As the new year begins, new design trends are emerging. While many styles from the past continue to trend, there have been various new styles expected to be utilized in design in 2020.
Both Graphic Mama and 99 Designs have shared their graphic design trends for 2020 which we found aligned well with our trends. We have created a list of the graphic design trends to look out for this year.
1. Get Personalized Using Collages of Drawings
Incorporating a man-made drawing illustration in your design can help obtain a personalized and fun vibe to your design. This trend is popular because it can relate to your viewers. It allows for an immense amount of creativity.
2. Monochrome Effect Will Enhance Your Photos
The theme of using a monochrome color effect has been increasingly popular. The monochrome effect incorporated the duo tone trend from last year. This trend is often seen in photographs. Simplicity is going to continue to trend in 2020.
3. 3D Designs Create Depth
Using 3D graphic design techniques gives your design a livelier and more creative look, rather than 2D which looks flatter. It is more engaging for the viewer to see a design that is believably realistic.
4. Metallics Make Your Design POP
Shiny and metallic colors really pop in a design. According to Graphic Mama, by using a gold color, it conveys luxury, class and good taste. Shiny metals are extremely trendy right now and will continue to trend for this year. This trend is great for brand identity, it will help your brand to stand out.
5. Make Your Images Mysterious with Masking Effect
The simple, minimalistic look is trending in 2020. Using image and text masking will help you to achieve that look. The whole image is not revealed, creating a mysterious look that keeps your audience engaged and wanting more. Although this trend is not new, it will be especially popular this year.
6. Thick Letters and Typography Hooks Your Audience
Fun and creative typography helps to grab the attention of your viewers. Typography takes written text and transforms it by using designs and shapes, but the message is still readable. Say goodbye to thin letters and hello to thick. This year bold letters are coming back.
7. Be Simplistic with Line Art
Achieving a clean and elegant look can sometimes be difficult. Using line art is a careful yet effective way of obtaining this look. According to 99 Designs, designers are able to create unimaginable shapes by combining line styles. There are curvy lines, which have more of a natural look, compared to geometrical lines, which portray a more technical look.
8. Go Vintage
Design trends are always going in and out of style. That is what is so great about graphic design. A popular trend from the 50s is making its way back to 2020. Earthy colors give off a fun and vintage feel. If you missed the vintage look do not worry, it is coming back in 2020.
9. Communicate Your Message with Simplified Illustrations
Sometimes simpler is better. Simplified illustrations can communicate your message clearly and efficiently. This is a trend that designers will be using more often in 2020.
10. Look Out for Live Data Visualization and Motion Design
Providing a live data visualization allows for your viewers to stay engaged. This trend will be used to show elements such as dashboard trends. Live data visualization style combines geometry, neon colors, and dynamic animations. The style of motion design and live data visualization is increasingly popular.
11. Incorporate Patterns to Draw in Your Viewers
Combining multiple patterns and textures will be seen often this year. It is a nontraditional trend that designers are loving. Gradients used to create engagement, but this year it’s all patterns. As the minimalistic style is popular, incorporating patterns and textures will really help your design to stand out.
2020 will have it all. It will be a mixture of simple and complex. Finding that balance is key. These various design trends will be used in a variety of projects. To check out more design trends from 99 Designs and Graphic Mama click here or here.
Previous Client Transformations – Before and After
February 18, 2020
At IH Concepts we have the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations and businesses. For February we wanted to focus on three clients we worked with to show how we were able to help transform their business with some ideas and changes we suggested, as well as the key take-away points for a positive change.
Emily Grace Photography – First Impressions Are Crucial
When we first started working with Emily Grace, she expressed embarrassment about her current business card. We started working on new ideas for it right away to help make her business stand out. To create this change, we developed a logo that created a unique brand image. After that, we made sure that the information on the business card was straight to the point and easy to follow, with attractive colors and a professional look. Finally, we had the business cards printed in a unique shape unlike the typical rectangle, so it would help stand out from the competition and be remembered.
