What Branding Do I Need? Why You Need a Full Brand Guide

What Branding Do I Need? Why You Need a Full Brand Guide

Most people start thinking of branding as a logo and color palette, but just a little research will reveal that it’s much more than that. There are dozens of elements you may need while doing business, and while you can start a business with just a few brand elements, you need a full brand guide if you want to grow.

Why do I need a full brand guide?

You set your brand standards for anyone working with you

A full brand guide (also sometimes called a brand book or style guide) is an essential tool for your business, as it allows anyone working for or with your business to perfectly capture your brand, without any additional support and guidance from you. All you need to do is send them your brand guide and assets (such as logos), if necessary, and they’ll be able to produce on-brand content for your business.

It saves time and money

Any time you work with a professional, you’ve got to spend time communicating with them and, of course, pay for their time. If you don’t have a full brand guide, you’ll have to do a lot more back and forth to get what they’re producing for you right, and you’ll have to pay for the additional time it takes them to change things according to your feedback.

All your content will be cohesive

A business with no branding will have no cohesive look to the content they produce, but even if you have a handful of branding elements to use, you’ll leave all other elements to interpretation. For example, if you have a logo and colors, but little else, your team may use different fonts, a different voice and tone, and different shapes and patterns to produce your content. Customers respond best when they can instantly recognize anything from your brand, and that’s not possible if all your content looks like it may be from different companies.

What should a full brand style guide contain?

This can differ somewhat depending on your company’s needs (for example, one company may need 5 different versions of their logo, while yours only needs 3), most full brand guides contain:

  • Logos and submarks
  • Color palette
  • Fonts for headings, subheadings, body text, and any other applications – some will include a web-safe alternative
  • Brand identity, values, and voice
  • Any styling elements and guidelines (such as straight lines vs. curves, certain design assets as accents, style of buttons on site and landing pages, and so on)

Some brand guides also include things that team members should avoid, but making sure you’ve clearly defined what people should do is key.

There are so many elements that go into a full brand guide that it can be overwhelming – especially if you’re not a designer. Graphic designers can create unique assets for your business and have the expertise and eye to know what works and what doesn’t, which can be a big struggle if your expertise lies elsewhere.

If you need help creating your business’s branding, we’re here to help. Our branding services will support you as you establish your brand and as it continues to grow. To find out more about our graphic design and branding services, click here

6 Dos & Don’ts for Your Social Media

6 Dos & Don’ts for Your Social Media

Managing social media as a small business owner isn’t easy – not only have you got all the management of your own business to do, but you’ve then got to try and keep up with posting content, engaging with followers, and figuring out what’s hot on the platform. If you fail to keep up, your followers will forget you exist, or the platform will stop organically sharing your content with potential customers.

So how do you make sure you’re doing all the right things without dedicating all your time to social media management? Here are 6 of our top dos and don’ts to help you stay on track.

6 Social Media Dos and Don’ts

  • DO: set the right frequency. It doesn’t matter if the guru you follow says you should post 3 times a day, if you can’t keep up with that frequency for more than a few days at a time, or if the quality of your posts drops, then it’s not going to do any good. When deciding on the right frequency, choose one you can actually keep up with.
  • DON’T: Mesh personal and business accounts. With so much talk about personal branding, it can be tempting to share just as many personal pictures and stories on your business account as you do on your personal. While there are certainly benefits to sharing some behind-the-scenes of your personal life, make sure you maintain a degree of separation.
  • DO: Engage with your audience. Those early days of a social media account can feel like you’re shouting into a void, but once you start getting comments, you need to engage with them. Reply, like, and ask questions – this is your opportunity to build a relationship with your customers, so don’t lose it!
  • DON’T: Engage with trolls. Or, more specifically, don’t give them as good as they’re giving. If you get someone in your comments trying to get a rise from you, either don’t engage with them at all or kill them with kindness. They want you to say something evocative, so avoid it at all costs.
  • DO: Use compelling graphics. How fast do you scroll through social media? How fast do your kids? Most people aren’t pausing to read text, they’re looking for a graphic to capture their attention before they consider pausing to read the accompanying text. Make sure your pictures and graphics can grab the attention of your ideal customer.
  • DO: Discuss current topics. Bringing up the latest political debate is not what we’re talking about here; you need to stay on top of what others in your industry are discussing on social media so you can have your say. For example, if you own a pet store and competitors and customers are discussing the smallest size for a betta fish tank, write a post or do a series sharing your expertise.

