If there’s anything pandemic-land has taught us, it’s that nothing is certain! Things can change rapidly, whether from forces beyond our control or by design. In our opinion, changes by design (and for design) are so much more fun.
The buzz about 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) design has been growing for a while now, and brands and consumers alike have been anxiously waiting for it to break out into the mainstream. But complexity, cost, and tech demands have kept this slice of the future siloed in the studios of big (and big-budget) developers and design firms.
For many people, design is synonymous with appearance. The design of something is what it looks like, right? Well, to some extent, sure. But design goes way beyond just looks: it's also about function and communication. Good design uses visual elements to clearly, appealingly communicate a message or serve a particular function. It should look great but also work well because design that doesn't can have a major impact on the user experience - and your brand.
Ever wondered about what makes something art and something else design? Basically, art is primarily concerned with aesthetics, and design is about function first. If you're a designer, an amazing-looking chair that you can't actually sit in is a terrible design. But it might just nab an artist a MacArthur Fellowship.
Creating an amazing homepage is both an art and an exercise in self-discipline. When you are first setting up a website, it can feel like your homepage is just sitting there like a blank canvas, waiting for you to fill it with “all the things” that make your business the bee's knees.
Rookie mistake, friends.
Your logo design is important. And saying it so simply is such an understatement it feels weird to even state. However, so many young businesses overlook just how important it is. It's not something you can slap together and call it good. Remember, bigger isn't always better. A smart design can make your business stand out more effectively than size.
KISS: keep it simple, stupid. That old phrase is just as relevant today as when it was first trotted out. In fact, it might be even more so. According to a recent study, brands are failing to deliver the simplicity that today's consumers crave. Let's take a look at why simplicity matters, who's getting it right, and how to keep your brand as simple as it can be.
Marketing strategies look different based on a variety of factors– the size of a company, its goals, target audience, whether it’s B2B or B2C… the list goes on. However, one thing that should stay the same no matter what kind of business is being run is the presence of a brand style guide.
The world might be on pause, but your brand shouldn't be. In fact, now is an ideal time to push your brand forward with a brand update, refresh, or overhaul. By using these quieter times to revamp your brand identity or refocus your positioning, you can emerge from lockdown with a fresh, up-to-date brand that grabs consumers' attention in all the right ways. Here's what we anticipate to be the top branding trends of 2020 and beyond.
Calling all coffee lovers! It’s finally here - the fuel that will ignite the fire that burns inside all of us. Our first passion gets us up in the morning. Our second passion keeps us up.
Starterfluid Coffee is a heart-pounding, mind-sharpening, sleep-scaring fuel like the world's never seen before, but sorely wishes it had. Because if history had run on Starterfluid all those what-ifs and could be’s would be done and dusted.
With the work from home world slowly transitioning to a new reality and restaurants closed to sit-down dining. Everyone is spending much of their time indoors, and we're learning to appreciate the lost art of cooking. Turns out, all that time in our prior lives spent watching the Food Network is finally coming in handy. But that's because food isn't just about food; it never has been. Food is about comfort, coming together, trying new things, and exploring the world through taste. At its heart, cooking is a creative act - and a powerful (and tasty) way to keep your creative juices flowing during the lockdown.
There’s no denying it anymore. A product that’s beautifully crafted and designed sells itself; no heavy lifting required. On the other hand, a poorly designed product can leave you dead in the water. If you value your bottom line, you cannot disvalue design. Just look around you at a few well-known brands.
Design isn't just about creating things that look good. It's about solving a problem in an appealing, functional way. And according to McKinsey's recent report The Business Value of Design, it's a good business idea. Their research indicates that businesses that invest in design thinking are twice as successful as those who don't.
The challenge, however, is in being able to demonstrate the value of design. While many designers and companies are aware of the ROI that great design brings, selling it to consumers - or even to higher ups - isn't always so easy.
Marketing metrics have moved beyond clicks and impressions and towards attention metrics. Attention metrics measure how a user is engaging with your content. Likes and shares are indicators of engagement; comments are an even better one. Then there are the micro indicators, such as scrolling, tilting a phone, swiping or completing/rewatching a video.
Businesses know that websites are a critically important piece of marketing collateral. The digital equivalent of a business card, they serve to validate you as a business, while also generating trust, reliability, credibility and even sales. Your website is where people will arrive after Googling you or meeting you at a conference. And they can be the make-or-break between someone choosing you or a competitor. While the initial outlay for a small business website can seem hefty, a well-designed, strategically crafted website will recoup every penny.
First, facts. You are constantly creating and casting vision, whether you’re aware of it or not. Humans are born creators, we create everywhere we go, by the very thoughts we think and the beliefs we believe. However, if you’re not paying attention, or establishing a creative vision intentionally, there’s really no telling where you might end up! It certainly won’t help you plan the trajectory of your business and brand.
Welcome to the digital age in which Google is the yellow pages, Facebook is your billboard on the highway and Youtube is our television.
