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Clever Colour Series: Summer

Last month I shared the attributes of a Spring colour personality. If you didn’t feel you connected with those colours enough then perhaps you have a Summer business?

The significance of colour and the positivity it can bring to your business branding should, in my eyes, never be ignored so I hope my Clever Colour series gets you thinking carefully about where your business fits on the colour spectrum.

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SO WHAT ATTRIBUTES DEFINE A SUMMER BUSINESS?

Cool, understated, careful, dreamy, relaxed, romantic, organised, creative, tactful, trendy, sensual, comfortable, impressionable

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Let’s face it, branding or rebranding your business is tough enough without the worry of knowing how to translate all of your ideas to your designer.

It can be an overwhelming time but if you’re considering changing your business’s look then you’re already half way there…

…because you’ve acknowledged something isn’t right with what you have now.

Perhaps you’ve come to terms with the fact that what you have now just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore or maybe your business has grown so quickly it’s left your brand identity for dust? Perhaps you understand that keeping your branding up to date and ship-shape is the way towards winning more new and exciting opportunities? Whatever your reason, you’ll be passing all the responsibility of your business image into the hands of your designer and that’s a big challenge for any business owner.

Today I’d love to use my experience in the industry to share some simple tips on how to get the very best from working with your designer.

 

1. CLARIFY YOUR VISION

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OK. Grab a mug of tea, tuck yourself away in a quite room for a few minutes and start to get some clarity around what you actually want to happen for your business over the coming weeks/months.

First things first; write a shopping list of all the tangible things you want at the end of your project and roughly when you need them completed by, so for example, Logo/Brand Identity – 1 month, Website – 3 months, Stationery Printed – 1.5 momths, etc. It might seem daunting at first and they don’t have to be set in concrete but understanding what you need from the outset will give you and your designer a clear perspective, honest expectations and reachable targets.

 

2. GET INTO THE MINDSET

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It sounds obvious (and somewhat tedious) but it’s so important. At this early stage don’t get too wrapped up in what you want your new branding to look like, this is what you’re paying your designer to do!

Start to think about your business ethos in more detail and try to create a list of buzz words that best explain the impression you want your new branding to create. Steer clear of words like ‘professional’ or ‘quality’; these are a given in my book and are very subjective. So for instance, if you sell high-end watches then your buzz words might be expensive, glamorous, dramatic, innovative, edgy, etc. Your designer should incorporate these words in your brief and interpret them cleverly into your new branding.

 

3. STAY FOCUSED

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Don’t lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place.

The venture of rebranding can become overwhelming especially when you’re being pushed to think of your business in ways you hadn’t perhaps thought of before. Bear in mind that the passion and personality you have behind your business is very often a driving force for the design process so make sure you communicate this with your designer at the briefing stage. If there are brands out there already that hit the right chord with you then share them with your designer; it doesn’t mean they’ll copy them, it means they’ll have insight into what design style excites you and understanding this is often a large part of a designer’s challenge.

 

4. GO WITH YOUR GUT FEELING

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Stay grounded and true to your business values while you’re reviewing your new designs.

Remember you’re rebranding because it’s likely you understand your target market much more now than when your business started, so always have that ideal customer in mind and follow what your gut says they’ll be most attracted to. A great designer should challenge the way you think about your business, perhaps push you a little out of your comfort zone, yet be able to create designs that feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, tell them, and explain why it doesn’t feel right.

 

5. DON’T FALL OVER WHAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU

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Because you’ve invested so much financially, practically and emotionally into your project, a common mistake to make is to overanalyse your design.

There’s a fine line between staying focused on your brand values and simply thinking too hard; it’s an easy trap to fall into especially after you’ve seeing your first drafts. Suddenly what your designer has created feels overwhelmingly real to you and your business and if every element doesn’t have a compelling reason for being there then your whole brand is in jeopardy. No so. It’s perfectly OK to have elements that just ‘look great’ as long as the brand identity as a whole pulls together successfully and meaningfully. So try not to let yourself get hung up about whether the line under your tagline is 1.5mm thick rather than 2mm! A great designer will have already thought about this carefully.

 

6. GET FEEDBACK FROM THE PEOPLE WHO MATTER

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Sensible marketing research can be incredibly valuable if done properly, or equally confusing if not.

