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The way your brand looks is worth a thousand words. Why your brand identity impression is important.

Imagine you are about to step into an important meeting with a client who can make or break your day. You know exactly what outfit you would wear to give off the most professional impression possible right? Have you considered that the client you are about to meet may already have an impression from you by your brand identity? Specifically, your logo and website are usually the first representations of what you have to offer. The way your brand looks is worth a thousand words, which is why you want to make sure its the right words.

There are many guides and ways to make sure your identity reflects organization, success, and uniqueness over your competitors. First and foremost, does your logo represent your goals?

The DONT’s

Here are some red flags that could possibly hinder your logo from being the best that it can be.

  1. There are too many fonts or it is hard to read.
  2. Everyone uses imagery similar to yours making it cliche.
  3. It requires color or special effects.
  4. It has a raster image.
  5. It is difficult to understand and remember.

BadandGood-LOGO

The DO’s

Instead, strengthened logos will usually have qualities like these

  1. It is simple, which means it is easy to understand and read. This also allows it to be on a variety of media, such as a sky high billboard or a tiny postage stamp.
  2. It is unique with original thought. Uniqueness demands more attention and recognition than a run of the mill stock image that people may have seen before time and time again.
  3. It can be displayed in black and white. A reason it is beneficial to use minimal effects is because people viewing your logo in different ways can impact the quality of it. For example, if it was faxed and printed on a black and white printer, it could lose a lot of the design.
  4. The style suits the company.
  5. It is well balanced.

When your logo is strong, your website and any other medium you choose to utilize should follow its example. In turn, others have the opportunity to perceive you as the strong and prepared individual you are before you even speak.

Do you have any examples of some great identities that leave a lasting impression?

Creating relevancy and social media exposure is crucial to increase traffic to your website.

When it comes to business, as much exposure as possible is always a part of the advertising plan.

Facebook

With a goal of exposure, Facebook is a great opportunity to increase traffic to your website and increase sales. Why not use a media that has over one billion users in which over half of them use EVERY day. Why not use a media that is on three out of every four smartphones with an average of an 89% online exposure rate as opposed to other online advertising that usually averages at 38%. Big or small, old or new, companies should consider utilizing a Facebook page for advertising their business.

Facebook gains brand awareness, ultimately increasing attention to that company through likes, shares, and followers. Small businesses have gained the most benefit from Facebook because they are able to reach the smaller ranges of people they need, especially locally. When businesses have gained a large following or fan base, it increases the perception of the business size. In addition, it earns newcomers professionalism and trust more quickly. When potential customers see that their friends like it, they are more inclined to have a good feeling about it too.

Online strategist, Freddie Jansson has said,

“A large part of companies’ potential customers are there. Therefore, in my opinion, all companies should have a Facebook page where they can interact with their customers … No other advertising channel, at least where you can communicate, can compete with those numbers.”

Twitter

Large and local businesses alike can benefit from the free marketing and public relations of a Twitter account as well. One basic benefit of Twitter is the access to knowledge of what leaders in specific industries are doing. By following them, they can give great ideas for growth. It is also useful to have the ability to see if anyone has mentioned your business or competition. Reporters, bloggers, and social media gurus tend to use twitter more frequently than other networks. Also, a twitter profile increases visibility. Including a link to a website or splash page on the profile is even more beneficial.

Instagram & Pinterest

These two social networks may be tailored to more specific target audiences. That could be a good thing for business. Instagram is dominated by the younger population ranging from 18-34. Businesses such as Nike and individuals such as James Franco have successfully utilized Instagram to promote themselves. Nike relates themselves to sports and has created a username with each major sport for users to follow their preferred choice. James Franco regularly posts about upcoming projects, books, plays, and movies which allows interested users to comment and like. Aside from following others, the best way to gain a recognition on Instagram is by creating hashtags. Hashtags can lead users to your page where you can reach out.

If your business is mainly targeted toward females and involves selling products, then Pinterest may be for you. Many potential customers use Pinterest to gain inspiration for their next buys. They spend longer amounts of time on the site or app than other medias, which can lead to sales. The most popular categories searched on Pinterest are Food and Drink, DIY and Crafts, and Home Decor. So, if your business relates to these topics at all, considering Pinterest could be a wise decision. Both of these medias can allow businesses to be more personal and engaging as long as they are reaching out to the right target audience.

Google Plus & Google Local Listings

A Google Plus can spotlight you when consumers search for keywords on their computer, smartphone, or any other mobile device. Most people search for local businesses online weather it is through Search, Maps, or Google+. This also allows customers to rate, review, endorse, and share your businesses products or services with others. Many people rely heavily on testimonials, so any amount of those is always helpful.

Posting regularly and letting users know what is going on can increase website traffic and online sales. However, posting too frequently or too sporadically can leave a negative impression on followers and users. Maintaining a timed rhythm of posting is key. This allows better management of responses to comments. Being able to directly interact with customers is a major advantage. Every business should take advantage for the chance of exposure every day.

