How many times have you changed your branding since you first founded your business? Most small businesses go through a few different iterations in quick succession as they find their feet and tailor their offering to their ideal customers.
If this describes your business, there’s no shame in that, but you’ve established yourself in the market it’s time to think about creating a brand that will ensure the test of time. When you look at the big, long-standing brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, or Kellogg’s, you’ll be able to see that though there have been updates to their logo, marketing, and branding over the years, the essential feel of their branding remains.
So how do you create a timeless brand? Here are 5 tips you need to implement:
5 Tips for Timeless Design
Make sure your design has a strong foundation. It’s almost impossible to create a timeless design if you don’t have a foundation you want to stick with. If you look at the progression of long-standing brands and how they’ve changed over the years, you’ll notice that each change was only a small step away from the last version of their brand. Make sure you know what colours resonate with your audience or what type of font does. If you aren’t sure, work with a branding professional to create a brand identity for your business you can work with for decades to come, only updating as styles come in and out of fashion.
Avoid mimicking other brands. It’s common for new businesses to look to others for inspiration for their branding, but once you’re established you need to create a unique identity that doesn’t emulate another brand. Think about Tiffany’s “1837 blue” or Burberry’s “nova check” – even if another company used it, you’d think of them. It’s essential to find a visual element that is exclusive to your company so you can lean on it for decades to come.
Keep it simple. If you look at the design elements long-standing brands have kept throughout each iteration of their brand, it’s usually a simple element. Think about Nike’s tick, the McDonald’s arches, or Google’s simple colored logo. These are all elements that can be tweaked to suit the style of the time but can stay consistent for the lifetime of your brand.
Consider how it will be used. How your logo and design will be used should also be considered when creating your design, as it needs to be versatile. It may need to be used on clothing, printed items, an app, or any other number of places, depending on your industry. Make sure you have a version of your logo that looks just as good on a favicon as it does on a billboard.
Keep your color palette simple. Your brand colors should generally be limited to 2-3 colors, plus black and white. There are some exceptions, but even those exceptions keep it limited to 4 (Google and eBay, for example). Your website may have some other colors to accent links and things like that, but your branding and marketing should stick to your main palette as much as possible.
Crafting a design you can use year after year is not a small task and one that is often overwhelming. If you don’t have a background in design, it’s usually best to enlist the help of a design professional to help you research your options and choose a design that meets all the criteria above. If you need help with any aspect of design, whether it be your brand identity or a design for your next marketing campaign, we’re here to help. To find out more about how we can help, click here.
Did you know that there are over 200 file extensions used today? Almost every program has their own file extension (ie., Micrsoft Word = .doc, Photoshop = .psd…ect). With all of these different types of files it can be confusing as to what should be used for what purpose. Here we have put together a guide to help you learn the differences between the most commonly used file types.
Let’s start with the most commonly used file extension – JPEG. The jpg or jpeg extension stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. This file type is best suited for images and is commonly the file type used by point-and-shoot cameras. This file type compresses files and does not support transparencies. High quality JPEG files can be used for professional printing of pictures and image based designs.
The next file type that is regularly used today is the PNG. This file is usually used for online purposes because of it small file size and low resolution. PNG stands for portable network graphics and can support a transparent background. PNG files are great for logos on your website but should not be printed (due to the low resolution).
Next we will cover the PDF file. Portable Document Format is one of the most versatile file formats out there. PDFs can be used for print, fillable forms, low resolution proofs and more. PDF’s support vector files and can embed fonts, images, and graphics inside the file. You will need Adobe Reader to properly open a PDF file, which can be downloaded free from the Adobe website. The PDF viewer in your browser works too – but note that sometimes these viewers change how the PDF looks and errors can occur. This is especially true when embedded fonts or Pantone colors have been used. PDF is the preferred file type for most professional printing.
The EPS file type is used for vector based logos and graphics which can be scaled to any size without loss of quality. EPS files are a must for large format printing. You should always request a vector EPS of your business logo!
Finally, we will talk about the TIFF file extension. This file is most commonly used in professional environments and commercial printing. This file supports a transparent background and image layers. Some non-professional programs do not accept TIFF’s though – so depending on the program you plan to use, the TIFF may or may not be right for you.