After the new business cards were printed, our client’s business became more recognized and found a large increase in interest for their services. This business transformation shows the importance of creating a powerful business card that makes a positive first impression and draws your client in. A business card is often the first thing a potential client sees, so it needs to make a strong impact and stand out.
Healing Hands Home Care – Keep Your Information Organized
When we met with Healing Hands, they wanted to update the look and feel of the brochure that they had created. The initial brochure had been created as a Word document, so to best utilize design elements and creation we began a new file in Publisher and got to work.
Right away we worked with the text, making sure it was easy to read and had proper spacing and kerning between the lines and letters. We then created a color palette and logo that both worked together to communicate their message with just a glance of the page. We then worked on creating a piece that resonated with their audience and would draw them in once they saw it. Finally we added images that connected overall with the brochure information and would connect with the people who were looking for this client’s services. This created a strong cohesion between the back and front of the brochure.
After we finished creating the new brochure, our client kept receiving compliments on the overall look and professional information that their brochure had. This transformation showed the importance of keeping information organized when it has a lot of text and content. Breaking up the information with images helps keep the reader engaged, and visuals improve their response overall.
Madison Urban Ministry – Your Website is Worth the Investment
When we spoke with the Madison Urban Ministry their overall goal was clear: they wanted to take their organization to the next level. To best serve the community, they wanted to be attractive to their younger demographic, stand out to attract donors, while competing with 1.5 million other non-profit organizations.
We developed their website using our IH5 web principle, creating a site that not only communicated their message professionally, but it looked good while doing it. We also merged their marketing side with the website, to help them continue reaching those who need their services, as well as reaching out to potential donors. To help communicate their message of hope and positivity, we also brightened the colors utilized for the design. As a final step we created a call to action, improved how people would access the information, and made the information on the website easy to find.
After their new website was created, Madison Urban Ministry reported that their Donations increased by 800%. Making the information for potential clients and donors easily accessible with a professional website is a must with the digital age we are in now. While it may take a bit of time and money, a professional website is well worth the investment and will yield positive returns once created.
Looking at these business before-and-after transformations helps to better understand the importance of organization, first impressions, and a professional appearance for your marketing materials. While it may require a bit of an investment early on, the positive returns from this careful consideration far outweigh the negatives.
Apple Holiday Commercial “The Surprise”: How Apple’s Selling an Experience
December 19, 2019
Every year in December IHC always looks forward to a few things: Christmas, New Years Eve, and Apple’s latest holiday ads. Whether you use their products or not, Apple continuously finds ways to stand out with unique marketing trends and memorable advertisements. This year, Apple’s latest ad “The Surprise” takes a step back from being a simple product showcase, and instead sells an experience and the overall message that their brand is about family.
The ad starts with something everyone dreads during the holidays: busy travel right before Christmas. A husband and wife with two little girls embark on a trip in a car, then on an airplane with the kids squabbling at every turn. To keep them quiet, the parents keep giving them their iPad so they can watch movies or play a game on it. Throughout the commercial, the iconic music from the opening to Disney/ Pixar’s “Up” plays in the background as well. This song alone brings emotion and amplifies the ad, especially to those who have seen the movie.
After traveling for some time, the family arrives at their grandparent’s house, where it is quickly noted that the kids need to quiet down – grandpa doesn’t like the loud noise and commotion. The kids ask if grandpa is still sad, and the ad hints that grandma has passed away recently. While playing around the house, the kids are repeatedly told to quiet down and watch a movie on their tablet, but they eventually stumble upon some old family videos to keep them occupied. On Christmas morning the kids excitedly wake everyone up and hand Grandpa a gift; inside is the iPad wrapped up with a slideshow on the screen. The family watches the slide show the children made showing how their grandparents fell in love, and how the family is together even though grandma has passed away.
In the video, it initially seems like technology is necessary to keep the children quiet (something that could be seen as a negative for phones and tablets). However, Apple spins this around through the course of the ad to show that technology is not only a good way to capture family moments with photos and videos, but is also a way to connect with others. They do an excellent job of showing and not telling in the ad; Instead of explaining all of the features their iPads can do (watching movies, taking photos and videos, creating slideshows, etc), they show these features in everyday situations. It may be easy to lose ourselves in our busy schedules and technology, however this ad shows the importance of a true family connection we still need. In a very smart marketing move, this ad makes Apple’s brand exemplify family values and the importance of staying connected.
