news & views

Below are articles of general interest, items of news and clippings of content relevant to our design philosophy and industry. Turquoise Creative is a creative design agency based in Crawley, West Sussex, which specialise in Brand Design, Creative Design and Web Design. We are a team of talented people who are passionate about what we do.

10 Years of Graphic Design and Branding

It is hard to believe that Turquoise Creative is already 10 years old. They really grow so fast!! We wanted to take some time to really appreciate this milestone. 10 years of working with some great clients, huge projects and fantastic people. We wanted to first thank all of our clients and customers that have made Turquoise as successful as it is. We have an extensive network or exciting businesses we have worked with, we have grown and evolved some truly outstanding examples of branding, graphic design and marketing creatives.

Looking at our Branding…

As part of our 10-Year celebrations we collaboratively worked through a branding exercise to refresh our logo. The original logo has served us well, we are recognised locally and have built a presence within graphic design, digital media and branding that we are truly proud to stand alongside. In an effort to stay fresh we refined the typography and refreshed the logo for a modernized look and feel that better reflected our focus on modern techniques and approaches to branding while remaining reminiscent of the original branding.

Upon Turquoise Creatives’ 10-year anniversary we thought that we would also take some time look at everything that has changed, evolved and innovated within the industry. In Branding and design, it is crucial to keep ahead of the curve, monitor trends and pioneer creative techniques. Our business relies on our ability to understand trends, industry developments, the mind of the consumer and their motives.

Looking back at the world…

One of the keys to our success is to keep ahead of news, trends and events. It is important to understand what key actions are affecting your clients, your inspirations and your results. As part of our 10-year celebrations we wanted to take a moment to look back over some key events that happened through the last 10-years.

What happened in the world of Branding?

2008 – April :: Facebook take over MySpace as the largest social network.

2009 – January :: Barack Obama takes office as US president.

2010 – January :: 3D Television widely available to the consumer market.

2011 – April – Google plays an April Fool’s Day joke on typography nerds by serving search results for “helvetica” in comic sans.

2012 – February :: Apple Launches the iPhone5

2013 – April :: Amazon launches Kindle Fire HDX

2014 – February :: Apple announced it new innovation, Apple Watch.

2015 – November :: Apple Smartwatch

2016 – May :: The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday and so did the rest of the country.

2017 – December :: Apple drops to #2 in the global 500 brand ranks. After 5 years at #1.

2018 – February :: Turquoise Creative celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a rebrand

Looking back at what we have learnt…

Turquoise Creative strives to learn, improve and understand what key patterns of thought shape the world around us. Within graphic design and rebranding it is key to actively learn from our experiences and make sure that these lessons shape our future actions. In the last 10 years, there have been some key movements in the thoughts around graphic design, branding, marketing and PR.

PR is more important than advertising

Advertising is expensive and not very credible, especially when used on behalf of a new brand. That’s why many of the most successful new brands were launched with PR. Public relations can be controversial, but that doesn’t work in advertising. Consumers are turned off by advertising that attempts to be controversial or attacks the competition. Consumers tend not to blame the brand if a story in the media does critique the completion or build.

The category is more important than the brand

Thinking in military terms, a country launched a military campaign to conquer a territory, likewise, a company launches a marketing campaign to conquer a category. From a branding perspective, brands rarely hold any value outside of their category. If a company tries build a presence across a different category, it is a risky journey that has to be carefully navigated.

When Apple decided to get into the smartphone business, it again didn’t use the Apple name. It called its smartphone “iPhone.” The Apple Macintosh brand was reserved for their desktop product.

Steve OakesThe visual is more important than the verbal

The concept of verbal or written communication has changed. The primary objective of a marketing programme is to place a verbal concept into consumer, the best way to delivery this is not with words at all. The visuals are the key to generate emotional appeal and drive your audience to engage with the deeper message.

The key change that we have noticed over the last 10 years is an increase in demand for companies to brand and present themselves professionally. The growth of the internet, along with the changes in behaviour of the consumer means that companies that would have never considered a brand identity in the past now have to consider their brand, how their company is perceived and how fragile their identity is. The freedom of information and the ease that potential clients can inform themselves on the process and requirements around graphic design has meant that we are seeing clients that are much more informed and knowledgeable about what they want and need.

