If your first thought of branding when you started your business was your logo, you’re not alone. A lot of small businesses start and finish with their primary logo until their business is a little more established. While a brand-new business may not feel like it yet has a strong enough foundation to develop every aspect of its branding, we’re here to tell you that ANY business that is ready to find success absolutely needs full branding.
What is a secondary logo?
A secondary logo is usually your primary logo that has been arranged differently, so it will fit better on certain types of media. For example, your primary logo may not fit well on social media, so you may have a secondary logo that fits perfectly in profile pictures. Think about Amazon’s logo – we don’t often see the full logo, with the text and the arrow (and smile) pointing from the A to the Z. In most cases, we see their secondary logo, which is just the arrow, or their submark, which is just an “a” with the arrow underneath it.
Your secondary logo makes it easier for customers to identify you if your primary logo isn’t clear at a smaller size.
What’s the difference between a secondary logo and a submark?
A secondary logo is often still a sizable logo – while it may be smaller than your primary logo, it is not your logo in its simplest form. That’s what a submark is. Think of the McDonald’s logo, we can all picture it in our heads, but the golden arches are just as recognizable alone.
If you look at the favicon of a website (that’s the small picture that shows up in the corner of each tab in your browser), you’ll often find a business’s submark there. Depending on the company’s needs, it may also appear on merchandise, letterheads, and more.
Can my business just have all the necessary logos, or does it need full branding?
When we think about whether or not our business needs full branding, we’re often thinking about branding from an expense standpoint, rather than thinking about how branding benefits our business. The truth is, branding can take an average business and make it something people flock to. We’d even venture to say that there aren’t any truly successful businesses out there that don’t have strong branding.
Your visual branding (often called a visual identity) is the visual representation of what makes your business unique. If your business is a law firm and presents a serious, supportive nature, having branding that’s bubbly and bright will not convey your brand correctly. However, a black-and-white brand with clean lines likely will.
Your visual brand sets the tone for what a customer will expect from you. If you don’t have any branding (or not any you chose on purpose), you also won’t be attracting any one type of customer. You’ll likely attract people who are looking for a bargain or who don’t really know what they want. A strong brand attracts the customers you most want to serve (and often deters the ones you don’t).
While a business still trying to learn exactly what it offers and which customers it wants to focus on serving can make do with basic logos and a color palette, any business with a strong ideal customer avatar must also have strong branding. You simply cannot attract the right customer without it.
There’s a lot that goes into a full brand identity for a business, and so anyone who is not a professional designer will need the help of one to create their business’s brand identity. If you’re looking for a friendly, supportive business to guide you through the process and create an outstanding brand identity for your business, we’re here to help. You can see some of our past projects here.
In an era in which everyone heads to Google before making any decision, your website is absolutely critical to the success of your business. Your website is often the first touchpoint for a potential customer and those first few seconds they spend on your website will dictate whether they stick around or hit the back button and move on.
In other words, having a well-designed and well-maintained website is not just something that’s good to have, it’s something you need. A website serves to establish your unique selling point, your brand voice, and the value you have to offer your customer, regardless of the type of work you do.
If you’re wondering if your website is doing everything it should be, you’re in the right place. Read on as we look at five avoidable mistakes you might be making.
5 Common (Yet Preventable!) Web Design Errors
Not conveying your value above the fold: The first sight a visitor sees when they load up your website is incredibly important, and it’s your first opportunity to tell them that they’re exactly where they need to be. Your website should tell them exactly what they can expect from you the moment it loads, they shouldn’t have to scroll down or click through to another page. Give them a short, snappy statement about what you can do for them with attractive, on-brand graphics.
Not having a clear CTA: Do visitors know what action you want them to take when they land on your site? You should make it extremely easy for visitors to get in touch, and have one clear action you want them to take. Do you want them to buy, schedule a call, or sign up? Make it clear and put a button in your header so they can do it as soon as they decide they’re ready to contact or buy from you.
Not branding fonts: As a business owner, you have a lot on your mind, and typeface might not seem like it should be at the top of your list. But lots of different fonts will make you look unorganized and undecided, and visitors are far less likely to stick around if your site features too much information crammed into one page because they need information that’s easy to scan. Make sure all text is legible (not too small!) and stick to a maximum of three fonts.
Too many popups (especially too early): When it comes to website browsing, very few things are as irritating as being bombarded with invitations to join a mailing list, accept cookies, receive a discount on your first order, and answer a few marketing questions. One pop-up is enough when someone loads onto your site – ideally, you should have a delay on any popups so they only show up after a visitor has shown interest in your site, such as being there for 10 seconds or more.
Not making your website mobile-friendly: With more people using their phones as their primary devices than ever before, your site must be accessible on mobile. Google favors businesses with mobile-friendly websites on search engine results pages which ranks them better than websites that aren’t mobile-responsive. In other words, a mobile-friendly website will provide visitors with a better experience and help you show up higher in the search results!
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!
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.