When you purchase a new logo from Pixel Parfait you will receive all of these file types in your final packet. It is important to know a general description of each of the files you will be provided with and how to use each one. Even if you can’t open a file (like a EPS or TIFF), you should never discard these files. A professional designer or printer will request the file type that will work best for your project. For a quick guide of each of the file types talked about here – check out our references page.
Keeping your brand fresh and modern is important for every business. Sometimes a re-branding can be as simple as changing colors, while other businesses need an entire facelift. Pixel Parfait offers FREE business analysis services for any business interested in a re-branding or adding new marketing services. With a short consultation and branding/marketing analysis we can give you our best recommendation to improve your branding and marketing efforts. We will work with you and your budget to give you the best possible re-branding experience.
What is re-branding?
In simple terms it is a brand re-fresh. A re-branding can be through of as a makeover or facelift of your business. Re-branding projects can range from a simple “haircut” for your business or a total company overhaul. Often times Pixel Parfait can find a few tweaks that will boost your businesses recognizable features and improve your marketing efforts.
Do I need a full re-branding?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions to designers and marketing professionals. The answer is usually no, which is a relief for many business owners. Full re-branding projects can be expensive, but by pin pointing the areas your company needs work we can control the costs and give you a great product for your money. By making slight revisions to your branding you can preserve your brands identity, infuse new energy into the business, reach new customers, create a new “buzz” in the community, and build new business.
How do you know if it’s time to re-brand?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help decide if you need a re-branding. Pixel Parfait offers a wide range of services to fit any of these needs and any budget.
Is your look current? Your logo may have been trendy when you started your business but is it loosing appeal in the ever changing modern world? Take an honest look at your logo, colors and branding materials and decide if your business could be more modern in today’s world.
Are your products and services the same as when you started the business? Often times businesses change their focus as the business grows. It can be challenging to keep your branding current with your new focus, especially if you are doing your own design and marking work. Make sure that your business reflects the current work you do and the imagery matches.
Is your branding consistent? Have you made minor changes to your look and branding in the past few years? Sometimes partial re-branding projects leave parts of your business behind. Maybe you re-designed your website last year but haven’t changed your brochures and business cards to match. Or maybe you have a new logo, but your website and printed materials still show your old logo and branding style. If this is the case, you should update the outdated materials and keep your brand consistent.
Are you reaching your target audience? Trends shift over time and your look may not be attracting the demographic that you originally planned. A slight shift in colors and imagery can easily update your business to be more current to today’s consumers.
After reviewing your business, you may have decided that a re-brand would be a good choice, or you may need more help deciding. Either way you should contact Pixel Parfait for a free branding and marketing analysis. We can help you make the best decision for your business. We can work with any budget and come up with an easy to follow plan for your new branding. Email us today!
Graphic design is one of the quickest changing industries in the world. With new technology and techniques coming out almost every day it can be hard to keep up. Pixel Parfait has compiled a short list of new and exciting printing techniques, design trends, and more.
NFC Activated Business Cards
NFC technology has been integrated into cell phones for the past few years. With a simple tap you can share your contact info or a link with your friends. Simple touch your phone to your friend’s and the information magically transfers. Now, with new printing technology you can get business cards that have a specially designed chip embedded into the paper that will allow you to tap the card on your phone and be taken to a link, share contact information and much more. These cards are currently being distributed by Moo.com watch the video and learn how these cards could be used in your business. Pixel Parfait is now offering design and set-up/maintenance of these cards and the online platform. Contact us today for more info.
Font choice is an extremely important part of any design. The font trends are always changing. According to the Creative blog serif fonts will be making a comeback in 2016. Pixel Parfait also expects watercolor, hand drawn, and script fonts will be popular in 2016. The “hand-made” trend has been rising for about 10 years now and we don’t see this trend slowing down in 2016. Check out this diet coke ad using beautiful hand drawn text.
This is a trend that has been sneaking up on us for a while. The simple colors and striking photography makes this a strong trend to look out for. The great news is that this can be incorporated into many design and marketing projects. Check out this partial color overly we did for one of our recent clients.
As a design company, Pixel Parfait makes it our priority to keep up on all of the latest trends and technology. Call us today to see what’s new and how we can blast your business into 2016!
