Or How Design Can Serve Your Cause. A riveting account of one designer's mission to save good people from bad design.
I hesitate to even use the word "services", since it makes a cohesive consultation sound more like a menu of toppings to build your own marketing salad. Yet, at the same time, I certainly resonate with feeling "in service" to my clients and their goals. I suppose in the end it's just the word we use when we bring something to the marketplace that isn't a "product". In my case, while there are a few different reasons we may initially engage in a collaboration, we are ultimately getting at the heart of the same fundamental question: how can design serve your cause? And thus, the name of my as-yet unpublished (or written) memoir. Stay tuned!
Identity (the softer side of "branding")
Who are you? And who aren't you?
I love the intimate and investigative nature of this work: the process of uncovering what makes each business or organization special – understanding where it's come from and where it's headed – and then expressing this in a visual language that connects you with your community of customers/constituents/supporters.
This process can be configured to best fit the scale and culture of your organization, and results in a toolkit and guidelines that will help you cultivate an authentic and consistent (yet evolving) brand image. Technically speaking, this kit will include a variety of formats for your brand mark(s) and specifications for colors and typography to ensure consistency across your media.
But it's also much more. The real work is to discover your brand's unique voice, personality and style. This newfound clarity leads to more effective messaging and imagery, and ultimately impacts your marketing or outreach strategy as well.
What do I mean by "the softer side of branding"? Glad you asked. While we are increasingly familiar with the notion of a "brand", we are also subsequently more confused about what it actually means. One thing is for sure though, your "brand" is not the same thing as your "logo". It's much more akin to your reputation, the accumulation of all the experiences and associations that people have with your company and whatever it is that you create. Creating and managing a brand is a complex concoction of creativity and analysis of hard data. This is where the "softness" comes in, and why I prefer to use the term "Identity". While we will draw upon as much quality insight as possible during this process, I don't claim to be a full-service branding agency, with researchers, trend experts, behavioral psychologists, etc.
Are you the same now as you were then?
Identity development is in one respect a single, concentrated effort to cast a mold and stake your claim. However, it is also an ongoing process, as if tuning an instrument, that is best served by sustained attention. So dust it off every once in a while. Put up a fresh coat of paint! Rearrange the furniture!
Done right – with respect for your roots and retaining what works – this can boost morale and attract new audiences, while showing others that you are invested in the future, and here to stay.
Ahh, the romance of paper! There's something so appealing about the comfort and challenge of designing for a fixed amount of space, with none of this "infinite scrolling" business to bail us out! While we're using less of it these days, it's not going away anytime soon. You can't wrap a product in pixels, or go posting flat screens willy-nilly around town to promote your upcoming event (yet).
While I generally encourage a more selective use of printed materials to save time and money, there is an undeniable impact to holding something physically in your hands. While an email hides in your computer, a mailing or booklet remain on the desk or fridge, keeping that reminder fresh in one's mind. And even though we're doing more shopping online these days, we can't deny the potential for a well-crafted unboxing experience to send you back online for more.
But there's more to print than just ads. Signs, vehicle wraps, packaging, books, apparel: if its not on screen, it's in print. As with all projects, the solution is catered to your goals, your budget, and your audience. In every case, I'm here to help you select materials, gather quotes and be your liaison to the mysterious realm of print shops. My experience as a printmaker, screen printer and paper product designer means I speak their language. There are a lot of decisions to be made about scale, orientation, size, materials, colors, pagination, folds, cuts, bleeds...so rest easy knowing you've got a translator on your side.
Inevitably, composing a printed piece requires copy and images. We are prepared to work with what a client provides for us or to help in composing, editing or creating those assets. Some needs may be met through my own consultation, while others may require the use of stock art, a copy editor, or a professional photographer. In each case, we can connect you with the resources you need to make this piece worthy of someone's coffee table, fridge, or scrapbook.
"Websites" no longer accurately describe what we're talking about here. It's social media, email marketing, and anything else that appears on screen. When even "just" a website is created, it is inevitably accompanied by an email newsletter template, social media banners and a variety of other knick-knacks one may need to maintain a presence online.
We can provide consultation on a single element or a comprehensive package. And while there are certainly best practices at play, there is also not a cookie cutter approach to this work. When needed, we will consider multiple platforms and tools and match you with the right fit for your needs. Depending on your goals and scale, we can pair you with additional expertise in online marketing, search engine optimization, social media strategy, videographers and code jockeys.
In most cases, myself and my partners will be able to offer you ongoing technical support, site hosting, and content management and are always committed to helping you keep your online presence effective, relevant and a (relative) joy to maintain!