Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shop Diagnostics: Submarine Parade

Shop Diagnostics is a series where we share tips coming from creative entrepreneurs who can run shops in light of adjustments brought on by military life YET APPLICABLE to all those interested in improving their shop's presence online and worldwide.

This  2 part series is given by Rebecca Litton of Submarine Parade

Branding [n] -  The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
To successfully brand your business, you don’ t need a team of top designers and a New York ad agency.  You just need to remember a few rules.
  1. Know your audience
  2. Be Unique
  3. Be Consistent
So what does design have to do with branding?  Design is, at its core, visual communications.  Everything your potential customers see concerning your business, from flyers to websites to hangtags, conveys a message about your business and your product.
The first thing most people think of when they think of corporate design is logo creation.  The look and feel of a logo is key to creating a good solid business identity, but it goes much further than that.  Think about the reigning king of corporate identity, Apple.   They don’t even have the name of their company on their stores, just a shape of an apple…. THE apple.  But, think about the rest of the store front.  If they took the apple down, you would probably still recognize the sleek metal and glass facade.  Everything they make, from packaging to usb cords is sleek, simple, happy tech and so very apple.
The design aspect of branding  your business encompasses things like your logo, business cards, letterhead, catalogs, ads, websites, web banners, packaging, tags, flyers, social media avatars and even your email signature.

 1. Know Your Audience
This first rule applies to all aspects of building a business, and is especially true when finding the right visual qualities to represent your company or product.  Are you targeting upper class middle aged women?  Perhaps you have your eye on tech savy pre-teens or maybe young, work at home moms?
Knowing your audience and your product helps you make the big design decisions.  For example, you would not choose a pink calligraphy font when marketing to men aged 25-35 and you would not use a heavy metal font when marketing ruffle covered little girl’s clothing.
Choose colors that both appeal to your audience and speak to your product or service. Here are some common sense suggestions.  Keep in mind that the sky is the limit and the little list below is just a starting point.
Color suggestions
Mom gear, baby products
Pastels, ballet pink, baby blue, spring green, yellow, lavender. Keep dark colors like black as accent colors only.
Clothing, accessories
Bright, hip colors.  What’s in season this year?
Products or services
Keep it masculine with greens, blues, reds and browns.  Stay away from pink, purple and yellow
Products or services
Edgy. Go bright or bold or both.  Stay away from grey, brown and beige
Babies and Kids (Moms are your real audience)
Toys, clothing, services, etc.
Primary colors, pastels, bright and happy.  Stay away from black, beige, etc.

2. Be Unique

Don’t be intimidated by this rule, you can keep it simple and still stand out.  The most important part of this rule is to take a look at what is out there already and make sure your take is just a little bit different.  That said, this is not a fine art project. Be original without being unfamiliar.  There is a line out there, if you cross it you will cease to be edgy and start to be just plain weird, or worse, confusing and ambiguous.
Look at your choice of font for your logo.  Do you see the exact same font on Chinese food menus, banners at the grocery store and twelve other businesses just like yours?  Then you may want to choose something else or move towards a more classic font.  When you type in “free rose clip art” into google, does your rose logo appear as the fist five options?  Then you might want to look around for another graphic (or better yet, hire an artist, or even an aspiring one, to help you out).

 3. Be Consistent
Just like parenting, branding your business takes consistency.  If your business card has blue flowers and bold fonts and your website has script fonts and a bright yellow color pallet, you might think about redesigning them to match.  The idea is for all of your visual material, print and digital, to be instantly recognizable as your company.  Repeating font, color and images is key.
A Note About Copyrighted Images: I need to stop here and mention copyrights.  When searching for graphics to include in your design, especially something as visible as your logo, you need to be sure that the image you use is not copyright protected.  Currently, you can swipe any image off the web that you like, but using most of them to promote your business is illegal.  My first suggestion is that you have a unique logo created for you, that way the copyright is yours and only yours.  If that is not an option for you and you need a graphic image to incorporate I suggest looking at a stock photography and stock illustration site such as iStock Photo.  For between $20 and $50 you may purchase a stock image for use in marketing.
  1. Get inspired.  Browse the internet, magazines, see what others are doing and make it your own.
  2. Simple is better.  Keep it clean and to the point.  Your logo doesn’t have to convey EVERYTHING about your business.  It just has to be the tip of the iceberg.
  3. No imagery is better than bad imagery.  Be selective about what you include.  If you can help it, only show images that showcase your product or service in the best light.

THANK YOU SO MUCH Rebecca for sharing this info.  Part 2 of this series will post on Friday May 27, 2011
If you are interested in being featured on this blog, Contact us via the Contact tab at the top of the blog.

Rebecca Litton

1 comment:

Sara Rubendall Design Studio said...

What a great write-up, thank you for all of the tips!