“Business owners need to realize that their design is a reflection of their business even if it is not intentional. If you don’t care about your design then your design is telling people that you don’t care about your business.”Marco Suarez
Whether you give it your attention of not, the design of your logo, those leaflets, your website, the images that you populate social media with and the business cards that you hand out at networking events are all giving off an impression of your business – is it a reflection of your business that you’re happy to give out?
If you chucked your business card together using a template – I used to know a guy who kept a business card folder filled with this one design of blue mountains from a well known online printer, all from different people – if you put your leaflet together with fonts and colours which don’t go with anything else at all or even if your website has all the right information but looks shoddy, then as the quote says – “your design is telling people that you don’t care about your business” – and if that’s how you feel about your business, how would you treat them and why on earth should they work with you?
So what can you do about it?
Well, you need to look closely at all the design work that you have for your business and see what you think of it. Get it all out, lay it on the table, get your computer on to look at the online elements and see what it looks like. Note where it’s disjointed, note where you’ve been consistent with it and also what you like and what you don’t like. That’s the beginnings of a plan. Where you’re been consistent is the stuff you should keep to begin with. The areas which are disjointed are the places to attack right away and the stuff you like and stuff you don’t, that’s your guide to what to keep and what to throw away.
But wait! You’re not done yet. Now that you’ve analysed the items that you have in front of you and identified the problem areas you could simply use this information to cut corners and create design which has the same look in the future, but as my Mam says “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”, so why not do it properly?
WHO IS IT FOR?
Take a step back. WHO are your clients? Who do you work with and enjoy working with and who pays the bills? Knowing who your clients are is a good place to start as you will need to be thinking about them when you’re creating your business image, so get a handle on this now. For me this is a business owner whose business has been inspired by their passion, they’ve discovered something that created transformation for them and has become part of who they are – they have a need to share that thing and whilst they’ve been doing that for a little while, they feel that their business image isn’t working for them. It was a stop-gap at best and a rush-job at worst, and now they want to look more pro so their image matches where they are at with their business and demonstrates the authority, impact and position clearly. Having a rubbish business image is impacting on the business as their image doesn’t reflect what they do, doesn’t instil trust or confidence and they aren’t confident either. They are being held back by their design even though they are ready to leap forward. This is where I come in, change things and inject some oomph so that the business is able to attract more of the right clients, look the part and stand out.
Once you know who your ideal client is you’ll find the rest of the process so much easier!
The next thing to do is to ask yourself a lot of questions about your business so that you can get clear on it – or if it’s not just you to help you seek clarity between yourselves. The best way to do this right now is to grab my Adventurous Brand Series. There are five videos and five workbooks plus a Masterclass to help you gain clarity and create (and use!) a mini-version of a Brand Strategy.
Take a look at this. Is it professional? Does it communicate what you do? Does it stand out? Do your audience resonate with it? Is it memorable? Is it attractive to your clients?
If the answer is yes – and it might be – then you’re good to progress to the next stage. If not, then you can either hire a designer to make a brilliant logo for you that truly encapsulates what you’re all about or if your budget is really tight you could try something like the Squarespace logo maker for an easy but generic logo (you can use Canva too but PLEASE read the terms first because you don’t want to break the rules.) Hiring a professional is worth the investment, worth saving up for or asking about a payment plan. This is because an expert will take the time to get to know your business and to create something which knocks your competition out of the park by capturing your business perfectly and creating something which will last and grow with your business for YEARS to come.
Once your logo is cracked, you’ll need to make some decisions about how your brand is going to look. These include:
- What fonts you’re going to use, inluding the size you’re going to use it at, the colours to use it in and the hierarchy for headings, sub headings, body copy and call to action text.
- What colours you’re going to use. It’s useful to note the RGB and HEX codes (for screen use) and in CMYK (for print) if you can.
- What additional features you’re going to use, ie, maybe there’ll always be a gold triangle in the bottom right hand corner, or maybe you have a library of illustrations to pull out that all fit the same look.
- What style of photography you’re going to use – colour, black and white, saturated, on a white background, in nature, with a toy bird in each photograph, with space to the left to write in.
Don’t tackle any of these areas without thinking:
- Does this appeal to my audience?
- Does this give the right impression of my business?
- Does this convey my values?
- Does this help to support my message?
When you’ve finished, write it all down and keep it somewhere where you can refer to it every time you create a design.
Your business image says something about your business to others whether you’ve designed it that way or not. It’s worth taking time to review where you’re at, work out who your client is, think about your business and work out your values, what it is that you do, how you want people to feel etc… and then creating visuals encompasses that and a guide you can follow so that you operating from a place of intention, creating the right impression and looking professional and consistent so that people know you care about your business – and will also care about them.