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Making A Good Impression – The Importance Of A Business Card

It’s easy to assume that the digital age has killed off the need for business cards. It’s an easy assumption but it’s not a true one. In these high-tech, high speed days when meetings happen in cyberspace and you don’t have to go into the office to get your work done anymore – it’s increasingly difficult for traditional ways of marketing to survive. Yet, the humble business card has and continues to do so. There are several important reasons for this.

The first is that no matter how technologically obsessed we become, there is still nothing as effective as face-to-face contact, says FourthSource.com journalist Paul Lewis. Direct marketing will always, always trump digital promotion because people love to communicate. There are far more creative options involved with designing and creating a business card and it remains the perfect way to quickly showcase and identify a business. The advantages to using business cards are many and those that take heed of them are bound to come off better than those who don’t. Here’s why you should keep putting your business faith in that little square of card tucked in your wallet.

Direct Marketing Is King

Direct marketing will never be less effective than digital promotion. We may spend most of our time on iPhones and iPads these days, but we still love to chat – in person, with another physically present human being. Nothing will change that. According to Forbes journalist Carol Kinsey Goman, it takes just seven seconds to form an impression of somebody. If you can charm a potential client in person within seven seconds – you’ve got that client in your pocket. They’ll be much more sure of your value if they’ve their impression in person. Remember to keep things as informal as possible when offering an individual a business card. You don’t want to be pressuring them, you just want to be handing them an unexpected opportunity.

Business Cards Are Timeless 

Extremely well designed business cards are timeless. They will not go ‘out of style’ or look out of date like computer technology so frequently does. There are, of course, many advantages to using digital software but one of the biggest downsides is that it ages so quickly. Software that was top of the range last year can look utterly down market this year, simply because it’s old. Graphic design changes with time too, but not nearly as fast and not nearly as dramatically. A good business card design will stand the test of time.

The Price Is Right

Experts at the E-Design Group, point out that business cards a cheap way to promote your company. Considering all of their benefits, they’re incredibly cost effective. They’re very small, very light and easy to carry around. The cost of a great graphic design is bound to be the biggest expense – the printing and the paper are next to nothing these days.

So Many Options

There’s just an endless list of options you can take when designing and creating a business card. Nobody said that yours had to be made out of paper – many companies now craft their cards out of oak, Perspex, plastic and aluminium. They emboss their cards, they gild them with gold leaf, they even make their cards into tiny leaflets or pop up items. The only limit when it comes to designing an unforgettable business card is your imagination. As per associates Print My Pixel, if you’re concerned about the relationship between technology and clients – why not put a QR code on your business card? It’s an amazingly easy way to incorporate both direct and digital marketing.

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/07/2013

7

How to design a comprehensive annual report

What is an annual report?

An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company’s activities and financial performance. They may be considered as grey literature. Most jurisdictions require companies to prepare and disclose annual reports, and many require the annual report to be filed at the company’s registry. Companies listed on a stock exchange are also required to report at more frequent intervals (depending upon the rules of the stock exchange involved)

5Typical annual reports will include:

Other information deemed relevant to stakeholders may be included, such as a report on operations for manufacturing firms or corporate social responsibility reports for companies with environmentally or socially sensitive operations. In the case of larger companies, it is usually a sleek, colorful, high-gloss publication.

The details provided in the report are of use to investors to understand the company’s financial position and future direction. The financial statements are usually compiled in compliance with IFRS and/or the domestic GAAP, as well as domestic legislation (e.g. theSOX in the U.S.).

In the United States, a more-detailed version of the report, called a Form 10-K, is submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A publicly held company may also issue a much more limited version of an annual report, which is known as a “wrap report.” A wrap report is a Form 10-K with an annual report cover wrapped around it.

What is the best software to create my annual report?

While most of people tend to use MS Word is not such a great choice. The end result look unpolished and let’s face it, a bit out of fashion. You might want to have more flexibility while creating & formatting your tables, text and charts. According my opinion Adobe Indesign is the best tool for any job that involves designing documents more than 6 pages long. Here is why:

4Adobe Indesign has Master Pages

So you could quickly make changes to the layout of entire sections, by editing a single Master Page. You have second thoughts on where the page numbering should go? Or the repeated page elements? Change the master pages & the changes will affect all pages of that section.

It has Paragraph & Character Styles

Character & paragraph styles can help you define the formatting attributes that will be applied to the various text elements of your business plan. If for example you want to change the color or size or font of the titles, simply adjust the appropriate paragraph style and all other titles that share this paragraph style will get updated automatically document wide. Unlike MS Word you also get to use expert & advanced typography features that will make your text more attractive & easier to read.

Global Swatches

You are about to finish and you realize that you don’t really like the blue color you put everywhere? If you properly implemented global swatches in your Indesign document you can change the entire color scheme by simply changing the global swatch!

tocTable of Contents

Its possible to have your table of contents generated automatically by indesign, and then get easily format it with your paragraph or character styles. So if you make a few changes in the section titles you can then automatically update the table of contents, to match your changes.