Do you use social media for your business? Do you feel any financial impact?

Evaluate your logo and learn what it takes to freshen up an old logo.

In the marketing world, staying in touch and keeping up with the times is important. Knowing how to recognize the trends can give your brand a competitive advantage if utilized. No business or brand wants customers to regard them as outdated or old. This is why it is important to take a good look at your logo once in a while. Your logo is the face of your brand, the first impression, and it has a lasting impact on the perception of your business. As trends and tastes change, so will the perception of your logo.

Freshenup-Evolution

Many successful businesses have updated their logos to keep a compelling edge. Companies such as American Airlines, Walmart, Taco Bell, Facebook, Petco, Arbies, Pepsi, Apple, Shell, Volkswagon and Starbucks have all made benefiting changes to their brands, but kept a recognizable consistency along the way. Taking a note from these recently freshened companies, 3D effects and embossing are out and flat vector is in. One reason stated by marketers is because it simply looks just as vivid on an app as it does on a physical piece of paper. So how do you know when its time for you to update your logo?

Ask yourself a few questions first.

  1. Does it look outdated?
  2. Does it represent the progress of your business?
  3. Is it still relevant to your new goals?

If you do decide to refresh your look, keep some important considerations in mind.

  1. Make sure your changes are relevant. It is important that your logo still maintains and reflects the purpose of your organization.
  2. Don’t sacrifice your recognition. Unless you are completely unhappy with your logo, don’t start from scratch. Maybe it just needs a few smoother edges.
  3. Simplify rather than over complicate. Resist the urge to relate every single aspect of your story into your logo. Remember it is a symbol and a representation.
  4. Test it and ask others’ opinions because you are biased to your own brand. The best opinions come from strangers because they will have a genuine first impression.

A good guide to live by in the ever-changing advertising world is to evaluate your logo every five years or so. Everyone has to freshen up once in a while!

What are some more companies that have successfully freshened-up their logo?

Here at Creativetopia, our approach to web design and branding is a little bit different than other folks you might come across. We’re not a monstrous company, and we don’t design something and then simply send you on your way with it. Even if you just glance at our homepage, you can get a sense for our stylistic process:

We design, we create experiences, and we connect everyone.

Part of our process is based around hands on customer service: we work to communicate with our clients in a way that is understandable and palatable. We know that not everyone understands talking in Javascript and CSS terminology, and we want to make sure everyone we work with knows exactly what’s going on.

We love to make things pretty, and we work with a small but dedicated team of illustrators, designers, and writers, all of whom come together to make something beautiful for your brand. We like to work from scratch, but really we just want to do whatever it is that you want us to do. If you have an idea, our team will sit down to flesh it out to make sure it comes to fruition. If you’re struggling with an idea, we are also pretty good at coming up with those all on our own.

After we figure out exactly what it is you want and where your brand wants to go, our designers and illustrators sit down to make it look beautiful. Then, we create the content to go along with it. We’re here to make your brand recognizable and gorgeous; all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Here is a collection of great design quotes that will inspire and encourage the kind of mark great design can imprint on a brand. Enjoy!

“People ignore design that ignores people.” –Frank Chimero

“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.” –Brian Reed

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” –Joe Soprano

“The most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking wrong.” –Marty Neumeier

“Design is intelligence made visible.” –Alina Wheeler

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” –Jeffrey Zeldman

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

“You can design and create, and built the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” –Walt Disney

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“The urge for good design is the same as the urge to go on living.” –Harry Bertoia

“Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.” –Louis Kahn

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” –Paul Rand

“ Good design is good business.” –Thomas J. Watson

“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” – Charles Eames

“Perhaps believing in good design is like believing in God; it makes you an optimist.” -Terence

Just like in any sector of industry, finding a community to be involved with can typically only help your cause. It surrounds you with likeminded individuals, increases your business network, and can help you continuously come across inspiration and ideas.

With the design community, this idea is no different, and in fact, it’s probably equally as important. Web design in particular can be a very isolated and solitary profession; sometimes, it’s just you and your computer all day, every day.

An easy way to get involved in the design community is to find a handful of design blogs that you love and start following them; comment on them, share them, and maybe even start your own. It still may be only a little online community, but it serves to connect you with people who are sharing in what you love.

Another great way to get involved is to participate in a forum or a conference. Now more than ever, there are media conferences popping up all over the country, and it’s not just authors and newspaper CEOs that are speaking and sitting on panels these days. Scope out what might be coming to your town— maybe it’s a digital media summit or a TedX conference, and see if you can offer your expertise in any way. It’s a great way to meet people and to get your face and brand out there.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable getting up and talking in front of people, getting involved in the design community can still be fun. You can always hang in the background and soak up the atmosphere. No matter what, there are little things you can do right away to get yourself involved in the design community.

Striving for consistency sounds a little cliché these days, doesn’t it? Of course, we all want to strive for consistency depending on what we do. But, with design and development here at Creativetopia, consistency is key.

