Tag: Creative

Creating Your Logo

It’s no secret that there are a number of affordable (i.e. $200 or less) online services and options that you could use to design and create a logo (or entire brand package for that matter).

But rather than wasting your time trying to justify a $2,400+ price tag by breaking down the entire planning/design process to you –  I’d like to instead take a moment to quickly highlight two main areas, along with a few important items that you should focus on when creating a logo; regardless if you are working with a Professional Designer, Agency or Design App.

1. The Design Brief

No matter who’s designing your logo, first and foremost, you should always start with a basic design brief or brand style guide. While it doesn’t need to be a long or elaborate document, it does need to address the following:
  • Name of Company
  • Products/Services
  • Competitors (optional)
  • Target Market
  • Values
  • Vision

Example: Green Apron HI Design Brief

To give you an idea of how this is put into practice when creating a logo, here is a rough outline of the design brief, created and used for Green Apron HI’s logo design.
  • Name: Green Apron HI
  • Product/Services: Heart healthy catering + meal delivery services
  • Target Market: Business Professionals in the Downtown Area of Honolulu
  • Values: Clean eating, sustainability, “support local”
  • Vision: “Become the premiere plant based delivery meal service and caterer on Oahu”

2. Your Brand Mark

When creating a logo design always remember to:
  • Use your Design Brief. From your color choices to font selection, everything contained in your logo should reflect the ideas and values found in your design brief/brand style
  • Keep it simple.  Remember: logos are symbols, not illustrations. And while there are definitely exceptions to the rule, it’s important you don’t overcomplicate your brand’s message with a bunch of graphic images or decorative font styles.
  • Think outside the box. Your brand should be both special and unique – avoid using the same generic stock graphics and imagery as your competitors.

Tips:

  • Consider a variety of options. Whether you are crowd sourcing, commissioning or creating the design yourself, it is important to get as many ideas down on paper – even if 99% of them absolutely suck.
  • Create a color palette. It’s important that the colors you choose not only reflect and reinforce your brand’s message, but also don’t overwhelm the design itself. Once again, keep it simple and try your best to contain your palette to 4 colors or less.
  • Choose your fonts wisely. Last but not least, make sure that the fonts you choose not only reflect your brand’s message, but are also able to be read at a quick glance – in other words: Avoid using calligraphy, scripts and other highly decorative typefaces.
If you are interested in seeing how these guidelines were applied to Green Apron HI’s logo design, you can read more about the design process here.

Have questions or need help creating a brand style or identity for your business? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for your business today!

The Art Of Minimalism

The irony of living in a tech filled world is: The more we try to simplify our lives through technology, the more complicated and convoluted it seems to become.

In the early 1900’s German Designer, Lucian Bernhard developed the idea of Sachplakat (aka minimalist poster style). This deliberate move away from the artistic complexity of Art Nouveau was revolutionary to say the least, and was the precursor to Apple’s minimalistic branding and ad campaigns.

While there are those who still favor complex designs; with today’s excess of media options and noise from social media, whether they like it or not, today’s Designers and Marketers have been forced to simplify and declutter the way they communicate with their audiences.

In other words: Even though you might be paying upwards of $1,000 for an ad space, you don’t have to showcase every single one of your products or menu items, let alone write an entire essay about them  – because the truth is, no one’s going to read it anyway.

Stop trying to showcase all of your services and products and just remember to Keep It Simple Stupid!

Spend your time picking out the single most important thing you want people to know about you and/or your businesses/brand, then find ways to communicate that message in 10 words or less.

This way, whether or not a person spends 3 seconds or 5 minutes looking at your content, at least you know they got your message loud and clear.

Need help optimizing your brand and marketing designs? We’d love to help. Contact us for a free design consultation today.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Marketing is made up of a series of assumptions: What you assume people want, why the want it and what (you assume) will make them buy it.  The thing with assumptions, though, is that they are totally subjective and often times wrong.

