Great Design = Sales

Using great design to increase sales

Most people who are attempting to sell items online think about their copy first, which is completely understandable, since content is king. However, every king has a queen, and for marketing purposes the queen is design! Copy will only get you results if people are actually stopping to read the content. Website design and great design are essential because they are the first things that people notice about your website, and if they are not attractive people will simply browse on. Think of your design as the physical shop-front of your business; in the same way that you wouldn’t want your shop window to look unkempt, you don’t want to leave your website unattended.

Judging by Appearance

Sometimes your graphics may even play a role in a customer’s decision to make a purchase. People judge the authenticity and trustworthiness of an online store by the website’s appearance. If they have great graphic designs and a great layout, they feel confident that the claims they make about products or services are reliable. However, if the website is clunky and hard to navigate, or features a poor or unattractive design, they will feel that the products are likely to be of poor quality. Therefore, it is vital you use your design to give them a positive feeling about what you have to offer.

The primary function of powerful web design and graphic design is to get your website noticed by browsers. If your graphics are flashy, too jarring, or just awkward, people will probably click onto another option. However, subtle and soothing, or attractively eye-catching are both safe things to strive for. Their second function is to help guide a visitor through the process in the way that you want. The goal should be to blend the images with the text so that people are visually directed to the heart of your site, and this is where you can grab their business.

Finally, you want to make sure that your graphics lead your visitors straight to the order button so that, when they are ready to buy, you make it possible for them to check out easily. Most buyers will change their mind about a spontaneous buy if given time to think about it; therefore, you need to make it simple for them to check out. By creating a graphic that sticks out or explains what to do visually, you will make it easy for customers to buy, and will be able to watch your sales go up in very little time!

Graphic designs and your digital marketing campaigns

Graphic designs and your digital marketing campaigns

Most people recognise that digital marketing involves a lot of visual media, but they do not always appreciate that there is more to choosing graphic designs then simply picking out an image. While this may be what you see as the end result, there is actually a lot of thought and even science that goes into a professional’s choice of the right graphics for a business. Even more captivating might be the simple fact that this careful thought often results in a much higher brand visibility, and thus higher sales. If you like the idea of that, here are a few things that you need to know before launching your next digital marketing campaign.

Two Big Questions

The two major things that any digital marketing design team will consider when they are looking at launching a new campaign, are whether or not your design properly reflects the values of your brand, and if it is engaging your audience. If both of these questions can be answered with a yes then you are already on your way towards an effective campaign; however, if the answer to either is no, then it is time to rethink your graphic design before you move any further forward.

When building a digital marketing campaign that utilises graphic design effectively, you also need to keep in mind that there are many technical skills required to build an online website or e-commerce site. Even if you have great graphics already, it can be hard to translate them into the digital world. If you want to make use of other interactive features, embedded videos, or animations, you will need to keep this in mind as well. Therefore, it is worth it in some situations to pay an outside contractor to get the high-end graphics that support your overall goal, instead of settling for something not quite right that will compromise your otherwise solid digital marketing plans.

Finally, you need to consider how your visuals combine with your content to make the email marketing aspect of your campaign effective. Email can be a great way to encourage repeat sales, but only if you manage to keep your emails out of people’s spam folders! You can do this by creating emails that are captivating and attractively created so that users want to open them up. The more you present users with fun emails, the more they will look forward to opening them, which will mean more profit for you in the long run.

Designing a great logo

Designing a great logo

What Makes a Good Logo?

Creating a logo can be a tedious task for a business. Everyone wants a logo that pops out and is instantly recognisable, but creating that logo is not such an easy task. A logo represents your business in one quick glance, so you want to make sure that you think carefully about what you choose to convey to your customers in that moment. There are a few guidelines that you should follow when designing a logo, to help make sure that it will be an effective way to brand your company. Here are just a few things that you should keep in mind.

First of all, a logo has to be eye catching. If it is too quiet it will fail to capture anyone’s attention, and you’ll be missing the entire objective of a logo. Make sure to use a clear font that can be read easily from a distance, and an attractive colour scheme that will help people instantly recognise it.