Consistency is the difference between a website that looks beautiful and a website that churns out a Javascript error. It’s the difference between a logo that is recognizable by the entire world and a logo that confuses its viewers. Essentially, consistency is the difference between good and great.

One of the main reasons consistency is so important is because of the user. While the developer may not care about consistency on the backend, the user does. The user needs to (and wants to) know what is going to happen each time he clicks a link or adds something to his shopping cart or scrolls down to read another story. A lack of consistency for a user creates frustration and ultimately drives users away.

Another aspect of consistency simply comes down to the layout and function of your site. Like it or not, there is a generalized way that people view the web now, and websites need to have an intuitive layout to them—or people will leave. And, the function of your site needs to be consistent not only within your brand but within the web design field in general. If a user clicks a link and a smiling monkey pops out waving instead of taking the user to the page he clicked on, he’s not going to be happy. That’s because links need to consistently go to the pages they are directed.

Even if it seems trite, consistency day in and day out is key.

A “responsive website” —or, “responsive web design”— is simply a website the responds correctly when accessed on a mobile device like a phone or an iPad.

Why is this so important? Well, first, let’s simply look at the numbers. According to Mashable, 17.4% of all global web traffic comes from mobile devices. So, that means that nearly one fifth of all traffic coming to your site is on a phone or some other mobile device. This number has increased dramatically over the course of the past several years and is important for designers to remember: if your site doesn’t respond well on a mobile device, you’re probably going to lose 17.4% of your web traffic.

Now that we understand the numbers, let’s think about a couple of key aspects to a responsive website. The first is probably adjustable screen resolutions. Not everyone is accessing the web with an iPhone, and different devices are popping up nearly every day with different sized screens. So, websites need to be designed to adapt to this trend.

Another key aspect is the idea of flexible images: if your homepage has a landscape image, it’s going to need to be just as brilliant and clear on somebody’s Android, too. The Filament Group has a great “responsive images” test that works to make images flexible for any device.

Some other things to think about with responsive websites is touchscreens vs. cursors—some people are going to be clicking on links with their thumbs and others with a mouse. The importance of a responsive website increases day to day. Everything has to be flexible with responsive websites, and there’s no better time to start increasing flexibility than now.

Read our 2016 updated article on: 

The Mobile Revolution: Increasing the Responsiveness of your Website

It’s easy to think of design as a fleeting visual imprint on our brains — we see something beautiful and intricate and next thing we know, it is gone. Well, Michelle Obama doesn’t think so. Earlier this summer, FLOTUS delivered a national design award to Paula Scher and then quoted one of the most influential designers today in her own speech. Not too bad, right?

Scher is just one of a long list of many influential designers, but her accolade from The White House draws attention to a growing influence that designers (and their designs) have. Other notable influencers are Stefan Sagmeister ( who has designed album covers for everyone from The Rolling Stones to OK GO — and he’s won Grammys for his work). There’s also David Carson, who is known for his innovative magazine design and extensive work on high profile brands. Another influential designer who is still around? The guy responsible for the “I <3 NY” design: Milton Glaser. He’s also done the bullet logo for DC Comics, the Brooklyn Brewery logo, and he helped found New York Magazine. The last designer to crack the top five of the 50 most influential designers list is Paul Sahre, who is best known for his illustrations in The New York Times, his invention of the typeface Fur, and his book designs for authors like Ernest Hemingway and Chuck Klosterman.

Michelle Obama’s opinion on the most influential designers today is probably the best way to say it:

“So these designers aren’t just making a fleeting, momentary impact on our lives when we happen to glimpse their work. Instead, they’re leaving a lasting impression on our hearts, in our minds, and in the way we see the world. They’re inviting us to push our boundaries, to stretch our imaginations. And they’re showing us that it’s okay to have a little fun, too.”

There’s a phrase floating around these days you may have heard: “Print is dead.” And while the print industry is certainly not at the peak it once was — it is, by no means, dead. In fact, in a lot of ways, the print world is experiencing a resurgence; it just looks a little bit different. Vinyl pressings of records are skyrocketing (digital downloads practically seem like a thing of the past in comparison) and 3D printing is about to take over the world.

So, when it comes to graphic design in print, how do designers, advertisers, etc. find their place?

While digital marketing provides something instant, print advertising still provides something that lasts. The Internet may never disappear, but the banner ad posted on a website for one day will. Many companies find that combining digital and print campaigns is the best way to reach the largest market.

The key to working print advertising is making sure it complements the digital campaign—all it takes is one click to delete a marketing email in your inbox, but a direct mail campaign or print spread in a magazine might catch your eye longer than it takes to click delete. Also, here’s an interesting statistic: in 2012, a firm called Two Sides surveyed 18-24 year olds and found that over two thirds of them preferred print rather than reading off the screen. Simply, one of the main reasons why print is still important is that it can reach a more targeted audience longer. Combine that with the range of digital advertising, and you can have the best of both worlds!