Keep them up-to-date

  1. Ensure your business cards are easily accessible and present them professionally.
  2. Outdated information can create confusion and undermine your professionalism.
  3. Keep track of the number of business cards you have on hand and replenish them as needed. Running out of cards can be inconvenient and leave a negative impression.

So, are business cards worth it?

Business cards continue to be an essential tool for professionals. They serve as tangible representations of your brand, make a lasting impression, enhance credibility, and facilitate seamless information exchange. When designing your business cards, remember to reflect your brand identity, ensure readability, include essential information, and use high-quality materials. Additionally, use your business cards whilst networking and in professional settings making sure to keep them up to date. By following these tips, you can maximise the impact of your business cards and elevate your professional image in today's competitive world.

Need a graphic designer to create professional business cards for your business? Get in touch today!

Posted in Branding, development graphic design, Graphic Design, logo branding, Marketing, Printing

5 Benefits of Great Content for Your Brand

person working on laptop with phone and notebook

One of the key elements of successful online marketing is great content. And though forms of visual media such as videos and graphics have risen in popularity, high-quality written content continues to be the most important form of content. 

It might seem surprising at first, particularly with the rise of social media influencers, video creators, and content streamers. But when you consider what search engines classify as “good content,” you’ll notice that many of them favor written content like blogs.

As such, it’s a good idea to seek reliable SEO content writing services and work with them so that your business can reap the following benefits:

You’ll Rank Higher in SERPs

In the digital age, customers find what they’re looking for in two ways: either they will search the internet, or they will ask people they know—who may also end up searching the internet. To capitalise on this behaviour, you’ll want your content to be optimised properly and appearing higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). 

Search engines are continuously changing their algorithms so that they can deliver useful, relevant results to other users. As such, consistently producing good content is the key to good SEO rankings.

High-quality content is informative, credible, and engaging. What’s more, you need to provide a different perspective or more value than your competitors. The last one is particularly important if you’re in a highly competitive industry. Fortunately, if you’re working with an SEO copywriting company, they’ll know what to do to produce top-notch content.

It Establishes Your Expertise

Expertise is a huge factor for consumers when it comes to the products and services they avail. If they’re purchasing a washing machine, for example, they want something that can truly clean their clothes. Moreover, they would prefer an appliance built with quality materials that will last long.

Through well-crafted content, you can communicate this expertise to your target market. In the example above, you can create blogs about clothes-washing tips, washing machine maintenance, or even a quick history of the appliance.

Make sure to discuss keywords and possible topics with your chosen SEO content service provider. This way, you can churn out content that your potential customers are truly interested in. 

Doing all of these can help establish your online authority and boost your SERP rankings. Ultimately, this can help you build trust and rapport with your audience.

It Can Improve Your Social Media Presence

Social media is now practically inescapable, which means you should also have a marketing strategy centred on these platforms. The problem is that you may find it difficult to stand out, especially with millions of posts being uploaded per day.

With great content, this won’t be so much of an issue. Accompany your visuals with well-written captions and see just how much more traction you can get on social media.

If you have a considerable following, there’s also an opportunity to use social media to link out to your website. Direct them to a page with even more helpful content, thus increasing traffic and the potential for conversions.

Great Content Can Result In More Conversions

Modern consumers are a more discerning lot. They can’t always be swayed by flashy visuals or other gimmicks. Instead, they carefully study products and services before they decide on what to support. They not only want to spend wisely but they also want to spend more purposefully.

Through well-crafted content, you can give your audience more information to work with so that they can make educated decisions. Blogs are a great avenue for this, giving you an opportunity to create a deeper connection that can translate into conversions.

Don’t forget to add proper calls to action. Be clear about them—if you want your website visitors to sign up for an email newsletter, then give them all the details so they can do exactly that. More importantly, don’t overwhelm people with too many calls to action; instead of converting them, you might end up turning them away.

It Can Help Deepen Conversations

There’s no denying the great social media content can spark interest. However, the next viral video or image is already in the works. Before you know it, you’ve already been overtaken by another brand.

The opposite is true with great content, which can push your audience to know more and thus start deeper conversations. This leads to a stronger connection, which can influence stronger feelings and opinions that can influence purchases.

Writing great content can also make potential customers stay longer on your website, giving you more opportunities for conversion.