Editable vector charts

You can fully edit vector charts in Indesign, change their colors & shape and place them exactly where you want them to be.

What if I don’t know how to use Indesign?

In this case you can either hire a professional designer, or use a template that includes some or all of these features. Editing a well designed template in Indesign is almost like editing a document in MS Word. You simply type or copy/paste your text and it automatically retain the appearance the designer had intended by inheriting the used paragraph style. Also adding your own images is a matter of drag and dropping them. To do more than that you will need a working knowledge of Indesign. But since you are dealing with a ready made template, you can go by with a very minimal Indesign knowledge. Luckily for you the designer did all the hard work 😉

Resources:

Annual Report Template r1 – A4 Portrait

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (13)

How to Create an Effective Business Plan

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.

Business plans may target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community. When the existing business is to assume a major change or when planning a new venture, a 3 to 5 year business plan is required, since investors will look for their annual return in that time-frame. A good business plan is about 40-48 pages long. More than that and you risk tiring your potential investors.

How the audience influence the content?

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (11)Business plans may be internally or externally focused. Externally focused plans target goals that are important to external stakeholders, particularly financial stakeholders. They typically have detailed information about the organization or team attempting to reach the goals. With for-profit entities, external stakeholders include investors and customers. External stake-holders of non-profits include donors and the clients of the non-profit’s services. For government agencies, external stakeholders include tax-payers, higher-level government agencies, and international lending bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, various economic agencies of the United Nations, and development banks.

Internally focused business plans target intermediate goals required to reach the external goals. They may cover the development of a new product, a new service, a new IT system, a restructuring of finance, the refurbishing of a factory or a restructuring of the organization. An internal business plan is often developed in conjunction with a balanced scorecard or a list of critical success factors. This allows success of the plan to be measured using non-financial measures. Business plans that identify and target internal goals, but provide only general guidance on how they will be met are called strategic plans.

Operational plans describe the goals of an internal organization, working group or department. Project plans, sometimes known as project frameworks, describe the goals of a particular project. They may also address the project’s place within the organization’s larger strategic goals.

Business Plan Template - A4 Portrait by Spyros Thalassinos (12)Business plans are decision-making tools. The content and format of the business plan is determined by the goals and audience. For example, a business plan for a non-profit might discuss the fit between the business plan and the organization’s mission. Banks are quite concerned about defaults, so a business plan for a bank loan will build a convincing case for the organization’s ability to repay the loan. Venture capitalists are primarily concerned about initial investment, feasibility, and exit valuation. A business plan for a project requiring equity financing will need to explain why current resources, upcoming growth opportunities, and sustainable competitive advantage will lead to a high exit valuation.

Preparing a business plan draws on a wide range of knowledge from many different business disciplines: finance, human resource management, intellectual property management, supply chain management, operations management, and marketing, among others. It can be helpful to view the business plan as a collection of sub-plans, one for each of the main business disciplines.

How should i format it?

The format of a business plan depends on its presentation context. It is common for businesses, especially start-ups, to have three or four formats for the same business plan.

An “elevator pitch” is a short summary of the plan’s executive summary. This is often used as a teaser to awaken the interest of potential investors, customers, or strategic partners.

A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is meant to trigger discussion and interest potential investors in reading the written presentation. The content of the presentation is usually limited to the executive summary and a few key graphs showing financial trends and key decision making benchmarks. If a new product is being proposed and time permits, a demonstration of the product may be included.

business-plan-11A written presentation for external stakeholders is a detailed, well written, and pleasingly formatted plan targeted at external stakeholders.

An internal operational plan is a detailed plan describing planning details that are needed by management but may not be of interest to external stakeholders. Such plans have a somewhat higher degree of candor and informality than the version targeted at external stakeholders and others.

Typical structure for a business plan for a start up venture

  • cover page and table of contents
  • executive summary
  • mission statement
  • business description
  • business environment analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • industry background
  • competitor analysis
  • market analysis
  • marketing plan
  • operations plan
  • management summary
  • financial plan
  • attachments and milestones

Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start up venture

  • What problem does the company’s product or service solve? What niche will it fill?
  • What is the company’s solution to the problem?
  • Who are the company’s customers, and how will the company market and sell its products to them?
  • What is the size of the market for this solution?
  • What is the business model for the business (how will it make money)?
  • Who are the competitors and how will the company maintain a competitive advantage?
  • How does the company plan to manage its operations as it grows?
  • Who will run the company and what makes them qualified to do so?
  • What are the risks and threats confronting the business, and what can be done to mitigate them?
  • What are the company’s capital and resource requirements?
  • What are the company’s historical and projected financial statements?

