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.Read More...
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
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.
There 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.Read More...
I can’t tell you how frequently clients come to me and say: I just want a simple logo. Nothing fancy or complex, just simple. The expectation is that a simple logo design will cost less than a complex one. Let me explain why this is not usually the case. First of all, the mark of a well-designed logo is its simplicity. While this is not always true, it is true more often than not. If you look at the iconic logos of our time, they are universally simple. Think of FedEx, Nike or the Apple logos. The work of a professional designer is to distill the elements of a logo to it’s simplest form, yet still keep it unique and recognizable. Often, a less trained designer, and therefore less expensive designer, is unable to do this. To design a strong brand identity, we need to start by doing a full exploration. The process for creating logos can take a long […]Read More...
As branding experts, we work with companies to develop unique brand identities. We begin the process by helping business owners to figure out how to differentiate their product or service, and separate themselves from their competitors. We then turn this into a name, logo, web site or printed material that positions them apart from their competition. However, we’ve discovered there are some people who want to promote a distinct part of their brand identity so much that they end up losing search results. Let me give you a made up example: Imagine there is a company that coaches business executives. Most people would call this “Executive Coaching”. However, to show that they are different, the Rainbow Consulting Group decides to call their coaching program The Rising Stars. You can certainly imagine a creative branding campaign built around rainbows and stars. However, it is unlikely that anyone searching for executive coaching will put “rising stars” into Google. And anyone who puts […]Read More...