Tag Archives: creative
At Creative Fire, we fully understand how important it is for you and your business to make a profit. In order to ensure you keep your finances looking healthy, you will obviously aim to minimise your expenses. Sadly it is all too common for the skimping to start with your branding and marketing.
Great design requires knowledge, skill and experience
It’s all too easy to have a go yourself. It’s possible to fashion a ‘logo’ in almost any software. Even MS Word has a WordArt facility which does exactly what it says. Adequate for some primary school coursework (though I would personally avoid it myself) but unsuitable for much more than that. So what’s the alternative if you’re not a designer?
You may have heard of a website called Fiverr; a place where you can get a logo, animation or unbelievably a website for as little as $5 (£3.60).
Seems too good to be true? Well, yes and no. You may get lucky and find someone who knows their way around Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop but they won’t know anything about your brand and all the intricate details that help to formulate it. It’s like meeting a stranger in a bar and asking them to look after your bag whilst you go to the toilet; it’s dangerous territory. Sure, your initial investment is minimal but do you really want to take that risk and lose precious time, ending up with a logo that doesn’t connect to the rest of your company’s identity?
It’s encouraging to see someone wanting to get involved with design. It’s pretty easy to get ahold of cutting edge graphics software these days. Many people are gifted with artistic flare and vision, but on that basis alone, does that mean they should design your logo? Many aspects need consideration during the design process such as your company values, your target market and your competition and without substantial research, your brand identity is simply going to come up short.
Along with this, it’s also important to consider that design has its limitations. Graphic designers understand the constraints and pressures that clients are put under to deliver. In the design world we are often asked two questions; “when will it be completed” and “how much is it going to cost me”. The reality is, as you are undoubtedly expected to deliver an outstanding piece of design and therefore add this criteria to the equation, it is impossible to be a combination of all three.
Great design takes time, planning and a budget
With investment in time and planning, you benefit from the application of the latest techniques and fine tuning. With a reasonable budget, the best ideas can be explored. But if you are really looking for something with brand power to help do the selling for you, you need to bring all of this together.
There are many small details a graphic designer has to know about, which when combined, can help create a strong logo for your brand. But neglect them and you can end up with the very opposite.
At Creative Fire, we identify the fact that giving your project some rigid structure will help us to deliver as efficiently as possible and for you to achieve the best possible result.
If an initial brief forms the foundations of a project, then the research, design, refinement and presentation is the structure that sits on top of this.
Every assignment we work on is a meticulously thought out process that involves many phases to ensure your visions are being realised and to give you confidence that you are getting excellent value for money.
A solid graphic design process is integral to ensure the needs of the client are met
Creative Brief: Understanding your needs, goals, mission & audience is what will elevate your design to the next level. The creative brief questions will help us to harmonise for what you want & need out of the results of the project. We schedule milestones to ensure that your deadlines are met.
Research: We now utilise what we’ve obtained from the creative brief by doing further research. We brainstorm, create mood boards and a brand strategy. We take the time to fully understand your business and goals whilst ensuring that we’re on the same wavelength. In turn, this should help to show that we make the best, most strategic decisions to reach your goals.
Concept Design: When we initially start developing ideas for your project, we like to strip back to simplicity by sketching ideas on paper. We find that this method help to keep our creative juices flowing and helps to ensure that each concept we create has it’s own bespoke personality. By keeping things organic at this stage, it also allows us to focus more on the idea and less on the refined detail.
Refinement: Once we are happy with the concepts we have sketched, it’s time to bring them to life. From the humble piece of paper that we create our sketches on, we take this and digitize them on screen. At this point, there is much focus on the finer detail to give a realistic impression for how the final piece will appear.
Concept Presentation: Following refinement, we have concepts that we are ready to share with you. Opportunity is taken to produce mockups of how your design could appear in its intended setting. We also help you to understand our decisions by including important themes from the initial creative brief.
Feedback: We consolidate all of your requested changes whilst considering the design and your specific goals. We present our ideas with the intended results to help you to understand our thought process.
Final Delivery: Our end goal is to leave you with a design which excites you; a design that you can be proud to associate with your product or service. As our client, we want you to feel valued by providing you with an awesome experience. We’ll supply all the assets you require going forward, filling you with confidence that your design will do more than simply serve its purpose.
So, you have a brand new, shiny logo. You’ve chosen a font to compliment said logo. You’ve set your brand voice. You’ve nailed your colour palette. Good to go right? Not quite!
Now it’s time to bring it all together in the form of your brand bible. This can be in printed form or digital form, or better still, both. But it must consist of a clear and concise breakdown of how you want your brand elements to be used and NOT used.
