I thought it over, changed it around, used what I had, went from here to there and Bob’s your uncle. Bob’s your uncle is a British thing and I do not know what it means other than, there you go. Below is the working first page of Parker Payroll Services. Below that is a link to the work-in-progress site. I chose a very different and not typical style. I did it because I could and because more and more often I am seeing “new” design and concepts that either I or former colleagues did years ago. At the time we did them we were shot down as being too modern because of a, “I haven’t seen that before” mentality. So I designed what I liked, what I thought was user friendly and a bit atypical. You might not like it, you might think it is bad design. It is not, it is good design. It is different, not that much, useable yet simple. As many people that love curry an equal amount of people hate it. By the way, the bottom row doesn’t work and won’t take you to another page. Click the logo to go back home.
Karl Marx was not likely talking about web sites but I am. Don’t be tempted to go over board on a web site. Think. Think about what your audience wants to know, then give it to them. Web designs can do magical things. Check out the following:
Granted the first is out of this world. And the second is rather over the top but these are examples of what the web can do. And only the tip of the iceberg are these. Look, the point is make your web site what your customers need not what you want. Look at my web site, it has my portfolio and contact information and not much more. In my instance, anyone looking at it has already arranged to meet me or are thinking about contacting me. It gives my clients a chance to see if what I do will be a match to what they need. Another site I have done is Civic Square. This too is very simple. It tells potential clients about the principal’s expertise, and yes, the last name is the same as mine; look carefully you’ll see they are slightly co-branded.
For my example, Parker Payroll Services, my site will have a twofold purpose. One will tell potential clients about the services Parker Payroll Services offers and another part of the site will be for current customers. Next week I will show rough designs for a home page.
This week: Letterhead and Invoice. Things like proposals will follow the style of the invoice. As will the tear sheet for the scope of services. I will have that, I will have to decide whether I need a two fold brochure.
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.
Here is the logo. It is in one typeface but two color. I used brown and black because as discussed before these colors and especially together represent stability, reliability and dependability. The serif typeface is an old fashioned choice. But again I am thinking about stability. The partner to my serif typeface, Minion Pro is the san serif typeface, Helvetica. These are the two typeface that I will use throughout the branding. The typefaces will be brought together on the business cards, letterhead and all other identity support items.
I decided against using an icon. I considered some of the obvious ideas. A roll of money, a stack of cash, a check, a check (✓). I decided against an icon because I decided it would not give the company a polished, professional look. I considered shapes, squares, boxes but again decided to keep it simple. The line at the bottom will serves several purposes. The first is that it finishes the logo. It says, “Here. It’s done.” Secondly, I will use the line a design device. I can use it at the bottom of pages as an element, or even look into extending it to include other text or indicate a break or connection.
For more see: Anatomy of a good logo
and: Anatomy of a Bad logo
This is the logo I will be working with to create my branding for Parker Payroll Services. The far left is the two color logo that will mostly be used. The middle is the black version and the far right is the one color, color version. The two color will be the most often used, the all black less so and the far right rarely.
Brown and black. I chose those colors because it feels very corporate, steady, sturdy and reliable. For a cool infographic about logo and what their colors say click here.
I have my typeface: Minion Pro, serif and Helvetica, san serif. (Helvetica is a great typeface don’t let anyone tell you different.)
Color Scheme: Brown and black
Branding strategy: Professional, reliable, sturdy, consistent.
Next: A look at the whys and why nots and the look and feel.
Don’t know? Why should you? Last episode I named my fictional payroll company Parker Payroll Services, PPS. My company will never be known as PPS. Why? Because PPS will mean nothing to potential clients and I don’t want my current clients to have to think about it. Unless you are IBM, ING or AAA, skip the initials.
Part II. The logo
Before you think color, style, size or mascot (do not think mascot-ever). Your logo needs to do three things.
The first thing it has to do is be able to appear correctly in print ala, CMYK. For more information see: CMYK is your friend.
The second is it has/should to be able to appear correctly in print in two colors ala, pantone. Did you catch that? Two colors? Not three, not four, but two. One is even better. Think apple. Pepsi is three, but they are also a bazillion dollar company. Coke is two colors, IBM is one, Nike is one. Schools and sports teams are two colors and that’s good enough for you. Here’s the pantone info: Spot Colors
And lastly, you need to have a black and white version. Yes, you do. Here’s why: Black logo versions
Now about that logo. Should it be all text, text and an icon or just an icon? You don’t know do you? So what pray tell are you going to tell your designer? Here’s what you do; go here, Logo Questions use the questions to figure out where you are and what you want your business to be, who you want to reach, etc. It will help you determine your branding and give you a place to begin. Next week I will publish my answers to the questions. I will also show you some of the steps I went through designing my logo, lisa belloli and the logo for Civic Square, civicsquarellc.com.