Category: Startups

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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What To Do When You Can’t Afford Branding

Recently, I got an email from a long-time friend. He told me how he was thinking of starting his own business, but still trying to figure out if it would work. He couldn’t afford to invest in a professionally designed brand identity system now, so what advice did I have for him about working with low cost options for web sites, etc. First of all, I have to say this is a bit like walking into the BMW dealership and asking them which Hyundai model they would recommend. I don’t study the free options out there for building web sites. I use and choose professional level tools. But, I am aware of these free and ultra-cheap options (and their pitfalls) from clients who have gone that route and then are ready to have a high quality web site. Therefore, this post is not about specific recommendations for tools or services to use. It is a guide for the type of… Continue Reading »

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Cheap Templates Suggest a Cheap, Uncreative Business

We’re living in a DIY world, and many small business owners and especially start-ups make the mistake of choosing a cheap template to define their brand identity. They start with one one cheap template to create their web site, another for their email marketing and finally another to make a logo and put it on a business card. Now you have not only one, but maybe multiple, unrelated, completely generic and cheap looking pieces that define your organization’s essential identity. Inc. Magazine had an interesting article called: Your Homemade Website Isn’t Cutting It Anymore which included this quote: Here’s the thing about cheap, template-driven websites: They look like every other cheap website out there. And that cheapens your brand. It makes you look like you don’t take your marketing and messaging seriously. I don’t think it takes a lot to realize this is not the way to build trust in the eyes of your clients and prospects. It’s especially difficult… Continue Reading »

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