Some brand stories are just amazing, and this brand new brand does not fall short. This new company works with all kinds of nonprofits across the United States as they help each and every one meet their goals to raise money and give back to their communities. We don’t want to brag, but we’re going to…we’re SO excited to be working with them as they continue to grow. Here’s just a tidbit about them and what they are accomplishing.
Chart & Compass – 2019
Not sure what the difference is? Our middle tier Branding Package includes a Style Sheet, and the third tier All Inclusive Branding Package includes full Brand Guidelines. Both branding documents are created to to explain your brand visual, that will explain how your brand works. The Style Sheet is a more abbreviated version, and the Brand Guidelines are more extensive. Here is an example of what a Style Sheet looks like and what the full Brand Guidelines looks like.
Google Font Pairing
If you have ever gotten stuck using the same old boring Microsoft Office fonts like Times New Roman and Arial, we feel your struggle. There are lots more fun and interesting fonts to use, but how do you get them? If you want to play around with your own choice of fonts, trying using Google fonts for branding. They are free and easy to implement into web design and even in Word if you’re not tech-savvy.
Bold versus Thin
Sans Serif and Serif Fonts
Do you know the difference between Sans Serif and Serif fonts? One is a more streamlined, clean look and the other is designed to be fancier and more traditional. While some may think that you have to use one or the other in a brand or even a message, you may want to take a closer look at how they can actually be paired together quite nicely.
There are SO many fonts – how do you choose the right ones to pair together? We do this every day, so our library is quite full. To experiment yourself, see see some great examples of how fonts can be used together: FontPair – Canva
Fonts are important for identity. They help determine the mood of your brand and can evoke a certain feeling to your clients when interacting with your brand. It’s important to choose traditional classic fonts if you have a professional long-standing insurance agency, or modern more care-free fonts if you’re a newer dog accessory company selling retail.
Whatever the direction you choose for your new brand, we are here to help you along the way. A little bit of creativity goes a long way.
2018 Top Color Palette Trends
As we wrap up 2018 (how did this year go by so quickly?), we reflect back on some of the hottest color trends of 2018. The theme seemed to trend in the direction of less saturation in blushes with pops of pinks and reds, blues, neutral purples, and grey. We find inspiration in all types of places. Pantone is famous for announcing their colors of the year, and companies like Behr lead trends with their Pinterest-worthy paint colors.
Each season the team at the Pantone Color Institute creates the PANTONE Fashion Color Trend Report; a color overview highlighting the top colors fashion designers showing at London Fashion Week will be featuring in their collections for the upcoming season. With color on the catwalk a key indicator of the color stories we can expect to see showing up across all areas of design, the PANTONE Fashion Color Trend Report is your easily accessible guide to the season’s most important color trends.
Some 2018 Logos
Behr Paints came out with their Color of the Year as “In The Moment.” This cool, tranquil, spruce blue is inspired by nature and is a soothing, restorative coalescence of blue, gray and green. This comfortable color evokes a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our busy, always-on lives. In name and color, this hue speaks to our desire to take a break, be present and recharge. It crosses multiple design styles, ideal for working with traditional, modern, coastal and global décor.
Before we start researching your company, your individual brand, your industry, your competition, and your customers, we need to hear from you. We created something called a Creative Brief, which is a series of questions designed to make you really think about your brand, its history, what you’re currently doing, and what your future goals are. It is a great exercise for you to go through as we develop your new brand as a team. And, it gives us a lot of helpful insight into your current situation.
Some of the questions are geared toward your likes for colors, what kinds of services you offer, what makes you different from your competition, how do you want your clients to feel when interacting with your brand, and questions surrounding your marketing efforts.
Your answers to these questions are vital to your branding process. Sometimes answers from clients are small and sometimes they go on for paragraphs, but don’t worry – we like reading. The more information you give us about you and your current brand, the better we will be able to develop your new brand. Even if you think information is irrelevant, you should still include it in your Creative Brief.
We’d share our Creative Brief with you, but it’s a tidbit of a secret. So, you’ll have to become a client first in order to see it.