As a business owner, it’s important to understand the appearance and message your brand conveys to your consumer. If you were to only highlight the features of your product it would seem more like an unengaging infomercial than the “experience” that Apple creates with their ads. Your message must interact with your audience and appeal to them in a way that entertains while showcasing your product. There will always be competitors out there, so it’s up to you to stand out and shine with what sets you apart. Apple’s ad “The Surprise” is an excellent reminder that advertisements and products don’t always need to focus on a sale – they can also focus on an experience.
Your brand should strive to sell an experience, not just a product.
Apple’s Holiday Commercial “Share Your Gifts”: How Apple Inspires Us to Believe in Ourselves
December 10, 2019Apple has created yet another emotional holiday-themed commercial that tugs on all of our heartstrings and gets us in the mood to spread holiday cheer. Announced as ninth best commercial of 2018, “Share Your Gifts,” not only reflects on Apple as an emotional brand but sends a strong personal brand message to be creative. According to a study done on creativity, 80% of businesses who foster creativity are more likely to have more satisfied customers. Therefore, creativity is not only important when working on personal projects but for business ventures as well.
It is a dark snowy evening when a young woman is depicted anxiously typing away in her cozy, dimly lit apartment. It can be inferred that whatever she is working on, it consumes her everyday life. This ominous project is yet to be seen by anyone other than her loving pet dog who watches her work on this project day in and day out. She can often be found staring at the ceiling for long periods of time, coming up with new ideas, and contemplating whether or not to release her work. In the next few clips, she is shown working and conducting monotonous parts of her everyday life in contrast to when she is found creating and lit up by whatever lives in her mind, heart and MacBook. When she is working in public spaces, she becomes overwhelmed with discomfort by the feeling of having onlookers glancing over her shoulder at her work – so much so that she slams her laptop shut at the thought of it being seen. She seems to have printed versions of her work stored in a keepsake that she routinely locks shut and stores by her apartment window.
One particularly snowy and windy night, her dog “nudges” her window open and all of the pages of her unseen work blow out of her keepsake. She scrambles trying to catch them swirling about in her room before they blow out of her window and into the neighborhood streets below. She runs down her apartment building’s stairwell in attempts to catch her hidden work but it is too late. People have the copies in their hands already. They are looking at her beloved work. To her surprise, they are visibly in awe of what she has created. They glance at her work and then up at her repetitiously, surprised by what she has made. Here, you see her slowly take a deep breath and look at the world around her. There are people rejoicing in the beauty of her work and suddenly a wave of confidence overcomes her.
This confidence would have otherwise not been possible had she not taken the risk to step back and trust the intangible. You can’t quite put your finger on what is so enlightening about this commercial. Be it the Pixar-like animated characters or the subtle portrayal of showcasing Apple products without being overbearing, there is something creatively profound about selling a product with a powerful message. In other words, forcing yourself to be seen and heard is an important step in sharing your unique gifts with the world, as Apple suggests. Once you do, you might fail and you might not. But what is ultimately important is overcoming that fear of failure. However, there is no way to fail at being authentically and uniquely you.
Being uniquely you, is your gift to the world. This is brand message of Apple and should be one of yours too. This brand message is to be authentic and to overcome the fear of sharing that authenticity. There is nothing more exciting than finding your voice in your brand, overcoming the fear of failure when sharing that voice, and having it take off. Your brand should be authentic and covey your voice in a creative way. This authenticity will help separate you and make your brand stand out in new and unprecedented ways just as the commercial suggests. So don’t be afraid to try. Be authentically you and always remember to push past the fear of the unknown. When you do, magical things may happen.
Your brand should be authentically creative and unique.