Avoid asking family or friends what they think of your new designs unless they’re fully involved with your business. Often feedback from these sources, regardless of how much you value their personal opinion, can be misleading. Ask staff and existing/potential customers; they’ll be honest because it’s in their interests to be and because they understand your service they’ll give the best advice. Having said this, try not to be governed by what they say, just review it with an open mind and critique your designs constructively. What overall impression do you get? Will it translate cohesively onto everything you need on your list? Does it make you excited at the thought of what it could do for your business? If you’re not sure then don’t be afraid to ask your designer, they will understand your brand message and how it will translate inside out.

 

7. RELAY FEEDBACK WITH CARE

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Your designer will be confident that what they’ve created feels right for your business but they won’t take criticism personally, they’ll just want you to be as clear and decisive as you can.

And try your best to get all of your feedback to them in one big hit whether that’s over the telephone, Skype or in one email. You’ll feel much better for structuring your thoughts this way and your designer will love you for being clear. There’s nothing more confusing for a designer than attempting to patch together 12 emails of conflicting comments over a 5 day period, especially when it’s obvious your thought-process is evolving as you write! So ask your designer any questions if you need to, let them know your initial reaction to the designs and then step back for a day or two, allow yourself time to digest them and resist leaping into writing that epic email until you feel ready. It doesn’t have to be long but a little space away from the project can spark new perspectives when you re-approach it.

 

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! You’ll also get tremendous value from my 7 Secrets Series which includes How to get focused for your new brand identity where you’ll learn 7 brilliant stress-saving steps on how to smartly articulate your business values into a working brand identity brief, ready for your designer.

 

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Ever wondered what impression your business colours could be giving potential customers?

Putting some careful time and consideration into answering this could really make all the difference to your brand identity, not just on a visual level but on a deeper, instinctive and more subconscious level too.

The psychology of colour has been an incredible asset to the way I design for many years and this week, with Easter just around the corner, I’d love to share with you the qualities of what might make your business a Spring business. There’s only so much I can fit into one blog post but here is a snapshot of Spring Colour Psychology traits you might feel fit comfortably with you and your business.

What are Spring’s Colour Attributes?

Warm, bright, clear, transparent, honest, uplifting, enlightening, bubbly, energetic, effervescent, creative, communicative.

There are actually 2 types of Spring colour tones; soft pastel tones that are full of light and whiteness, and vibrant saturated tones that have depth and energy. However, each tone carries the same underlying clarity and simplicity. No fuss, no grey or black, just clear honest, singular colour.

If your business is a Spring business, it’s likely you have an open, caring and communicative ethos and your interpersonal skills naturally bring people together. Being social probably plays an important part towards how you deliver your end product and you’ll always conduct everything you do with passion, enthusiasm and vigor. By always being 10 steps ahead it can sometimes feel like an organised chaos in your world but as long as you have people around you, you and your business is in a happy place.

If Spring doesn’t quite feel right for you then look out for Summer, Autumn and Winter posts over the coming weeks, plus more of Colour Psychology and just how powerful it can be for your business.

Happy Easter everyone!

Imagery inspired by Mercedes Lagunas, sillyoldsuitcase and alittledashofdarling

 

A beautiful and successfully compelling brand identity must have a suite of fonts it can pull upon depending on the marketing piece you’re planning and don’t worry, having a variety of fonts won’t water-down your identity. In fact, if they’re selected and balanced properly they’ll have quite the opposite effect. Just like a valuable source of brand images or a selection of colours that complement each other, your brand fonts will add character and depth that will visually resonate with your ideal customers.

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For those of you who don’t already know me, I’m Caroline; Brand Designer & Stylist, Creative Director and Owner of Making Waves.

About 3 months ago my world was turned upside down and I went from being a Creative Director at an established branding agency in Guildford, Surrey to packing my life into the back of our car to follow a dream of living by the sea.

It had always been a lifestyle change we’d planned for the future but my redundancy meant it was happening a lot sooner than we’d expected! Within 6 weeks we’d moved out of our home, relocated my husband’s joinery business, set up a new base in Devon with our two cats and everything was in place for me to launch Making Waves. It’s been exhausting, emotional and a big change we didn’t see coming but now the dust has settled, we’re so excited about what the future holds.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well, I believe great design comes from the heart and from all of life’s rich experiences, big and small.

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