Typical uses of a business plan

  • Venture capital
    • Venture capital assessment of business plans – focus on qualitative factors such as team.
    • Business plan contests – provides a way for venture capitalists to find promising projects.
    • The better the business plan, the better your chances of landing that big initial investment.
  • Within corporations
    • Fundraising is the primary purpose for many business plans, since they are related to the inherent probable success/failure of the company risk.
    • Total quality management (TQM) is a business management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. TQM has been widely used in manufacturing, education, call centers, government, and service industries, as well as NASA space and science programs.
    • Management by objectives (MBO) is a process of agreeing upon objectives (as can be detailed within business plans) within an organization so that management and employees agree to the objectives and understand what they are in the organization.
    • Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. Business plans can help decision makers see how specific projects relate to the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Education
    • Business plans are used in some primary and secondary programs to teach economic principles. Wikiversity has a Lunar Boom Town project where students of all ages can collaborate with designing and revising business models and practice evaluating them to learn practical business planning techniques and methodology.

Business-Plan-Template----Style-1dWhat is the best software to create my business plan?

While most of people tend to use MS Word is not such a great choice. The end result look unpolished and let’s face it, a bit out of fashion. You might want to have more flexibility while creating & formatting your tables, text and charts. According my opinion Adobe Indesign is the best tool for any job that involves designing documents more than 6 pages long. Here is why:

Adobe Indesign has Master Pages

So you could quickly make changes to the layout of entire sections, by editing a single Master Page. You have second thoughts on where the page numbering should go? Or the repeated page elements? Change the master pages & the changes will affect all pages of that section.

It has Paragraph & Character Styles

Character & paragraph styles can help you define the formatting attributes that will be applied to the various text elements of your business plan. If for example you want to change the color or size or font of the titles, simply adjust the appropriate paragraph style and all other titles that share this paragraph style will get updated automatically document wide. Unlike MS Word you also get to use expert & advanced typography features that will make your text more attractive & easier to read.

Global Swatches

You are about to finish and you realize that you don’t really like the blue color you put everywhere? If you properly implemented global swatches in your Indesign document you can change the entire color scheme by simply changing the global swatch!

Table of Contents

Its possible to have your table of contents generated automatically by indesign, and then get easily format it with your paragraph or character styles. So if you make a few changes in the section titles you can then automatically update the table of contents, to match your changes.

Editable vector charts

You can fully edit vector charts in Indesign, change their colors & shape and place them exactly where you want them to be.

Business-Plan-Template----Style-1fWhat if I don’t know how to use Indesign?

In this case you can either hire a professional designer, or use a template that includes some or all of these features. Editing a well designed template in Indesign is almost like editing a document in MS Word. You simply type or copy/paste your text and it automatically retain the appearance the designer had intended by inheriting the used paragraph style. Also adding your own images is a matter of drag and dropping them. To do more than that you will need a working knowledge of Indesign. But since you are dealing with a ready made template, you can go by with a very minimal Indesign knowledge. Luckily for you the designer did all the hard work 😉

Resources:

Business Plan Template – A4 Portrait

Business Plan Template – US Letter

Business Plan Template – A4 Portrait & US Letter

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

By Victor1558

Internet Marketing Success & Seo Needs For Website Promotion

In the business world, all the people want to attain certain position in their concerned area of business which is more essential to shine in future. As the technology is improving a lot daily, they are also decided to seek the help of technology inventions for their success. One of the best methodologies invented by the technology development is internet which helps the people to contact with each other even they are not nearer to each other. It is the best method introduced to improve the communication of the people. As the internet is more useful for the communication, the business people planned to make use of it for their business. Thus, the business people introduce a methodology called internet marketing on the communication basis. Using the internet methodology, the companies will contact with each other even they are apart from each other.

 

The internet will acts as a contact bridge between the companies to develop their business in the success platform. Using the internet marketing method, a company can make a business contact with other country companies also. It will be easy for them to collect details and other information also. Thus, the internet marketing method is the best way to develop their business in order to achieve success easily. For internet marketing, website promotion is more essential because regular updates are more essential for the companies to obtain support from the search engines. In the internet marketing business, the search engines are playing more essential part in the company’s success. Basically, all the people will prefer the website which is available in the highest ranking in the search engines. Thus, all the companies should take efforts to promote their websites to higher ranks in the search engines.

 

In order to promote the websites in search engines, majority of the companies will get the support of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. With the help of these SEO techniques, one can easily promote the website naturally in the search engines. Along with SEO, another methodology called social marketing optimization (SMO) is also more useful and becoming more popular in website promotion. Using the SEO and SMO methodologies, a company can easily promote its website in the search engines. the basic functions performed by the SEO and SMO are obtaining more back links for the websites in order to get the search engine bots to crawl the website regularly. In order to make this crawling function, the back link attainment is more essential.

 

The various functions performed by the SEO strategy are content management, social bookmarking, blog commenting, article submission and directory submission, web 2.0 properties, profile link building and so on. These activities help the companies to get more back links for the websites. An individual will to have much more experience in SEO techniques. Hence, it is better to prefer the help from SEO companies to promote their websites. Nowadays, several SEO companies are available in the market to provide the service of website promotion to their clients. Among the companies, Miami Seo is one of the best service providers in SEO strategies.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Victor1558

Article publié pour la première fois le 04/06/2013

Serenity---Spa-and-Salon---Corporate-Identity-Mockup-(6)

Serenity Spa & Salon – Branding project by Extend Graphics

On today’s inspiration article we feature Serenity Spa & Salon brand identity and collateral designed by Extend Graphics. Extend graphics is a Greece based design agency providing worldwide design services since 2010. I won’t get into much detail, since I do work there after all, and you can always find more about our work on our website. I hope you will enjoy our project!

