Whether you’re a solopreneur or corporate marketing executive, you probably know that strategic design is good for business and can have significant impact on your bottom line. So if you’re spending thousands on a new brand identity or website, of course you want to make sure it’s a wise investment.
But if you’re looking for a dollar-based ROI when it comes to design, I have some bad news for you: It’s probably not going to happen.
Clients and prospects alike often tell me that they are sick of looking at their brand. They complain that everything looks the same. All of their printed collateral, their web site and corresponding PDF downloads, their social media graphics, etc… ALL LOOK THE SAME! They are frankly bored with their brand identity, and want to change it up due to some perceived notion that everyone else is getting bored with it too.
Here’s the thing: If you are sick and tired of looking at your brand, then you are doing it right.
So, you are ready to move forward on that big project (brand identity, annual report, website, ad campaign, etc.) yet you are not sure where to begin. You tell your designer what you want and he goes forth and designs it with little to no information. The problem is that he doesn’t have a shred of information that will help him create something that is going to be effective, if at all usable or suitable for your audience. He won’t know what resources to use because he doesn’t know your budget. He doesn’t know whom you are targeting so it’s a shot in the dark to create something that will be effective for that specific market. That’s where a creative brief comes in.
American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is the world’s oldest professional safety society. ASSE promotes the expertise, leadership and commitment of its members, while providing them with professional development, advocacy and standards development. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the association that facilitates education, scholarships, and growth within the profession.
A logo design contest site is basically an online marketplace where people or businesses looking to have a logo designed, post the project/contest to the site along with some requirements and prize dollar amount—usually miniscule. The members, usually consisting of thousands of designers, proceed to design potentially hundreds of options for the contest holder to choose from, typically by a specified due date. The contest holder then either chooses a logo and “rewards” the winner with the prize, or decides there is no winner and the project is reposted for more designs until he gets one that he likes. That’s it in a nutshell.
Sounds like a great deal…hundreds of design options to choose from and only a few bucks, right? Not so fast!
Here is another edition of Sketchbook Bingo, where I randomly pick a page out of one of many sketchbooks/journals that I filled over the years.
When I start a project I usually start to doodle/sketch/brainstorm any first ideas that come to mind. When I randomly flipped through one of my books today, I found this sketch (above) for a project I did for National Geographic Channel back in 2005. Seems like an eternity ago.
The dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.” It then defines Design as “A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made.”
Kind of vague, huh? Well to put it simply, art isn’t always design and some design can be art. Still vague? Well it inherently is. There is definitely some gray area between the two.
This post was going to start out as a Sketchbook Bingo post but since the page I turned to in one of my sketchbooks were concept sketches for a past project, I decided to quickly show the process of concepting, sketching, word mapping and refinement, etc. to final refined design.
This was an identity project I did a couple years ago for a recruitment firm. You can see the word mapping I used to generate ideas, and several sketches, as well as the one sketch that went on to be refined as the final. This particular logo was one of a few I presented, and while this direction wasn’t chosen, I thought it represented the company and its core values quite nicely. The logo that was chosen is here.
As a designer, I am often wanting to use alternative methods for printing, or special papers, inks, or die cuts for a particular project. Early in my career, I would design to my heart’s content only to discover that after the fact, the client didn’t budget for such a piece. So I would have to go back and retool the design to fit the print and production specifications to fall in line with their budget. This not only applies to Print. It can apply to new media depending on what technology is used to deliver your content. Either way, it is a mistake that I don’t make any more.
The reason I don’t make that mistake anymore is that I always ask what the client’s budget is. Most of the time they tell me outright. Sometimes, I get the feeling that some clients think that I am trying to squeeze additional money out of them, but the reality is that I need to know the budget in order to move forward with any kind of success. Much like any other significant purchase you make in this world, you tend to budget for it—even informally. For instance, when you go to buy a new or used car, you know how much money you have to put down—and you know how much money you can afford for monthly payments. After you do the math, you are left with what your budget is. The same goes for house shopping, etc., and the same should go for any business purchase you make—including your brand identity and any marketing collateral.
Love of Learning Montessori School is an independent school that provides Montessori education for students from infant/toddler through 6th grade. In 2008/2009 the school celebrated its 25th anniversary and felt it was the right time to take the school to the next level to increase enrollment and to foster an even greater relationship between the school and its community of families.
Love of learning Montessori School was looking to revamp its image to more accurately represent its mission and philosophy and give the school a more unified & credible presence. Previously, their logo was very hard to read and was dated. Their print materials and website had no consistency and this translated into an unorganized and unprofessional presence. The school’s image didn’t fall in line with the quality of the education they provide.