5 Things to Consider When Planning a Photoshoot
November 11, 2019
Whether you’re creating an advertisement, revising a website, a new menu, or a brochure, images play a big role in the final product. As humans, we are visual creatures and conveying your message through a photo can help make yourself clear, as well as potentially boosting sales. A good photo doesn’t just happen. However; there is a lot of preparation and vision that goes into creating a quality image, especially when it is an outdoor shoot that needs to take the elements into account. Here are our 5 things we discovered to consider when planning a photoshoot.
Step 1: Think Ahead While Planning Your Shoot
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re trying to set up a photoshoot, but there will always be some things that are out of your control. For example, you may need to be flexible with the weather if your photoshoot depends on being outside. In one of our shoots, we had a wet spell delay our shoot for five weeks. Because of this, you always need to give yourself extra time so you aren’t racing to meet a deadline. If a project is due Friday, it may be difficult to achieve a flawless photoshoot the day before. You need to give yourself extra room in the deadline for changes to schedules and the unexpected like technical difficulties. It’s also important to consider how your photo will be used, the dimensions your final photo will be, and what mediums it will be used for.
Step 2: Consider the Location
When you’re having a photoshoot at a new location, we always suggest visiting the site ahead of time to check out the layout and prepare anything that you may need in advance. In a recent overhead shot, we spent several weeks visiting potential locations, as the area and height were important factors in planning our shoot. Knowing the environment gives you the best information for decision making when it comes to various photos that you would like. If you’re planning to shoot at a place that is on private property, make sure you have expressed permission to take photos.
Step 3: Create a Photography Brief
If you are hiring a photographer to take photos for you, creating a photography brief is the way to get what you want out of your shoot and set expectations for your photographer. We often recommend this to our clients as an important first step. Besides basic information like the time and date the photoshoot is taking place, the location, etc., your brief should explain what your overall message is in the photos. You want to let the photographer know what your message is so they can communicate and capture that essence in the photos. We even have drilled down as far as detailing the outfits and color scheme for the photoshoot as well as certain shots that are a must. It’s also recommended to create a wants vs. needs list to gather your thoughts on paper and convey this to your photographer.
Step 4: Consider Your Budget
While this isn’t the most fun part of a photoshoot, taking your budget into consideration is an important step. This will play a part with your wants vs needs list, and making sure you have enough budget to complete the necessary photos, and utilizing the remaining budget for any of the extra images. You also need to keep in mind the costs you’ll have for equipment, photographer costs, props, and any costs you may have for the mediums and usages of images. One thing that is often overlooked is usage rights. Even though a photographer may be paid for the time they spend during a photoshoot, the usage rights to the images they create are a necessary cost in budgeting. This usage right is essentially a way to lease the images that are taken for you for your commercial use and is an important agreement.
Step 5: Do Your Prep Work
The overall trend you may be seeing across this list is planning in advance is key, and that includes doing all of your prep work so you’re prepared. If you have people in the photos you’re shooting, make sure they are dressed appropriately for what you need, and that the shoot takes place on a day that the weather cooperates to convey the mood of the images you need. For example, you wouldn’t want to take pictures for a swimwear line on a gloomy, rainy day. You’ll need to make sure you have a conversation with everyone who is involved so the information is clear and everyone is on the same page. Also, make a list to ensure you have all of the necessary equipment to get the job done. On the creative side, you’ll want to know the dimensions of the final shots you need and to take some practice pictures. These steps all help refine your idea so the big day of the photoshoot goes smoothly.
If you take all of these things into consideration and plan ahead, your photoshoot should go smoothly, giving you the best final product possible. The extra effort put into creating wonderful images will help you in the long run, increasing the effectiveness of your messages to your target audience.
Graphic Design & Marketing: Why They Go Hand-in-Hand
October 11, 2019
One of the most eye-catching ways to attract consumers to your business is through high-quality user experience and print design. Marketing your brand sends a strong personal message to your consumers. This message should carefully: create a strong first impression, build your brand’s identity, deploy your brand’s message, attract a following, and develop trust among consumers. Not only do major business’ use graphic design to cultivate a following, but you should too and here’s how:
Create a Strong First Impression
More often than not, a consumer’s first impression is going to be your company’s marketing design and branding collateral. You want this visual to be strong and alluring. For some business owners, this could be a tough decision. So often times, we run focus groups to get feedback to figure out how to make a strong visual impression. Focus groups are intended to test out your market, use them to your advantage.