Why do you need brand guidelines?
Brand Guidelines are essentially built as a rule book for anyone associated with using your brand; company wide employees, suppliers, clients, etc. They ensure that whoever has access to your brand elements is maintaining consistency in their usage with material that has previously been produced.
They are generally created after you have established a logo, chosen fonts, a colour palette, brand voice and any other brand elements that you deem necessary to ensure everybody plays by the rules. They also establish how the different elements of your brand work together to form your brand identity.
Without these guidelines, it’s nearly impossible to keep your branding consistent and with inconsistency, you can’t establish an identity. But with a consistent brand, comes power and recognition as your consumers can easily identify who you are. Strong and consistent branding helps clarify what your business stands for, allowing you to communicate your purpose, your personality, and your promises. This, in turn helps to give consumers confidence in you brand.
What do brand guidelines consist of?
As every brand is unique, the elements included in your brand guidelines will appear different to another brand’s guidelines. In one industry, the set brand voice will be more stringent whereas in another, it maybe the usage of colour. However, whatever the priority, there are essential elements which should always be present:
- The different versions of your logo design and how they are to be used.
- The colour palette that your brand uses.
- The different typography associated with your brand including the various typefaces and families.
Considerations for guidelines
Who are the guidelines for?
Keep it simple
Design the guidelines in your brand style
Show clear examples of your brand in use
Keep track of where your brand is used
Make your materials available
Educate your staff
Introduce a sign-off process
Review your guidelines regularly
If you’re ready to create your brand identity guidelines, then you need a strategic marketing team to help you define your brand’s elements and the best uses for them.
Contact Creative Fire for more information. on how we can generate an effective, powerful and engaging brand for you.
Effective marketing for your business is essential in order for you to make it succeed. At the heart of it should be your brand; without one, it will struggle to compete and reach its full potential. Why is this? Well, for a business to meet the requirements of its clients, it is critical that you fully identify and understand their needs. The seedling of your brand will be your logo but to fully realise the identity of your business, you have to go far beyond this.
By incorporating all aspects of your business into your brand, you are providing your customers with an experience.
The key benefits of having brand power
• promotes recognition
• sets you apart from the competition
• tells people about your business DNA
• generates referrals
• helps customers to know what to expect
• represents you and your promise to your customer
• helps you create clarity and stay focused
• helps you connect with your customers emotionally
• provides your business value
• helps you build trust
• can boost employee pride and satisfaction
• can help to build trust in your marketplace
• supports your advertising efforts
• it is the best strategy to attract top quality talent
A successful brand will use a unique set of values to help drive a successful business strategy. We call these ‘The 10 commandments for effective branding’. The consideration of all 10 are crucial if you are going to convince consumers to choose your brand over your competitors. But with the correct measure, over time they will develop a trusting relationship with you are what your product has to offer.
The 10 commandments for effective branding
Unify: Branding links your name, logo, online presence, product/service and appeal to the masses. Ensuring that all of it is consistent is key. Not only will it brings a united and clear message to your customers but it will also demonstrate how methodical and concise your services are.
Value: A brand is an asset. What you present to the public is a vast amount of your business. It holds just as much value as revenue and sales. A lot is at stake; finances, creativity and time is on the line. Branding will make the difference between revenue and debt.
Attract: A brand counts for nothing unless it persuades potential clients to work with you in the first place. Everything from the visual appeal of your logo to the experience you provide them throughout your brand is vital. If the message is effective and sufficient to attract them in, it can make all the difference to your business revenue.
Deliver: Branding is a proclamation. You hereby state that you will deliver on your promises and claims the company makes. Everything the company stands for should be spread throughout the organisation too. Otherwise the company will be disconnected and customers will be confused and grow distant. If you are not willing to make promises you can’t keep, don’t state it on your brand.
Honesty: Branding gives companies a chance to let customers see the business for who we really are. This is the chance to be honest and open about what this company represents. The look, feel and message conveyed will separate you from the pack.
Preference: People are more attached to companies with a brand than companies that doesn’t. Brands create a bond filled with good memories and good times, and customers will never forget it. That connection can’t be strategised; it just happens.
Loyalty: A good branding will create customer loyalty. Loyal customers will continue to support you in good and bad times. They will spread a positive message to people they know. Their influence will introduce new people to your company.
Trust: As customers get to know your business they will begin to trust you.
In order to build trust you must give customers a reason to test you out.
The branding must be spot on as the first customers will determine how many more (or less) you will receive. Exceptional customer service, experience with the product/services and positive online communication on social networks will keep them coming back for more.