Last but certainly not least, providing meaningful, useful content can increase brand awareness. For those who already know about you, it can keep your brand current and even cultivate loyalty. For those who don’t know your brand, your appearance in SERPs could attract new customers searching for similar services. All of these are desirable results that you want your business to achieve.

As the popular digital marketing phrase goes, content is king. Based on the current trends, it will continue to be king for quite a long time. It’s therefore a wise move to start building your content marketing strategy as soon as possible so you can also enjoy these benefits sooner.

Posted in Branding

When to add Limited or LTD to a logo?

bad logo ltd example

The short answer is.. NEVER. 

Why do some businesses have LTD or LIMITED as part of their logos, mainly the construction and trades industry?

As a logo designer, it is often unfortunate to be asked to retrofit this into a design - it always looks tacked on like an afterthought. Though common in the construction & trades industry, it is an unnecessary addition to a well-designed logo.

Business owners typically provide one of three reasons for wanting to add the legal destination on their logo:

  1. "I want people to know that we're a real company."
  2. "Our lawyer said we have to."
  3. "Everyone else does it."

Unfortunately, none of these are true. Let’s take a look at each of them individually. 

1.  "I want people to know that we're a real company."

LTD is an abbreviation of Limited, stating that the business is a Limited Liability Company.

There are 3 types of companies in New Zealand:

  • Limited Liability Companies - The owners/shareholders of limited liability companies are personally limited in their exposure to the company's financial obligations. This is by far the most common form of company and is designated by Limited, Ltd or Tapui (Limited) at the end of the business name (only necessary on financial & legal paperwork).
  • Co-Operative - Also known as co-ops, these companies exist to provide goods or services to their members & shareholders. They are also limited liability companies and some examples include taxi businesses, dairy companies, Māori community services etc.
  • Unlimited - Unlimited liability companies are rare - their shareholders personally have ultimate liability to all financial obligations of the company. This form exists to meet particular, usually foreign legal requirements. 

So in a sense, yes, displaying LTD or Limited does show that you are a 'real company.'

But are you legally obligated to include it on your logo? On your vehicle? On your building sign? The vast majority of businesses in NZ are limited, but you do not see the LTD present on every logo. Even within the construction industry itself; Hawkins, Fletcher, Naylor Love - none of them have LTD or Limited on their logos, but are in fact limited liability companies.

So why do the smaller players feel obliged to display this legal information so prominently? 

2.  "Our lawyer said we have to." 

From a legal perspective, you should have your full company name included on all financial and legal documentation such as invoices, contracts, tax returns and legal records. This is usually written above contact details, address and so on. However this is irrespective of the logo.

Historically, small start-up businesses would incorporate a company name - and then simply write it out in full. They wouldn't have a logo design - logos were just for big boys like Ford and Coca-Cola. Therefore, their full company name was included.

'Taylor & Sons LTD' written the same on everything from their shop sign to their invoices.

old logo sign with LTD

Now, lawyers are not particularly renowned when it comes to creative logos, branding and identities. Most of them continue the tradition of simply writing out their full company name. As an industry, lawyers, accountants and doctors have been a bit slow to come around to branding and identifying themselves creatively. So it comes as no surprise that advice from a lawyer in regards to a company logo is that it should be the full company name. 

lawyer firm logo sign

Yet you only need to look around at what some of the big players are doing. You won't see LTD, LLC, INC, PTY or any other legal descriptor abbreviation tacked alongside the Apple, Google or Twitter logos... in fact, they don't even use words at all anymore!

brandmark examples
3.  "Everyone else does it." 

Oftentimes, you don’t have to look very far to see a trades or building company with LTD or Limited on their logos and on their utes. Whilst most other industries have long since moved on from this, you are unlikely to see LTD added to logos for florists, beauty clinics, clothing stores, cafes, restaurants or IT firms. 


For the trades and construction industry - the idea really only continues to exist due to the 2 points we have covered. In addition, a small start-up building company will see another small start-up building company and simply follow suit. As their business expands and professional marketing and design teams become involved - their logo is soon separated from the full company name and these legal descriptor abbreviations are quickly dropped.

construction logo examples

Summary. 

If you're starting out in business and incorporating a company. Yes, you should have your full company name on all official legal & financial documents. Your full company name will include the legal descriptor so that your position on liability is disclosed. Seeing this on an invoice does show that you are a real company. However, your logo has nothing to do with any of this.

