The Power of We: Blog Action Day 2012

Today is Blog Action Day 2012, and this year’s theme is The Power of We. I like to participate in Blog Action Day because I like to my blog to be part of something bigger. I’ve only written only once before, but I find the chosen themes to be very thought provoking. When I think about Blog Action Day and about many of the bloggers who will participate, I may feel that the goals of running a design and branding firm are pretty small compared to people who devote their energy to a more meaningful non-profit. But, as I tried to find a topic or theme for this post, I realized that just the act of writing this post and making my blog part of a larger community of blogs demonstrates the power of we. People come to Visible Logic for branding help, including logo design, web design and social media expertise. Our clients and prospects tend to think of […]

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All the Non-Design Work That Precedes the Logo Design

What goes on in a design project before we even start a sketch?

People hire us for our design work but it’s really what happens in advance of the design that makes our projects successful.

Whether it is a logo or a web site design we always like to start with a discovery phase that will drive the designs and help us to evaluate the designs using some established metrics. The extent to how much research we do depends on the scope of the project. This can be a thorough evaluation of competitors and audience, or it can be basic fact finding about the market position that a product or service wants to hold.

How much research on positioning should you invest in?

If you are a considering starting a small business, one piece of advice you will hear frequently is to look at the market and determine where there is a need. What are people looking for and not finding?

The same research that helps you evaluate the market can help you develop your brand identity. Your prospective customers may currently find solutions that position themselves as high tech, but not friendly. Or they may solutions with a high expertise level but are not local. Armed with this knowledge, we can figure out what elements should be part of a logo design or a brand’s broader visual position.

Who should do your research?

When we work with new clients, some of them have spent a lot of time doing this type of preliminary research. Others want to rely heavily on us to do this for them.

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Everyone is Using the Same Cheap Royalty Free Images. How Does that Affect Your Brand?

If you haven’t noticed, the bar for the quality of photos used in most marketing materials is extremely low. It seems that everyone wants the benefit of photography without paying much for it.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is why photography so often plays a critical role in a web design, printed marketing materials, book cover design, etc. But it seems like very few people have the budget to pay for a photographer, so more and more we rely on stock photography and royalty-free photography. (Read this for an explanation of the difference between stock and royalty-free photos.)

As a designer, I have many clients who expect photography as part of a design solution but are not prepared for the extra costs, therefore we are forced to use these same low-cost options. Here at Visible Logic, the other designers and I have learned to quickly sort through the loads of poor-quality photos and find those diamonds in the rough.

With our experienced eye we can:

  • sort though and determine which photos are the best
  • crop them in a way to make them look better
  • colorize them or apply another treatment to create a more distinct look for them
  • integrate them into a design so that they become part of a larger (better) design solution
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Don’t Trust Any Designers Opinion on the New Microsoft Logo

Microsoft's new logo

This week there was big news in the logo and branding arena: Microsoft had a new logo after 25 years of use with the old one.

As someone who blogs about design, branding and business, I was ready to jump on the story and give my opinion.

Microsoft users have often had no choice

The problem is that compared to most Americans, I really don’t know Microsoft very well. Microsoft is one the largest US businesses. With their Office and Windows products, their brand is woven into the tapestry of American business. There are so many people who rely on Windows for their PC computer and Office products such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Many of these people haven’t ever shopped for an alternative because they were given these products at work and have used them without much questioning for years, if not decades.

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Consistent Branding: More Effective, Less Expensive

I like to commute by bike. We chose to live in Portland, Maine because it is an easy place to live without relying on a car. We chose where to buy our house within Portland and where to locate my business within Portland so that I could have a short, easy-to-bike (or walk) commute.

Repainted bike lane graphic in Portland MaineThere are quite a few miles of marked bike lanes in the city, and I can hop on one right from my house. Every year, about this time of the summer, the city spends a lot of time re-striping the roads and repainting the bike lane graphics.

Apparently, there are multiple bike graphics in the shop over at City of Portland’s Department of Streets & Utilities.

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