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Learn about what’s happening inside Turquoise Creative, along with interesting extras!

How to build a stand-out brand identity

Creating a stand-out brand

Brand… excitement!

One of the most interesting projects that a graphic designer can take on is to design a brand identity. It is so exciting to create logo options based on market research and add a touch of design magic through the creative process. Then finally narrowing the design down to an approved logo and seeing it out in the world for all to view, is a very rewarding experience.

 

Brand… unified vision

However, most of the time, a logo is not enough. Large businesses with layers of management require a thorough brand identity system that provides a unified vision along with marketing tools that help build the brand.

 

Brand… identity kit

Brand identity is the combined effect of visual elements in your marketing materials. A basic brand identity kit consists of a logo, business card, letterhead, and email signature. This basic set of materials can be extended to include: brochures, folders, flyers, website, exhibition stand and vehicle livery.

 

Brand… characteristics

A successful brand identity is built around these
9 characteristics:

How may of these characteristics does your brand identity capture?

  • Unique business “look and feel” and on-brand message. Make sure that the way you write and talk about your business is unique and your graphics stand-out and cannot be confused with the competition. Brand identity core element
  • Repetition helps clients and prospective clients remember and relate to your business. It takes between 6 and 12 contacts with your business for customers to truly remember and connect with your business.
  • Consistent use of your logo and strap line on all marketing materials. To build a strong brand for your business, you need to have a unique visual design. This needs to be consistent throughout all of your marketing material.
  • Memorable devices make your business stand-out. You’ll be able to create a memorable brand through uniqueness, repetition and a consistent approach of all marketing material. Make your visual graphics memorable by creating a unique logo and brand styling.
  • Graphics with meaning make your business’s messages come to life via symbolic graphics, colours and typography choices. Meaningful text gives depth to your developing brand and more importantly, your audience will be able to understand the meaning in your graphics and text.
  • Clear graphics and text communicate your message in an understandable way. Make sure that your graphics are sharp, clean, simple and meaningful. Make sure all text expresses your brand and is in no way confusing.
  • Brand honesty is key to delivering your brand promise and doesn’t alienate you and your company… or even worse damage your client relationships and your overall brand.
  • Brand personality of your business helps you appear different and unique. Clients can immediately tell that all of your branded materials are coming from your business. If you’re the owner of a one-person business, your brand identity might resonate with your own personality. If your business is larger, or if you want to make it appear larger, you can create your own brand personality to connect with your potential clients.
  • Professionalism in all things, from the quality of your graphics, to the way your text is written (proofreading is essential!), to your personal presentation: the way you talk, dress and speak. Professionalism in customer service and in the way you treat people you meet is always important. Follow through on your offers and promises.

Brand… enhancement

When you include all of these characteristics into your brand identity, you’ll have a business look and feel that will really help your marketing messages to be taken seriously: one that will enhance your overall brand.

If you’ve considered these characteristics and feel that your brand is falling short and letting your business (and your customers) down, feel free to give us a call on  01293 886805 or email us.

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How to write a design brief

How to write a good design brief to get the design you want!

How do you get exactly the design you want? The ideal design you envisage in your mind, the one to take your business to the next level? A good creative design brief is the answer.

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A thorough design brief is the single most critical factor to ensure your project is successful.

What is a design brief?

A design brief is critical to the success of any creative design project as it provides the designer with all the relative information needed to exceed expectations.

A design brief needs to focus on the results and outcomes of the design and the overall business objectives of the project.

It should not attempt to suggest how the aesthetics of design could look… that’s the designer’s responsibility.

As a client, the design brief allows you to focus on exactly what you want to achieve from the design project, before any work begins.

A good design brief will ensure you get a professional design that meets your business requirements.

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How to write a good design brief

The questions below are designed to help you crystallise your thoughts and provide your designer with a complete creative design brief.

Please make sure you have fun answering the questions and remember, provide as much detail as possible!

1. What does your business do?
• What does your company do?
• What is your company’s history?

Tip: Don’t assume the designer will know everything about your company. Be concise and avoid jargon.

2. What are the goals? Why?
• What is the overall goal of the design project?
• What do you want to communicate and why?
• Are you looking to sell products or increase brand awareness of your product or services?
• How are you different from your competitors?
• Are you looking to rebrand or simply updating your promotional material?

Tip: Give the designer copies of all your current marketing material.

3. Who is the target market?
• Map out your target market demographics? e.g. age, gender, income, tastes, views, attitudes, geography, lifestyle of your potential customers.

Tip: If your market has multiple audiences, list them in order of importance.

4. What copy (text) and pictures are needed?
• What copy do you need to include within the design? Where is the copy coming from e.g.your marketing department?
• What pictures / photographs / diagrams etc. need to be used?

Tip: The copy and pictures used in a design are as crucial as the design itself and you should clearly state who is going to be providing the copy and pictures if needed. You may need to consider engaging a professional copywriter or photographer – ask your designer for some recommendations.

5. What are the specifications?
• What size / format is the design going to be?
• Where is it going to be used? On the internet, stationery, marketing brochures on your car?
• What other information can you give the designer?

6. Have you got a benchmark in mind?
• What other material do you consider would assist the designer. This could be your competitors’ brochures.
• Remember things not to do are just as important, for example styles that you do not like or wish to see in your design.

7. What Is your budget?
• Providing the budget upfront allows designers to advise if the project is going to be possible to complete.
• Providing a budget allows designers to match valuable time and resources to maximise your budget.