Take a look at any of the big national brands, none of them will include LTD in their logos. A Logo is a graphic to represent your company - it is not your legal company name. Your logo is a separate entity which can use your shortened name, your trading-as name, or maybe just a symbol - no name at all!

Posted in Branding, logo branding

6 Startup Tips to Make your Business Successful

As a sole proprietor or sole trader, you alone are responsible for your staff, supplies, contracts, debts and decisions. If independence is a goal for you, then the sole trader is the perfect business model to start. Becoming a sole trader is the simplest way to start up a business, and here are some steps to lead you forward toward business setup and effective marketing techniques.

Name the business

Find an effective name for your business that resonates with you, and with your business personality. You can drive the business using your own name (for example, “Frank's Flowers”), or you can choose another name. Using your own name gives credibility to the business, but if you intend to sell the business in future then something completely unique may be a better fit. As a sole proprietor, you do not need to register your business name, but you do need to ensure that it is not the same as a registered trademark or existing company’s name.

How to Come up with a Business NameKeeping the name simple, short, and easy to spell will make it easier for people to find you. For example, "Franks Fabulous Flowers Fendalton" is a catchy name, but won't work well as a website address or email address. As an example, you couldn't expect customers to email (frank@franksfabulousflowersfendalton.co.nz). It would be better to stay simple (email: info@franksflowers.co.nz). Often we recommend registering two domains names as they work much like signposts, simply pointing to your website location. A domain should only be about $30+gst to register per year, so it's worth having a second domain if it makes it easier for people to find you and spell your name. For example (www.franksflowers.co.nz) and (www.franks.co.nz), where you could use the much shorter email address (info@franks.co.nz).

Follow this link for more tips on Naming Your Business.

Get a business brand and logo

Having a brand and logo to represent your business is so very important. Your brand needs to be professional and easily recognisable to be at the forefront of your business. Your logo needs to be simple enough that it can be clear and readable when printed on anything from a pen to a billboard, and instantly recognisable when viewing on either a large screen or on the small screen of a mobile device. Your logo must be unique enough to not be mistaken for any other brand. Your brand should be something you are proud to stand behind so it's worth investing in the talents of an experienced graphic designer to design a stylised and professional logo that will represent your business as it launches, and for many years to come.

Click here for more information on Logos and Branding.

Register your trademark

Unlike companies, as a sole trader, you cannot stop other businesses from using your name – unless you have registered it as a trademark to protect your brand. When you register you will need to supply a clear description of your trademark, and you can upload your logo to protect it.

View costs and instructions, and to follow the steps for Registering a Trademark.

Register your domain name

I recommend that before you register your trademark, you should do a search to see if the domain is available. This could avoid a lot of problems later trying to find a domain name that resembles your company name, or trying to purchase the domain you want - at what will likely be an inflated price if someone has already purchased it for the purpose of on-selling it for profit. Consider all the TLD's as well, such as (.co.nz) which has always been popular, and now the new (.nz) which may soon eclipse the (.co.nz) option. If you are an organisation you may want to use (.org) or (.org.nz), and if you intend to trade overseas or build up a business empire, you would do well to secure the (.com).

Follow this link to search for and Register A Domain Name. This search also allows you to search for multiple TLD’s, so you can look for the (.com) domain, the (.co.nz) domain, and the newer (.nz) domain.

Learn more about domain names and how to avoid a major headache.

Start collecting website content and images

Your business will need to have a strong online marketing presence, and there is no better marketing investment than your own website, over which you can have full control. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will always have their place, but they will never give you full control like your website will. There are no guarantees with social media sites because rules can change, new charges may appear, and in many cases, you forfeit ownership of your content by uploading it. On your own website, you own and control your own content.

collection of photographs

So yes, social certainly media has it's placed but it's important to funnel your social media audience and followers through to your own business website, where you can present the full spectrum of what you offer from one clear and professional platform. Once on your website, your visitors will also have the option to signup to your newsletter (if you choose to send one), view your location and available hours, and contact you directly through your website contact form. Some websites may include application forms or appointment forms, as well as offering products for direct sale. Talk to us about building the right website with the functionality that would aid your business process and best serve your existing customers and wider online audience.

Even in the earliest beginnings of your business startup, it will benefit you greatly in the long term to gather all the information you can. From blogging about your experience to keeping a note of important dates, significant steps, and photos of the startup in action. Your audience will be better able to connect, resonate and relate to you if you offer more than a window-view of your business, instead present your business with personality and pride.

