Don’t forget your company branding

A couple weeks ago, I saw a presentation from a well respected business in my area. The information was great and the presenter was fantastic. One thing that definitely bothered me, however, was how little the business used their brand in the presentation. As business owners, we have a lot on our minds. WIth all the balls we’re juggling, it can be easy to forget things at times. One thing we can’t forget, is to use our company banding in every opportunity we have.

In this particular presentation, the powerPoint was clean and sleek, but the design and colors used (the brand) didn’t match any of the businesses other marketing material. I had a presentation I was giving a few weeks later, and I was certainly not going to make the same mistake. My design put together a great PowerPoint template that included the Full Scope Creative color scheme, fonts, and tagline. A presentation in front of an audience of any size is simply too big of a spot to not use your company branding. 

There are some other key places that I have seen businesses miss a chance to use their branding. It’s not uncommon to see a brand not fully utilized on a business card. Yes, the logo is there, but the fonts used are different from that which are on their brochure or letterhead. I especially notice this on cards that are printed from Vista Prints. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re getting something printed for free, odds are it isn’t going to use your company branding to its fullest extent. 

I again hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you hand out pens that simply have your company name printed on them, you’re missing the mark. Countless times I’ve had a business professional hand me their business card and the logo is fantastic. Only for the same business professional, to moments later hand me a pen with the company name simple printed on it. In some cases, I get that the logo might not work well on that particular product, but that is part of what should be addressed in the brand design. A well designed logo, for example, should work in full color or in a simple all white design. For example, look at the Full Scope Creative logo on our business cards. It is very much our logo, but simply done all in white. By having the logo flexible enough to be full color or all white, it allows us to use the logo and full brand on a much wider range of promotional products, like pens, mouse pads, and more. 

One spot I see a brand not being used, and one that pains me to see, is a company not using their branding on their website. Part of developing a brand is making sure you are using fonts that are unique, but also easy to use in a number of places, such as on your website and email newsletter. Along with identifying the fonts to use, your brand should also identify the colors to use. I always find it so odd to be handed a business card with a blue background and black text, only to go to the website and see a green background with gray text. Both might look great – but the branding was not connecting between the two.

It might sound obvious, but it can’t be overstated how important it is to use your company branding whenever given the chance. As business professionals, I know we have a ton of things to keep track of and keep on top of. But we need to be mindful to use our company branding to its fullest extent, whenever we have the opportunity. If you have any limitations or issues using your company brand, we’d love to help! Contact us today and we can go over options for designing a modern and usable brand for your business.

What is a style guide?

I love cooking. I love experimenting with new flavors and combinations and finding new ways to combine ingredients. The freedom I have when cooking is one of, if not my main, creative outlets. There are times however that call for me to return to cooking basics and to use seasonings that I know work well together. When it comes to marketing my business, getting creative with my brand is never something I want to do. I lean heavily on my brand style guide instead, confident that it exudes my exact brand strategy. We did all the creative fun up front in the brand design, and now we use that brand design over and over again in our marketing. My mood board and brand style guide make up my trusty “basic seasonings” that I turn to over and over again for my marketing. 

The brand style guide is a carefully thought-out set of visual styles that communicate and articulate a business’ defined marketing strategy. It covers things like typography, color palettes, icons, font styling, and more. When we work with a new business or help a business through a brand redesign, creating a brand style guide is always our first recommendation. The reason for this is twofold: first, when we set out to create a style guide, we invest ample time researching our client’s industry, competition, and business goals. We get to know the client in-depth to design  a custom brand that will be the most strategic for their company. Second, any and all branding we do after that point will all be based on the initial style guide. The hard work is done, and we have simply to apply the new branding to every aspect of our client’s business. The guide will influence the logo design, business cards, letterhead, and website design. 

A style guide will also set the brand style for images and any stock photography we need to use. Recently I was putting together an email newsletter for Full Scope Creative and wanted to use a second text color. Being as I’m not a designer by trade, choosing text color is not my strongest skill. Having a brand style guide, I was able to simply look and see what the recommended secondary color for fonts would be.

