7 magic tips on how to create a Brand Identity if you are new to it.

Brand Identity reflects the personality of the business. Here some practical tips on how to build it. Design for beginners, VAs and fresh designers, or for those who are just curious.

Tip 1

Before you begin to create and think, make a list of questions for your client. It is best to start with a brief, and if a decision is taken by a few people, do not hesitate to ask even ridiculous questions: “What colours you and your wife don’t like?”

Tip 2

Think of the feelings that will represent your logo along with the brand style. There are plenty of standards and is always understood by a majority of people – use the styles as a launching pad. As an example of styles: Art – Deco for the logo for a night club will work well or a contemporary sports style will translate into dynamism and activity.

Tip 3

Your logo should also work in black or white! It’s the law! Funny gradients of Corel Draw talk about unprofessional designs more than about the brightness of your creativity. The logo must work in a white version on a colourful and photographic background. A Logo has to look good when it printed in newspapers or go through the fax.

Tip 4

Your Logo has to be presented in a five colour palette: Black, CMYK. RGB, Hex and Pantone. Perhaps more options, but not less.

Corporate Branding by our Branding Agency

Tip 5

A Logo to be given to the client at least in two formats vector and raster, most standard options are eps, pdf and jpeg. You can propose more options according to the needs of the project.

Tip 6

Remember, with creating a Brand Identity you breathe the soul into yet lifeless yet Brand, with the signature style it takes on the character, dynamics, habits and courage. Respect the person you are creating, have in mind how your child will communicate with its neighbours (Competitors)

Corporate Branding by our Branding Agency

Tip 7

Go through books on modern design trends and get inspiring ideas. Many designers say that they do not want to steal other people’s ideas and therefore do not look at the magazines and books… Hmm… And who said that inspiration is stealing? The fact is — that those who don’t know the laws of the design can’t break them to create stunning results.
Remember the Client wants his senses engaged the moment he sees the logo. Can you do it?

If you do not have books simply check Design inspiration on Pinterest

P.S. If you are not a designer and you try to create a logo by yourself. Well, first better hire a designer. Or join my membership site and check the logo template, so that you can create a quick logo by yourself before you can hire a brand expert.

How to find inspiration for design when you need it?

I want to inspire you with this post. Many years ago, one incredibly talented designer (a lawyer by training) gave me good advice. It was my first job, I had just finished twelve-year training in art and design, but I didn’t have enough practice and confidence yet.

One day, I was feeling frustrated with the project. We had to accomplish an interactive CD. Our boss approved the design and flew to New York for some branding conference. The client didn’t like the idea and we had to create something new on our own. So, Constantine (my super talented colleague, I mentioned before) said, you need to observe all professional designers from these three magazines. Just watch. You can spend hours watching the same magazine if you seek inspiration. And believe me, you will find a solution. And in one or two years, your design will become better, or maybe even better than the ones mentioned by these magazines.

Here are three magazines he suggested. This trio is an immortal classic. The collections of such magazines are cherished and carefully preserved in most of the leading agencies in the world. And with the internet in your pocket, you can be inspired anytime, anywhere.

Lürzer’s Archive

A bit of their history from about page: “Lürzer’s Archive, the important creative resource for advertising professionals worldwide, has offered an established set of inspirational tools since 1984. Lürzer’s Archive magazine; Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Specials; the Lürzer’s Archive website, plus our wide range of apps.”

Print

Here is how they present themselves: “Founded in 1940, Print seeks to build a dialogue about the design by detailing the intersections of art and culture. Rather than focusing on the how-to of design, the experts who write for Print cover the why—why the world of design looks the way it does, how it has evolved, and why the way it looks matters.”

HOW

They present the magazine this way: “Founded in 1985, the HOW brand began its life as a print magazine. Today, the brand still includes an award-winning design magazine but has grown to encompass a host of products and events including several design competitions, HOW U’s online design courses, design books and more. Whether you work for a design firm, for an in-house creative department or yourself, it’s our mission to serve the business, creativity and technology needs of graphic designers.”