Tips Checklist to protect your Intellectual Property (IP)

To check if your business name is available, go to OneCheck. From here you can do a name search to make sure that no other company is using the same or similar name to what you want to use. If you wish to register your name as a 'Limited' Company, it costs around $10 to apply for your name online. Click here to Reserve a Company Name and for more information.

For more simple steps to protect your business, visit the New Zealand Government website, or go straight to Simple Steps to Protect Your Intellectual Property.

 

Posted in Branding

4 Website Marketing Techniques for New Businesses

Starting with an idea.

All businesses start with an idea, launched with the well seasoned advice; “start with the end in mind”. So, you have a great idea for a new business, backed by a passion and drive to mould it into life, now where do you see the road taking you down this new business journey? Some business people will say they envision the business becoming something they can franchise, others say that they will be able to expand and provide jobs, and still others that they simply ARE the business, and it will exist as long as they are there to run it. Envision your own individual business coupled with an easily recognisable brand and logo design and strong online presence, and you're off to a great start.

Your new business presence will need to be maintained by a simple online marketing campaign to ensure you become recognisable and most importantly, competitive. Ensure your online presence reflects exactly the business personality that inspired you in the first place! It’s important to start out with a business plan to give shape and direction to your business idea. Your business planning process should include these steps:

  1. Decide your own goals and objectives.  This may include a strong online presence, selling online with an eCommerce website, and/or for your customers to be able to take advantage of everything you are offering, be it product or service, by using their mobile devices.

  2. Research, research and research, then note down your business plan.  Take a look at your competitors websites. See how they are best serving their customers. How easy is it for their customers to access the products/services offered? Are your competitors providing an online service? And if so, what do you or don’t you like about their website, facebook page, twitter feed or other social media presence.

  3. Review your business plan.  This should be an on-going process, ensuring your plan is relevant in your industry and in line with modern business practice. Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing is good practice and will benefit not just you but your customers as well. Let your customers see that yours is an evolving business, changing to meet current needs and trends, and perhaps creating your own trends and keeping ahead of the competition!

  4. Maintain a focus on your business plan and continue to update it.  Things will change, and for the continued success of your business, you need to keep up with business practices, trends, and technology. For example; If your business plan currently incorporates a website, it is invaluable that you know about Googles recent policy change to give search result priority to responsive websites. If your audience are mobile users, it would be in your businesses best interests to change your business plan to better cater to this audience. There may also be room in your marketing budget for app. development or a dedicated mobile website as another outlet for your products and ideas.

phone and tabletThe Business Plan
Business plans are a broad platform that take into account your personal goals and the status and future of your industry. We all know the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”, so putting this into practice means to have a strong, pro-active plan for your new business that will focus your efforts and provide a measure for your results.

It’s good practice to identity your risks, know where the pot holes are, the curves in the road and the temptations (like shiny gadgets and envy-inducing signwritten vehicles). For example; if you are a florist and your competitor has an eCommerce website to provide their bouquets online, but you are starting out with a more cost effective content management website (a cms website does not offer online sales) to advertise your florist store, then target your website content and images to best present your products and welcome people to your store, until an eCommerce website and an SEO campaign is an option that would work with your ideal business model and plan.

Knowing your target market and how they will be able to connect with you is also very important. For example; If you are in the travel industry, perhaps a motel owner, you need to identity the risk of not having a responsive or mobile website. Because your target audience consist mostly of travellers, who would very likely be using a mobile device to search for accommodation, are they able to find you online? And if they do will they be able to easily view your important information and navigate your website on a mobile device? Or will they become frustrated with a website that is not mobile friendly and find an alternative accommodation provider.

Websites and Marketing for New Businesses - The Summary
So you're going to take the leap and control your own destiny, turning one brilliant idea into a platform from which to support yourself (and potentially others), offering your skills to the world. Dreaming big is good but first, pen must be put to paper to define your "vision statement" and "mission statement", before we move on to things like registering your business name and purchasing a domain.

RosesYour vision statement will describe where you see yourself. Using our new business florist idea, here's an example; "We are the most accessible online florist in New Zealand, supporting the gift of giving through top quality floral arrangements and fast, reliable service and delivery."