 Serenity---Spa-and-Salon---Corporate-Identity-Mockup-(6) Serenity - Spa and Salon - Corporate Identity Mockup (4) Serenity - Spa and Salon - Corporate Identity Mockup (2) Serenity - Spa and Salon - Corporate Identity Mockup (1) serenity-trifold-mockup2 serenity-trifold-mockup1 serenity-trifold-mockup3

 

(These artworks are presented here because they are licensed as Creative Commons – Attribution works and for the sole purpose of promoting art and the artist’s work)

Books---Public-Domain-image-by-Pixabay

The Top 10 Logo Design Books for Christmas

With the opportunity of Christmas, I compiled several reading lists concerning various aspects of design. Mostly with books I have read and found interesting or i have marked to get in the near future. And I think that they have something to offer whether you are a junior designer or a grizzled award winning designer. In the previous article we have seen the Top 10 Typography Books.

Today we have a Top 10 list with books on Logo Design. Again you can vote for the books you are familiar with and check out those you are not. You can even add your own suggestions to the list, and eventually it will expand and become even more useful for everyone.

A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark). The following books are mostly aimed for graphic designers of all levels who want to improve their logo design skills.

1. Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

There are a lot of books out there that show collections of logos. But David Airey’s “Logo Design Love” is something different: it’s a guide for designers (and clients) who want to understand what this mysterious business is all about. Written in reader-friendly, concise language, with a minimum of designer jargon, Airey gives a surprisingly clear explanation of the process, using a wide assortment of real-life examples to support his points. Anyone involved in creating visual identities, or wanting to learn how to go about it, will find this book invaluable. – Tom Geismar, Chermayeff & Geismar

In Logo Design Love, Irish graphic designer David Airey brings the best parts of his wildly popular blog of the same name to the printed page. Just as in the blog, David fills each page of this simple, modern-looking book with gorgeous logos and real world anecdotes that illustrate best practices for designing brand identity systems that last.

David not only shares his experiences working with clients, including sketches and final results of his successful designs, but uses the work of many well-known designers to explain why well-crafted brand identity systems are important, how to create iconic logos, and how to best work with clients to achieve success as a designer. Contributors include Gerard Huerta, who designed the logos for Time magazine and Waldenbooks; Lindon Leader, who created the current FedEx brand identity system as well as the CIGNA logo; and many more.

Readers will learn:

  • Why one logo is more effective than another
  • How to create their own iconic designs
  • What sets some designers above the rest
  • Best practices for working with clients
  • 25 practical design tips for creating logos that last

2. Design a Logo – 7 Step Process

How do I design the perfect logo?

Even the best designers can fall flat when it comes to logo design. Striking the right balance between graphic design and typography can make or break your brand identity, and creating a recognisable symbol for your website and advertising is extremely important.
There are plenty of books available that cover logo design basics, but Nathan Devine’s ‘Design a Logo – 7 Step Process’ is something different. This book is ideal for anyone wanting to create a professional logo, from the amateur to the creative professional. You don’t need any experience – just follow the seven-step process and you’ll learn how to create an effective logo.
‘Design a Logo – 7 Step Process’ is a system; a sequence of practical steps to work from the bottom up to create and refine a professional logo. It’s designed for busy people who need their results as soon as possible; completing the book in one sitting is highly recommended.
You don’t need to own Adobe Illustrator or similar software to complete this book – if you’re not computer-savvy, you’ll finish the course with a hand-drawn version of your logo that can be taken to a graphic designer, saving you lots of time and money.
‘Design A Logo’ speeds up the logo design process. It incorporates different ways to capture your initial thoughts and ways of researching to achieve the best result possible.

Users will learn:

  • How to open your mind and tap into your creative thoughts
  • To supplement creativity with research for the most up-to-date and market-friendly result
  • The purpose and design rules behind the logo
  • How to create their own unique and clear designs

You don’t need to be a designer to benefit from this book. If you’re wondering how to design a logo for your business, this is the answer!