The freedom of the mind and Inspiration are vital elements of the creative process and successful brand. Be blessed 🙂

Craft your design with Canva.com. Part 1

The design is an essential part of any brand communication. Whether it’s social media or offline communication — it has to reflect the style and the class of the company. Being a designer myself, I do not try to teach the non-designers how to produce a design in easy ways. Let’s be honest; the great design has to be developed by professionals and experts always charge a good price for it. So, what is the solution for those who don’t want to break the bank, but yet need to build the business. Here are some options.

Years ago, the demand for the good design was fulfilled by the company called Canva.com. This site was founded in 2012 in Sydney, Australia by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams. It has already helped millions of entrepreneurs to communicate with their customers with the best quality designs.

Personally, I use Photoshop and some other professional software for work, but believe it or not, I have started using Canva.com for social media projects. The interesting feature of this site is that you can get your designs anywhere in the world, anytime — day or night. It obviously has its advantages and disadvantages, but what is perfect?

So, let’s see how to design for your brand for free (by the way, Canva also has pro version)

The first mistake the new designers make is that they change the template or take the template which looks very different than what they want to create. Believe it or not, but designs provided by Canva are not just indicative, they are your map. If you are not familiar with typography, follow the template to a ‘T’, and you will get better results.

If you want to know more about typography, check this site 

The second issue which I noticed is that many freshers change the colours dramatically. Well, I totally understand that the colours of your brand might be different, but when you change bright pink to dark, dull green, it transforms into a different design (perhaps not that good looking like a template).

Third point, the choice of photography. Canva gives the option to buy the pictures from their library for something like one or two bucks. You may also find the photo in free photo libraries like unsplash.com. But please notice the treatment applied to the image by the template. And if it is a dark and blurred image, let it remain dark and blurred.

You may say, but where is creativity? Let me tell you, see, a commercial design is not always about colours, pics, and fonts. But it’s constantly about its ability to sell. So there is nothing wrong in taking professional template as a solid direction for your branded design.

Here is another food for thought. If you are new to the design processes, you probably need to learn a little bit. Hope you agree with it. So, consider that every template you use, it’s your homework in art school. Follow every direction thoughtfully, analyse why the creators of the template choose these colours, fonts, and photo. And believe me, if you were a good student, in a year or two, your designs would look much better.

Check this little overview:

Cheers 🙂

6 Secret Techniques on how to use photography to sell better during Holidays.

How many official holidays mean something to you?
How many of the same holidays will be substantial for your customers?

Sometimes I see my timeline on Facebook and think that I can get mad with all these similar looking e-cards. But after all, any holiday is a reason to post something, isn’t it? So, to post or not to post?

1. Treat customers as you would treat yourself.
Anything which does not attract you online, potentially will not tempt your buyers. After all, they are all humans, just like you. So, if you want to celebrate something, think what will make you happy?

2 Make exclusive content, don’t copy.
When the time of national or world celebration comes, all creativity vanishes for a while. If it’s some state day, we will deal with the flag, if it’s Helloween, that would be pumpkin, if it’s Christmas, it will be red colour and snow. I’ll be straightforward – if you can’t create something sweet and personal, better post nothing. Bad communication may harm your brand more than absent communication. So stop for a second and ask yourself: “Do I have THE IDEA?” If not, search for inspiration (check here how), and think again. Did you find your big idea? Yes? Yay, create it and share with the world! No? Just don’t post, or leave a formal text message without a picture.

3 Personalise it, if you can
How would you react if the brand sends the message to you? Well, all like when people remember their birthdays, anniversaries, special days (that’s what Facebook tries to work out with all these videos for friendship day, etc.) So? Can you make it personal? If you can, then do it. It’s always better or talk to someone special than to the faceless public.

4 Gently offer something
Ok, we want to sell something. These types of post usually help smart business people who love to learn new things and become more and more successful, right? So, you want to sell, don’t you? When we talk about big celebrations, the discounts sell well, because people are waiting for them. After all, your discounts, these days, compete with your competitor’s discounts (nobody wins). But what if you will be different? What if you will click the photo of your real team which is wrapping gifts and excited to share something special with customers? Think about it. All you need is a good promo idea and one exquisite click with your smartphone.