Once you’ve come up with a strong and deliverable identity, use it consistently. Often times, consumers will judge which company to choose just based off of their branding. Inconsistency in look and feel of your collateral could lead to a negative impression. Consistency generates trust and likeness, users enjoy being able to recognize you and your logo frequently.
Build a Brand Identity
This is more than just your logo. While important to have a forefront image that accurately portrays the message you want your business to send, establishing a logo is just a portion of your brand’s visual identity. Often times we will work with organizations to assist in communicating their messages. Having an identity for your brand is how you’re going to stand out from the competition and keep consumers coming back to you again and again.
Your brand identity should establish your presence among consumers and your competitors within the marketplace. Moreover, knowing how you are situated within your market will allow you to drive your brand’s specific design content. How do you fare amongst your competitors? Knowing the answer to this question is key to cultivating and driving your business’ messages and designs.
Design Drives the Content
Define what it is you are trying to sell before you start creating. Clearly defining your content leads to a successful campaign. Have defining images that align with your business’ goals. These images should align with not only the message you are trying to convey but must accurately consider your audience. Are the images you are portraying appropriate for your campaign and its target audience? For example, we will often discuss the message behind our photos and create a photography brief before our photo shoot. We often advise our clients to have a conversation with their designer or marketing consultant to receive input on what the visuals should and should not portray.
Additionally, we advise our clients in terms of coming up with a copy and tagline and ensuring that it is compelling and engaging.
Deploy Your Brand’s Message
Knowing how your brand is positioned is key to delivering a message that will resonate with your target audience. This message should communicate a feeling about you and your product. Do you have an emotive, functional or symbolic approach?
For example, in a recent blog, we discussed how we positioned Full Spectrum Health Services (FSHS) as an emotional brand to help them stand out. While many of their competitors were functional brands, we decided to take a different approach. Thinking about how your company chooses to reach its consumers is the first element to marketing the design of your brand. The second is to apply images, fonts, and colors effectively. These all play a significant role in communicating the feeling your brand is striving to portray. If feeling and evoking emotion is how you choose to approach your consumers, perhaps adding glaring red colors and fonts to your designs is not the way you want to go. Positioning FSHS as an emotional brand drove every design-content decision. Therefore, it is an important first step on the marketing side.
Attract a Following
Speaking of visuals, use high-quality and high-resolution media to attract users to you and not repel them away from you. Size your media appropriately; in the case of a website, images could slow down how fast the website loads. Incompatible images may face slow load times which will impact your SEO (search engine optimization) score.
For print media, blurry photos do not communicate a proper brand message. Media implements your design to attract the audience that you need. What about your brand’s behaviors attract your audience to you? Communicating these behaviors through your design will not only attract users to you but keep them there. This manifests in website traffic and Calls to Action (CTA). Allow users to connect with your media by leaving social cues (likes, comments, and shares). Establishing interaction between your media and the user will make them feel more connected to you as a brand.
Marketing and graphic design both send strong personal messages to your consumers. These messages should always create positive first impressions, uphold your brand’s identity, deploy your brand’s personal message, attract a following, and develop trust among your consumers. Communicating your message should align with your company’s position and always go beyond just your brand’s logo. Using carefully constructed content-design and marketing puts your organization in the position to reach its target audience and thrive.
Success varies between organizations, review your organization holistically to examine all of its practices. Looking at the process of design and implementation from a holistic sense allows for success for years to come.
One of the most common ways to interact or reach your target audience is by sending them mail. Whether you’re sending a postcard, envelope, booklet, or catalog, it’s important to first do your research on USPS regulations; there’s nothing worse than creating a design to find out that it gets covered up by a stamp or other barcode once shipped out . If you want to create a mailer that keeps true to your brand identity while following the US Postal Service rules and regulations, follow these tips and tricks.
