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BoomerBizTips November 20, 2013 - The Impact of Graphic Design on Your Business
November 20, 2013
It's been a bit hectic here lately. First, a long awaited and much needed vacation with my husband, Dearl. Then after a bit of rest and relaxation, focus on getting my online stores ready for the holiday shopping season. My very first venture into business was opening a CafePress shop. It started as more of a joke than an actual business. But it quickly started to make money and so I became serious about it. Today I have 5 different shops, each with their own unique focus. I have no artistic talent at all, but I do love to come up with the ideas for designs. Then I turn it over to my talented graphic artist, Terri, also known as PopArtDiva. She is the one who brings my ideas to life.
Terri is an expert on graphic design. And she loves sharing her knowledge with others. So in this newsletter, she has written a piece on the importance of good graphic design for your business. I hope you read her article with care and take notes! If your website or blog needs a bit of pop, PopArtDiva will show you how.
Also this week, how to find your own e-book ideas. E-books are quick and easy ways to make money.
And we will talk about the next step in building your brand. You've set up a blog. You're writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Time for the next step.
Lots of info in this issue and lots of action items for you.
The Impact of Good Graphic Design on Your Businessby Terri aka PopArtDiva aka The Martini Diva
"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress. Dress impeccably and they remember the woman." ~ Coco Chanel
You might be wondering what a quote about fashion is doing on a post about graphic branding and logo design, but this quote speaks appropriately to the visual impression your graphic design leaves on a client. While it may be unfortunate that we are judged by our appearance, it is a fact of life. The attractive is always more appealing to humanity and, fair or not, we treat the less attractive with discrimination.
This can be said for your branding graphics as well as for physical beauty. While superior graphics may not boost your bottom line, it is a fact that messy, badly designed, amateur "shabby" graphics will leave your clients with a negative impression of your business.
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
What makes a good logo? Well, that would depend on who is being asked. Graphics, just like any other art form, are a subjective experience in many ways. What one person likes, another may not.
In creating graphics for your business, "like" is not as important as "effective" and your visuals must be effective! There's no way to tell you what will or will not work for your business brand, however, there are some basics to consider:
1. THE LOGO DESIGN: Clean, crisp design lends itself to readability and multi-tasking. Your logo will be used for everything from a tiny little quarter inch avatar on social media to, possibly, use on clothing, stationery, signage, bill boards and maybe even a jumbotron! Create a busy, cramped logo with delicate lines and it won't be readable at all the sizes you may eventually require. When developing your logo, view all design options in a multitude of sizes for readability and impact.
It's not important that your logo contain an image of your product or service, it does not need any representative image at all. It's more important that your logo be clean and simple enough to be memorable and recognizable!
Get an original logo designed exclusively for you by a professional. You may be tempted to use some cheap clip art when creating your business logo to save start up costs. Don't. Not only could your design be used by many others who might then impart a negative impact to that design by bad business practices or products, but these are too generic for an effective logo. Additionally, on the technical side, these are not available to you in high resolution or all the formats and sizes you will need. BUT, the most important reason for an original logo design is this: Without a unique logo designed by a professional for your business alone you are throwing away your "memorability" and your chance to be recognized by one simple image!
You are not going to save money, in the long run you are going to be spending a whole lot more! Yes, you must build your brand before that image becomes completely associated with you and you alone, but you are going to build your brand anyway so why waste all that work on a sub-par logo design? Then, when you finally feel you can "invest" in a professional, unique, memorable logo, you will have to expend a lot of time (and money as you reprint every business card, sign, letterhead, envelope, shirt, whatever) imprinting your new design on your brand! A logo and graphics theme is an investment every smart business includes in their start up costs. Hire a professional. No, your next door neighbor's high school art student child is not a branding professional anymore than that clip art site is.
2. YOUR GRAPHICS IMAGERY: Your graphics theme includes background colors, headings, fonts, logo on headers and mastheads, layout style and other elements of all the media you will be participating in. This includes the web, business stationery, signage, media and more. You want your overall graphic style to be representative of the type of business you are building as well as the personality (image, brand) you want your business to project. If you're selling hunting boots to manly men it's probably not wise to choose a logo featuring a delicate flower and a theme featuring the color pink and a script style font. Let's face it, "delicate", and "flower" do not in any way relate to hunting, not does the color pink conjure up the hunting experience! If you happen to be a floral arranger then you're might* be good to go. Bright, colors and informal graphics would be the death of a funeral home (pardon my pun) but they would be ideal for a children's party entertainer.
When developing your overall business graphics imagery and visuals, think about what your business is, what your products are or will be, who your target market is and how your company is going to "present" itself in those terms. Businesses have a personality just like individuals do and this personality is a big part of your brand. Make sure you define your brand before you commit to designing a logo and a visual graphic theme for your company.