Even the best marketers will tell you that their brilliant ideas and assumptions don’t always turn out the way they expected and sometimes, it is necessary to either revamp or discontinue the failing campaign. Change is never easy, especially when it requires giving up on an idea/project that we are emotionally and financially invested in; but the thing is, in order to succeed, you need to be willing and able to let what isn’t working for you go…

To illustrate this point, here is a case study on one of our failed projects:

The Project

Your Story Hawaii was a project I came up with that was meant to give us the opportunity to not only connect with, but also support and promote the local businesses community of Hawaii by telling the story of the amazing business owners & families behind it.

Based upon the idea that traditional methods of communication such as word of mouth marketing were taking a backseat in today’s tech savvy society; the goal of the project was to use social media as a means to tell the story of Hawaii’s older small business owners – giving them the opportunity to attract and (re)connect with a younger millennial audience.

The Assumption

Using their experiences and stories as a way to personally engage and connect with their customers – a major part of the project was the opportunity to win a free video promotion, as determined by the local community via social media.

After running the idea by a number of different colleagues and business owners, I was absolutely convinced that my assumption was solid and the opportunity to receive this type of marketing promotion would be a no brainer for any business owner.

Needless to say, the videos were key; not only because they required a significant time and monetary investment on my part, but also because they were literally THE cornerstone of the entire project.

The Problems

While video content and influencer marketing are now at the top of every marketer and business owner’s mind, at the time I think I was a bit ahead of the curve (at least here in Hawaii).

As awesome as the project and my assumptions sounded on paper, shortly after shooting our first video and launching the project online, I began to notice the following problems:

  1. My target audience was not online – While I knew that not every business owner in Hawaii would be on Facebook or Instagram, I did assume that at least some of them – or at least their family members – would be. Upon reviewing the analytics, however, I noticed that I was completely missing the mark in terms of connecting with veteran business owners. Something else that should have at least been considered, was the fact that the majority of business owners who did have an online business presence were either not actively online or weren’t personally managing their social media accounts at all.
  2. Failure to address a need – I still haven’t quite figured out the actual problem to this one – and maybe this plays into what’s known as “Social Credibility,” but for one reason or another, the business owners that I was reaching and corresponding with, were either too busy or weren’t really interested in receiving any type of free promotion; which led to the next problem….
  3. Lack of engagement – As mentioned before, I had assumed that the opportunity for free promotion, along with the chance to receive a free promo video – with the only requirement being to contribute a story – would be a no brainer for any business owner…But while everyone I pitched the project to seemed very excited and expressed great interest in the idea, that was pretty much as far as I got.
  4. Timing – During one of our planning sessions, we decided that we’d aim for the first video to be released at the beginning of 2016. This meant shooting and launching the project around November, which in hindsight was a pretty tight timeline. I can also admit that launching the project during the holidays was another mistake on my part. Not only were potential participants tied up with family and holiday events, but also those working on and helping out with the project.
  5. No foreseeable ROI – While my first priority was to help local businesses, I’d be lying to say that my plan was to spend all of my money giving away free advertising. The long term goal was to ultimately use the project as a way to connect and engage directly with small business owners, some of which we could eventually convert into clients. The lack of response and participation, however, forced me to sit down and decide how much time and money I actually wanted to personally invest in this project without any foreseeable monetary return.

The Conclusion

After a lot of careful consideration and weighing all of my options – many of which meant investing more money on advertising and PR for the project than I could personally afford at the time – I came to the conclusion that I just did not have the time or resources to keep this open ended marketing venture going.

It was then that I decided to place the project on indefinite hiatus, focussing my time and energy on things that would still allow me to not only help business owners, but turn a profit as well.

Moving Forward

Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t. – Thomas Edison

The secret to dealing with failure is to understand what you did wrong, learn from your mistakes and then continue moving forward. While the project itself was far from successful, I can’t even describe how extremely proud I am of how amazing the video turned out, and would like to especially thank Pono Grace for his awesome video and production work.

I’m also very happy to have been able to provide our client Kamala Skipper, owner of Kamala Wellness Company, an amazing marketing piece to help promote her business. – jz