The last 10 years have been a fantastic journey, as well as the people and business we have met, the countless brochures, logos and business cards we have built it has been most rewarding seeing the success we are having within our local area. We are recoginsed as professional, friendly and experienced and work hard to make sure we maintain this reputation. 10 years is a long time, it can he difficult to understand what events have shaped the position we see ourselves in everyday, it is important to look back and take time to remember how we arrive where we are, the events that helped and hindered and think about what more we can do to make sure the next 10 years are more successful than the last.

6 Approaches to Help Build a Desirable Brand

Studies show that 75% of consumers have developed a preference for a certain ‘type’ of brand. A desirable brand is one that enables the belief that we can become ourselves or achieve aspirational goals as a result of it.

Countless studies have been conducted suggesting that brands are valuable assets. Their colour, values and positioning are key components that can be actioned, however, its desirability is an emotive pursuit that is difficult to create artificially. A desirable brand can make us think and feel differently compared to neutral brands. They can influence our decisions, drive an impassioned response to messaging and drive us to champion the brand to family and friends. If executed well, a desirable brand is a hugely powerful marketing tool.

A brand that people desire is a tough undertaking that needs careful consideration and planning to execute properly. Companies such as Apple and their associated brands iPad, iWatch etc. have consistently held the top positions on respected desirable brand listings and surveys. Other companies such as Ferrari, Google and Samsung are a steady presence in reports designed to understand and quantify how desirable brands build and maintain their position in the conscious of consumers.

There are countless thoughts around the elements that make up a desirable brand. We have looked at 6 common practices for businesses who are trying to build a desirable brand. We think these are key areas that need careful consideration when positioning your brand and its message.

The Bigger Picture

It is common for a desirable brand to look at the bigger picture. They typically do more to impact people’s lives and actively look for a bigger role in the communities. They are the thought leaders, pioneers and develop a range of propositions.

Looking Ahead

A desirable brand understands where there is an opportunity in the near future, foreseeing a need, desire and limitations. This is more than a financial opportunity, rather a chance to meet the rapidly changing needs and behaviour of the consumer.

Allow Transcension

Do not get held back by the limitations of a category, a desirable brand is seen to transcend its rivals and not be held by the restriction of broad sweeping brand categorisation. This should be done with direction, you will be shaping and improving the world around us all and need planning.

Ambition

Desirable brands are looking for more than commercial rewards. This is secondary to a clear purpose that inspires customers, consumers and internal staff alike. Ambition allows you to build a rapport with your customers who are likely to be ambitious and can recognise similar motivational drives.

Innovation

Desirable brands build a rhetoric that encourages people to think, feel and act differently. They engage us in evolving an interesting story of innovation. They are seen to innovate beyond their category and look at anything they could potentially impact.

Build Energy

A desirable brand is energising the organisation towards success. Have a consistent direction towards goals and ambitions that are genuine and viable. Energy is more than producing a great product or service, it is about continuously re-evaluating and innovating to ensure the brand has a real role in people’s lives.

A desirable brand constantly drives to engage us in an evolving and interesting story. They innovate across all areas of product, operations and society and do not limit themselves by broad categorisation. They provide all of us with a consistent and evolving story of evolution and innovation. They are considered thought leaders and contribute to an ongoing supply of news, stories and conversation points. They are foremost in the minds of their customers, generate pride and encourage

Do you want to know more?

If you are looking for advice on how to build a desirable brand identity we would love to help. We have looked into the key components of building your identity in our article on Colour and Branding. If you prefer to speak we are happy to offer some advice and direction on your desirable branding ambitions, get in touch, however, best suits you…

T: 01293 886805

E: steve@turquoise-creative.co.uk

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We are a creative design agency based in Crawley, West Sussex, which specialise in Brand Design, Creative Design and Web Design. Turquoise Creative create and design all the ‘touch points’ of your business including:

How to conduct a Brand Audit

If your brand was a cup of coffee what type of coffee would it be?

Imagine stepping into your favourite coffee shop, where a welcome smile awaits and the familiar aroma reminds you this is the place where you are delighted to spend the next ½ an hour simply relaxing.

