December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The holidays are kicking into gear, and our shop is always open! Please feel free to share with friends interested in something special, good for mind and soul, priced under $25 and created from the heart. ♥
September 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
EBay got a new doo.
It’s always interesting when ia big name company decides to revamp their look, which most noticeably translates to changing their logo.
Sometimes it’s well worth it, sometimes a pointless gesture. Either way, it can be a tricky line to cross, because for good, bad or ugly, there’s a great amount of already established brand recognition involved ~ which means that over time, people, being emotional creatures, have an ingrained response invested, and there’s a risk of upsetting that apple cart. Generally speaking, people don’t like change. They like familiar.
So the trick becomes creating a design that’s new, fresh and inviting while maintaining the “we’re still you’re old friend” feeling that often takes years, sometimes decades, to instill.
So how does eBay’s change measure up? Personally, I think they did a good job. Executionally there’s a glitch or two (noting in particular the imprecise overlap of the e/b), but overall, even without the original quirkiness, it still feels ebay-ish ~ just more representative of their larger prowess (they aren’t the crazy little start-up they once were) and definitely more contemporary.
I saw a thread where a lot of designers (one assumes) commented negatively about the re-design, citing “boring” and “safe” among other complaints. I dunno ~ maybe, like me, they think “I could have done that, and I could have done it better”, so there could be a hint of competitive resentment ~ but for whatever reason, I think they were too critical (this from someone who’s VERY critical!). And, in the end, as I’ve said in other posts, this kind of change won’t leave loyal followers hitching a ride elsewhere.
It’s a nice change, refreshing. In my many years of experience I’ve learned that solid, effective creativity doesn’t necessarily mean over the top “wowing” them with how clever you are.
Could this have been more “creative”? Sure. Did they lose the “fun factor”? Maybe a little. But I like the simplicity. I also like that it’s more sophisticated than it was before ~ after all, the company itself certainly is ~ yet it still feels friendly.
Now it’s up to the business and its’ services to do the rest of the talking.
February 28, 2012 § 5 Comments
Using the same businesses from “Six Businesses, Six Logos” (with one substitution), here’s how their identities start to play themselves out in a practical format.
Although limited by fitting the amount of information any given client feels is necessary into a relatively small space, you can have a lot of fun with business cards, especially if you’ve designed a logo that allows you to pull from various elements. The key here is to not only support the brand identity through consistent logo use, but to expand upon it by appropriately enhancing the look and the feel. The canvas is small, but the impact doesn’t have to be.
February 26, 2012 § 4 Comments
Someone recently asked me, “How do you create a logo? Where do you start?”
I didn’t have a ready answer, except that it just sort of happens ~ ideas, concepts, visuals come to mind, which then evolve, and then get tweaked into a finished product. And while this is the truth of it, I’m sure it was highly useless to the person asking the question, especially the part where it “just sort of happens”.
If I were to try again, I’d say that the “just happening” probably comes from many years of what I’ll call research. It’s being in a business where you’re constantly aware of branding, you’re using different fonts and font combinations on a daily basis, working with shapes and colors and sizes and revolving trends. So that when you sit down to “create”, there’s all this history at your disposal. A muscle that’s been exercised regularly. You know where you can bend and stretch the limits, and you know ~ both intuitively and figuratively ~ what won’t work.
With that in mind, I have 4 rules I’ve always followed when creating a logo:
1.) Clear the head.
3.) Find emotional touchpoints and discern the personality of the business.
4.) Distill to its simplest form.
Of course within the process there’s the wonderfully muddy area where creativity swirls. Marrying concepts and tastes, the play of fonts, and the interweaving of symbols and shapes to give a visual voice to the intent of the logo: which is to be distinctive, memorable and clean, ready to leave a solid, ever-present, impression.
Here are 6 recent logos from 6 different businesses: A Non-Profit Foundation for Special Forces families, Landscaping, Real Estate Staging, E-Learning, Speech & Presentation Coaching, and Osteopathy. (I might mention that most of these presented the additional challenge of being particularly long names, which can be trickier when it comes to applying them… more on that next.)
October 19, 2011 § Leave a Comment
June 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
Branding. No, not the hot iron kind on an animal’s behind (ouch! ~ do they still do that?), but marketing’s buzz-word of buzz-words.
As with many notions that take the spotlight ~ often becoming overused, diffused and diluted ~ one has to question it at some point. It’s never wise to take popular culture at face value, or hear a fancy phrase and automatically buy in. To borrow from the now old-fashioned new-age-speak, first it has to “resonate”. If it resonates, I’ll pay attention.
So, what IS the big deal about branding?
First of all, your brand is what I like to call your visual voice. It’s what you bring to market over and over and over. It’s how you’re identified, and yes, judged. It can, in effect, be the life or death of your business.
If you read “What’s the Big Deal About Branding? (part one)”, you got some of my thoughts on why it’s important. Namely, the pull and power of consistency and integrity ~ two key qualities that provide a valuable backdrop, a kind of moral yardstick for your business, while serving as a clear window for your audience to understand what you’re about.
Take a red target image for example. “Target” stores easily come to mind. It’s a consistent, steady symbol – exhibiting visual integrity. And that’s very good.
But take it a step further. If your experience at Target is repeatedly a good one, they’ve just about buttoned up the integrity piece, because you, the customer, feels confident, “safe and secure”. Trust has been earned; integrity deepens.
There are hundreds of similar examples. Like Mercedes, Nike, The Morton’s Salt girl. They’re consistent, identifiable, they stand for something, and the customer knows what that something is … and … there is trust.
So here’s the thing: imagery and words alone do not make a brand “work” … Three fundamental things feed into your success: your product, your service and your brand. One without the other will leave things flat (or send them spinning out of control) ~ but in tandem, goals are attainable. Basically:
- If you’ve got a great product, but poor service, expect trouble.
- With great service, but a bad product, good intentions won’t matter.
- If you’ve got a great branding scheme, but a poor product or poor service, people are going to catch on – and move on.
- A great product and great service, but a mixed-up brand message, creates confusion. Confusion is loss.
But when all three elements come together, singing the same song, in harmony, you’ve got strong branding and a heck of a better chance at success.
The wrapping on the package is that all three ~ product, service and “brand” (your visual voice) ~ are your branding, and any business, marketer or designer worth their weight should consider all three in brand development. Ask the questions to find the commonality. Keep those 3 elements consistent, and integrity follows. And where integrity lives, people want to hang around.
Next up: Authenticity. Stay tuned.