3. THE COLORS: Humans relate colors to feelings, memories and attitudes. There's a reason why IBM and many other mega-corporations use the color blue, the right shades of blue inspire the emotion of trust, as in "true blue". Other colors carry their own power as well, red often denotes energy or power, green is associated with Spring and money (and now, thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign - conservation!), pink is linked to young females and love; the list goes on. Color has impact and it is powerful, both for good and bad. Blue can generate feelings of trust, but using blue in something related to food could backfire on that intent! Selling a male-targeted malt liquor with pink colors could just get your poor malt liquor consigned to the "girly drink" grave. Spend some time researching color and its meanings, especially where it pertains to your business and pick your color(s) wisely.
Additionally, in this day and age of digital printing and the web it is less expensive to print in four color process, BUT you might be using your logo/graphics for alternate printing methods which do not support full color or are cost prohibitive for multiple colors. Your logo should support both a colored version and a black and white version if at all possible. When I design a logo I design it in black against a white background. If the design is strong and holds up then I proceed to the color stage.
4. THE FONTS: You have to consider not only the graphic itself but the fonts you choose for your visual graphics. Fonts carry their own unique personalities and challenges. Be aware of the "personality" of the font you choose and be mindful of how that font will reproduce in various sizes and formats.
5. PLAN FORWARD: You may have noticed that many very old, much respected brands have changed their logos in the recent past. This is because the graphics "dated" their products and business. It's very possible that the new age of digital media and social media had a large impact on these decisions as well; these types of media weren't even a twinkle in the eye of advertisers/marketers back in the day. Businesses that want to stay alive have to change with society and technology and their graphics need to change right alongside.
Another thing to keep in mind is where your business might grow in the future. You might be selling widgets now, but think about how your product line, business emphasis and personal goals could grow and change over the years. Yes, it's hard to see into the future and know where and how you might be using your logo and graphic design but try to be aware that your logo may have to be re-designed at some point and create one that gives you room for change without loss of your "recognizability".
These are just some of the things to consider when developing your overall business graphics theme plan. In today's world of rapidly changing media and promotion, the one thing you can hold onto is good design; it is always at the back of every successful marketing campaign and branding strategy. A good logo is simple, appropriate to the business, memorable, versatile and as timeless as you can make it. A good visual branding strategy takes into account visual aesthetics, readability, creativity and, yes, a little bit of showmanship.
There are always exceptions to every rule and sometimes being a maverick and stepping outside the box can work for you, (no one would ever think "lizard" when buying insurance but that gecko sticks in your mind), but you need to keep the basic tenants of good design, and effectiveness in mind.
"I don't do fashion, I am fashion." ~ Coco Chanel
Remember, YOUR LOGO IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION on a client, as you personally dress for success make sure your business is appropriately attired as well in good design and memorable graphics! Go forth and dazzle them!
* I say "might" here because not every flower arranger has a delicate, feminine style. Some floral arrangements can be bold, jewel toned and even masculine!
PopArtDiva is a Martini Loving Normal Challenged Artist with Multiple Creativity Disorder and Chief Cook & Cocktail Shaker of TheMartiniDiva.Com. She is addicted to Designer Martinis, Designer Shoes & Designer Chocolate. . not necessarily in that order. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter The Martini Diva PopArtDiva
How to Find Your Own E-book IdeasYou - yes you - can write an e-book! No degree is required. You don't have to be an already published author. All it takes is an idea and the desire to add "author" to your list of accomplishments. While the technical side of publishing an e-book is not difficult, finding an original idea may be a bit harder. But this is the first and most important step. The idea for your book is where it all starts. Typically, you want to focus on serving your niche market, the same people you target with your business. You want to provide information that they will find invaluable and worth paying for. You don't want to spend hours researching and writing something that no one is interested in buying. Here are some basic guidelines you can use to find an e-book topic:
•What problems are my customers experiencing right now? •What is popular or hot in my area of business right now? •Am I underserving a niche market? •What are the best sellers in my genre at book stores? •What types of headlines and articles do magazines promote? •What are people searching for on my website? •What can I provide in-depth information on? •Which of my blog posts are getting the most traffic?
Once you have an idea, do a search to see what type and how much information is available. Then - ready, set, WRITE!
Branding - Step 3.
Blog created - check. Articles (2 per week) written and submitted to an article directory - check.
Step 3 - start your social media campaign. Social media is an easy and free way to drive traffic to your sites, gain exposure, and build a following.
The big 3 of social media right now are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you aren't active on each of these, you need to be. So create an account on each of them. Then look for people you already have a relationship with and follow or friend them. They should reciprocate. Now you simply need to interact. Post on each of these sites several times a day. Post links to your blog. Retweet or share posts of people you follow. Share information your followers might find interesting. Above all, do not turn your social media site into an neverending sales pitch. The key word is social media is SOCIAL. So while you are promoting yourself, take time to interact with others by commenting, retweeting, sharing, and liking. This will help build relationships which is what social media is all about.
Don't forget to let me know when you are ready and I will follow, friend, and link to you. Find me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook and connect with me on LinkedIn Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon! Please let me know if you found this issue helpful.
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