You know the coffee experience will be perfect, just as you like it because it always is.  The smooth, rich flavour sets you up for the rest of the day. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be back again and again and again.

Brand Audit Guide with a cup of coffee

 

But, life’s not always full of the perfect coffee experience, is it?

Along the way, you’re subjected to dishwater masquerading as coffee. At least you have a suspicion it’s going to be dire, so you can choose to refuse. Unlike the cup of coffee that’s full of promise, but the first bitter sip sends your taste buds into a frenzy of disappointment.

Just as your expectations are set from the ambience of the coffee shop, the design of cup, the look, smell and taste of your chosen latte, cappuccino or espresso, so do your customers have an expectation as they familiarise themselves and interact with your brand.

Where along the coffee scale does your brand sit?

It’s a serious question to consider. Depending on how eye-catching, inspiring and dependable the interactions your prospects and customers have with your brand will determine how successful your business is.

How do you know where your brand is on the coffee scale?

The answer: A Brand Audit

Conducting a brand audit is a worthwhile exercise. There are many benefits to gain. You can:

  • Double check that your brand accurately reflects the business as it is today (not how it was when you first started out)
  • Determine how outsiders perceive of your brand (it may be different to what you think)
  • Make small adjustments to correct misalignments and avoid misunderstandings
  • See how you stand up against your competitors. What do they do well? How can you counteract that?
  • Check that your brand will take the business into the future
  • Ensure your brand encourages loyalty from your customers
  • Retain and attract the best employees

Gather the evidence

The first steps of a brand audit are to gather and list the evidence.

Start with the obvious:

  • All tangible marketing materials including business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead
  • Your business plan
  • Your business story
  • Brand guidelines (colours, fonts)
  • Website including a list of all domains
  • Signage

Then the less obvious:

  • Keywords
  • Email signature
  • Invoices
  • Vehicles (wrapped, clean)
  • How is your telephone answered and what is your voice message?
  • What is displayed when you pop up on the Internet? Check your Google account and online directories you registered with many years ago.

A useful way to build this list is to think about all the touch points a prospect has from first becoming aware of your business through to when they become a customer and a returning loyal customer.

Review your list

Having gathered the evidence, the next step is to review. You may scatter the hard copy marketing material on a table. What does it say? Dishwater or strong and robust? Is it consistent?

When was the content on your website last updated? Does it reflect an accurate image of the business? Are all other online instances consistent?

How do your employees perceive your brand? Ask your customers too, if you can?

Write a brief report of your findings. The framework of a SWOT analysis could be helpful here.

You may be quite attached to your brand, after all, it’s your baby, but it’s important to keep an open mind throughout the review.  This is when a third party’s opinion will be most useful. Of course, you can do a DIY brand audit, but when you consider the benefits that this review brings to the business the opinion and advice of a brand specialist completes the job properly.

We invite you to take the Brand/Coffee test?

By now you’ve probably realised we are just as passionate about our coffee as we are about creating desirable brands.

If you’re serious about creating a strong and trusted brand that will stand your business in good stead over the coming years, get in touch and let’s arrange a chat over a nice cup of coffee.

You can call us on 01293 886805 or email us ideas@turquoise-creative.co.uk.

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When is it time for a brand refresh?

What is a brand refresh?

Firstly, you are probably wondering what exactly is a brand refresh.

A brand refresh can be thought of as a facelift or renovation of your brand. It is not a total overhaul of your brand (that is always an option) but something far simpler.

Refresh_Rebrand

Why would you consider a brand refresh?

We all know that change is a fact of business life. Businesses evolve. New products may be introduced appealing to a new types of customers. So whatever size your business is you must adjust to reflect your changing business and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Branding is all about distinguishing yourself from your competitors. But in marketing, it’s not just about differentiation, it’s about setting your brand apart and standing out from the crowd. Is your brand an asset or a liability in that endeavour?

So, to change the way your company is perceived a few tweaks here and there to your branding will help.

By making simple alterations to your branding and positioning, you can:

  • Maintain your brand’s integrity
  • Inject a new energy into your business
  • Iron out any brand inconsistencies
  • Ensure your company’s image is current in an ever changing world
  • Generate a buzz among existing customers and employees

Many businesses are taking this route as it requires far less risk than a complete brand overhaul and can get you the results you desire.