A little bit of creativity goes a long way.
Just how many logos do you need? One is not enough.
Ok, so what does this mean? You thought you needed just one logo. But, what happens with the magazine you’re working with needs your logo with a transparent background, or when you’re creating Instagram posts and all you want is a small logo in the bottom right corner, or when you need an all white logo because the background of the website is black? Having multiple logo variations is like having your very own branding tool box.
One example that we have encountered all too often. Someone will approach us because they need help – their original logo designer only gave them one variation of their logo. Usually it’s more horizontal and has a white background – a jpg. file. They need to order pens but the printing promotional company won’t accept their small jpg. file with the white background. They need a vector file and ultimately a transparent background so their logo is crisp without being pixelated. They can’t track down their designer, so they turn to us for help. Often times we’ll need to recreate their logo from scratch, and then we can give multiple variations of the logo that can be used on different platforms for various uses.
It can be costly when you don’t have the correct files of your logo – sometimes costing time and additional money.
In addition to the multiple logo variations, your logo, colors, fonts, and more will be explained in either your Style Sheet or your Brand Guidelines document that you will receive after your branding project is complete.
A little bit of creativity goes a long way.
What’s the difference between website platforms and how do you know which one to use? We’ll give you a tidbit of info so you’re better informed.
The term “CMS” is used when talking about the platform in which your website is managed. It means “Content Management System.” There are many types of CMS platforms, and we chose a few to use for our clients. WordPress and Wix are the main two, and we also use SquareSpace.
Take a look at our Website Packages (pricing included) that will give you the breakdown of which direction to go and why. Depending on your needs we will help your choose the best platform for your website.
Using WordPress is free! It’s also the most popular CMS out there. However, there is a learning curve to using it. Depending on what plugins you need or want, some are free and some can be purchased to be integrated with your theme. Plugins are special features that can be added into your website including a special Google map, a specific form, a Constant Contact button, and more. There are free themes and others that can be purchased. Think of themes as the shell to your website. They range from very simple with just a few design options to more complex with custom design options including video, graphic elements, and much more.
This option is best for clients who want strong SEO and may want a website design firm (like us!) to manage the website long term.
Think of this CMS as a drag and drop option. It is very easy and painless to use! The best part of Wix is that the platform keeps things easy regardless of what stage of website updates you’re in. You can create pages, add blog posts, add eCommerce products, change background colors, and resize images with just a few clicks.
Wix offers plans that include hosting, themes, and free extensions (similar to plugins). There are apps that can be purchased to add on to your website.
This option is best for clients who want to manage their website long-term.
Wix is updated automatically and comes with hosting included, but its SEO is not as strong and customization is limited.
WordPress users must find a web host and maintain updates, but SEO is very strong and customization is nearly unlimited.
The story of our life. And, yours! When you go to Whole Foods, Aldi’s, and WalMart, you know how much that green pepper, gallon of milk, and shampoo bottle will be because they list price tags. You know what you want and you know how much it costs, which makes your decision making process fairly simple. We’re all used to that.
But, when it comes to a new logo, a new website, and new business cards…where do you even look for these services, what do you like, what don’t you like, and how do you even make these ideas into tangible things? And, how much does it all cost? Your business is the most important thing to you because you rely on it and it relies on you. It has to thrive, and it has to grow. In order to do so, your brand has to be eye-catching, enticing, and make your customers trust you and want to continue doing business with you.
There are countless freelancers and companies across the globe that can create a logo, website, and business cards for you. But, will they tell your entire story? Your brand story? Sure, a freelancer may only charge you a few hundred bucks to create a logo, and another company might charge you a few more hundred to write a few blog posts, but when you piece the two together, they don’t really make sense, and then you’re at a loss as to where put them.
Let us give you a “tidbit” of advice. Don’t skimp out. Just because a lower price point may attract you at first, because hey, we all know this is an intangible good, don’t let it fool you. You will end up spending more money and more time (which equals to be even more money) in the end putting all parts and pieces together yourself.
