Before any pens are put to paper (or fingers to keyboards), we need a plan. A good branding strategy shows the most prominent features of your organization’s products and services, describes your company’s vision to the world, and defines your potential customers. The result is a clear idea of what is most important for your business and for your customers.
What is your organization all about? What makes you unique? Why should people buy from you and not your competitors? What is the tone you’re trying to express to the public? Consider the intangible qualities of your product/service that are capable of setting you apart from those competitors. In other words, try to find the unique selling point. Try to offer customers something new and unique, which is not available in your competitor’s product/service.
With all of that in mind, we’ll come up with a plan concerning what you need to create — a logo, website, and/or print material– to make for a successful campaign.
Your logo is the cornerstone of your branding — it’s the central piece that affects and defines everything else. No matter the medium — website, app, advertisement, billboard, brochure, etc. — your logo will be on it, and its other elements will necessarily be related to the logo as well. It will define colors, fonts, and other graphics decisions, and it will be the visual that is most closely/routinely associated with your business.
A logo is a simple graphic that visually represents the tone you want to express to potential clients/customers about your organization. Tone is the key word there. A logo doesn’t have to represent the “what we do” of your company in any literal way; see McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Target, and an infinite amount of other classic logos. What’s important is that the logo carry that tone — in other words, the feeling you want people to have about your company. If you had never seen the McDonald’s logo or heard of the company, would you be able to guess that it has anything to do with burgers and fries? Obviously not. But it’s very obviously friendly, warm, happy, and inviting — all things McDonald’s wants people to think about their business.
Branding as a whole includes far more than just a logo — branding is the entirety of how you present your business to the public. Every piece of design material (or even a radio spot, if you have one) encompasses your brand. In essence, your brand is how people see you. The logo is where it starts.
Website design is about more than just making things pretty (but we do that part super well too). A good design isn’t just something that “looks good” — it’s about functionality and experience as well. Is the flow of information sensible and easy to follow? Is the website simple to navigate? Is the content easy to take in and comprehend? Is there a rational hierarchy of elements? Does the website lead the user in a clear and user-friendly way? These are some of the questions that need to be asked and/or solved.
Website design shares many traits with print design, but interactivity is the main separating factor. The ability of the user to move around in a way that isn’t possible with static print materials changes the necessities of the design process — in short, things have to be designed differently than they would if there was no interactivity. Mobile-friendliness, integration of social media and other embedded material, and the ever-changing landscape of what “modern” means in web design trends complicate the process more.
But that’s what we’re for.
Function first, always.
That’s a credo as much as it is a simple statement of fact. “Pretty” work will only get you so far — website development is about much more than that. Quickness, ease of use, ease of updating, changing web trends, etc. — these are all things that have to be taken into consideration. And we’ll do just that.
Whether you’re looking for an informational website for your business, a huge application to house and compile data, or something in between, we can make it work.
Traditional, print campaigns still work. Frankly, a lot of analytics show that they work better than digital in many ways. Print targets specific, narrow audiences — magazines are especially effective at catering to a variety of consumer interests. It also has a long shelf life and you can often measure the effect of a campaign better than with digital.
On top of the effectiveness, there’s simply the quality — print media, like anything else, is all part of your brand. It needs to feel cohesive and united with the rest of your campaigns, but also cater to the unique needs of the medium. What is the actual goal of the campaign? Does the piece strive toward that goal in every way it can?
So, whether you’re just looking to have some business cards and letterhead made, or need a more robust campaign with brochures, billboards, and posters, we can make it all beautiful. And you’ll get printing from us as well, so you can get everything from one place.
Ever view a website on your smartphone and have to pinch-zoom and drag around the page? Annoying. Analytics show that essentially every relevant client/customer you’re trying to reach has a smartphone or tablet (a Pew poll in late 2014 shows it at >60%). It simply doesn’t make sense to alienate/not cater to those users. Websites need to be responsive — cater to the screen size being used. As an example, if you’re viewing this website on a desktop, simply drag the window to be smaller/larger, and you’ll see how a mobile-friendly (responsive) website should function.
Every “size” of the website should retain the branding and “feel”, but specific needs of each size need to be taken into consideration as well — the amount of space available on the screen, the lack of “hover” functionality on mobile devices, etc. You shouldn’t feel like you’re looking at a completely different website on mobile, but you also shouldn’t have to chug along with a desktop version not made for mobile.
There are a lot of intangibles that go along with creating a website. It’s not just about the actual “thing” — i.e. the website itself. It needs a house to live in, and a label to go by — hosting and a domain, respectively. Frankly, there’s a bit of hand-holding that is needed for some people in this regard, and we’re okay with that. You might know you need a website, but that doesn’t mean you should have to know all of the details of what that entails. We’ll help you get a domain name and hosting, and we’ll sit on the phone to talk to customer support if necessary too.
Also, beware: a lot of web designers/firms will purchase the domain or hosting “on your behalf”, but what it really means is that they own the stuff. If you ever decide to go elsewhere or want a level of access they aren’t comfortable with, you can be hit with charges you weren’t expecting.
The website is being built for your business, and you should own it. We can show you how, or buy it for you if necessary, but either way under an account you control, and we’ll never have any problems if you want to go elsewhere.
Building a website is one thing, but building a website that you can manage and add/edit/remove content from without needing to know a single iota of coding/programming language is another. We can build you a website that you’ll be able to maintain yourself without a shred of help from any designer ever again. Some web designers/firms will lock you into retainer contracts, but that’s not really something you need. Make changes as you want, when you want. Add content. Delete content. Do whatever you’d like.
And of course, if there’s ever a problem you run into that seems out of your control or can’t be accomplished by editing, we’re there to help.
If you’re looking to sell a/some product(s), it doesn’t really matter if you have the most beautifully designed, finely crafted website on the block; if a user can’t easily purchase the product via your website, it’s not doing as good a job as it could be doing.
We can set up your store to accept payments and connect to your bank/paypal/whatever account,on top of which we’ll make sure every effort is made to make the process as simple as possible, ensuring more sales. You’ll want the process for your customers to be the same as you’d want when buying something — easy, uncluttered, and quick.
You have an astoundingly beautiful website. It’s cleanly coded with no frills or anything hanging it up. It’s simple, easy to use, loads fast, and works/looks fantastic in every way imaginable.
But it doesn’t show up in search engines. So, all that stuff is moot.
SEO can be complicated, but it’s not rocket science. There are no silver-bullet guarantees (beware anyone who says otherwise), but having the right kind of niche goal in mind is half the battle. We’ll make sure your website is Google-friendly, complete with unique page titles, accurate descriptions, fitting copy, tags on images and links, SEO-friendly URLs, simple navigation and easily crawlable links, and more. We’ll cover it all. Just watch.
Design and branding touches all sorts of other things you might need. A website or brochure can always be made better with photo/video content specific to your business; an SEO-friendly description for your business, or a tagline, or fixing copy can always help increase the perceived professionalism of your business (and help search engine rankings) — why go elsewhere for any of it?
We can help you brainstorm new campaign ideas, write catchy taglines for them, get photos of your staff, an event, or your business, and we can wrap it all up with the rest of your branding and design. Simple.