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Branding &
Graphic Design

step 1 : know your brand

The role of a logo is very important in the representation of a business; however its specific function is often misunderstood.

A logo is comprised of three main segments:

  • Colours
  • Fonts
  • Icons/symbols

These three components work together to convey a consistent message to your consumer that helps to define and support your brand. Whether you are creating a brand new logo concept, refreshing an existing logo or solidifying the three afore-mentioned components of your current logo, the key objective during this stage is to have a clear understanding of your exact corporate colours/pantones, your specific corporate fonts, a confirmed use of your business name and a proper and versatile file format that allows you to use your logo in all applicable situations.

 

Logo vs Branding

A common misconception about logos is that they should encompass everything that you want your customers to know about your business. A logo’s purpose is for continuity across all forms of branding – in use of colour, fonts and icons. That’s all.

Branding is the all-encompassing marketing plan. Your brand is the feeling your customers have when they think of you; it’s not what you say it is, but what they say it is. It includes company identity tools such as taglines, mission statements, photographs and imagery. 


Customer types:

 

  1. New logo design

Ideally, your company logo enhances potential customer’s crucial first impression of your business. A good logo can build loyalty between your business and your customers and provide the professional look of an established enterprise. With the proper design skills and creativity, your logo can quickly and graphically express many positive attributes of your business. It is important to keep in mind that the purpose of your logo is to connect and appeal to your customer, as opposed to reflecting your personal taste. Considering your target customer demographic is key to creating a compelling logo.

  

  1. Logo refresh

If you have an established logo that has represented your business for a long period of time, you may be concerned that changing it could affect the brand recognition and loyalty that you have already established. Quite the opposite is true. Refreshing your logo shows another generation of success, and demonstrates stability and growth. You can improve, modernize and enhance your logo and branding without straying from your roots.

   

  1. Logo file creation / spec sheet

If you already have an existing logo that you are satisfied with, you may just need to upgrade your logo to proper vector format.

Vector graphics allow a design to be infinitely scaled to any size without losing any quality, whereas raster images that are made up of pixels (such as a photo) will distort and become blurred when the size is altered. A vector logo file can be used for any purpose, whether it’s for tiny use on a receipt, or as a huge vinyl banner on the side of a building.

We will render various sizes of JPEG and/or PNG images for your everyday use, and supply the vector file for professional use.

 

How Do I know if I need a Logo/Brand Refresh?

New businesses often exhaust their financial resources paying for equipment, employees, supplies and everything else need to get up and running. Brand sometimes becomes an afterthought — when the budget is stretched thin. So, maybe the sign company does a quick attempt at a logo. Or maybe it’s the silkscreen company that is making up your uniforms, the local printer that is printing your business cards — or your nephew who is good at using Photoshop.

Then the design becomes the foundation of your brand. You didn’t necessarily plan it that way; it just kind of evolved into what it is today. But as you’re trying to grow your business and take it to the next level, your brand could be holding you back. How do you know when it’s time to step up your image, and take a fresh look at your brand and what it says about your company?

Your brand is based on obvious clipart.

Many companies use common clip-art elements, such as a paintbrush and ladder for a housepainter, or a light bulb for an electrician. They have no chance of being unique. For a small business, good branding should never fit in; it should stand out and be unique. Keep in mind that if your logo includes clip art, your logo cannot be trademarked. That means any other company can use the same design.

Your brand makes no “promise.”

Good branding should tell viewers something about the company before they actually interact with the company. It should leave them with a positive impression of the business.

Does your brand communicate concepts such as reputability, professionalism, and trustworthiness? Does it convey anything at all? Or worse, does it broadcast a tired, neglected image that suggests you may not be in business next year?

Your logo uses photos.

Brands based around photos are awkward, and generally represent an amateur approach. You don’t see large companies using photos in their logos, and with good reason. Such a logo can’t be replicated across mediums and generally does not make for a memorable image. Photos also tend to look dated very quickly. Icons and simple graphics work better as they’re able to be reproduced across multiple media, whether on a truck, t-shirt, or website.

Your brand is inconsistently implemented across mediums.

When you look across all of your marketing efforts, are they clearly consistent in presenting your brand? At a quick glance, do all of your materials have that “branded” look that makes people see the connection in your advertising? If your marketing materials don’t share a common denominator, it’s a good time to examine your brand architecture and think about rebranding from scratch.

Your branding doesn’t represent you.

Your business has probably grown and evolved over the years. Maybe even your services or products have evolved and changed. So has your brand kept up with these changes?

Many businesses have outgrown their brand without realizing it. Maybe it was never good to begin with. But now the business is growing, they’re trying to attract better clients, and they just don’t quite look the part. For these businesses, brand identity is stopping them from achieving full potential.

When a brand ceases to represent you, or to speak to your target audience in a meaningful way, it’s time to give serious consideration to a fresh start.

 

How We Get It Together For You

Many growing small businesses have never been given any type of brand identity guidebook or standard to illustrate how their brand should be integrated across various media. When we develop your marketing tools, we talk to you about all the various ways your brand can be used, and more importantly, how it cannot (or should not) be used.

Getting all of your marketing tools developed in one place isn’t just convenient, but also prevents your brand being interpreted differently by various different vendors. Maybe the ad artist creates an ad with a different font than the sign maker, and then decides to change the font for your tagline. Then one of your employees decides that the font for your company would look better another way. You get the picture.

Over a period of time, inconsistencies dilute your brand. If you have a single-source advertising agency that coordinates all of your marketing, this should never happen. We are essentially the gatekeeper of your brand, and will always ensure that a consistent and recognizable representation of your business is demonstrated.

 

Getting a Fresh Start

For most small businesses, it is nearly impossible to simply erase all uses of a previous brand and use the new branding all at once. Not only are the logistics challenging, but it’s not often financially prudent to do a clean-slate rollout of your new brand. Typically, too many things use your old brand, and removing them all at once isn’t always possible. We generally recommend that you roll out a new brand as things need to be updated or new equipment is purchased. Things like business cards, websites, and uniforms are easier to change and represent the more obvious touch-points for your consumers. Those things should be updated first.