Advice

Is That Your Company Logo or Refrigerator Art?

I had a prospect tell me once that she was very happy with her logo and that it had been drawn by her 7-year-old son. She smirked when she told me she didn’t have to pay for it either. 

I didn’t waste my time trying to change her mind. She was going to continue to use her son’s art, regardless of the consequences, because it was created by her son, for free. She let emotion and price rule her decision, not reality. The reality is, unless a logo reflects her company's brand strategy, it’s “art" — and belongs on her refrigerator — not on her company letterhead. 

I’m Focusing Exclusively On Brand Identity Design!

This is an exciting time for me! After 18 years as a freelance designer creating everything from brand identities to newspaper ads to direct mail promotions, I’ve changed my business model. I’m now focusing exclusively on brand identity design for small businesses and professional services — something that has been my passion for a long time.

Recently I've been working like a mad woman creating a major rebrand for my own business identity. (Can it really be considered work if you're enjoying every minute of it?) This has included learning to design beautiful websites in Squarespace. Many years ago, I remember saying “Oh I don’t need to learn how to create websites, I’ll only work in print.” That eventually returned to bite me. Thankfully, I’m now able to create a complete brand identity package for my clients in both print and web. 

Here's a bit of advice if you’re starting a new business, from one small business owner to another. Don’t be confused and misled by all the hype telling you to buy a website here and a logo there. When a hodge-podge of different design elements are purchased individually, they usually don’t communicate well together. Especially if there's not a creative strategy in place for the designers to follow. Trust me, this will cost you money down the road. 

The very first step in building a brand for your new business, before buying a logo, business cards, or website, is to have a creative strategy in place. This strategy will help you and your designers to understand who your audience is, and what makes you and your product or service special. It will determine the all important brand message, and ultimately, the future success of your business.

May you have the best day ever,

Diana

Business Cards. Love Them And Leave Them.

I’ve attended networking events recently where I met a few young ladies who didn’t bring their business cards. Isn’t exchanging business cards one of the main ways of getting in touch with the new contacts you meet at these events?

One budding entrepreneur said she didn’t believe in using business cards, but instead told me to  connect with her on Facebook. After asking her to spell her name twice and still not getting it typed correctly into my Facebook app I just said “Thanks!” and gave up. I have no idea who she was, and it’s probably for the best. 

I’ve even seen it asked on social media if business cards are relevant today. Of course they are!

If you are serious about your business, one way to show it is by investing in quality business cards. Cards today are inexpensive to print digitally and with excellent results. Even so, many cards that I receive are hard to read and gaudy. Business cards are a direct reflection on a business, so this is not the place to be cheap—hire a professional graphic designer.

It’s often said that your logo is the face of your business. I like to think of the business card as the company car you would drive to pick up important clients in from the airport.

My question to you is “are you driving a Mercedes or a Kia?”

Keep Your Eye On The Prize.

There is a tremendous amount of online hype encouraging the owners of small businesses to create their own marketing materials. Why would anyone want to do that? 

I recently read about an attorney who learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Adobe Photoshop, then spent months building his website himself. That’s time he could have been networking to grow his business and billing clients. The amount of money he saved couldn’t possibly have been more than what he lost in time and potential earnings.

To be successful, stay focused on what you do best, which should be running your business, and hire professionals for everything else.