Your mission statement, on the other hand, will be the outlined plan for how you get there, for example; "We are versatile and state-of-the art. Our classic villa style and store is complimented by the design and functionality of an eCommerce site, attached to our in-store stock management system to ensure real-time updates of product availability. We accept and process immediate online orders and arrange fast delivery. We are versatile and pro-active, providing floral arrangements of the highest quality and offering a new product every fortnight, and sales for special occasions."

So get started today on your new business and marketing ideas, visit some websites in your desired industry and look at the latest in design and layout, as well as the information, services and functionality that is being provided. Make your own distinctions on what you favour, in terms of too much or too little information provided, whether the website complements the style of the product or service being advertised, and if an online presence can clearly tell you what that company's vision and missions are.

Visit our Portfolio today to view some recent website design examples and for a little more inspiration into what's possible with professional and affordable website and branding design.

 

Posted in Branding

The Importance of Branding For your Business

Being your brand could mean that you proudly represent the business logo, name and brand that fronts your organisation, or it could simply mean being yourself – representing your own integrity and lifting your personal brand and reputation to new heights.

According to Forbes, some of the most reputable companies in 2014 included The Walt Disney Company, Canon, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, The Coca Cola Company and Amazon, the list goes on! These are companies with brands that many of us feel we can trust. These forward thinking organisations have created and maintained their profiles to a level where for us, thinking about their brand generates positive feelings. In short, we trust them to provide what we want - and that’s a part of what a brand is right? It’s a feeling that we have toward a company when we see their logo or products, and even a feeling we have toward a person when we hear their name. A reputation must be made, but if carefully cultivated it can always grow and change.

"Though a reputation evolves behind a brand, it is also what precedes it."

What feeling do people have about your brand? You may have to ask around to know for sure, or you may have a feeling about your own brand already and know some areas that you wish to work on and evolve.

New Brand LogoPICK 5 CHARACTERISTICS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND:

  • Trustworthy
  • Hardworking
  • Reliable
  • Flexible
  • Confident
  • Commitment to customer care
  • Ensuring clarity in all aspects of services offered
  • Excellent communication
  • Passion for what you/your team provides
  • Strong focus on the job at hand
  • The work of a master craftsman and expert in the field
  • Always going the extra mile
  • In touch with modern styles and trends
  • Offering modern equipment and techniques
  • Down to earth, approachable
  • Excellent quality control
  • Positive, friendly and approachable
  • Creative and adaptable
  • Intuitive and Inspiring
  • Undertaking the work on time and as quoted
  • Thorough and accurate in plan and action

From your 5 chosen characteristics - does your brand present these factors to the world? If your brand correctly represents your integrity and values AND delivers on these things, people are more likely to remember you and mention you to others.

If your business brand is dated, we can work with you to incorporate your values into your brand, promoting more than just a business name. We can work with you to give your brand IMPACT, so it stands out from the crowd. We can evolve your brand so it reflects your business in 2015.

Whether you are a business brand or you are maintaining your own personal brand, a good starting tip for ensuring your brand is consistent would be to check your online personal or business profiles to ensure you are presenting yourself professionally and consistently. Your online presence may need to be lifted and updated on sites such as GooglePlus, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even your own website may need some new images to bring it up to date and re-freshing or completely re-writing your content is a good way to make a fresh start for the year. 

  • Maintaining integrity and good manners, even through challenges
  • Making the extra effort to maintain a clean work vehicle or tidy office
  • Taking pride in your talents, skills and team
  • Making time to update your online presence and provide examples of your work
  • Giving more than was asked and going the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction

brand illustration conceptThese some of the qualities that work for you to promote a good reputation. A lot of companies I have done content writing for often tell me their biggest reward is the moment when the client comes home and sees their new driveway, or their window installation, or the new feature wall that has been built. I have been assured by many business owners that a positive reaction from their clients is the best thank you they can receive, and the best motivation to carry on to the next job, and the next.

It’s one thing to do a job for the money, and another job completion for your portfolio. It is quite another to do a job because your enjoy and are good at something, and have a confidence that what you can offer will be a benefit to someone who may be overjoyed with the final result.

I will leave you with an example of one of our customers who comes to mind as an excellent example of Being Your Brand: Diane Watson from Hair Therapy. I mention Diane because when I met her she had the light of enthusiasm in her eyes the whole time she talked with me about her team and the services they offer as medical wig specialists. Diane lives her brand, and I know that she gives 110% to each of her clients because she knows how they FEEL. She knows how they feel because Diane herself was a client for 7 years before buying this business that had already made a positive impact on her life, for the purpose of doing the same for others. Diane IS her brand, through living her own values of care and understanding, and going the extra mile to give her customers a quality product and an experience that makes them feel comfortable and welcome.