If you do all 6 of these dos and don’ts, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining successful business social media profiles. Of course, we know that this isn’t easy! Finding the time to keep your profiles up to date with engaging content is tough, so if you are finding it difficult to keep up with social media, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

A professional social media manager makes planning and managing your social media stress-free, and you can free up your time to take care of managing your business (or enjoying your free time!). We manage social media for a range of businesses across the US, and we’d be happy to do the same for you – click here to learn more about our social media management services.

4 Time-Saving Hacks for Your Small Business

4 Time-Saving Hacks for Your Small Business

If there’s one thing you learn when you start your own business, it’s that there’s not enough time in the day. Gone are the days of putting your work down at the end of the day or taking off a few weeks for a vacation to come back to find everything has been ticking along just fine without you – unless you’ve got the right systems and time-saving hacks in place, you’re going to struggle to ever keep up with your ever-growing to-do list.

Fortunately, there are ways to save time and get more done so you can take more time to relax and spend time with your loved ones. Here are some of our favorites:

4 Time-Saving Hacks for Your Small Business

  1. Delegate

Don’t you just wish you could clone yourself sometimes? Well, the good news is there’s a better way to get more done – hire professionals to do it for you. It’s easy to resist delegation because you feel like you don’t have the spare cash to pay someone, or it will take you longer to train someone than it would to just do it yourself. While these arguments are valid, you’ve got to change your thinking. Your time is limited, and you are likely making far more than it would cost you to hire someone else to do a task for you, even if you decide to train them.

Secondly, you don’t need to hire someone as an employee and try to train them to be you – instead, look to hire freelancers and other companies to fulfill your needs. By outsourcing to other professionals, you’ll be able to hand a problem to them and they’ll solve it for you, using their experience to do a better job than you would (yes, you can do it all, but that doesn’t mean you should!).

  • Find out what makes you money, and do more of that

Sounds crazy, right? After all, everything you do in your business is geared towards making you more money. The thing is, that’s not always true. If you spent all morning going through your emails, only responding to one or two that may turn into work, you’ve only tangentially been doing something that generates revenue for your company.

What makes the most money for your company may be promoting free learning materials on social media, or actively working on projects for your clients. When you take a close look at how your business generates revenue, you can focus on the products and services that produce good money for you and cut those that don’t produce money easily for you or outsource tasks so you can focus on doing what you do best.

  • Try Work Sprints

You’ve likely heard of the Pomodoro method, but have you used it? Pomodoro sprints are incredibly popular with writers and people with ADHD, but you don’t have to be easily distracted to benefit from working in sprints.

Set a timer and focus on one task for a defined time, being strict to ignore any notifications, any non-emergency phone calls, and other distractions. When the sprint is up, get up, walk around, or do another task that has your attention before getting back into the thing you have to do. You’ll likely be surprised how much more productive your days get when you dedicate short bursts of focus on your tasks.

  • Say ‘No’ More

Do you bend over backward for your clients, loved ones, or employees? While it’s amicable to be giving, you’ve got to think of your ability to give as a daily meter that runs out. If you say ‘yes’ to every request, you’ll quickly run your reserves dry, leading to a lack of creativity, high stress, and diluted focus. Find the things that excite you and say yes to them – if they aren’t something you truly want to do, say no. This one takes practice, but you’ll find you have more time when you streamline your life.

Delegating will change your business, allowing you to tap the expertise of those who have specialized in their area of business. If you need to outsource graphic design, branding, website management or design, social media, or photography, you can count on the team here at Pixel Parfait. With just one point of contact, you can get all your visual marketing needs taken care of. To learn more about us, click here.