Keep It Simple

To follow this up you need to make sure that your logo is memorable. The expression should be simple and the message obvious, so that your customers remember your logo and your products. Simple really is the key to any good logo because they should appeal to everyone. Customers should not have to think about your logo in order to understand it. Logos that are overcrowded divert attention and usually end up frustrating people.

Next, you need to make a flexible logo that will look just as good on a letterhead as it will across the top of a store wrapper. Logos are used in a variety of branding formats so you want one that can be adjusted to new backgrounds, spaces, and of course sizes, without ruining the intent. An overly crowded logo cannot be shrunk, spoiling its effectiveness on many promotional items, so simple is best.

At this point you need to think about the graphic design features of your logos. Choose colours that represent your business and the emotional connection you want people to make with it. A more serious business may choose darker colours, whereas a business trying to build a young and hip audience may want to go for bright colours. Keep the fonts simple so that they do not become hard to deal with when changing sizes. As a general rule, remember that if the logo doesn’t look good in black and white, it will not look good in any other colours.

The Importance of Small Business Branding

As a small business, how do you stand out from your competitors? You know you need to, but every other company like yours is also trying to stand out.

Customer Perceptions

Regardless of the size of your business, branding is so important that you can never just leave it to chance. It is just as important as product development – get it wrong and your product will never sell or your service will never be used.

Your customers brains are overloaded with new information every day. Done right, your branding will find a way of cutting through the clutter.

Just think about the visual and auditory information that is assaulting their senses on any given city street, television channel or website. Every aspect of your customers’ lives is like this. In all this ever-changing mental clutter a consistent company brand image is essential to any company’s survival in the 21st Century.

Your company branding should tell people who you are, what you do and why you do it. It should indicate your market positioning and your unique selling points.

A customer should be able to see consistency across every channel they use to communicate with you, so should include every aspect of your business, including lighting, colors, ease of access and staff attitudes as well as the more obvious logo and name. Even the smell of your office or storefront is part of your brand.

Brand Power

Let your brand do the pre-selling for you. This is how Apple manages to sell so many devices. People are buying the brand. Many buyers do not care if the product will last beyond the guarantee period, they must have it because the brand is part of the image.

The reason people buy Kelloggs’ cereals is because the company’s marketing has focused on natural and sunshine. Both are powerful images today.

People buy Toyota cars for their reliability and Volvos for their great safety record.

It takes time to establish your brand’s unique selling point, but once established it will enable selling to your target customers a breeze. They will have decided to buy your product before ever contacting you about the details. This is the power of pre-selling.

Unique Selling Point

You need to develop a unique selling point (USP), a reason for people to buy from your company. This guide from Entrepreneur includes some excellent examples that every business owner should read.

There are thousands of companies very similar to yours, and you are competing with everyone of them around the globe for every single customer. Even the person that is standing outside your physical premises has in their pocket an instant connection to the Internet and every business that is online from all over the world.

Why should they buy from you? You must give them a reason to do so or they will buy elsewhere.

Your branding and USP are your tools. They are the only reasons they will take out their wallet in your store or on your website today.

Ideally they will be aware of your branding before they’re standing outside your store or viewing your website, but even if this is not the case, your branding can still win you the sale. If your branding is welcoming, with great customer service then they will likely complete a sale. They’re also more likely to come back for future purchases and to recommend your company to friends and contacts.

Customer Loyalty

If your customers were just half as loyal as Apple customers then your business would be a run-away success story. Yes, Apple makes great products, but they do have imperfections. Their customers are so forgiving because of the loyalty they feel towards the brand. They overlook the imperfections and high prices because they need the brand more than they need the product, so they are prepared to pay a hefty premium.

When it comes to cars many buyers will look for the same manufacturer every time. Ford, Mercedes and Kia owners stand out as the most satisfied repeat-purchasers. These companies all have a single brand strategy. When customers’ needs change they replace one car with another from the same range because they identify with the brand.