Every piece of mail has designated sections the post office uses for shipping information, limiting where you can place designs. The most common of these is a 1” x 1” space in the upper right hand corner for a stamp, and the return address label placed in the top left corner, ¼” from the top and left side. According to Smartpress.com, the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) is something the post office also places on the bottom right of your mail, and it’s 4 ⅞” wide by 3⁄4” tall. Envelopes also reserve the middle for the mailing address. Putting designs on these sections of the envelope can give the mail scanner difficulty while it attempts to read the barcode. Also, leave 1/16” around the border clear of any designs so they don’t get cut off while printing. Envelopes can have some color and designs, but it’s best to keep them light and away from covered areas. Smartpress offers more envelope guidelines on their website at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#envelope_mailing.
Self Mailer and Brochure Design
These rectangular items are mailed out without being placed in an envelope, and range in size from 3 ½” to 6” tall and 5” to 10 ½” in length when folded. One side is typically designed to have all the shipping information, so the remaining sections can focus on the content. Self mailers need to leave at least 1/16th of an inch around the border without designs. When creating your design, it’s important to know self mailers are shut with 2-3 wafer seals, which take up more of your design space. Self mailers need room for the return address, mailing address, stamp and IMB just like the envelope guidelines, and Smartpress.com notes they need to be placed on your mailer in line with the longest side. For more self mailer design guidelines, visit https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#self_mailer.
Catalogs and Booklet Design
These stapled mail pieces have similar guidelines to self mailers: they need room for the return address ¼” from the top and left side, a stamp in the top right corner, mailing address in the middle, and the IMB on the bottom right. One thing that sets booklets apart is they have wafer seals on both of the short ends of the mailer. Keeping their locations in mind while designing your layout is critical to ensure your branding isn’t covered up. As always, allow a 1/16” area around the border to make sure your design doesn’t get cut short. A visual template of a booklet layout is available at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#booklet_mailing.
Postcards have a smaller area to work with, so one side of the postcard is focused on content while the other side mainly contains the necessary mailing information. Postcards need all the standard items that were outlined for a booklet: (stamp, return address label, IMB label on the bottom right half), but also have a section called the address area. According to Smartpress.com, this section needs to be ½” from the left and right of the postcard, 2 ⅛” tall, and ¾” up from the bottom. This is required on a postcard, and needs a ⅛” gap between the address block and other items. As always, leave a 1/16” gap around the border to ensure no part of the design is cut off. Details are further outlined at https://smartpress.com/support/resources/direct-mail/mailing-design-guidelines#postcard_mailing.
While considering the regulations for mailers, make your design consistent with your brand identity. From the letterhead, color scheme, and font choices, a recipient of your mailer should be able to recognize your brand. Also, be sure to consider how you’ll send out your mailer. Popular options include Every Door Direct Mail (which targets all locations within your local area), and USPS Marketing Mail (which will reach a much larger audience).
5 Important Things to Consider For Your Menu
July 16, 2019
Menus are often part of the food industry that can be overlooked. Many just view them as a list of food, however they contain a very important message. Menus add to the restaurant experience, and if they are cluttered and disorganized, it can take away from the experience for your customers.
1. Create a Visually Engaging Layout
Having a great design and layout for your menu is a very important aspect for a positive customer experience. Having illegible fonts or improper spacing can make it hard for the customer to read the menu and decide what they want to eat. To help with this, make sure to leave enough white space to separate the food choices and use fonts that are clearly readable at an appropriate size. Additionally, in a blog, What King of Falafel Taught Us About Restaurant Marketing, having an attractive menu draws customers in and helps you stand out amongst competing restaurants.
2. Use High Quality, Authentic Photos
When it comes to using photos on your menu, there are a few things you should keep in mind. It’s important to use actual photos of your food, avoiding stock photos of the same dish from the internet. Using stock photos could lead to disappointment as somebody might be expecting something different than what they are receiving. In a past blog, we discussed when to use custom photography vs stock photography. To avoid complaints as well as potential lawsuits or penalties, use original photos. However low-quality photos could hurt you, so it is important to use a high-quality camera and have good lighting or consider hiring a photographer to help make sure your pictures look as amazing as the food.
