We have been working with Restore North Shore, a Chicago remodeling company, for over five years now and in that time have built their entire visual brand – logo, business stationery, website, signage and even t-shirts. We recently created two new pieces to compliment their existing collateral, a folder and note card. The folder will be used for presenting new bids and the note card was deliberately left blank inside so it can be multi purpose…anything from a thank-you card to an introduction card.
It was time.
Our previous brand image has served us well but we have been wanting to shake things up and redesign it for over a year now. Finding time has been difficult but we have finally rolled out a new brand image for The Chicago Web Designer, Indigo Image.
Lets start at the beginning with the first thing we tackled … an update of our logo.
We have dropped our rectangular icon replacing it with a circle but the “pathway” shape remains the same, the color indigo is now complimented with a fresh blue. We also updated the typeface to a less boxy font. While the logo is not a million miles away from where we started it is definitely fresher. The circular icon is nicely compatible with the size and shape restrictions for many social media profile icons ( see what we mean by checking out our Google + page)
One of the main drivers behind the redesign of our website is the fact there has been a huge surge in traffic from mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. The growth is so massive it is actually predicted web traffic from these devices is set to pass traffic from desktop computers this summer. While we had coded our previous design to react responsively ( see this blog post), time constraints meant that we didn’t redesign …just recoded. It was a good stop gap but needed fixing!
Both the design and the code has now been optimized for viewing on any device.
The re design gave us the opportunity for some content re-organization. The main area we reworked was the portfolio section. It is now split into four categories
We used chunky tiles to navigate portfolio items and finger friendly navigation buttons to switch between portfolio galleries.
Our re-branding has been carried through to our social media profiles
Here is our Facebook page
and our Goggle + page
and a new look for our Twitter profile
Using the branding elements we established during the redesign of the Paper Shower web site we have just created a print ad which will run in a West coast outdoorsy type magazine.
The print ad is another piece of the marketing strategy for this innovative body wipe product which included comprehensive SEO, Google Ads and Amazon Ads.
If you are a small business owner are you getting as much bang for your buck from your brand image elements as you would like?
Confused by what your brand image elements actually are?
Think logo, color palette, type faces and imagery. If your marketing materials are using a hodge-podge of colors and the look and feel of any printed materials don’t match the look and feel of your website, you are missing out on the chance of building that all important factor of “recognition” which is such a big part of branding.
Not quite sure if you are achieving this? Pull up your website, dig out your brochure, business card, an invoice, flyer, newspaper ad, etc. Do all of these materials look like they came from the same company?
Using your brand image elements effectively is not rocket science, the secret is defining them and then using them consistently.
Take a look at this lawn sign we have just created for Chicago small business, Heinzen Smith Properties
and compare it to their web site
It is quite obvious with just a cursory glance that these two marketing pieces are from the same company, the logo is the same, they share a color palette and both use similar design elements.
It is always fun working with clients who are as passionate about their small business as I am about mine – Janet Summerfelt , a health and wellness consultant and an independent distributor for Reliv, has such enthusiasm for her Chicago business. I have been working with her for about a year maintaining her web site and last month I gave a site a branding makeover. This month, I have taken the new branding elements and designed a graphic for the rear window of her car.
Being able to spread projects out on a month to month basis is often a real benefit for small business owners, enabling them to maintain a healthy cash flow.
Here is another project which showcases the consistent use of image branding elements as I talked about in my post Brand Image Tips for Small business Owners.
I started working with Restore North Shore, a Chicago remodeling company, a few years back …creating a set of basic brand image elements for them … logo, color palette, type face selection. These element were then integrated into a website and more recently I have created Lawn signs, Car Magnets and t-shirts, working from the elements I originally established.
And here are the branding elements all working together, delivering a strong and consistent look for this small Chicago business.
There is something very satisfying about redesign projects. We were contacted recently by Chicago based Quadra Applications & Technology, who were looking for a new logo design. They already had a new website in the works and felt the time was right for a revamp of their identity- their main request was something that looked more professional.