3. The Logo Design Toolbox: Time-Saving Templates for Graphic Design

With this toolbox of practical logo templates à la Neubau Welt, Alexander Tibelius provides designers with useful groundwork for implementing their own ideas. All designers are familiar with this problem: one element is still missing and a deadline is fast approaching. They can imagine the suitable component, but since it isn’t at hand, it first has to be created in a time-consuming process. What could help simplify and shorten typical design processes? Which tools would one always like to have available? With his 900+ templates for contemporary graphic and logo design, Alexander Tibelius provides designers with the right basic materials for further processing and tuning. Thanks to The Logo Design Toolbox, no one has to reinvent the wheel –or almost anything else for that matter. The book provides a variety of designs for items from wheels, sashes, laurel wreaths, and crowns to anchors, beards, and pirate skulls, along with multiple renditions of letters, triangles, stars, ornaments, and speech bubbles. Everything pictured in Tibelius’s book is, of course, also available as a scalable and customizable vector file. Comparable to popular Gestalten publications such as Neubau Welt or Carsten nicolai’s Grid Index, this clearly structured toolbox provides designers with some of the most used, recurring elements, symbols, and motifs in logo and layout design in all of their conceivable permutations. These can be used by amateurs and professionals alike as a time-saving basis for creating their own cards, flyers, posters, websites, presentations, logos, or t-shirts. In short, the multifaceted compendium The Logo Design Toolbox will serve any graphic designer as a practical helper for producing specific, goal-oriented results.

4. The Logo Brainstorm Book: A Comprehensive Guide for Exploring Design Directions

Don’t Wait for Inspiration to Strike

Whether you’re facing a new logo project or you’ve reached a block in your current work, The Logo Brainstorm Book will inspire you to consider fresh creative approaches that will spark appealing, functional and enduring design solutions.

Award-winning designer Jim Krause (author of the popular Index series) offers a smart, systemic exploration of different kinds of logos and logo elements, including:

  • Symbols
  • Monograms
  • Typographic Logos
  • Type and Symbol Combinations
  • Emblems
  • Color Palettes

Through a combination of original, visual idea-starters and boundary-pushing exercises, The Logo Brainstorm Book will help you develop raw logo concepts into presentation-ready material.

5. Logo, Font & Lettering Bible

Put the power to design logos and type in your own hands!

Why be a designer who must rely upon preexisting typefaces and clip art when you can become the kind of designer who creates logos, fonts and lettering of your own? Leslie Cabarga, author of the bestselling Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations, has created a textbook of type for the experienced graphics professional as well as the beginning student of design.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create innovative logo design traditionally and on the computer
  • Develop a discerning eye for quality lettering and logo design
  • Design your own custom-made fonts
  • Build a profitable business as a logo, font and lettering designer
  • It’s the most comprehensive treatise on logos, fonts and lettering available!

The easy-to-read, fun-to-browse, picture-heavy format makes learning to letter a snap. The Logo, Font & Lettering Bible provides the start-to-finish information you need to succeed in today’s competitive design market.

6. Designing Logos: The Process of Creating Symbols That Endure

How to design great logos, step by step by step.

  • Lavishly illustrated with 750 color images
  • How-tos, case studies, and detailed analysis of well-known logos

What makes a logo good? What makes it bad? What makes it great? The entire process of logo design is examined, from the initial client interview to brainstorming, from first presentation to delivery of the final standards manual. Through 750 color illustrations, classic logos are analyzed, and readers will learn a thirteen-point system for measuring the effectiveness of any logo. Learn about the uses of positive and negative space, balance, color, and typography; follow intriguing case studies; discover how to make effective presentations to clients. Designers, marketing and branding specialists, educators, and students everywhere need this definitive guide to creating great logos. 750 Color Illustrations

7. Logo Creed: The Mystery, Magic, and Method Behind Designing Great Logos

Written by the founder of LogoLounge.com, this comprehensive handbook speaks to the magic of design and provides a glimpse into the designer’s creed. Logo Creed puts designers directly in touch with strong mentors who speak candidly about the processes that lead to successful designs. Designers including David Airey, Bill Gardner, Von Gitschka, Paul Howalt, Jerry Kuyper, Brian Miller, Miles Newlyn, Sherwin Schwartzrock, Felix Sockwell, plus many more share their sketches, brainstorms, false starts and most successful techniques.

Logo Creed shows you how to navigate the discovery process from research, reading the air for clues, and making the best use of budgets, to knowing what sort of mark to create. From there, you will move into development, where you will learn how to identify the most potent ideas, brainstorm effectively by yourself or with others, recognize the components of great logos, and understand how to distill ideas down to the very best solution. Finally, you will move into the delivery process, where you will learn to build brand DNA, craft presentations for specific situations and clients, tell the brand story, and keep your designs vital and alive even after they leave your hands. This book is highly beneficial for students, self-taught designers, and those who never stop learning.

8. Essential Elements for Brand Identity: 100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands (Design Essentials)

Design terms are often used inconsistently – or just as bad, interchangeably. This leads to confusion for designers as well as clients. New in paperback, Essential Elements for Brand Identity lays a foundation for brand building, defining the tools and building blocks, and illustrating the construction of strong brands through examples of world-class design. It is a one-stop reference for connecting visual design elements for logos to branding concepts, and demonstrates core identity design principles through clear organization and a variety of sources and examples.

Through a cohesive structure that explores broader concepts in relation to graphic identities, identity programs, and brand identities, Essential Elements for Brand Identity links formal design concerns with business issues. Design students and seasoned brand managers alike will appreciate the pragmatic relevance of its content and be inspired by the representative body of work collected and presented throughout the book.

9. Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

A revised new edition of the bestselling toolkit for creating, building, and maintaining a strong brand

From research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition offers brand managers, marketers, and designers a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands, this Fourth Edition brings readers up to date with a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands.

Features more than 30 all-new case studies showing best practices and world-class
Updated to include more than 35 percent new material
Offers a proven, universal five-phase process and methodology for creating and implementing effective brand identity

10. Design DNA – Logos: 300+ International Logos Deconstructed

You’ll Love This Book If: You’re a designer that is working on or will work on a logo You need a logo for your own business You’re involved in any kind of branding or identity project Design DNA: Logos is THE logo answer book. By analyzing exemplary designs from around the world, it gives you a clear understanding of how to target your market and convey brand values. The beautiful thing about this book is that it takes the best of the best logos and deconstructs them to reveal creative solutions by examining and discussing the choice of font, color, characteristics, imagery and more. In Design DNA: Logos you’ll find over 300 International Logos Deconstructed in the following industries:: Food Drink Fashion Retail Travel Tourism Manufacturing Marketing Media Entertainment Architecture Design A showcase of inspirational design, it is also a practical and problem solving handbook covering general process and specific detailing. Every logo is deconstructed to show how each element works to make the design an effective one, and case studies walk you through the reasoning behind successful design decisions. Not only will Design DNA: Logos help you design successful, targeted logos, it will also help you explain to your clients how and why they fit the brief.

I hope you will find our suggestions useful and help us improve it with your comments!

The Importance of Branding

Branding 101 & Best Logo Design Tips

There are many tricks and techniques out there to help you improve your branding and make sure that your logo makes the proper impression. Below I have compiled a list with great articles and resources that cover various aspects of branding and logo design and have been published in the past here at Make your ideas art.

Feel free to vote up the articles you found to be interesting and useful!

If you found this list useful feel free to share it and embed it in your own blog!

 

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10 Useful Design Ideas for Print Marketing Collateral

It might be all about digital marketing these days, but print is still king when it comes to producing the kind of breathtaking marketing designs that makes your audience stand up and pay attention to what you have to say. Computers have not yet replaced the ritual of actually holding something in your hands and exploring it with all of your senses; until such a time when that experience can be reproduced digitally, there will still be plenty of opportunities to make an impact using your printed marketing materials.

However, you won’t garner much of your audience’s attention if you use the same old, dated design ideas that consumers have seen thousands of times before. After all, graphic design is a contemplative art. To make a splash using printed materials in this digital-centric world takes creativity, originality and confidence in both your design and in the brand itself. Without these important components in your design, your printed marketing materials will have as much impact as the take-out menus that you find haphazardly shoved in your front door. Of course, nobody can make you be creative, but the following ideas can at least put you on the right path towards discovering your creative side.

 

 

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Design Dynamic Business Collateral

If you had a plain manila folder and a magazine sitting out in front of you, which would you rather read based on cover appearance alone? The pictures, composition and attention-grabbing copy of a magazine cover is designed to entice readers, so why can’t the same be true for your business cards, presentation folders, brochures and other business collateral? Give your print media some high-quality images or design them around a familiar theme. Take care when printing fonts to ensure your audience takes notice. If you’ve already determined that your business is serious enough for brand recognition, don’t they deserve some seriously awesome branding materials?

 

 

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Put Yourself on the Map

Your brand identity is determined by a great number of different factors and one of them happens to be the location of your business. Utilize maps and geographical markers as a fabric of your overall design. After all, even Apple does it. Is your business located near a particular landmark or at a popular intersection? Add a map or pictures of the nearby area to show off your hometown pride. Maps can be either accurate reproductions or an artistic interpretation that put your location front and center. One of the more clever ideas I’ve seen related to location branding is to send out mailers with custom maps that lead the recipient directly from their mailbox to your business’s front door.

 

 

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Printing is More Than Just Paper

There is a much wider world of printing materials out there than just your standard papers and stocks. Vinyl, leather, poly materials and even recycled materials can change the texture, the durability and the overall look of your print designs. But don’t limit yourself to the expected choices-why not incorporate materials directly from your brand in order to make your printed materials really stand out? For example, an apparel company might cover their printed materials with actual pieces of fabric remnants or a masonry company might try printed tiles as a creative alternative to business cards. Even if you do use paper, consider something like felt, vellum, linen or other stocks with a unique texture.

 

 

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Minimize

When you look at a well know brand name like Nike or Apple, they use a very minimal design effect to make a bold statement. On the other hand, that junk mail you always throw out is usually packed from corner to corner with design elements and visuals. It takes a skilled professional to use a minimalist design for maximum impact, but your marketing materials will look more prestigious as a result. We see this a lot in web design as well.