Your business may already have a logo that works well, but things change with time and you need to make sure your business doesn’t become out-of-date.

How do you know when it’s the right time to refresh your brand?

If your business is facing one of these 5 scenarios, a brand refresh (or facelift) is definitely worth thinking about.

1. Is your branding out-of-date?

Your logo might have been revolutionary when you started your business, but now it has aged and your business’s image is suffering as a result. Take an honest look at your visual branding and assess whether it’s moving you forward or holding you back.

2. Have your products / services changed?

Is your brand messaging an accurate reflection of who you are and what you offer today, or is it outdated? Most companies grow and evolve over time to stay relevant. As an example, Starbucks originated in 1971 as a retailer of coffee bean roasting, and their brand identity up until 2011 featured the word “coffee” but over the years they have expanded their business to include espresso beverages, teas, ice cream, etc. which ultimately led to dropping “coffee” from their name.

3. Is your branding inconsistent?

Perhaps you use one version of your logo on printed materials and another on your website, along with all the various strap lines because you can’t decide which work. This can be detrimental to your brand. You need to be consistent or your clients won’t understand what you are offering and to make it worse, you may be seen as sloppy and unreliable.

4. Are you reaching your target audience?

Has your target market shifted since you created your brand, or maybe you have changed the audience your product and services are aiming at? In this case, a refresh will allow you to reach exactly the people you want.

5. Is your business preparing for growth?

If your business is adding in new product lines, or considering a merger, then this is a good time to reassess your brand and make sure it has the strength to carry your business through such changes.

If you recognise any of these scenarios and feel that it’s time to review whether your brand is a true reflection of your business, give us a call. We’d love to hear your story and perhaps we can help. Call on 01293 886805 or email us.

Click on the Alkira brand refresh to see more examples

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Graphic design – Stop! Think!

Graphic design is more important to your business than you think

Stop for a moment and think of some of the world’s most iconic brands.

What makes them so unforgettable? And what can business owners, of all sizes, learn from them to gain the impact we desire?

It’s usually standout graphics, powerful packaging, appealing advertising or well-written copy. These attributes are achievable for SMEs, even acknowledging that their budgets are minute in comparison to these giants.

apple-Nike

Apple, Inc. is known for their amazing packaging designs, use of large areas of white space, gorgeous product photography and beautiful typography.

Nike uses type in a different way and creates maximum impact, inspiring imagery and bold colour palettes which all portray the energy and lifestyle their brand requires. Apple and Nike aren’t just examples of powerful branding, but outstanding graphic design.

If you are a business owner, you may have hundreds of concerns to address during your working day, so you might be tempted to ignore the need for professionally crafted graphic design.

However, utilising a professional a graphic designer could be the integral step in the process of establishing and maintaining a successful business.

So what is graphic design, and how can good design help your business?

Graphic design is the process of visual communication, and problem-solving through the use of type, space, image and colour.

Graphic design helps you make a great first impression. Consumers tend to gravitate towards better-designed products, while providing a positive anchor in their minds. Good design gives you instant credibility, inspires confidence and trustworthiness, and clearly communicates its point to your audience.

Poor graphic design can have an adverse effect on your product or brand!

Have you ever visited a website that was hard to navigate, or an advertisement in a magazine that was hard to figure out?

Perhaps you left the website feeling frustrated and didn’t complete the task that brought you there.

Furthermore, an advertisement that is difficult to read or visually disorienting would fail to get your attention long enough to convey the message it was trying to. Advertisers spent thousands of pounds that fail to convert to a sale, and worse the design the costlier it can be for a business.

Good graphic design connects a marketing piece together.

Typography, colours, images, and the hierarchy are the resources a graphic designer uses to create a design that clearly communicates brand, information and value in an eye-catching way. Designers use these principles to minimise distracting, less-important elements and highlight the things that are important, allowing viewers to quickly see what they need to know to decide on a purchase.

Good graphic design make good business sense…

If you feel that your branding is inconsistent or elements of design are letting you down, let’s have a chat. Give me a call on 01293 886805 or email me.

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