3. Consider a Theme for Your Menu
When designing your menu, there are several things to consider: what is my theme and who is my target audience? It’s important that your menu is cohesive with the theme rather than it being a distraction. In a blog from 2017, we talked about the importance of considering the color scheme, the logo, as well as décor in the restaurant to communicate the overall visual message. Target audience will depend a lot on what kind of food you are serving. Looking at these demographics will help you make decisions by knowing what your customers will enjoy.
4. Post Your Menu Online
In today’s world, everything revolves around technology. Before deciding where to eat, people will often do research by looking at reviews and what food is served. Because of this, it is important to have a copy of your menu online accessible to everyone. For example, recently we got into a conversation with a team member that was looking for an online menu and could not find it, leaving him to wonder about pricing and if it would be worth it to go. Although some menus change seasonally or have specials that cause the menu to change daily, it is important to keep up with and change the menus online to make sure no customer comes in to order something only to be disappointed when they hear it isn’t being served this season. Having specials posted daily can boost business and popularity among your customers.
5. Plan Accordingly Financially
Though menus are an investment of time and money, it’s an investment that could yield a return in the long run. While many may say that designing and marketing is something that they cannot afford to do, you simply cannot afford to not. In an industry with a high failure rate, it’s important to put enough into advertising to attract customers to be successful. Make sure to designate a part of your budget to menu planning, advertising, and upkeep to ensure that your customers are getting the best experience possible at your establishment.
Customer experience is one of the most important parts of the food industry, and menus can add to this experience. This is why it is important to have a good layout, use high-quality pictures, look at the theme and target audience, make menus accessible online, and budget time and money accordingly. By taking these important steps, you will be able to get the most out of your venture and passion for years to come.
4 Important Pieces of Information About Trademarks that Could Be Critical to Your Company
June 11, 2019
Trademarks are critical for taking care of your business and making sure that you’re protected as you move forward. You wouldn’t want to drive a car without insurance; a similar reason why you wouldn’t want to create a business without trademarking your logo and slogans. Today we’ll discuss the 4 most important pieces of information about trademarks and trademark research that could be critical to your company.
1. What Is Trademark Research and Why is it Important?
A trademark is a way to claim your brand’s logo, name, or defining symbols. This distinguishes them as your own, and also keeps them from being used by other companies. While it is not a requirement to trademark your logo or business name, it is highly recommended for your own protection and to eliminate costly trademark disputes in the future. It may seem faster and cheaper to go about creating your brand without spending the time or money to do research beforehand, however this can be an expensive mistake. Not protecting your brand with a trademark is kind of like driving a car without an airbag- while it might be smooth driving for a bit, once there is an issue, you’ll wish you had the protection.
If you have a larger business, a business that is going national, or you are entering into the world of e-commerce, you should definitely take the time to conduct trademark research. This will not only protect you from other companies who may be trying to impersonate your brand, but it will also make sure that the logo and slogans you’ve created are unique and will not create a trademark dispute with another company.
2. Why You Should do Trademark Research on Your Logo (Hint – It Protects Your Brand)
The internet has made graphic design creation “quick and easy” and “just one click away”. However, sometimes this can cause trademark disputes for businesses who are taking the fast approach to creation instead of making a one-of-a-kind logo. For example, websites like Wix and Fiverr now have logo creation capabilities, however just because they help you create a logo does not mean that they’ve done any trademark research to see if the design is in use. If the logo that’s created is already in use from another business, you could face an expensive lawsuit. Doing research to ensure your logo isn’t breaching a trademark protects you and makes sure that you have a unique brand image that sets you apart.
In 2018 there was a trademark dispute between Belmont University and Baylor University that involved their logos. Each of them had interlocking “BU” logos that looked extremely similar. While no legal action was taken, Baylor wanted to protect their brand, so they contact Belmont University accordingly. Ultimately after agreeing to some terms, Belmont University agreed to update their own logo. This shows that trademark research is extremely important – if it can happen to large universities, it can happen to your business too. This is why it’s critical to conduct research before creating.