5 Participate the celebration
Celebrate with customers, invite them to celebrate with you offline or online. You can celebrate in office and share joy via Periscope or Hangout of FB Live. Make online meeting, have fun. Be human to your customers, be a friend.

6 Be honest
The honesty is an important quality which leads to the trust. Do your customers trust you? Well, the more you share about your brand, the better. Let’s say your company makes something to celebrate. Show people the process, share personal stories about you or your team. Let it be emotional and touching and once again honest.

Conclusion
Wish from heart and love your customer. Loving your customers is crucial. It’s not only about friendly behaviour or smiley in the text. It’s about the secret ingredients within your heart which make every message you share special.

P.S. Please share your questions & thoughts in comments below 🙂

How design and photography work for your brand

I’ve been working in the advertising industry for many years. Once upon a time, I was a designer and it was a tough job. But life changed, and if you need to create a design for your online communication today, you can make pretty good artwork on your own. Here are some ideas how.

Part 1. Less is bliss.

The better design — the lesser the unnecessary elements it has. Remove all redundant components and keep only indispensable ones to achieve perfection.

  • Less means — readable fonts, it is better to use professional fonts (check some here)
  • Less means — enough of breathing space around the elements of your design, also, it makes the design look more expensive. (Check Apple Ads)
  • If you are not trained to design professionally, NEVER use this: gold decorations, free unreadable fancy fonts, and acid-bright gradients (unless you sell golden toilets to Russian oligarchs)

Part 2. To Know or not know the software.

Some people think that the software knowledge miraculously transforms them into designers. Wrong! If you just know Corel Draw or Photoshop you are not a designer yet, you are a person who knows Corel Draw or Photoshop.

The software is a tool. You have to know it without a doubt. But artistic taste, composition, understanding of colour, broad knowledge of typography, drawing skills, and many other artistries are more important then new devices and programmes.

Hint: Think with a pencil in the hand!

Part 3. Photography and design.

If you add a logo to the photo, it’s already a design attempt and it brings more information to the customer than a just photo or a logo itself.

  • If your message is more important than the photo, check out the balance between both. Buyer’s attention has to be on the headline, message or call to action.
  • If you plan the photo shoot, check out if you leave enough of space for the text in you photographs. Plan it in advance. (Check how to plan photoshoot)
  • Click some backgrounds on location to add text over them later. Let them not be too cluttered. You can click interiors, landscape, textures and many other things to use them as backgrounds in the future projects. Try to keep in mind what type of business you advertise; it may give an idea which textures you may need, or what backgrounds will correspond with your concept more.
  • Always remember the difference between commercial and editorial photography. While one product on a white base with little text may sell the phone, it won’t show the story behind. If you need a story, the creatives have to tell it.

Social media platforms and print media may be suitable for different type of design and photography. Do your research to find out which pictures will engage your audience better and on which platform to place them.

Part 4. Design as it is.

Many times you may like to use the design without any photography. And when you start to create your brand, it’s great to know how it will work via pure design; how it will work via pure photography; or how it will manifest itself via a combination of design + photography.

  • The pure design aesthetic requires a clearer font solutions, careful colour choices and supporting elements such as icons.
  • Even if we add an elaborate illustration or infographic to it, the brand message and style still have to be delivered to a consumer.

Part 5. Easy templates.

With easy technology in hands nowadays, more people can create good looking compositions. Use canva.com or fotor.com both of these online designing and editing sites will help the beginners via sets of fantastic templates and predesigned elements. Both sites have some advantages and disadvantages, so try them and choose one which you appreciate more.

  • If you want to create decent creatives, follow the template to a T. If you see four letters in the template word — use a four-letter word. If they use some font, do not change it. If they use those colours, it’s probably on purpose.
  • Eventually, you will be able to create similar designs on your own. But it will require some time, learning and practice.
  • Both sites are amazing platforms to hone your creative skills and give a real push to your Social media.

In conclusion

Design and photography are the versatile elements of visual communication. They can work independently or in combination. The illustrations, icons, fonts and other components have to be used in moderation to crave the ideal brand message for people who are going to buy your product.

P.S. Read more about design and photography in my new book “Good photo = good brand”. Cheers 🙂