I keep the style guide for Full Scope Creative not only on my computer as a PDF in an easy to find location, but also printed off and right next to my desk. By having the guide so easy to access, I can quickly reference it and keep my company branding on point and consistent. 

When it comes to marketing, having a brand style guide and mood board is as essential as salt and pepper. All the creative guidelines are set when the brand is developed, with the intent to use those standards over and over again. While I love the freedom I have when cooking to experiment with new flavors and combinations, your company branding needs to stay consistent and on point. If you don’t have a style guide or mood board for your business, contact us today!

Whitespace is your friend

You know what one of the best marketing tools is? And it’s also free or dang cheap? And fits the less-is-more idea?

 

 

Whitespace

 

 

Recently, we were finishing up a new design on a site. The new design was amazing. It was crisp and clean and so easy to read and easy for clients to navigate through to a successful visit. Why? Because we plenty of whitespace.

Whitespace is simply the portions of a design piece that are left unused. In the design I was referring to before, the client wanted us to remove the majority. I believe the line the client used once was “hey there’s some extra space there, what would we just put there?” Whitespace, or those unused areas (doesn’t have to be white in color), provide the marketing piece some room to breathe and live a little. It allows us to craft a piece that can easily walk a user through from start to finish and guide their eyes to where we need them to go.

Can you go to the extreme? Sure, I guess. You could make a user scroll for a good long time on a website. On a print piece you would run out of paper eventually. But having everything jammed in right next to each other takes away from everything. When you cram more and more and more into a design you are inevitably left with simply less and less and less.

Want a great example of whitespace? www.google.com. What is the one thing Google really wants you to do on their homepage? Search for something. Because of all the whitespace in that design, where is your eye pulled to – the search bar. Consider my hometown newspaper, www.greenbaypressgazette.com. Not as much whitespace, not even close. Now there’s a lot of things vying for attention.

If it’s a print piece, again you can run out of room on the paper, but you really shouldn’t have all that much to say on one flyer or banner stand. If you do, you’re likely missing the purpose of that medium. Whitespace is a wonderful marketing technique and when put to use can have a considerable impact on the overall success of a marketing design project. And it doesn’t even cost much (if anything) to use, just a little planning.

KIS Your Banner Stands

Going to trade shows and expos can be a lot of fun for a business owner. They are a great way to introduce your company to potential clients. When you’re in that crowded expo hall and fighting to be noticed by attendees, having a retractable banner stand is a great way to draw attention to your booth. The key, is to “KIS” your business stands – Keep It Simple.

We’ve designed plenty of banner stands at Full Scope Creative. Banner stands provide one more opportunity for you to reach out and grab interest from passers-by. For one client, we used colors not commonly seen in their line of work or industry. In that instance, just one subtle difference – a new color being added to the room – was enough to draw noticeable interest.

While the idea is to catch the eye and draw attention to your booth, many clients want to add too much text to their banners. A banner stand functions like a small billboard: more of a simple hello and less of a sales pitch. They can provide something for the attendee to look at if you’re busy talking to someone else, but they should not function as a large brochure.

Once a potential customer walks into your booth, the focus should come off the banner stand and be directed to a knowledgeable company representative armed with detailed marketing materials. We can fit much more content into those pieces than we possibly could on the banner stand, and really, take-home brochures, flyers or swag work much better as selling tools – the attendee can take them home.

There are no defined rules for how much text to put on a banner stand, but it is certainly a “less is more” sort of situation. Images work great. Icons work great. Splashes of color that will grab an attendee’s attention work great. Numerous lines of text will not be seen, much less grab anyone’s attention, from across the expo hall.

Banner stands are a great item to have as part of your trade show or business expo booth, but they need to be kept simple. We may live in a “social media” world, but at these events, people are looking to interact with another person – not a banner stand. “KIS” your banner stands by remembering to “Keep It Simple,” and have a knowledgeable person with plenty of takeaway printed materials do the selling.