Because of the excellent representation of her brand that she advertises through her character and enthusiasm, Diane inspires confidence in her abilities and trust that she really does look after her clients. I have recommended Diane's business to quite a few people without having experienced her services myself. That is the power of Being Your Brand.

A BRAND IS A SET OF VALUES. IT IS A STORY.

A BRAND EVOLVES WITH THE TIMES AND YOU ARE YOUR BRAND.

Posted in Branding

Professional email addresses for business

search engine list on smart phone

If you’re serious about starting or growing your business, you need a professional email address that is attached to your domain.

When someone searches for your email address, you don’t want them to find something like yourname@gmail.com. It looks unprofessional.

Instead, you’ll want to provide them a business email address that is attached to your website’s domain name. For example, if your company’s website is yourbusiness.com, your business email address might be something like one of the following:

  • name@yourbusiness.co.nz

 

  • [first initial][last name]@yourbusines.co.nz

 

  • [first name].[last name]@yourbusiness.co.nz

    email image concept letter with @ symbol

 

Benefits of Having a Business Email Address

As already mentioned, a business email address is a sign of professionalism. In addition to that, a domain-hosted email address can provide a host of other benefits. 

Consistency

If your business has several employees, a consistent email address format is essential.  It establishes trust with customers, vendors, contractors, etc., and makes it easier for them to understand who they’re communicating with.


Imagine a customer has filed a customer service ticket, and they get a response from sportsplayer123@gmail.com claiming to be a customer service agent for your company. 


Instantly, a sense of distrust and unprofessionalism is established. 


Furthermore, if your business has multiple departments with several employees in each, you can create email accounts for entire departments such as contact@yourbusiness.co.nz or service@yourbusiness.com.

Simplicity

Let’s say Nikki owns a business: Mountain Climbing Guided Tours; and her website domain is mountainclimbinguidedtours.co.nz.

Now imagine her email address is nikki@mountainclimbinguidedtours.co.nz.

Pretty long right?

But with domain email hosting, she has complete control over the email address destination. To shorten the address she could simply abbreviate the address to nikki@mountaintours.co.nz or even shorter, nikki@mcgt.co.nz.

Business Systems & Growth

Let’s say you hire a new employee. 


Imagine how much easier it would be for team members to communicate with their new colleague if all email addresses followed the same format, rather than having to learn everyone’s own unique address. 


Not to mention, some software applications & integrations require a business domain email address to use.

Advertise Your Website

Having a business email address is one of the simplest ways to advertise your website. Unless you decide to change the formatting, a business email address is commonly formatted as @yourdomain.co.nz or @yourdomain.com. 

Thus, if you are reaching out to potential customers or vendors, having your domain name present in the email address will make it that much easier for them to locate your website online. 

Changing Providers

Let’s say you begin your email hosting services with Google. But suddenly, you’re unhappy with the service, costs, etc. 

If you decide to change email hosting providers, you can still maintain the same company email addresses. 

But if you decide to change providers with an email such as yourbusiness@gmail.com, you’ll have to change your email address. This might require you to update customers & vendors of your new address, and spend time updating subscriptions or other business-related items with your new address. It’s simply a hassle.

Email & Technical support, Dedicated Email Hosting, and Peace of Mind 

Here at Activate Design, we can host your professional domain email address on our secure, New Zealand-based server. 

If you have a website hosted with us, then email hosting using the same domain becomes complimentary. How easy is that? 

Keep your website, emails and domain management all in one place and we have friendly, knowledgeable staff here to help with setup, queries, ongoing support and assistance to ensure your brand is supported by secure, professional hosting services.

We offer excellent support, providing assistance with email setups for a variety of email clients, including outlook, mac mail, webmail and more.

Our support site also has guides on troubleshooting and how to use our website content management system, with which you can update your own website content and images independently.

Visit our ActiveHost Support Site for more information on website hosting and costs, to contact us for assistance, or if you’re an existing customer you can log in to view and pay your hosting invoices, renew your domain names with credit card or internet banking, send support tickets for your website, and order new hosting or domain services.

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