 

 

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Be a Tease

Remember being a kid and wanting to take just one little peek at your presents to see what was inside? Great designs fulfill that desire by adding a die cut window, giving a preview of what’s inside your booklet, folder or other printed material. The best die-cut designs are the ones that alter the visual message while adding to the mission statement. For example, how about a cut-out cover for a mailer for a dentist office that shows only a few smiling mouths and the statement “These smiling faces” When you open the cover, you find out all of the people are patients and the mission statement continues by saying “are all thanks to Statham Family Dentists.” In this example, the reader wants to open the cover to find out what the smiling faces are for and to finish the statement.

 

 

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Cut It Out

Speaking of die cuts, consider the shape of your printed material. Forget what the song says, it’s not always hip to be square. Use die-cut effects to outline the strongest visual elements or to create shaped pockets, openings and closures. Breaking away from a traditional shape not makes for a striking visual effect; it gives your design a tactile quality that sets it apart from the rest. A stack of business cards are going to all feel the same, even if they’re for different businesses. However, if yours is the business card with the unique rounded edge, you’re more likely to stick out.

 

 

Spruce Up Your QR Codes

QR codes are a great way to entice recipients of your marketing materials to get in touch or to visit your website, however they don’t exactly bring much to the look of your design. Fortunately QR technology is evolving and it is now possible to add color, words and even images to your QR codes. Try adding a QR code decked out in your brand colors or superimpose a logo on your QR code to tie it back into your brand identity. Don’t just place your QR code on the page, make it a part of your design. For example, a restaurant could use a picture of a happy couple dining and hide a QR code on a plate of food that takes you to an online menu.

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The Typography of Business: Why Typography is Vital to your Marketing Strategy

Typography greatly determines the success or failure of any project or campaign that requires visual communication. Many professional designers consider typography as the most essential factor in design. It’s true that no matter how striking a campaign might seem, if the selected typefaces are not appropriate for the job, there’s a big chance that potential customers are going to treat it as just another ad that fails to leave a lasting impression on them. In short, without the right typefaces, your intention and effort of having your marketing strategy succeed will wasted.

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One simply needs to take a quick glimpse at logos and identities of several successful companies such as KFC, McDonald’s or Starbucks Coffee and see how they grab people’s attention, deliver their message across and get clear results. The same principle applies to your business cards, brochures and other print materials for marketing. Your choice of typefaces should trigger an emotional response from your target audience and make them potential customers.

Companies or businesses that use professional-looking typefaces in their identities, logos and printed materials tend to garner the trust of more people. Their typefaces make a strong and lasting emotional impact and they have a strong influence on the thoughts and actions of potential customers at a subconscious level. This is the crucial advantage companies are striving for.

So what would be the right typeface for your marketing strategy? It’s important for every effective designer to be very familiar with typefaces and their special characteristics before carrying out any marketing project. For example, serif typefaces such as Clarendon, Bembo and Courier are commonly used in brochures and printed documents, although they can also be effective as headers for websites and company identities. Some designers find serif typefaces difficult to read in smaller prints and tend to prefer sans-serif typefaces.

Sans-serif typefaces on the other hand don’t have the serif details and their appearance is regarded as more modern compared to serifs. The four main types of sans-serifs currently used by designers are Grotesque (Akzidenz Grotesk, Franklin Gothic), Neo-grotesque (Helvetica, Highway Gothic), Humanist (Calibri, Frutiger) and Geometric (Futura, Century Gothic). Most sans-serifs tend to have a greater line width variation. Sans-serifs are excellent for body text, but they are also effective in headers and logos if you’re striving for a minimal approach.

Having a wide array of options for typefaces can be a bit overwhelming for designers. Most designers feel that too much diversity can be detrimental to design and marketing, so most of the time they stick to one or two consistent typefaces when finishing the job at hand. They rely on particular typefaces to get the message across and see no point in trying out other options. While it is true that utilizing too many typefaces can make your project look less professional, thorough attention is integral in selecting the two or three typefaces that deliver the results you expect from your marketing efforts.

Company Folders Make for a Professional Presentation

We have all been there; on the other end of a presentation gone bad. It starts with unpreparedness, continues with poor marketing materials, and ends without a “hook”.

If you have been the unlucky participant in one of those sales meetings or presentation, take what you learned there and set your employees up for success. How? By helping them to be as prepared and as professional as possible. No matter what the dollar amount is of the product you are selling, professional presentations keep you top-of-mind in potential customers mind.

Properly designed and printed company folders or presentation folders are a must when it comes to sales meeting and corporate presentations. When your material is professional, organized, eye-catching and informative, the presentation flows better.  Company folders help keep your offline marketing materials and sales cut sheets organized for potential customers for future use and reference.

Put a professional face forward. Your sales team needs high quality pocket folders and presentation folders. High quality marketing materials show your commitment to excellence.  In fact high quality business folders and marketing materials make a statement about your business, your standards and your eye for detail, sending a subliminal message to your existing or potential clients.

What businesses and industries should be taking advantage of presentation folders?