Before you continue, please know that what you read below is just a humorous guide to talking with your designer; or rather, how NOT to talk with your designer. As a designer for many years, trust me, I have heard all of these things from good, kind hearted clients. We know, it can be hard to communicate your needs to a designer. Plus, we complicate things with our special jargon and computer programs you have never heard of. Here are just a few things that will help your designer out on your next project.
#1: Don’t ever say “Ill know what I want when I see it”
Could you possibly give me any less information? As a designer, I have been working on my mind reading skills. BUT, that doesn’t always result in my best work. Instead of being vague, try giving the designer an example of something you like, OR write out your goals for the finished product. This will help your design know what you are looking for.
#2: Don’t say: “We haven’t finished writing the text yet, but we need a proof now!”
Text, or “copy” as us designers would say, is EVERYTHING! A design should be built around the most important content. In-other words, it’s hard to design around nothing. This also tells the designer that you aren’t organized yet… Not a good sign. Next time, get the copy as close to perfect as possible before calling in the designer. Every designer expects changes and edits, but having a close-to-final-draft of the copy will help them get a solid design started.
#3: Don’t say: “Can you put that into Word so I can edit it?”
There is a reason designers don’t use Word. Designers use special computer programs that allow us to have more control over the design elements and create printer friendly files. If you want a DIY option there are many free design programs that will give you more control, Just don’t expect a designer to be able to fix your files once you are finished.
#4: NEVER EVER, EVER say: “Can you use this image I found online?”
Why can’t we use web images? There are a few reasons that this won’t work. 1. For images to be found in a google search they must be owned by someone. without the proper permission to use those images you are essentially stealing from the original owner. 2. Web images are low quality (for faster loading online) and will not print well in your final design. 3. It’s so easy to have quality images! At Pixel Parfait all stock images are included in your design fee. We will even let you browse through our stock image library if you wish. You can also get great stock images from any of these sites….visit https://designschool.canva.com/blog/free-stock-photos/
#5: Don’t be vague and say: “Can you make it POP?”
Again, see #1. Statements like this are so vague and unfortunately most designer haven’t mastered mind reading yet. Other descriptions like, “edgy”, “modern”, “pretty”, or “fancy” are equally as hard to understand what you are looking for. Instead, find examples of designs that you like and show your designer examples of what you are looking for.
#6: Avoid saying: ”Can you just use our logo and photos from our website?”
#7: If you want your designer to remain sane, don’t say: “ Can we go back to your original design (17 proofs ago)?”
After you explain what you need, let your design do their thing! This is what we are good at! Asking for 20 proof options, or changing your mind half way through only adds time (read: MONEY) to your project, and limits the designer’s creative abilities. Don’t waste your designer’s time with countless experiments when the original design is what you were looking for. JUST DON’T DO IT!
#8: Seriously, don’t ever say: “I started this in Paint, can you finish it for me?”
Paint, text editor, and other programs that come on your standard PC or MAC can be great for some things. Graphic design is not one of those things. We have expensive programs for a reason! Its best to let your designer use their professional tools from the beginning – I promise you will be much happier with the final product.
#9: Just don’t do it! Never say: “ I can’t pay for your work, but you will get TONS on exposure!”
Imagine this: You are a home builder. A potential client comes to your office and asks you to build a beautiful new home for him. After you talk about the details and come up with the initial plans, the client turns to you and says “I can’t pay you, but I’ll tell everyone that YOU build my house”. What do you do? If you are thinking, “I would punch the guy in the face”, I would understand. Asking for free work is insulting to any professional. We have pride in our work and value our time. Now, there may be an exception to this rule for Non-Profits and Charity Events…. But don’t assume that a design will work for free. Exposure doesn’t put food on the table….and most designers like to eat.
#10: And finally, avoid saying: “ Just make it beautiful!”
Well DUH! BE SPECIFIC PEOPLE!!!!
Well there you have it! The Moral of the story is: Be specific, value your designer and their work, and don’t expect us to read your mind! As a designer I know that most people have said at least one of these things to a designer, and its OK, we’re used to it! =D
Hello, I’m Sarah Haynes and I create beautiful pixels! I currently work from my Prescott home doing all types of design, online marketing and photography. I can't imagine a better job!!
I have lived in Prescott, Arizona for over 20 years and I absolutely love it here. My favorite activities (outside of work) are hiking, swimming and spending time with my wonderful husband and daughters!
Please feel free to contact me anytime with your design jobs! I would be happy to discuss the right plan for your business.