For the consumer, these entities are all tools and points of access to anything and everything they want. For the business owner, these are the platforms in which you can reach your potential customer.
Most high-performing businesses spare no shortage of time and effort in developing a viable business strategy, and a hard-hitting brand strategy to support it. But what about a creative strategy? Too often brands conflate brand and creative strategies, robbing their business of either destination or approach. The businesses that truly succeed are the ones that complement their brand strategy with a creative one.
Creativity underpins the success of any profitable brand, even those not usually considered to be in a creative niche. The reason for this is that the thoughtful application of new ideas is critical to a business being able to improve its processes, offerings, and profitability. Creativity in business is about more than invention. It's about innovating: taking an invention or idea and incorporating it into your business model.
Have you ever landed on a website and immediately felt turned off? Sometimes it's really obviously chaotic and overwhelming, other times it just feels out of place or even is disorienting. In all likelihood, you left the website. Plus, you probably didn't bother to look at whatever product or service that brought you to the website in the first place.
We live in an increasingly visual world, and looking the part is critical to thriving in the market. Today's consumers are highly informed when it comes to design and branding, meaning that they'll approach your brand with a sophisticated set of notions and assumptions. To survive market disruption, your brand needs to look great - and it needs to reflect what you do and who you are.
Here's what your brand's visual identity needs to deliver.
When we talk about creativity we're not talking about a toddler's glittery Popsicle stick creation - though it's rooted in the same place.
Creativity is novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ideas executed in a novel, non-obvious, useful, and moving ways.
Approaching business with creativity is essential to your business success. This is particularly true when you're talking about branding and marketing. Why?
Most brands know that they need to stand out, but when it comes time to execute, many take the safe route. They compete with the market, instead of trying to break out ahead of the curve. But differentiation is one of the most important elements of a successful brand. If you aren’t different, you are dying. To stand out in the sea of sameness, you must differentiate your brand through a seamless choreography of messaging, branding, product offerings, and communications.
It's a dog eat dog world out there today. In order to survive, it's uber important for your brand to stand out, be recognizable and be unique.
Branding and business have everything to do with what we presume about human behavior, based on our research. And branding, especially in this digital age, has everything to do with the visual.
You've done all the work behind the scenes. You've met a dozen times internally to strategize, brainstorm and collaborate. But now comes the most important part: presenting your work to your client.
Presentations are a high-stakes challenge. You're trying to sell someone on an idea, and no matter how good that idea is, if its value doesn't come across, then your client won't bite. Here's how to present your project, concept or work in a way that will get buy-in from even the most challenging client.
You know what they say, a project without a plan is a wish.
It happens to us all the time. A client asks us to design an ad, create a brochure or build a website. That's awesome - it's what we do, after all - but before we get started we need to know exactly what we're creating and why.
All of this information goes into a creative brief, which is the roadmap we use to determine the eventual creative output. What is a creative brief? It's a plan on what and how to deliver a project. Why is a creative brief important? As creatives, we're strategic partners. We don't just design for the sake of design. We want to ensure that what we create meets your business goals. A creative brief provides the foundation needed to make sure that we're delivering what you need.
Increasingly, the world's most innovative companies are being led by those with design experience. That's because great design isn't just about great-looking products: it's about solving problems and challenges in practical yet creative ways.
Buyer-centric strategy: You're the owner of a business that puts a lot of effort into marketing a product you believe in. You've spent time and money building buzz and testing the waters on which techniques encourage your target customers to open their wallets.
You're careful with your messaging and try to shape your customers' view of your brand and product. You focus on differentiating yourself from the competition, showing why your product is the only solution for your customers' problems.
Whitespace. Loved by designers, and loved to be filled by website owners. Though you may not realize it, blank space can actually be a good thing for a website. Kind of like the best friend you didn’t realize you missed until you don’t have them anymore.
How many times have you opened an email newsletter only to delete it two seconds later? Or even worse, just delete it without even clicking open — which you've done the past 10 times? It happens to all of us. But why? One reason is that the newsletter just isn't interesting enough to catch your attention. In our overly busy, exceedingly digital lives, we simply don't have time for cluttered, visually flat emails that don't immediately pique our interest.
Simplifying your brand is like decluttering your house. You know it's going to be good for you, but like that awesome kitchen gadget you bought on late night TV maybe you really will use one day. Here's our advice for kitchen gadgets and cluttered brands: if in doubt, throw it out.
Our clients are often completely on board with simplification until it comes to pulling the trigger. Sometimes they're worried about brand equity with an old style, communicating their offerings, not showcasing every little detail or being heard with less. Simplifying your brand may seem like a risk, but it's actually the best investment you'll ever make. Here's why.
Simplicity arises from understanding. Simple brands aren't unfinished or unsophisticated. They're brands with absolute clarity of purpose.
Simple branding evokes rather than describes. It inspires rather than convinces. It's stripped-back, iconic and authentic. And it's linked with brand success.
Once you go simple, you never go back. Let's take a look at some of the places simplicity is taking over.