Extend: Branding can reach so many people in so many outlets. It reaches people offline, online, mobile and niche markets. It reaches the many products and services you currently sell and plan to sell in the future.
Protect: Branding protects you from competitors who want your success. Without it they will have no problem making copycats of what made you popular and claim it for themselves. They can carry the same or similar products but they won’t be able to take your style and originality away.
In order to maintain this fulfilment of trust, you must ensure that you keep on top of your reputation by meeting your clients’ expectations. So, regularly reviewing your brand identity and ensuring it continues to run parallel to the product or service that you offer is essential.
Creative Fire is the re-incarnation of BenBen Design which was founded in March 2012 by Julie Francis. Creative Fire was launched with a simple philosophy; to provide our customers with a clear and straightforward user experience through streamlining the design process. By speaking directly to your creative partner from initial brief through to the completion of your project, not only do we save you time by removing unnecessary stages but it’s also extremely cost effective too because our operating model means you aren’t paying for anything more than you need. Our partners Julie and Greg explain what it is about the creative industry that makes them tick…
My passion for great aesthetics, a love of clean, punchy and simple design and most importantly, the feeling of empowerment that being able to create a ‘double take’ moment, where you just can’t help take a second look at what’s in front of you, is what led me to study design and make it my profession. My work has spanned several organisations both in-house and agency-side; in broad and diverse B2B and B2C sectors. For over 18 years I have been involved in a multitude of projects, from simple logo design to entire re-brands or a national marketing campaign, all of my experience has given me a commercial understanding of what drives businesses to demand creative, dynamic and effective design. I wanted to step away from the confines of working with single brand and in a diluted capacity in a traditional agency and realise my dream of creating a design and marketing agency with a difference.
Creativity is something I have always had a hunger for. The care and consideration that goes into design is something that must not be underestimated. Being part of a project that you’ve meticulously worked on and then seeing the finished piece can be so rewarding, especially when the client is reaping the fruits of your labour. I love being the problem solver when it comes to effective design. The experience I have developed over the past 17 years has been vital to get me to where I am today. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to experience this industry from various perspectives and different capacities but I knew when the time was right to spread my wings and take on the challenge of running a company, taking everything that I have learnt throughout my career and harnessing that together to take forward with me to Creative Fire.
The logo, identity and brand of a company are often confused, misunderstood and used interchangeably. All are connected and associated with one another but it is important to realise that they are also all very different. If you imagine your business in the image of a person, we can help to explain the fundamental differences between each of them.
What is a logo?
A logo is the face of your company. It identifies your business in its simplest form. It will usually consist of textual and/or graphical content and should be created using a specific colour palette. A logo can also be referred to as a brand artefact. Determined by any sensorial cue used to project the relationship between you and your audience, brand artefacts come in all different forms. A logo is in its visual form. As it is the first connection you will make with a potential customer, it sets a first impression. It should also symbolise the values, quality and promise that you as a product or service offer. But beyond this, there are many other aspects that form your brand.
What is an identity?
An identity is the visual presentation for your company, communicated through a collection of tangible expressions. This could be through collateral such as stationery, brochures and signage. There may also be written content such as your key messages and mission statement.
For a logo to become more than just a graphic device, it must acquire meaning in the mind of the consumer. An identity is formed of the physical aspects of the business that the customer engages with. It is what the customer comes directly into contact with. The identity is an extension of your logo; multiple assets that can be presented in the same way. It is the expression of what your organisation stands for.
What is a brand?
A brand is far more than a name, logo or symbol, it is the personality of your company and it is ultimately what forms the relationship between your service or product and the consumer. It forms the foundations of your business and is the basis of a logo and an identity, a concept of your business that makes it different from the competition. It also provides your customers with an experience, encompassing expectations, personality and perception. If a logo is present without a brand, once the visual symbol is removed, the business is unrecognisable. A consumer’s relationship is rarely with your product but with your brand. It is there to evoke emotion to help them build an attachment with it.
Connecting All Three
If a brand is the relationship, then a logo is a projection of that relationship, but as we have covered already, a logo is just one form of brand artefact.
The challenge is to find artefacts that tell your story and engage people in a familiar and meaningful way. That means ensuring that when consumers engage with them, they are consistent in their appearance, use, size, scope, colour, feel, etc. Consistency allows your audience to build a memory structure around who you are and what value you have to offer.This memory structure becomes the identity of your organisation.
It is important to create shared value with your audience, not by trying to stand out with just a logo alone. It must be connected to something much bigger than itself – the relationship.
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