Graphic Design for Chicago Small Business: Paper Shower

Back in the fall I created a print ad for Chicago based small business Paper Shower. Quite often when I create pieces for print I never get to see the finished product…which is fine, but I never turn down the opportunity to take a look at the end result.

The ad appeared in Feb/March edition of California’s Adventure Sport Journal.


graphic design chicago small business
..and after a quick scan through the magazine I now have a hankering to hike along the California coast. If I do I will be sure to pack the unique Paper Shower body wipe


Free Valentine Cards

As a graphic designer I can get quite disheartened when buying greeting cards… there is just so much junk out there. So I have taken to designing my own and because I am sure a lot of you have the same issue when buying cards I am  sharing this latest Valentines card  with you for FREE .


free valentine card

I have created the same design with three different color schemes. Just click on the design you would like, to download a pdf. Simply print on a decent card stock and you will be good to go.

free valentine card red free valentine card purple free valentine card gray

Heinzen Smith Properties Signage

I love it when clients send me photographs of designs  in their final product form.

This is a sign design I created for Chicago home builder, Heinzen Smith Properties. The sign encompassed a range of brand image elements I developed during the design of their web site.

It has been beautifully mounted between two black posts and is currently erected on the construction plot of a new home.

Chicago small business lawn sign design

Graphic Design for a Car Rear Window

Earlier this year I shared a post about the design of a car graphic for client Janet Summerfelt.

I followed up with her recently and was delighted to hear she was thrilled to bits with her rear window graphic. She sent me this photo

car decal design chicago

It is always tricky to render  a design that is going to be applied to a 3d surface, but as you can see from the proofing mockup I prepared prior to printing,  it was spot on.

rear window car graphic design

Thanks for sharing this photo Janet!

Graphic Design for a Rear Window Decal

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.

rear window car graphic design

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.

An Example of Small Business Image Branding

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.

branded car magnet North Shore ChicagoNorth shore Chicago t shirt design

north shore chicago t shirt design

And here are the branding elements all working together, delivering a strong and consistent look for this small Chicago business.
restore north shore chicago branding

If you would like help building a branded image for your small business we are happy to help, learn more about our branding services or contact us today

Using Brand Image Elements Consistently

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.
Product Literature graphic design
Collection of other graphic design pieces produced for MAC
mac brand image

Brand Image Tips for Small Business Owners

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.
brand image tips for small business owners

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;

  •  Logo
  •  Icons
  • Color palette – with primary, secondary and tertiary colors,
  • Type faces
  • Type setting
  • Imagery
  • 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
  • Letterhead
  • Email signature
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Invoices
  • Sales collateral such as brochures/flyers
  • packaging
  • proposals
  • uniforms
  • 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.