3. Where to Get More Information About a Patent or Trademark
The best place for patent and trademark information is the US Patent and Trade Organization (www.uspto.gov). They are a one-stop-shop for basic trademark information and walk you through the application process. One of the most useful pieces of information from their website is their database of Trademarks that are already registered – looking through this file is one of the main steps to ensure that your idea isn’t already trademarked by another company. You can apply for a trademark yourself to save some money, or you can register a trademark with the assistance of a lawyer.
4. Should You Get Professional Help During Trademark Research? (We Recommend It).
If money is not an issue, the answer is yes. Filling for a trademark with a lawyer is approximately $1500-$2000, however it includes a very comprehensive search of other trademarks that are out there. Now that the internet has grown so big and is such a vital part of business, it’s for the best to have thorough research completed on your behalf. Also, having a lawyer to file the paperwork for a trademark ensures that everything is done correctly the first time – which can remove headaches in the future. This approach is also recommended if you are entering any sort of license agreement. It’s best to protect yourself and your business from the beginning.
Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of trademark research, it should be clear how vital it’s to the success of a company in the long run. While you can go about business without that layer of protection, an issue or conflict will inevitably surface. So, before it’s too late: protect your brand, image, and bank account by conducting trademark research.
Benefits of Working with a Designer with a Proven Process
May 2, 2019
A business is most successful when your brand is professional and held to a high standard. Although it is possible to hire someone internally or create your own designs yourself, it is extremely beneficial to invest in an experienced designer. In order to effectively manage your brand and grow your business, here are 3 ways working with a designer with a proven process can greatly benefit your business.
1. Has a Proven Track Record
First, finding a designer who has the expertise and has a proven track record will result in a greater chance of success for your marketing materials. Utilizing this experienced designer will help you to feel a sense of security knowing that your designs will be professional and done right. This nearly guaranteed success is necessary because there is a lot on the line when it comes to a brand. Often times, marketing material such as the website is the first impression a customer has on your brand. Having a professionally designed site and other marketing collateral will make sure you leave a lasting positive impact on your targets. According to Matrix Marketing Group, an agency provides an outside perspective on your brand that an in-house marketer would not have. Having an unbiased view is a good thing because it brings about a view that is more customer-based rather than a one-sided, internal business view. A marketing agency is able to focus on what your target customer wants and create visuals that communicate with them.
2. Creates Quality Work
Next, when you pay for a designer you’re paying to receive their quality work. Not only will this look good, it will also save you a lot of time and money overall. Rather than spending an overwhelming amount of time attempting to create designs for your business internally, a design firm will be certain to get it right the first time and in much less time that it would have taken to do it yourself. As explained by Arc Reactions, a marketing agency does not just create your designs; it also provides you with “tested and trusted strategies and access to advanced technology.” Agencies can help your business keep up with the latest trends and rules since it is difficult to stay on track on your own. Additionally, an agency only requires one fixed cost, which can often be a smarter choice than putting time and money towards marketing employees.
3. Brings a Return on Investment
Lastly, professional designs may come at a price, but the investment will be worth it in the long run. By paying for a professional design, you’ll eventually get a return on your investment. For example, our client, Madison Urban Ministry, saw a significant increase in donations when we implemented the redesign of their website. In a short time, MUM was able to make back the money spent on their designs and continue to bring in even more revenue. Hiring a marketing agency means that you do not need to invest in training or invest in software. Since a marketing agency already has the necessary resources, it is one less large investment your company would need to make. This is proven time and time again to create successful designs which will result in the best financial benefits for your company.
Overall, it is clear that working with a designer with a proven process will help your business in many ways. A good image is important in order to reach more consumers, to allow for customers to connect with and trust your business, and to show credibility. A designer will create a successful image with ease. Professional designs bring a greater chance of success, are high quality, and create a return on investment. A designer with a proven process is sure to be extremely worthwhile for any business, allowing you to grow your business and focus on what you do best!