Is Design A Litmus Test for Business Success?

Recently, I have found out that two old clients of mine have filed for bankruptcy. Each owed me a small amount of money, which means I’m included as a creditor in all the filings. Honestly, I had written off both of them long ago. But, I do think it’s sad to see someone fail, and I always hope that my business adds to another business’ success. However, I feel like I could see the writing on the wall long ago. Let me use one of these clients as an example. Failure to consider design and branding When I met these small business owners, they were selling their product at fairs and farmers markets and wanted to expand their business to an e-commerce Web site. It seemed like a good avenue to grow their business. At our first meeting I asked to see their existing brand identity—logo, packaging, etc.—and to get electronic files of these to incorporate into the Web design. […]

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5 Freebies! From Your Graphic Designer

When you hire an experienced graphic designer you benefit by getting more than just design skills. You get an accumulation of knowledge that will aid your project in getting finished in a timely and professional way. There has been much written about Crowdsourcing for design work (and other work) and sites like 99 designs continue to have lovers and haters. For the record, Visible Logic does not do work on spec and would never participate in these contests. Here’s why. Experience fuses design skill with production know-how As a bit of background, most design schools do not teach many of the practical applications of design. And one of the fundamental aspects of design is that the final production and execution of a project is out of the designer’s hands. By that, I mean the end result is completed by an offset printer, a web browser, a silk-screener, etc.. So knowledge of those processes goes hand in hand with how happy […]

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Typeface, The Movie: Get Off Your Computer and See This!

Last night I joined AIGA for the Maine premiere of Typeface, a documentary film from Kartemquin Films, directed by Justine Nagan. The film focuses on Hamilton Wood Type, a wood type foundry, now turned museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Overlaying the detailed examination of Hamilton is a broader look at the importance of a more tactile study of typography. In addition to the locals involved with the Type museum are designers from Chicago and Minneapolis who augment their computer-produced design with letterpress and wood type work. Hamilton Wood Type Museum The Wood Type Museum is housed in the factory that used to be a thriving business. Now, much of the library of wood type is in need of cataloging and the few people who know how to run the equipment are aging quickly. But it looks like a fascinating place and it is open to visitors who are able to touch nearly everything. And, there are also partnerships with several […]

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What is Branding?

Branding is a very popular and even over-used term in the business and marketing sectors. It can mean different things depending on who is talking/writing and who is listening/reading. Some phrases I’ve heard to define branding A brand is a promise. This is a phrase I see quite often, and it’s honestly always a bit vague and confusing to me. I guess that is sort of the point: this message is that your brand is not tangible. However, I would argue there are clearly tangible parts to a brand. These are parts can be called your brand identity and include your logo, your trademarked designs and services, your corporate look and feel, among others. You don’t build your brand, your customers do. This is another sentiment that stresses that all of brand building is not within your control. However, I think this is a bit extreme, as you do have some control. And businesses should make every effort to grow […]

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Small Design Firms Are Capable of World Class Design

A recent examination by Fast Company compares large, global design agencies to smaller studios, and there is a lot to like about small firms. …change has arrived and the design world is no longer dominated by large design agencies. … It’s a good change and it is an important change since it’s about the availability of top-notch design to every product or company. What I love about this sentiment is that it means that more businesses in general should be able to afford to work with an experienced graphic design shop and get top-quality design work. In the past, there were so many more obstacles to small business owners than there are today. Old days: the big guys bought lot of advertising and reaped the rewards; the little guys couldn’t afford it. Now: social media is overtaking advertising so anyone can compete. Old days: the big guys had fancy collateral designed and printed; the little guys couldn’t afford it. Now: […]

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