Making sure customers come back should be a top priority for every business. They have made one purchase and if they are happy they are likely to become repeat customers. It’s your job to make sure they are happy.

Emotional Engagement

Only 20% of reasons behind buying decisions are logical, the other 80% are emotional. If your company’s branding gives the right emotional signals then people will buy. This gets you out of the suicidal ‘race to the bottom’ where the lowest price is the main USP.

Emotional signals come from happy staff, correct lighting, well-chosen color schemes, ample parking and inviting websites. They come from a well-maintained store exterior, personal contact with the business owner through email, appropriate temperatures, from seeing your company associated with charity events and how easy your mobile app is to use. Everything.

In Conclusion

Large companies that have to account for every cent to their shareholders have huge budgets for branding. The shareholders accept this fact because they know how important branding is to the long-term success of any business.

Branding is the only way to make your company stand out. The image your company has, its brand, is your main route to emotional engagement with prospective customers and success.

How have you set your company apart from the competition? What have you done to ensure your own branding has a positive impact on consumers? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Select the perfect printer for your perfect design

Your beautiful print project is ready.

You can’t wait to see it in print.

But who do you trust with your masterpiece? Which print shop is the “right one” for your project? Is it:

  • The local guys?
  • VistaPrint? (or something similar)
  • A national or international printer?
  • A print shop specializing in your specific project?
  • The cheapest price you can find?
  • A print shop you can build a long-term relationship with?

Use these tips to select a print shop that aligns perfectly with your project needs:

Evaluate your project

Make a list of the goals and requirements for this project and make sure you have the answers to them before moving forward.

  • What is the goal of your project?
  • Is this a one-time job?
  • How many finished pieces do you need?
  • What is your deadline?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you need specialized finishing like collation, folding, etc.?
  • Do you need a printer able to produce a large amount of product every month?

Understanding your print needs will allow you to pick a print shop able to handle all of your project’s requirements.

Bonus! Not sure how to make your project print-ready? Read more here:

Research print shops

Take time to browse potential printers’ websites. Look at their design galleries and sample work.

This will give you a feel for their capabilities and work quality so you have a better idea of what to expect for your project.

  • What do you notice about the color schemes used, additional features for enhancement and paper options?
  • When reviewing their website, did you notice any reviews of their services or awards they have received?
  • What are others saying about this print company?

Don’t forget to look for customer interaction and feedback on their social media channels (watch out for these big red flags). This will provide more information about the company and their employees (and you might just find a coupon or discount!).

It’s also important to evaluate locations. Is this printer close to you? Does that matter?

While proximity can be important for some projects, it’s possible to get a quality product from anywhere. Just because a printer is states away does not mean they will be unable to fulfill your printing needs.

Have a conversation with your printer

Do you have any concerns or are you looking for a specific feature?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your selection process. Make sure to ask them prior to starting your project in order to assure that everyone is on the same page in regards to project expectations.

Many printers (whether local or national) offer an ability to call or email representatives and discuss the project and answer any questions you may have in detail.

Speaking to a customer service representative will also provide insight into the company’s culture, customer service, and employees.

The bottom line

When placing your trust in a professional printer, it’s important to feel comfortable with the company and their capabilities.

  • Take time to research their services and products to determine if they will be able to meet your needs.
  • Browse pictures on their website or social media channels to view their design capabilities.
  • Ask to see samples of their work or for references.

Graphic Design Trends 2015

eading trend forecast company WGSN recently reported key graphic design trends and emerging new directions for prints and graphics across American markets from apparel industry Las Vegas tradeshows Capsule, Agenda, Project, Pool and Liberty.

Citing “sketchbook” graphics as a key trend in T-shirt designs in its Las Vegas Trade Shows Prints & Graphics Marketing Report, WGSN states “Emphasis is on illustration, artisanal trends, minimalist contemporary styling and the strong winter outdoor look” based on brands present at the Capsule and Pool shows.

