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Local animal charity Animal Care situated in Lancaster is a regular client of Back Room SAM. Animal Care recently contacted us to commission a poster design to help publicise their upcoming Open Day taking place in May this year.
The Open Day is Animal Care’s biggest fundraising event in their annual calendar. As the charity is entirely self-funded and receive no aid from the government, the success of events like this is vital for securing funds to allow their work to continue in caring for and re-homing unwanted and abandoned animals that come to them from all over North West England.
“Every adventure requires a first step…” The Design Brief The brief we were given for the poster design was a challenging one. The open day is primarily aimed at families with children, and this year the event is to take on an Alice in Wonderland theme. This theme needed to be explicitly communicated in the design. Tea parties, cheshire cats and mad hatters while experimenting with bold colours and chequered patterns meant we soon found ourselves in Wonderland! However, while implementing this theme we wanted to avoid compromising the core standard branding of the charity. This also needed to be represented so that folk already familiar with the charity could quickly recognise this as an Animal Care event.
ALICE: ‘This is impossible.’
THE MAD HATTER: ‘Only if you believe it is.’
Another challenge was the amount of information to be included on the poster. Lots of different stalls and activities would be happening at the Open Day event to attract people to come along, and it was important that all of these were communicated clearly. The trick was to refine the poster layout so that it didn’t appear cluttered with ‘information overload’. The poster was to be printed in various sizes – A2, A3 and A4 – so we needed to ensure it was still visually attractive and easily readable when reproduced at the smallest size.
‘I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.’ Cheshire Cat
Mad as a hatter about the result The client were delighted with the final outcome, and feel the design very much represents their vision for the event and successfully attracts and compels the target audience. Plans are coming together nicely for the day, which is set to be their largest fundraising event to date!
‘Animal Care used Back Room SAM to redesign our adoption folders, forms and business cards as well as to design posters for our different fundraising events. Back Room SAM really has been such an easy business to work with, very helpful and has made it very easy to order everything we need from one place. Sarah’s design work is very professional which has given our charity a clear and quality look to all adoptions. We are always very pleased with everything we get from Back Room SAM and look forward to working with them for many more years to come.’ Faye Goymer, Principal Manager at Animal Care
Good graphic design is not just the difference between bright and colourful and dull and boring. It can be the difference between your customers choosing between you and your competitors. It’s not just what you say in your marketing channels that matters, but also how you say it – the design needs to say all the right things about your business and be visually compelling to your target audience.
So, who is a graphic designer?
A graphic designer is a professional whose job is to create visual presentations that effectively communicate a desired message. They combine words and images that help to explain what a business is all about, and apply this logic to all areas of marketing communications – corporate identity, advertising, packaging, brochures, websites, social media, newsletters, though some may choose to specialise in delivering any number of these. (Note that a graphic designer is not someone who has a loose knowledge of using Photoshop, but more on this later!)
Here are 3 ways investing in good design will strengthen and grow your business…
1. Memorability Now more than ever, we are all daily bombarded with endless numbers of brands and logos from huge multinational companies to small local businesses. If you want your customers to easily recognise you and grow awareness of your brand, then good design will help you cut through the clutter and make you stand out from competitors and others in your industry. A design specifically for your business and with your target audience in mind is much more likely to have a powerful impact than a standard design or template downloaded from the web.
2. Consistency A good graphic designer will consider how your logo or corporate identity will work effectively on all different kinds of media and marketing communications, both online and offline. Your customers are likely to come into contact with you and your brand via many different channels, and it’s vital that every time they receive the same message and same visual image. If you are working with a graphic designer on your logo design, make sure you and them consider how the design will work in various contexts. How will the logo look on your website or blog? On your letterhead? On your Facebook page? On your business card? Even embroidered on a uniform?
3. Credibility Have you ever come across the phrase ‘fake it ‘til you make it’? One of the most powerful elements of design is that you can be perceived as slick and professional even if your workplace is at home at a small desk under the stairs! However you choose to position yourself in your market, good graphic design is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to communicate your desired business identity. First impressions count, and if you haven’t taken any care or attention over your design, what’s to stop people thinking you run your business any differently?
Choosing a graphic designer I hope I have started to convince you why investing in good design is very worthwhile for your business. But what about finding the right graphic designer to work with? Here are some quick tips for selecting a designer:
Your chosen graphic designer will play an important role in your business, so you need to trust them. Anyone can call themselves a graphic designer, and you want to avoid getting stuck working with someone whose work looks like something your 8-year old could have produced on Powerpoint. So, before commissioning anyone, ask to see their portfolio to take a look at the work they have done previously and the clients they have worked with. If possible, contact some of the clients they have done work for and ask for their experience of working with the designer.
If possible, arrange a face-to-face meeting with the designer before committing to working with them. Explain clearly your requirements, and observe how carefully they listen and take on board your thoughts and ideas. Do they make helpful suggestions, and do their best to address any concerns you might have? And do they take the time to understand your objectives and vision and understand your marketing strategy as a whole?
Make sure that you discuss and are both clear on the agreed cost and budget for the design work, as well as payment terms. Also be sure to set a deadline for completion that you are both happy with.
Need some help with your graphic design? I’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with me and we’ll arrange a time to meet and brainstorm ideas together. Or visit my portfolio to take a look at some of the design projects I’ve been recently working on with clients.
In recent weeks I have been developing a number of logos and corporate identities for various clients. One of the most important decisions to make about your visual identity is your choice of colour.
What is colour telling people about you?
Colour can communicate a lot more than you may think, sometimes even subconsciously! The infographic below suggests the emotions, qualities and characteristics that are associated with particular colours. It also gives examples of well-known brands that clearly demonstrate the claimed characteristics of each colour.
So when deciding what colours to use in your brand, it’s worth thinking about what you wish to communicate about your organisation, product or service. It is vital to deliver a consistent message to your target audience about what your business is about (also known as your USP or proposition) and you need to ensure your logo, stationery and various promotional material communicates this message, and one way to do this is through appropriate and effective use of colour.
How many colours should you use in your brand?
It’s also interesting to spot from the infographic that for the most part, big brands choose to only use one main colour in their identity. They work hard to associate themselves with a particular colour, which helps strengthen their image and become more memorable.
The strongest brand identities I have designed have had a limited colour palette, and when brainstorming branding concepts with clients, I usually suggest choosing no more than 1-2 main colours to work with in a design.
Of course, design is not an exact science and when it comes to making important decisions like use of colour, it’s not always as simple as following a set of rules. But my suggestions above might provide a good starting point to get you thinking about the use of colour in your brand.
I hope you enjoy using colour to bring your brand to life, and if you would like some help thinking through or designing your brand identity just give me a shout!
A post on social media is twice as likely to be shared or retweeted by others when it includes an image. In this video blog, I talk about how a important it is for a business to get creative with producing images for use on their social media pages, and how this can be done, even without any graphic design skills!
I hope you find this video blog useful, and I hope it inspires you to get creative when using images in your social media strategy.