Why You Need a Brand Guide: Branding is More Than Just a Logo

Why You Need a Brand Guide: Branding is More Than Just a Logo

We all consume hundreds of pieces of content a day; from the emails we glance at, the social media images we see, and the advertisements we see out in the real world, it’s all being fed into our brains. Most of it won’t stick – we’ll forget about it as quickly as our eyes darted over it.

So what distinguishes the content we retain from the content we immediately forget? One word: branding.

Your brand is what will make people stop and take notice. You may recall some branding you’ve seen for something that was not at all marketed towards you but was still memorable for something it did. While you may not have appreciated the branding for the message it was giving out, there’s no denying that it was noticeable.

What is a brand guide?

When most people think of branding, they think of a logo, but the effects of the above experience are not produced by just a logo – they’re produced by all of that brand’s elements coming together to create the perfect storm: an emotional response.

Your brand guide (also called brand guidelines) should outline all elements of your brand, including:

  • Logo and any secondary logos and submarks
  • Fonts
  • Color palette
  • Design elements and/or patterns
  • Values
  • Tone of voice
  • Mission statement

In short, your brand guide contains the rules your brand follows to ensure everything produced looks and feels as though it has come from your brand without your brand name having to be attached to it. It makes sure your content looks the same and has the right messaging, whether it’s your website, an email newsletter, Instagram image, or real-world store.

Why is a brand guide so important?

  1. Humans don’t like unpredictability

We may say we like spontaneity, but the truth is, humans love predictability. We often thrive in routines and there’s nearly always an outcry when a brand or platform changes something, even if it’s for the better. We don’t like change, and brand consistency ensures our customers know exactly what to expect from us. Consistency invites trust, and we only buy from brands we trust (especially if it’s a higher price point).

  1. It removes the guesswork for team members

Whether you have a team of 40 working under you or if it’s just you and the odd freelancer, brand guidelines ensure they know what they need to do and if they’re working to develop something that will be visual (such as a social media post or the graphics for your company trucks) they know exactly what design elements to use and what color palette to draw from. This goes for written content too – your copywriters will know what voice to write your content in.

  1. You become recognizable

If we show you a brand that’s red and yellow, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be McDonald’s. If another brand then used those exact shades in their branding, you’d glance at their logo or content and assume it was McDonald’s, even if they were a gardening company. Our brains are trained to make assumptions, and so you can use this to your advantage to create a recognizable brand. Well-chosen brand elements used consistently will get your customers saying, “the colors on that van reminded me of [your brand].”

Branding shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should be your first thought. And, while getting good brand guidelines shouldn’t be something that delays you from making progress with your business, it should be something you get as soon as possible. If you’ve yet to create a brand guide and all the elements that go into it, we’re here to help.

Creating a brand guide is often daunting, but we’re here to guide you through the process from start to finish. To find out more about our branding and design services, click here.

Join Our Team

Join Our Team

We’re growing and looking for a new member for our team.  If you’re a graphic designer that would like to work from home, set your own hours and gain experience working in a collaborative environment then you might LOVE Pixel Parfait!   We are a small team of people very passionate about what we do and we’re looking for another passionate person to join us in designing for companies all around the country.

The current opening is part-time with a full-time opportunity projected for the end of the year. Interested in designers in any US state, you don’t need to be local to apply.  Opening beginning ASAP with training scheduled for May.  We are willing to train the right person, so please feel free to reach out if you have the required qualifications but are still working or need training with the full job skills!  Currently, a 1099 contract position with full-time employment (W-4) is projected for the end of 2022-early 2023.

Required Qualifications:

  1. Must have at least an associate’s degree in graphic design or a related field.
  2. Must have proficient knowledge working with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign
  3. Must have a working computer, internet access, and Adobe subscription
  4. Must be self-motivated, great with deadlines, and able to prioritize multiple jobs at the same time. 
  5. Must be willing to learn new things and take written and oral instruction and critique well.
  6. Must be a team player and willing to take on miscellaneous tasks as needed.
  7. Must speak fluent English
  8. Must have some availability during the regular working hours (M-F 8:00-5:00pm)
  9. Must be willing to work with Pixel Parfait clients as an extension of our brand and culture.