8. What is the time scale / deadline?
• Make sure you give the designer a detailed schedule of the project. Set a realistic deadline for the completion of the work. Always take into account the different stages of the design project for example consultation, concept development, proof reading, production and delivery.

Tip: Rushing a design job through helps no one and mistakes can arise, especially if a complex project is pushed through without time for reviewing it.

Occasionally, there are times when a job needs to be completed quickly. In these cases you should be honest and clear with your designer.

Now that you know how to write a good design brief, give it a go and email us!

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Your brand is more than your logo

Your brand is more than your logo. In a commercial context, brands are all about connecting customers to businesses.

your brand

Your logo and its ability to send out the right signals about your brand and what it represents is an all-important connecting tool in your business armoury. But it’s not the only tool.

To make that logo as powerful as possible and to give it an appropriate context, it’s essential to first identify and define the heart of your brand, its purpose and its cause. This is what branding means in the truest sense.

I’d like to share with you, exactly what that means for your business. 

There are five key points to consider about your brand:

1. If marketing is how your business goes-to-market, then your brand is your Marketing Director, informing the focus of all marketing activity. From the products and services through to your people, your environment, processes and support systems – it encompasses your entire business proposition! Marketing without brand clarity is like playing the lottery, characterised by the highs (when you get lucky) and the lows (when you’re not) and having no idea of what’s working and what’s not. It’s a frustrating and inconsistent approach which doesn’t need to happen. Is your brand’s proposition clear and compelling for your most valuable customers and advantaged versus competitors and reflected in all your brand does?

2. Brands are all about making the right connections for your business. The right connections allow your business access to the right customers, the right channels, the right prices, the right territory in the market. Is your brand set up to make the right connections? Is it better at making those connections than your direct competitors?

3. Who are your most valuable customers? What are their needs? How does your brand address these needs, so it becomes the best solution for these people? Brands (not blands!) are defined by their actions. They stand for something clear and valuable to some and stand out from their competitors as a result. A powerful brand can clearly project what it represents and why that’s valuable to those it wants to connect with.

4. A brand is a promise, it’s not a logo. What does your brand promise and does it keep to it every time? What is its sense of purpose and how does that resonate with your most valuable customers?

5. What is your strategy to create tribes of Raving Fans – customers who love what your brand does for them, so they not only do they keep coming back for more want more but will also, crucially, willingly and strongly recommend your brand to others. Businesses that successfully and profitably create Brand Fans typically grow 2.5 times faster than those businesses in their market that don’t. Now that’s worth having and exploiting!

So, there’s a lot more to ‘branding’ than that all-important logo. If you correctly gear your brand to your business, it will become one of your most powerful growth enablers and you should be using it for all it’s worth.

Is your brand working as hard as it could be to take your business to the next level? We’d love to discuss that question with you and explore what more could be done – why not get in touch!

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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.

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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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Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition – when you’re planning to spend a significant amount on exhibiting at a show, how can you make sure you gain the maximum possible return on your investment?

Getting your graphic designer involved at an early stage makes a huge difference, as GEW found out this year.

GEW (EC) Limited designs and manufactures UV curing systems for printing, coating and industrial applications. They have just returned from exhibiting in Brussels at LabelExpo Europe, the world’s largest event for the label and package printing industry, attracting in excess of over 35,000 visitors.

This was a significant event for GEW. Not only were they a major sponsor,but they were alsoe launching the new ArcLED hybrid UV curing system to the international label industry. Their stand and supporting graphics needed to deliver maximum impact and appeal.

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

Turquoise Creative : working with us

Planning started 8 months before the exhibition, where creating the overall concept through to stand design and build was crucial to the success.

The Product : branding and design

At this early stage there was merely a fantastic product. Together with the marketing team, we had several creative brainstorming sessions to create the brand. ArcLED was born along with the visual look and feel for the new product branding. We now had a starting point for the advertising and production of all marketing material for the exhibition.

Pre Exhibition : advertising design

Promotion started prior to the exhibition, which required the design of a targeted advertising campaign to ‘tease’ the new product into the marketplace.

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

The Stand : space planning and design

As well as the stand being eye catching, which was achieved through lighting, imagery and suspended banners, we wanted visitors to feel comfortable about stepping into the space and engaging with GEW.

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

Off-stand : sponsorship brand design

As sponsors of the exhibition this gave GEW a number of other promotional opportunities, from floor tiles to the amazing Backlit Astrid Walkway billboard. The design of which all had to be consistent in both terms of brand styling, imagery and message.

Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

 

Turquoise Creative : Delivering maximum impact at an Exhibition

Much of the success of the show for GEW lies in their foresight to engage with Turquoise Creative many months prior to the exhibition. This enabled us to really understand what our client’s objectives were and the messages they needed to convey. This insight allowed us to create the design that reflected GEW’s brand, values and products.

You hear about people going the extra mile for their clients. In this case, it was literal. We jumped on a plane to Brussels and visited GEW on their stand! It was immensely satisfying to see many months of hard work come together.

 

Turquoise Creative’s tips for a successful exhibition

If you are planning to exhibit at a show here are our top tips:

  1. Planning – plan your exhibition design and all supporting graphics well in advance
  2. Message – create a strong consistent product message
  3. Listening – does your designer listen to what your objectives are?
  4. Asking – do they ask questions to really understand and then listen again?
  5. Direction – listen to what your designer has to say (it will keep you on the right track!).

If you wish to gain maximum impact from exhibiting at a show please give us a call on 01293 886805 or email us.

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