In redesigning a logo it is not uncommon to work from some element of the old logo, whether it be the color palette, style of font or icon. In the case of Quadra we adopted the cube of their original logo, reworking it to encompass a sphere and connective framework. Teamed with a modern open typeface the new logo is much more fitting for the IT market they serve.
and here is the logo on the new website www.quadra-ati.com
Interested in some other logos we have designed? Check out our Logo Portflio
I talked yesterday about the elements of Brand Image and how building a style guide can help ensure your brand image elements are used in a consistent way thus ensure a strong brand image.
Well here is a great example of using brand image elements consistently, in this piece of work I completed recently for MAC. The look and feel of this product sheet fits in beautifully with the rest of their promotional pieces, website, business card etc. by using a predetermined color palette, typeface typesetting, layout and logo treatment.
Collection of other graphic design pieces produced for MAC
Developing a killer brand image is not something reserved for big corporations such as Pepsi or Apple. A professional and memorable brand image is just as achievable by a small business, here are a few tips to get you on your way.
Define your brand image elements
A carefully crafted collection of brand assets will create an impression with your customers as to your products and services and in essence give them a “gut feeling” about your company. They should evoke something positive, unique and instant. A brand image is not built from a single element like a logo but a collection of elements including;
- Color palette – with primary, secondary and tertiary colors,
- Type faces
- Type setting
- Tag Line
even things like
- Scents – ever noticed a distinct scent when you enter a store such as Holister or even IKEA?
- Texture- think about the texture of bags used in packaging
- Sound – recognize this
- Decor – In a bricks and mortar business does your decor enhance why your are trying to convey with the reset of your brand assets?
- Writing Voice
Creating your brand asset collection is no small feat and is generally the result of extensive research into the market you want to serve and the type of image you want to portray and the experience you want your clients to have.
Create a Branding Style Guide
Once you have established you brand assets it is really useful to create a style guide to optimize the use of your branding elements. For example
- Logo usage – minimum size, orientation, optimum white space border, use in black and white, position
- Colors – color combinations, definition of colors in terms of pantone, RGB, CMYK and hex e.g ( #000000)
- Type Face- Font choices, sizes, colors and line spacing
- Imagery- styling of imagery- think borders, angles, image filters etc.
Used your brand elements consistently
Your brand image will be most powerful when you use your brand elements consistently, ensuring your clients receive the same experience no matter how they interact with you.
Here are some of the places where you need to ensure it is used consistently
- Web site
- Social media profiles such as Facebook and Twitter
- Business card
- Email signature
- Powerpoint presentations
- Sales collateral such as brochures/flyers
- sales tags
This list could go on and on but once you start down the road of applying your brand assets to your business tools it becomes easier to use your brand assets than not. Need help? Check out our Branding Services.
As 2012 rolls to a close I like to take a look back at some of the projects I’ve worked on over the year. It’s been a real mixed bag but I must have enjoyed myself as the year has flown by. I have created websites, logos, brochures, illustrations for a book, power point graphics, car magnets, lawn signs, business cards, mobile websites, e commerce sites, an icon for one of the largest banks in America and even the cover for a book. My clients have been located both here in Chicago and a little further further afield… St Louis, Louisville, Wentzville and further away still … Belgium. There are no geographical boundaries for the Chicago Web Designer – your creative partner.
So here is a little showcase of my 2012 web and graphic work
January: Powerpoint graphics for a large national bank
February: Web concept project for a St Louis bank
March: WordPress conversion project for Ruth Hasser
April: Identity design for Select Food Sales
May: Community Website for the Humble Catholic
June: New website and branding elements for Restore North Shore
July: Refresh of Lincolnshire Academy of Dance
August: Rework of The Rockwood
September: e commerce site- Zagros Robotics
October: Illustrations and cover design for book: Mr Bison’s Journal
November: Responsive web site design for Mr Bison
December: Identity deign for InDeBom
I am looking forward to another bag of design challenges in 2013!