Key design elements of the “sketchbook” graphic design trend include:

  • Single-line doodles and rudimentary mark-making create quick, expressive motifs, as though scanned from a sketchbook.
  • This alternative DIY attitude adds a playful naivety to brands’ jerseywear pieces, and a refreshing contrast to the more graphic stories of the season.
  • Styles also highlight the emerging trend for handcrafted designs.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Sketchbook drawings spotted on urban streetwear T-shirts according to WGSN

Above: Ames Bros Mug Shot T-Shirt // 2 Posters by FIDM Graphic Design Grad Kerry Kuwata // 3 Men’s War and Peace T-Shirt by ARKA Clothing // 4 Eight Ball S/S Sweatshirt by Stussy // 5 Poster design by FIDM Graphic Design Grad Stephanie Kim // 6 Keep Trying Boxy Tee by MNKR// 7 Hand drawn type by Maddy NYE for Design Love Fest, a blog by FIDM Graphic Design Alumna Bri Emery // 8 Go Camping T-Shirt by MNKR

Logo Lounge Cites These 15 Logo Design Trends from 212,000 Marks 

We look forward Logo Lounge’s annual Logo Design Trend Report every year– a great go-to source for identifying key logo design trends based on the previous year’s work. The site currently has more than 212,00 logos submitted from designers all over the world. For its 2014 Logo Design report, they examined 24,500 marks to extract 15 clear graphic design trends.

In addition to the 15 trends shown below, author Bill Gardner cites the undeniable impact of mobile usage as having a serious impact on the graphic design industry, pointing to two key over-arching trends including:

The rise of tiny mobile-friendly marks:
“That logos have to be scalable has always been understood. But our perception of ‘small’ has changed, in some cases ‘tiny’ is being rather generous,” says Gardner of the demand for logos that read well on tiny screens. “Dimension and detail are necessarily removed so that these logos read properly on mobile screens. Designs have become more and more flat. Surfaces are plain and defined by mono-weight lines.”

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Gardner cites:

Hand-drawn elements to rebel against digital perfectionism
“People seem to be more and more drawn back to what is real, whether that is perusing handmade hats on Pinterest, exploring other cultures or our own family histories, or reconnecting with stories from mythology or our childhoods,” he says. “By bringing back what is human-made, we gain a sense of control over the digital tide that threatens to overtake us.”

Explore the 15 graphic design trends spotted here and read more details in Logo Lounge’s 2014 Logo Design trend report here.

With access to leading fashion trend reports at the FIDM Library, one of the largest specialized fashion libraries in the United States, students earning their graphic design and digital media degrees at FIDM stay current with upcoming trends for fashion, color, graphics design and more.Browse 2014 graphic design trends here.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: States

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "States."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Motion Lines

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Motion Lines."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Links

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Links."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Knit

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Knit."Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Knit."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Pompons

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Pompons."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Geography

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Geography" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Hexagons

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Hexagons".

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Waves

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Waves" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Trans Menagerie

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Trans Menagerie" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Geo Wires

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Geo Wires" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Flat Facets

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Flat Facets."

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Dazzle

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Dazzle" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Hand Type

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Hand Type" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Letter Stacks

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Letter Stacks" logos.

Graphic Design Trends 2015: Mono Crest

Graphic design trends 2015 according to Logo Lounge: "Mono Crest" logos.

Elegant Black with Gold Holiday Packaging

Leading trend forecast and analysis company WGSN recently published its “Holiday Packaging Round Up 2014″ report, summarizing graphic design trends in holiday packaging, identifying black-with-gold-accents as a dominating color direction for product packaging.

“Black with gold accents is a new luxurious colorway for winter celebrations set to remain through to 2016, as forecasted in our Divine Darks Christmas trend,” states WGSN. “Black and gold add a luxurious contemporary look to boxes and bottles this season.”

See examples below.

Graphic Design Trends 2014-2015: Black and Gold Holiday Packaging

Above: 1 Wayward Distillation House packaging designed by Hired Guns Creative // 2 Robot Roy Nutcracker Toy by England-based design agency Robot Food (Creative Director Simon Forster) via The Dieline // 3 Exotic coffee packaging by Paradise Gourmet Club designed by ARTEMOV ARTEL Design Studio (Kyiv, Ukraine) via Packaging of the World // 4 Aberfeldy Single Malt Scotch Whisky designed by Stranger & Stranger (NY) // 5 Holiday wrapping paper by Emily & Sarah of Boxwood Clippings // 6 Fort Point Beer Company packaging designed by San Francisco-based design agency, Manual Creative.