Your visuals should be compelling and interesting, while your content should tell your company story with the correct voice, and these should all come together on various print and digital platforms at the right times presented to the right audience. Your graphics, content, and strategy should all come together one tidbit at a time. And, don’t worry – this is something we do and do well – we don’t charge more than just a tidbit.
A tidbit of creativity goes a long way.
Let’s get straight to the point with this topic. It’s not rocket science, but it can feel that way. You’re a real estate agent. You work under a large company – maybe it’s a franchise – who gives you a lot of support under their own brand. So, you’re automatically branded as an agent with a corporate identity. But, is that enough?
Of course, clients are now more inclined to use you because you are backed by a great support system and a name that’s been around for years. But, what makes you, as their agent, different and most importantly, what makes you valuable to your clients? What sets you apart?
This is your brand, and if you can’t answer that last question, then maybe you need to step back, and take some time to establish who you are and why clients would choose you from your competitor. Telling your clients and potential clients what makes you different is absolutely necessary. After all, there are over 6,500 real estate agents in Western Pennsylvania alone. That’s a pretty saturated market.
So, what sets you apart? Is it that you’ve been in the industry for 20 years, you have an established name for yourself in the region and have the connections to make fast sales? Or, is it that you are new, young and hip in the industry and are privy to the latest technology to help the first-time home buyers? There is no wrong answer – that’s the beauty of branding.
Branding yourself as an agent simply means that you are pulling out your strengths and telling your customers a compelling story in order to get your target audience to do something – to contact you. In order to tell your story, the delicate balance of what platforms to use to tell your unique story and when to do so is formula that any branding scientists can create.
How? It’s not rocket science, but it can be a daunting task. It just takes time and motivation. And, a tidbit of creativity. We can help.
A tidbit of creativity goes a long way. Especially with your real estate brand!
Branding is now an essential part of any business – not just for the marketing team. Branding involves marketing, HR, compliance, finance, and all parts of any organization. Internal documents, the website, apparel, outdoor signage, social media, and the telephone greeting all need to follow brand standards including the brand voice and visuals. Marketing teams across the world are now more involved than ever making sure that the brand is well represented not just for customers but for employees as well.
Branding hasn’t always been so prevalent in organizations. As the digital world has exploded over the last 30 years, communication across multiple platforms also has increased at a rapid speed. Branding was introduced as a means to keep all messages looking and sounding the same. This widely popular term, “branding” hasn’t always been around. What? Yes, it’s true. Branding, in the way we’re talking, hasn’t always existed. Except, of course, on the rear ends of cattle.
So when was this new age “branding” invented?
“Incredibly, until the end of the 80s the word “brand” was only in very limited use and the word branding didn’t exist at all until I coined it when I published my first ever book on the subject in 1985, Branding: A key marketing tool.”
These are the words from the famous John Murphy, the man who essentially invented branding as we know it today. His philosophy is simple. Keep it simple. Branding can easily get mixed into the clutter of messaging, visuals, and overall marketing clutter. But, as John states, a brand is a product, service, or company that is different than all the rest.
Branding a cow made them the same yet different. Branding a product or a company is just the same. But, now instead of just one farmer branding 50 cows with one (let’s call it a) logo there are thousands of people responsible for upholding one organization’s brand through thousands of spoken, written, designed, printed, digital touch points. There is no doubt that branding can get convoluted.
The 20 most simple U.S. brands in 2017 – some are expected and some aren’t. They are intuitive and easy to understand. In order from #1: Google, Netflix, Zappos.com, Amazon, Amazon Prime, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Pandora, SUBWAY, KFC, USPS, Costco, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Southwest Airlines, Subaru, IKEA, Kroger, Publix.
There is no one answer to keeping a brand simple. There is, however, the one fundamental piece of branding that John Murphy developed that are left to all of us customers, business owners, and marketers to decipher how we see fit. Simplicity. Know the business, the competition, the product, and most importantly what the client wants. Create simple, unique, and compelling messaging and visuals on the right platforms at the right time.
“On its own, a brand can never guarantee business success; conversely, without a brand, business success may prove impossible.”