It’s a plus if you have any of these skills (not required to apply):

  1. Any WordPress experience
  2. Experience working with clients
  3. Sales Experience, especially in the marketing and design field
  4. Marketing Experience
  5. Any web development (coding) experience
  6. Experience using Adobe XD, Dreamweaver, Canva, or other platforms
  7. Speak Spanish and/or translation experience
  8. Proofreading or copywriting experience
  9. Great at writing promotional copy (perfect for websites and social media)
  10. Social Media management experience
  11. SEO optimization knowledge
  12. Online advertising experience (google and social ads)

What you might work on at Pixel Parfait:

  • Social media graphics & account management
  • Infographics & custom illustrations
  • Brochures & Flyers
  • Icons
  • Digital ads
  • Blog graphics
  • Email graphics
  • Website graphics
  • Website design and/or development using WordPress
  • Management services for existing clients
  • And More!

To apply:  Email your resume and website or portfolio link to designer@pixelparfait.graphics.  
We will reply to your email with an interview schedule if we’re interested. 

Thank you for your time.  We hope to work with you soon!

5 Things Social Media Management Can Do For Your Business

5 Things Social Media Management Can Do For Your Business

With more than half the world’s population actively using social media platforms at least once a month, it is no surprise that it is the perfect place to connect with your audience. When you use social media in the right way, you can gain so many benefits, but that is often easier said than done when you are running a business.

Professional social media management will allow your business to take advantage of social media while you take care of day-to-day operations and future plans. Here are just some of the things that social media management could do for your business:

5 Things Social Media Management Can Do For Your Business

1. Increase Your Brand Awareness

Social media is the perfect way to reach new customers or clients. It is cost-effective and allows you to reach people all over the world.

Having a strong social media strategy in place will help to increase your brand awareness as it allows you to engage with a much wider audience, finding valuable consumers that will lead to business growth.

Any interaction with your social media content is enough to increase your brand awareness and build your reputation as a trustworthy, successful brand.

2. Keep on Top of All Your Accounts

Social media management will also help to keep on top of your social media accounts across all platforms. With potential customers having different preferences to the social media they use, it is important that each of your accounts is regularly updated, and you maintain a constant social media presence.

Since so many consumers log in to social media at least once every day, you want to create the opportunity to connect with your followers, and potential new conversions, each day.

Your social media manager can help guide you on the best content to promote, analyze what’s working and what’s not, and ensure your accounts continue to grow in a meaningful way.

3. Tailor Your Content to Each Platform

Your content must be tailored to each social media platform so that it is conveying the right message and getting through to your target audience.

A social media manager will be able to determine which type of content will be the most successful on each platform, whilst ensuring that they all work cohesively with one another so that it all fits together as part of your brand.

4. Never Miss a Comment or Direct Message

As a business, it is important to stay connected with your audience and customers, and one of the best ways to do that is by replying to comments and direct messages in good time.

Leaving questions unanswered or comments without a response can easily lead to people thinking that you don’t care enough and they will simply find another brand that can provide them with what they need.

If you are focusing on running your business, you may not be able to find the time to reply to your followers yourself, but a social media manager can take care of it on your behalf to ensure that no comment or direct message is missed.

5. Reach New Customers with Effective Hashtags

Advertising on social media is an effective way to help your business to grow, and the same goes for using relevant hashtags in your content.

Professional social media management will help you find the right hashtags and search terms to increase your discoverability. It’s all too easy when you’re swamped with other things to do to use the same hashtags over and over, but many social media experts believe this displeases social media algorithms because it is seen as “repetitive content.”

Your social media manager can take the reins and ensure your feed is fresh and exciting while staying on-brand. 

If you are looking to take advantage of social media for your business, Pixel Parfait can help you with professional social media management. We will create unique posts and graphics to match your brand look, provide custom image templates that will appeal most to your target audience, get you more conversions to your website with promoted posts, and increase your brand awareness through the efficient use of hashtags. To find out more about how we can help, click here.