10 Awesome apps for productivity and project management

For me as a creative entrepreneur, picking the right app can be a daunting task.

First of all, I’m only one person who’s already wearing 15 different hats, so carving out time to look for productivity software is difficult for me.

Secondly, once I figure out a system that works, I’m kind of set. I move on and turn my attention to the things that need fixing.

And there’s no one looking over my shoulder saying, “wow, I just use <insert software> and that takes me half the time it takes you.”

Finally, I’m a bit frugal. While I like things that save me time and money, I don’t like to sign up for a monthly bill, especially if I fall off the bandwagon 2 months later.

I’m skeptical, too. Because anyone can say anything on a website, having a referral from a trusted peer (or blog) makes all the difference for me.

So, one of the unexpected ways having 2 part-time jobs has made me a better entrepreneur is getting to use all of these really awesome apps I’d have never discovered – out of lack of need or just being out of touch – on my own.

Here are my favorites (listed alphabetically):

Note: I’m not getting paid to endorse any of these. I just think they’re good enough to be endorsed!

Athtek Skype Recorder

Cost: $15 for Lite Version or $29.95 Pro Version (10-minute free trial)
Platforms: Windows

Just like the name implies, this app records Skype conversations, which is super-helpful for things like:

  • Client meetings
  • Interviews
  • Subcontracting meetings / remote team meetings
  • Training or tutorials

You can record audio and/or screen capture, saved as an mp3. Then edit (if necessary) in your favorite audio or video software.

Pro tip! For audio editing, my favorite is Audacity (which is free!).

Basecamp

Cost: $20-150/month (2-month free trial)
Platforms: All (online app)

Basecamp is a project management tool designed for group collaboration (but it would also work well for individuals). The more active projects you have, the more indispensable it becomes.

Incredibly detailed, Basecamp gives you amazing flexibility to create unique project flows (and templates!) that work for almost any type of project.

Some perks include:

  • To-do lists that can be categorized into groups
  • “Discussion” threads on the various aspects of your projects
  • The ability to tag certain people on your comments (which triggers an email being sent to them)
  • File attachment to projects and comments
  • A robust calendar for project scheduling
  • The ability to add people to every project or project-by-project
  • Client access restriction to certain threads (and clear privacy notations)
  • Text documents for quick project notes (which you can view without having to open
  • A running log of project updates and who triggered the update

Overall, Basecamp is a fabulous project management system. I can’t imagine the headache work would be without it.

Bonus! Their email customer support is friendly and quick to respond.

CoSchedule

Cost: $10-299/month (14-day free trial)
Platforms: All (online app)

CoSchedule is a marketing management calendar to help you plan and publish your blog, content marketing, and social media.

Designed with the group publishing team in mind (but also very handy solo), CoSchedule offers a robust amount of features and a central calendar that helps you utilize a ton of other apps to effectively and efficiently publish content.

Here’s what rocks about CoSchedule:

  • Integrates very well with WordPress, Evernote, Google Analytics / Calendar / docs, Buffer, and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+)
  • Assigned to-do lists and to-do list templates
  • Tiers of users with differing capabilities
  • At-a-glance publishing schedule and task due dates
  • Automatic email reminders
  • The ability to schedule social media per blog post
  • Users can integrate their own private social media scheduling and publishing (as well as company-wide social media)
  • Top post analytics, and per-post sharing analytics

This app replaces about 4 separate, independent documents for me and does so in style. I’ve used this for less than one month and already I’m in love. I’m at least twice as productive as I was before.

Bonus! Their customer support and feedback support is also fantastic.

HelpScout

Cost: Free lite version or $15/user/month (15-day free trial)
Platforms: All (online app)

HelpScout is an email management tool designed to help you provide delightful customer support. Created for help desks and customer support teams (but applicable to other areas of business), this software allows your entire team to review and handle incoming email efficiently and quickly.