  • Real estate
  • Sales and marketing
  • Commercial and residential banking
  • Staff training
  • Any company with a new product launch
  • Insurance and long-term care
  • Human Resources and Employee benefits programs
  • Financial advisors
  • Home improvement contractors
  • Computer services providers
  • Landscapers
  • Schools
  • Country clubs
  • Senior living centers

Marketing plays an important role in promoting the products and services offered by your company. Marketing materials that have a clear message, promote your brand and show your level of commitment to quality are imperative. Company folders are a cost effective way to utilize marketing dollars effectively while setting your sales team up for success.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Mooganic

Article by Dan Bauman

Dan Bauman is the owner of Blue Hill Press in Canton, Massachusetts, a printing company that provides services to other small businesses. They produce high quality presentation folders for more than 20 years.

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Things to Consider when Designing a Logo on Custom Labels

The logo is one of the most critical elements printed on labels that build brand recognition for consumer products. Not only does the logo provide your consumers with your company’s identity but it can also say a lot about the quality level of your product. With more consumer products being introduced to the marketplace every day, it is vital for any business owner to consider the effects of designing a quality logo on their labels.

To develop an effective logo, there are some key points that should be considered:

Keep it Simple

Simplifying your logo is more likely to attract and keep the viewer’s attention rather than having a busy design.  Take out unnecessary elements like too many shapes or repetitive information. Also, reducing your color scheme to only 2-3 colors and changing the typeface can quickly and easily simplify your logo. Busy or complex logos can distract your customers.

Make it Memorable

A logo is more likely to be recognized if it has an interesting element like a unique shape, color, or typeface. A recognizable logo beats out a beautifully unknown logo any day. Using an unusual shape, vibrant colors, or an object (living or inanimate) can help consumers remember the product even more..

Preserving through the Years

A simple design is more likely to last through the decades than a trendy logo. Regularly changing your logo will not only confuse customers but it also suggests that the company doesn’t know who they are. A simple logo will have a more timeless look than a logo with a bunch of flashy elements.

Versatility is Key

A logo is easier to work with if it looks good across different mediums: black & white, color, big or small scale. An effective logo is able to work across different mediums and applications.  It should offer you flexibility so if any additions are to be made in the future, it will be an easy transition.

Make Sure it is Appropriate

Your logo should be able to symbolize your company and fit within your industry. Defining what is “appropriate” can be hard but if your brand is youthful and fun or cutting edge and practical, then your logo should reflect those qualities. A couple of ways to determine if your logo is appropriate is to examine whether your logo symbolizes your business and if it’s suitable for your industry.

Additional Logo Design Tips 

  • Avoid using gradients and effects.
  • Busy or overly designed logos can make printing of the logo an obstacle.
  • Avoid bad fonts and putting too much information in the logo.

Featured Image: courtesy of Extend Graphics

Article by Consolidated Label:

Founded in 1981, Consolidated Label is one of the country’s leading suppliers of custom labels, flexible packaging and shrink sleeves. The company produces custom labels and packaging for thousands of customers across a wide variety of industries including food, beverage, household products, medical, pharmaceutical, and promotional products.

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Making your Presence Felt with Signage!

A good business strategy will always involve signage in the branding of your business, it is the most important part of customer outreach. It is impossible to gauge the popularity and success of your business unless the consumers who might target are aware of what you offer. The purpose of business signage is to instantly and effectively communicate the professionalism, the function, and the overall presence of your business. Business signage will convey to people who you are, where you are and what you do, so it should always be your first step, no matter what. Even if you provide the very best products in your industry, that doesn’t mean that your business will succeed and that you will be able to convert, or that your products will take off. In order to for people to use your products or services, and for all your hard work to pay off, people have to be aware that they exist. Before the complexities of marketing, advertising, PR, and web marketing take over, there is the very simple and effective method of signage in your local area. Having a two-pronged strategy will enrich your marketing campaign, and each strategy will reinforce the other. By employing a strategy that covers local signage and online marketing, you raise your chances of reaching the maximum amount of consumers.

Portable signage is a particularly cost effective tool for brand awareness, just make sure that you have had all of your signage plans approved by your local council first, wherever your council may be. This is really important, because remember, you are interacting with the public when you use signage, that is the whole point after all. But anything that intrudes into public life has to be regulated and approved, that is the nature of democratic governments. Take advantage of this and discuss ways that your business could enrich your local area with the council. Turning your signage into public artwork is a great way of doing this. The more you get your community involved with your business, the more that will be likely to use your business, so it’s a win win really. If you offer something back to the community in your area, they will look favourably on your presence. The very best signage, signage that is beautiful as well as useful, becomes a valued part of its local area. The Coca Cola sign in Sydney, in Kings Cross is a perfect example of this. It is now a landmark and a way that people orient themselves in the area. In this sense, signage serves the very same perfect as architecture and infrastructure; to to enrich the area and to give residents what they need.

Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Marcin Wichary

Article by Belinda Darling

Belinda Darling is a branding and marketing expert based in Melbourne, Australia. She specialises in small to medium sized business embarking on marketing and PR campaigns, and also performs small business consulting. Belinda advises all her clients to use Footscray Signage for their local business needs.