Any excuse to show off and quote Virgil. My other thought was a song from the Sound of Music. Count your blessings.
Last week was the unveiling of the logo design for Parker Payroll Services. This week is the business card. The logo is the hallmark of the company, the business card is the beacon. The business card design sets the tone and the brand of the company. It will be the piece that is printed the most, handed out the most, the most prevalent identifier the company will have. It will set the design for the web site, letterhead, even the invoices and communications. Now the other pieces are mostly done though not refined. I didn’t design the business card then move on to the next items. The logo, the card, all aspects of the designs were all considered together. Not entirely in the physical sense, mind you, but in the sense of message, branding and workability. The colors, type and object elements were considered for all the pieces for the company. Here are the comps for the card and the final version. A few things first though.
1. The final card is vertical. I usually prefer cards be horizontal.
2. I like the logo to be in the upper left corner.
I liked the look of the vertical card best. I think it balances the copy (text) with white space to create a card that has the look and feel I am going for. That look and feel being solid, reliable, dependable, yada, yada, yada. Since the logo is the name of the company and not a symbol that needs to be paired with the company name, placing it at the top of the card and not the upper left is not an issue. It’s still upper just not left, see how the logo at the bottom of the other vertical card option doesn’t work as well.
Please don’t try this at home, I’m a professional. I am in the process of creating a logo for my fictional company, Parker Payroll Services. The first thing I did was answer the questionnaire about determining logo needs and wants.
The essence of my business is that it is a start-up payroll services company. It will provide the paperwork, pay checks or electronic deposit duties and taxes reporting for companies payroll duties with up to 1000 employees.
The direction I envision it taking is local to regional. At it’s largest, it will be 12 employees.
In five years I see modest growth, developing a client base at a manageable rate. All the time keeping up with software, hardware, tax codes and industry information and advancements.
Three words that I hope embodies the logo: competent, stable, reliable.
Here and there and yin and yang words: banker/modern, reliable/up-to-date.
I want a logo that is all words no icon.
How does your designer do this? At the client meeting you should be presented with three or so logo ideas. What you should not see is ten or twelve ideas. What you won’t see is what follows. The first is a few of the variations and ideas that went into the Civic Square logo. After that, my logo, Lisa Belloli and lastly the work in progress, Parker Payroll Services.
Civic Square was over 20 sheets like these examples, Lisa Belloli has half a dozen development sheets and countless hand drawn sketches and lastly Parker Payroll Services in development. This is why a designer really is worth the expense.
You had an illustration, ad or some sort of identifier made for your conference, gala or grand opening. Is it too small? Does it not enlarge well on a banner? Does it not shrink well onto a postcard or flyer? These are considerations your designer will have asked about or topics you should raise. That’s why planning is important. Consider the following:
Be charming. Be compelling. Be enthralling. Be thought provoking. Be on good terms with your thesaurus. Because what that all means is have good content. Resist filler don’t pad pages on web sites, reports, and newsletter items, presentation slides, even email. Be straight to the point, exponential filler is for Tolstoy, not you. Most of what follows refers to web content but it applies to all communication.
Images-we are visual beings. Color printers are faster, cheaper and better than ever. Take advantage of that. No longer must you have formal printed letterhead. But man, don’t use low-resolution images from the web, especially for your logo. If you have good photos use them, if they are not so good, crop and adjust and see if you can make them better. (Don’t start filling your emails with pictures, however.) Use good photos for your presentations or handouts. Please, please, if you are printing san color make your images black and white. Don’t just print color images as black and white, they will not translate well and the piece will lack professional polish.
Ideas-present one idea at a time. That sounds so obvious but it isn’t. It is more important that ever when you think about all the information that is available about everything. Stating an idea and then wending your way to that idea with a bunch of other ideas isn’t going to fly in this day and age of instant information. Think about when you google questions, I click on the hit that appears to be answering my question with the least amount of build-up.
How-as in how is the information received? Consider how the information is consumed; is it on a smart phone, desktop computer, or an iPad? These are things to think about even when sending an email. Sometimes it can be frustrating. Sometimes you have to send a long email. That long email will likely be read on a smart phone if it is sent to more than one person. Not much you can do about it under those circumstances but when you can, be aware of how and what kind of device it is being read on.
Know whom you are creating for. Consider your audience, are they new to your information or are they knowledgeable and looking for more insight. Does that mean you divide up the information in to small digestible parts, A leading to B, to C and so forth? Learn what your target group knows and use the words they use (what will, if on the web become search terms).
Most importantly, whether it be print, slide, web or email, make sure your content is easy to read and the content your audience is looking for easy to find.
Happy Labor Day.
Here you are shooting the award luncheon. You cleverly got your group shots already. You got those early because: 1. I told you to do that before and 2. Inevitably some one you need a photo of leaves early. Now you’ll still shoot the honoree holding their award, plaque, or whatever. But just in case that photo comes out badly you have a back-up picture to use. But what happens if you have a lot of space on that web page or newsletter and not much copy or better, lots of copy that needs to be broken up but unified together? That’s where you take your own version of stock photos. Take a close up of the award. Take a photo of the invite, the poster directing people to the event, event attendees, the honorees or other VIP placards. Take photos of anything related to the event. Then once you are back at the office, crop, crop, crop. Crop your photos, crop them a lot. Use those cropped images as paragraph starts, Use them to fill in a large space that lacks copy. Use them as page cues, an indicator that the story continues here. Below the first image is the whole picture. The others photos are cropped elements of the same photo, see? Keep that in mind, it can save your sit-upon.
Are you using photographic images in your work? Do you only use photos for newsletters and web sites or anything you use images for? Have you considered illustration? No, you have not. Maybe it’s because you think it means paying for expensive art. I mean, why would you pay for art for a newsletter? You wouldn’t. But what if you could add some illustration elements to a photograph to add interest? Would you do that? There are lots of photo editing software that comes with a software package or resident on your computer that allows you to add lines, or change colors of photos. There are even free web sites online that will allow you to alter a photo. Just remember to make sure that it is a photo you own. If you Google, free photo altering sites, you will find a plethora of options. Spend a little time, get creative, it will provide interest to your regular missives and a bit of creativity is good for your mind.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.