So much more than just a place where all of your email is contained in threads, HelpScout’s features include:

  • Traffic cop, which prevents you from sending a reply if another member has already responded or your client has sent another email while you were writing
  • Leave notes for other team members
  • Save email templates for common email replies
  • Tag emails to categorize conversations and monitor trends
  • Lots of reports (like busiest time of day, usage of tags and saved replies, most active customers, first response time, replies to resolve, etc.)
  • Assign conversations to team members
  • Bulk replies
  • Set email status

Probably my favorite feature is the saved replies, where I quickly pop off an email without having to type the same exact thing over and over (and over).

I also love the Traffic Cop, which has prevented me from sending multiple outdated emails where the client *just* updated me on what I was about to send.

And it’s super-handy to have multiple team membersable to effortlessly (and flawlessly) manage the same inbox, so you don’t have to request clients to switch emails from new client outreach to project manager, for example.

Mockingbird

Cost: Free lite plan or $9-85/month (free demo)
Platforms: All (online app)

Mockingbird is a great wireframing app for websites, apps, or even documents. With a simple, easy-to-use interface, it makes creating wireframes a quick and painless process.

Benefits include:

  • Active links to show the flow of the project
  • Drag and drop UI elements
  • Link sharing to clients and teammates with real-time editing
  • Upload and use your own pictures or graphic elements

This software alone has revolutionized the way I create mockups.

Momentum Chrome Extension

Cost: Free
Platforms: Chrome

Momentum is a Chrome extension that replace the “new tab” screen with a productivity-inspired dashboard.

Neat aspects include:

  • To-do list
  • Motivational quote
  • Cool photography
  • Goal for the day
  • Weather and time

It’s really awesome to open up a new window and see a pretty picture and today’s goal as well as a list of things you should be doing instead of browsing the internet like you’re about to do. 😀

Slack

Cost: Free – $40/user/month
Platforms: All (online app)

Slack is a messaging app for teams, helping remote teams improve cohesiveness and all teams quickly communicate with the people they need.

The best things about Slack include:

  • Searchable messages
  • Channels to separate out topics
  • Direct messaging from person to person
  • Private groups
  • Animated gif integration (i.e. /giphy laugh will bring up a random gif tagged as a laugh)

Slack has greatly accelerated the “getting to know you” process of working with a team of people. And the giphy integration makes for some pretty hilarious outcomes.

TextExpander

Cost: $44.95 (30-day free trial)
Platforms: Mac (try Phrase Express for PC)

TextExpander is a shortcut typing tool designed to prevent you from typing the same thing over and over.

Cool features include:

  • Suggests snippets from phrases you type often
  • Plain text or rich-format text enabled
  • Dynamic text insert (like name, date, URL, etc.)
  • Organize snippets into groups
  • Multiple language support

TextExpander has single-handedly revolutionized both my personal and professional typing. If I notice I’m repeating myself, I quickly set up a snippet.

Toggl

Cost: Free – $49/user/month
Platforms: All (online app)

Toggl is a time-tracking app for teams or individuals.

Features include:

  • Organize your time by projects or tags
  • Mark items billable
  • Input time if you forget to switch it on
  • Reporting features such as exportable timesheets, overviews of billable time and weekly productivity
  • Project color-coding
  • Offline time-tracking syncs when you’re back online

Another one of those tools that is super-simple for me to use (and hasn’t gotten increasingly cumbersome over time) and really effective.

Trello

Cost: Free – $3.75/user/month
Platforms: All (online app)

Trello is a free visual way to organize projects (and lots of other “stuff). Whether you use it as a personal to-do list or to keep team project flow organized, Trello gives you an at-a-glance view of each project’s status.

Why I love it:

  • Separate projects or clients into color-coded Boards
  • Include different people on different boards as needed
  • Drag ‘n drop interface
  • Visual customizable lists to show project stages (for example: to-do, approved, in-progress, review, completed)
  • Ability to attach team members, due dates, and color-coding to items
  • Each project has its own comment thread

The best thing about Trello is how quickly you can see the status of each project. And if you have a lot of Boards, you can star your most-used ones to quickly navigate around.

