Subscribe

Archive for the Graphic Design Category

Logo Design In 5,000 Easy Steps

By Guest Blogger Belinda Pyle – www.problemsbythedozen.com

My wonderfully gifted writer friend is at it again. She’s graciously prepared another blog post for me about her adventures in logo design. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! – Kelly

As per my last blog post, How My Technological Dream Turned into a Nightmare, you now know that Kelly saved my virtual butt. Whew. So, we got the template chosen but then, it was time to look at a logo.

Choosing a logo for a small to medium-sized business like mine is challenging. Often, the founder is closely tied to the company and its product or service so this leads to all sorts of interesting questions. In my case, I was the primary product and writing was my service. Here are a few of the questions that you may also struggle with:

#1 –     What is the lifespan of the logo?

Do you expect this to be a long-term company? Will you hand it over to your grandkids as you head for beaches in a warmer climate? Or, is this your starter company that you know will either be short-term or will eventually evolve into another entity?

If it is long-term, you need help. The logo is the beginning and end of your branding and if you get this right, everything else flows much smoother. A long-term logo means that you absolutely must be completely in love with the logo. So much so that: it has its own room in your home; you tuck it into bed with a kiss each night; and you pull it out of your wallet to show pictures of it to people you have just met. Yep. You just love it that much.

If it is short-term, there are many, many sites that have stock photos. One of my favourites is 123rf and Kelly’s is iStockphoto.  Neither is the cheapest out there, but I always find what I’m looking for on 123rf and Kelly swears by iStockphoto.

#2 –     Which is more important the person or the product?

As a writer, I figured that this was an easy one. My writing was the product. Therefore, I needed to focus on it. Accordingly, I began brainstorming logo ideas and spending hours doing research. I was ready for the next step!

#3 –     What is memorable about your product/service?

This was where the fun and the not-so-much-fun began. Kelly and I were brainstorming and we came up with the idea of a chameleon to represent my ability to change my writing depending upon the audience (I know, brilliant wasn’t it!) I got really excited and the only one who does “excited” better than me is a five-year old on Halloween night–after he has tasted all of his candy.

This idea quickly got out of control and here’s how:

    1. krisdog130100042-[Converted]Found amazing picture on Internet. Fell in love with it.
    2. Showed picture to Kelly who suggested I search for a stock photo to save money on having it hand drawn.
    3. I wanted an “original” so I turned up my nose and asked a friend’s amazingly gifted son to turn it into a cartoon (Kelly has a designer on her team, but I decided to give the business to my young friend since Kelly and I are working on other things together).
    4. Went to pet stores looking to buy a chameleon as my mascot. Really. I did.
    5. After a few back and forth bounces with my young friend, I realized that I was not communicating my vision well. Started flipping through stock photos to give him an idea and found a perfect, already completed chameleon logo image.
    6. Paid $100 for stock photo including all electronic and print rights.Yes Kelly, this is where you say, “I told you so.” (Note from Kelly: I would never say I told you so…to your face ;))
    7. Realized that my excitement had led me down the wrong road. I am the company, not a chameleon.

Conclusion? I wasted $100 and a lot of time because I did not do my homework on question #2. (Kelly: Although I did get a really great image for this blog post – he’s really a lovely little chameleon!)

Back to Question #2

So, here I am, back at this question and finally have the real answer. I am more important than my product. Why? Because this is for the long-term: the type of writing I do may change but I will always be here.

So, bye, bye $100.

Bye, bye, chameleon.

Kelly, better warm up your computer because I am finally ready to listen to your logo advice.

Marketing Visuals: You Really Do Need Them

I had an odd experience the other day that prompted me to do a little research. I joined a group on Facebook and was reading the rules of the group which basically said that members were able to post links to their business’ Facebook pages and websites, but they were not to post photos and in fact, they were to erase the thumbnails that are automatically generated when you post links on Facebook. The reasoning for this according to the site’s admin, is that people would be less likely to click the link if there were photos there distracting them. Being a designer, you can rest assured, I couldn’t disagree more strongly with this assertion, which has absolutely no basis in fact.

 

To see just how wrong this view is one need only look at the latest social media craze, Pinterest. Pinterest is basically an online pin-board; you like an image and you pin it to your board (with credit to the author), which in turn means you’ve shared it with your followers. It’s a great way to share your interests, things that you find cool, or funny and/or your products if you are a business owner. If you haven’t heard what all of the fuss is about, then head over to Pinterest (after you’re finished reading this post of course!) and I dare you not to become addicted. That site alone is a perfect demonstration of the power of using effective good visuals. And, if I’m going to get very picky, I doubt Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg do anything for kicks; when they added automatic thumbnail creation, I’m fairly certain they had good reason for it.

Still not convinced? Fine, here are some hard facts: A study conducted by the Poynter Institute comparing the way that people read news in print and online found that:

  • Alternative story forms (including Q&As, timelines, lists and fact boxes) helped readers remember facts presented to them in a test of six different prototype designs of one story;
  • Alternative story forms also drew a higher amount of visual attention, compared to regular text in print;
  • Short text, especially with visual elements, is accessible and attractive to readers.

The Poynter Institute 

When I design a website I know that certain things will be more visually appealing than others. What is 100% not visually appealing is a website that has a ton of text and no eye candy. People have short attention spans, especially when browsing the web. If they don’t find something visually appealing they are more likely to click away and leave the page, or the site altogether.

A good graphic can provide information quickly and easily and is usually more memorable than mountains of text. They can allow website visitors to see at a glance what your blog post, website, article, etc. is all about. It can grab the reader’s attention, reel them in and entice them to read your content. Without great graphics, the web would be a dreadfully boring, colourless place. Luckily for us, most people see the value fantastic graphics bring to their website and their social media profiles.

If you’d like to learn more about how great marketing visuals can help you keep your website visitors engaged, be sure to pick-up our free 5 day marketing visuals e-course.