5 Steps to a creating a massively successful logo

Logo design (or redesign) is hard work.

With a website, or a brochure, or almost any other marketing piece, you’ve got a branding guide to start from. Something that’s already established as a basis for the design.

But not when you’re creating a new logo.

You’re literally starting with a blank sheet of paper and a set of ideas, and the possibilities are limitless.

So whether you’re creating a logo for a client (difficult!) or for your own business (wickedly difficult!), knowing what makes a logo successful is really hard!

Use the following steps as a guide during the design process:

#1: Brainstorm

Because you’re starting from scratch, brainstorming is absolutely essential in focusing your logo design efforts.

It’s easy to want to jump straight in to sketching, but you’ve got to narrow down your options, to hone in on general concepts and ideas you like. And equally as important, what elements and “feels” you don’t like.

(Nothing is as crushing at the reveal as hearing that your client specifically doesn’t like the element / color / font you chose and they just forgot to tell you.)

So whether you’re talking to a client or yourself, asking a lot of questions is a vital part of what makes a logo successful.

Which questions?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

#2: Research

This is something I don’t think we talk enough about here at Millo, but research is a critical part of what makes a successful logo.

Know thy self

First, get a sense for how the logo is going to be used.

  • Is there a sign near a roadway? What shape is it?
  • What does the front of the business look like where the name / logo will be?
  • How will their products be packaged? (the same logo that looks great on a narrow glass jar may not work well on a bread bag, for example)
  • Will they have promotional items or uniforms with the logo on it?

All of these answers have a huge impact on the size, shape, and complexity of the logo…better to find out now than try to cram your beautiful design into a different shape last minute.

Know thy enemy

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but know what your (or your client’s) competitors’ logos look like, as well as what the industry as a whole is doing.

  • What colors / imagery / fonts are they using?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe their logos?
  • What do customers expect their logos to look like?

By sampling logos from competitors and the industry as a whole, you’ll get a deeper understanding of what the “norm” is…and when to adhere to it as well as when to set yourself (or your client) apart.

To get a better idea of what thousands of other designers around the world are doing in their designs (or what the “norm” is) tap into sites like99Designs.co.ukCrowdSpring, and similar sites.

Example: The vast majority of dentist offices have teeth in their logos, and those who don’t often have smiles.

That doesn’t mean every dentist absolutely must have one of these elements in their logo, but if their sign is right on a major thoroughfare, maybe a tooth is important for immediate recognition.

#3: Sketch

Yay! We’re to the design part!

Some people prefer to use a good ol’ pencil and paper. Others use a drawing tablet or simply “doodle” in their software of choice.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a specific set of fancy pens or a handful of your toddler’s broken crayons: getting ideas on paper (or screen) is very important when it comes to what makes a logo successful.

Why?

Because your first ideas are likely mediocre at best. And you’ve got to get all of those out before you get to the really good stuff.

I know it’s in you. You know it’s in you.

But that cliché, seen-on-every-street-corner application is smothering those super-awesome, unique ideas.

So get ’em out of your way by putting them down as possibilities.

Read more on the benefits of sketching here:

#4: Refine

Alright. You’ve got pages of sketches or 20 fonts running amok across your screen.

Now it’s time to take all of those ideas, find the perfect ones based on your creative prowess and the results of your brainstorming earlier, and refine them into serious logo concepts.

Choices! So many choices!

And then the simplification…it’s so hard to whittle down complex ideas into simple, memorable logos, isn’t it? But it’s such a huge part of what makes a logo successful.

Let these posts help you:

#5: Reveal

Now the scary / exciting part…showing off your logo concepts to your client (or to a confidante if you’re designing for yourself).

Should you explain your design choices? Should you let the design speak for itself? Should you explain to your client what makes a logo successful and what doesn’t?

How many proofs should you present?

Use these posts to guide you: