Black Lives Matter, The Message, The Movement and the Brand

As the owner of a small business, I try not to get political on my blog. At the same, time as a human, a business owner, a woman, a white woman, I must take stand as well.

I grew up in a relatively diverse population in CA, but still very ‘white’ (I hate that word, we’re European descent, not white.) or Asian community, with only 2% of my hometown being African American. However, in the East Bay there was a lot more diversity in the wider region than I now see in Eugene, Oregon.

Black Lives Matter, and that doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. It just means, that at the moment they are the ‘house that is on fire’ figuratively speaking, and that is where the most focus needs to be. Of course all lives matter. But our society doesn’t treat them that way. As a woman, I don’t walk alone or in the dark for fear of being raped, but I’m not afraid that every action could be taken the wrong way to lead to my death (by police or other forces).

Growing up as a first generation American, with New Zealand parents, and Dutch grandparents and relatives, I have an international view of the world rather than one restricted by the societal beliefs that have been passed down in America for generations. However, I know that I am not immune to split second assumptions, or even racist thoughts and actions. All I can do is do my best in every moment. Do my best to right wrongs as I see them and to be there if I ever feel that there is racism going on.

In my research, I found it interesting how the Black Lives Matter is treated as a brand and wanted to share this article. Brands are the representation of a company and brands are also how others view that company, or even us!

Since Black Lives Matter is a social movement and not a brand, here’s a look at how branding rules apply to them. Their brand could also be appropriated and hijacked by those who don’t really follow the cause.

Black Lives Matter, The Brand is an in-depth article by Fast Company on how the brand has evolved and how they work to maintain its integrity.

Black Lives Matter, website for more information

Black Lives Matter homepage

About Black Lives Matter

About Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Brand

The Black Lives Matter logo is a wordmark, using text in a particular layout and font, to represent their movement. This ensures that it is powerful, and easy to be used in different formats, sizes and media.

As a social movement, they have also had growing pains as different causes or focuses have tried to appropriate the name and movement. However, it has grown to become a social movement.

“We spend a lot of time—too much time, in my opinion—really trying to counter this narrative that isn’t ours because somebody irresponsibly used a piece of our design to further their own political goals.” (Black Lives Matter, The Brand)

I want this blog to be a chance to reflect on what is currently going on in our world and how to address it. We can’t just keep going on as we have. However, society won’t be able to change instantly. We need to approach this situation with love and compassion and respect. Respect for others and their lives. As white woman, I know that I have a lot to learn in this category to combat racism and to support my friends and family who have a different skin color. The color of our skin…

Wishing you lots of love and healing and hope!

 

What Does Marketing Have To Do With Graphic Design And Website Design?

You may have noticed that many of my blogs have been directed towards marketing topics, although in the end what I create are designs: websites, logos, brochures, business cards, etc.

Marketing is the Foundation of EFFECTIVE Design

This is because marketing is the foundation of any good design. To create an effective design, I need to know who the target audience is, what their pains/challenges are and how we (my client) is solving those problems and making their clients’ lives easier. So right off, I need to know the marketing!

It is possible to create an aesthetically pleasing design that can be effective without the research and work put into marketing, but it has a lower chance of working to its maximum impact.

This can be the case with a new business who does not yet know who their target market is (it can also evolve in your first few years of business as you gain more experience). It might also be the case with businesses who know their clients very well, or have a time-tested message that is attracting ideal clients, but I find this to be rare.

Bring your design into crystal sharp focus with a foundation of marketing.
 

Most businesses do not know their clients as well as they think they do, unless they are regularly collecting client feedback and reports on what they did well and where they can do better. Feedback directly from those who pay you (and refer you) is the best way to verbalize the value you provide.

Marketing To Attract Clients

Every aspect of your business and brand is also marketing and sales material for your company. Whether it is a business card, an employee talking to a potential customer, a brochure you share at a networking event, a presentation on a topic you are an expert of… etc., this all is a process of getting potential clients to know, like and trust you to want to hire you.

When you have the correct words to let your ideal clients know that you can help them, and connect with them so well that they KNOW you are the one to work with. Well, that’s when you have magnetic marketing. And having the correct wording on your print materials, on your website and when you are out networking makes all the difference!

Once you have the wording correct, then you can go into building your marketing materials. To summarize, effective design requires knowing your target market so that you can attract them to want to work with you. Marketing drives the designs you use for your business.

Have a feeling that your marketing could be stronger? Request a free marketing strategy session where together we’ll review your current materials and look at areas that you may want to strengthen.

Marketing and Website Design

Your website should give visitors an option to take action in the first few seconds that they visit your site. If you know your customers, then you can anticipate their needs and have exactly what they are looking for in the first section of your site (the area considered ‘above-the-fold’).

This is most valuable as a Call to Action for a free book/offer/guide/training that you offer them, or a way to reach your products or services easily as well.
This then leads into the marketing campaign, where I go into more detail. Every step is layering your customer with more information and incentive to work with you, called the Customer Journey Map.

I work with clients to brainstorm the content, message and then even create it for them for peace of mind and efficiency!

Have more questions? Let’s chat! Message me for your free strategy session today!

What is Designflair’s Ideal Project & Client?

One of the first questions I ask my client is who are you targeting (Who is your ideal client?) and what are you offering them (what is your ideal project?)?

I’ll share my own answer of my ideal client and project.

The Sweet Spot: Media, Message & Market

As a graphic designer, I’ve always looked at the bigger picture of what I am doing. I’m not just creating a pretty looking logo, website or brochure to make your business look professional; I’m developing a piece that is intended to help your business grow by attracting ideal new clients.

This involves not only the visual image (media), but also the message and the right audience (market).

Anyone error in these three areas and an otherwise well developed campaign can flop, but hit all of them right and you have the sweet spot of a successful campaign or project that compels your ideal client to reach out and work with you because you are able to solve their exact challenge or problem.

Media, Market, Message Venn Diagram

I look at this as a puzzle to be solved. How can I get into the heads of your ideal clients and know what they are thinking? What pain they have in their lives that you have the exact solution to?

To many, this is marketing, but I consider it such an integral part of any project that I don’t separate it out from the original design project. Here’s a little break down between Marketing and Branding.

What is Marketing?

  • The process of promoting the value of a product or service in order to get someone to buy it.
  • Marketing is the message you use to promote you product or service; what you say and how you say it to explain how awesome your product or service is and why people should pay for it.

What is Branding?

  • A brand is a set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organization.
  • If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, influence and control these associations to help the business perform better.

 Why Are Both Important?

  • Branding alone does not make someone buy your product or service, but it does help you stand out from the competition.
  • Marketing can be used to push or pull customers to buy your product or service, but it is not what differentiates you from your competitors.

Who is my ideal client?

I love to work with new or emerging business owners who are running their own practice, or building to a business of 10 or fewer.

They struggle with marketing their business effectively.

They would like to get a lot more new and recurring clients, without having to work so hard.

What is my ideal project?

Working with my clients as part of their team to really understand the minds of their ideal clients, then developing creative and innovative ways to have them visible everywhere so that their clients just have to contact them to schedule a meeting.

From there, then developing the message, content and graphics to bring those marketing pieces to life.

Essentially, I love the strategy process to develop a marketing campaign and then taking those ideas into print and digital branding.

Examples of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Designing a website for a new business and creating the homepage content that will then be transferred to their print brochures
  • Creating a more effective business card with actual pain points of clients
  • Redesigning a website for an existing business who now better understands their clients and wants to add more features
  • Developing a campaign brand for a seasonal sale or product launch

What Makes Designflair different from other graphic & web design companies?

Designflair is a boutique design studio serving our clients to create customized solutions for their needs. We don’t have cookie cutter projects, or website templates that we use. Instead, each project is approached with a goal to problem solve, target your ideal customer and convey your business message effectively.

When it comes to website design, the first choice is website platform. Do you want a WordPress website that can be customized and grown as you need? Or do you have simpler needs and only need a website to convey information to your clients and attract them to your website (search engine optimization or SEO)?

We walk you through the benefits and downsides of each website option so that you can understand and use our recommendations to choose the best website platform for your business.

When it comes to functionality, WordPress is king, but it can also be overkill or a lot of extra work to keep it secure and backed up when you don’t want the maintenance.

The wonderful thing about WordPress is that it can be customized to do whatever you want. Whenever we develop a website, it starts with a custom design layout. Our design takes into account your user experience, message and functionality you want to include on the homepage and body pages. I love the process of taking your message, and using the best marketing strategies to ensure that we effectively convey your message and even compel your ideal clients to reach out to you.

When it comes to WordPress website design, there are templates available called themes. Themes range from free to paid, to customized theme builders. The problem with free themes is that you get what you pay for, they can be bloated, not coded properly, not properly maintained or even have back door security risks that you are unaware of. We recommend themes on a case by case basis, but usually prefer to develop a custom design for your website and then work on it from there.

25 Website Must Haves - Download Now

What makes Designflair different from other graphic & web design companies? We don’t offer cookie cutter solutions; we listen to your challenges and goals and create a custom solution for you. Sometimes there are ways to speed the process up, with your feedback or approval, but your business matters and we want to ensure your marketing is effective and useful.

I love studying psychology and how the brain works, which ties back into marketing and effectively designing solutions to grow your business.

Contact us today, we’d love to talk to you about your latest project.

What Is It Like to Work with Designflair? (Graphic Design, Web Design & Marketing Projects)

One thing that we always prominently focus on is that we are
all business owners; as a client of ours, you are running a business, employing
others and supporting your family.

As the business owner of Designflair, I understand where you
are coming from and how it can be so overwhelming to run a business AND also
market it to bring in more customers. I enthusiastically adore the process of
getting to know your business and understand your ideal client in order to help
them understand how your product or service will add value to their lives.

25 Website Must Haves - Download Now

I operate business the way I would want to be treated…

Free Initial Consultation

I offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients
so that we can decide if it is a good fit for us to work together. I want to
ensure that I have the skillset and solution that will match your need, and
that I can deliver on the solutions that I promise to create for you.

A free initial design or marketing consultation helps me
understand your business better and already be brainstorming ideas for
solutions we can develop. This is a get-to-know-you process and I believe it is
extremely valuable that we meet and that you aren’t stressed out about any
charges coming your way.

Free, Project-Based Quotes

I believe that you should know the upfront cost of your
project before you even start. For that reason, I quote on a project basis for
logo design, graphic design, website design and marketing projects whenever
possible. In some cases, the scope of work is open ended and so I am not able
to set a figure to it, but then I will quote on an hourly basis with a total
estimate, or a project estimate where I check in time segments to ensure we
stay within your budget.

Your Business Is My Business

As a vendor to your company, you are trusting me with your business’s brand, website and/or marketing. I am honored by that trust and want to ensure that I am doing the best that I can for your business. In addition to focusing on the projects you hire me for, I try to point out any other items that I may notice along the way that could use tweaking. Your business success is partly based on my actions so I try to treat your business as if it is my own – using all my skills to help you attract ideal clients to your business.

25 Website Must Haves - Download Now

Staying On Time & On Budget

In the business world, deadlines matter and I know that any
lost time is lost business. I set realistic deadlines based on the information
I have, and help set realistic expectations. In addition, I know that sometimes
life happens that can lead to new urgencies. I work with you to put in the
extra time if needed to meet that deadline. If the scope changes in such a way
that the budget or timeline must adjust, I will give you as much advance notice
as possible so that you can plan for it within your business as well.

Helping You Excel

At the end of the day, I run my business to support and help other businesses grow. I love tweaking marketing strategies and messages to create a magnetic pull with your ideal clients. I love updating your website or redesigning a brochure or flyer to help convey your message. But most of all, I love interacting with, and working with, other business owners for your success.

Contact me today for your free initial consultation. Want to hear a little more? Read my testimonials from satisfied clients!

Much love,

Alyssa

How Big Data Influences Business Graphic Design & Marketing


http://growth.designflairstudio.com/creating-a-killer-website-for-more-sale

We’re in the age of big data, and that means we have a lot to learn about how we create, communicate, and grow businesses. Graphic design and big data intersect in two major ways: First, graphic design for small business marketing is constantly being informed by new data about customer behavior and digital word of mouth. Second, graphic design is responsible for presenting high-impact, relevant data sets in an easy-to-understand and compelling way. 

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How Graphic Design Builds Your Small Business’ Reputation



Graphic design is integral to small business marketing. Potential customers and clients respond to visual content and brand experience more and more every year. The style of your graphic design directly tells potential customers about the unique value you offer. Your business’ graphic design quality is a make or break point for how potential customers learn to trust or distrust your business. 

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2 Ways to Get Customer Calls from Your Site

get-more-calls-from-website-marketing

Does your business growth depend on getting calls from new customers, yet your phone has been silent lately? It can be discouraging to not receive those calls from your website that you’ve been waiting for, so we’re here to help you solve that problem. Maybe you are getting calls, but they’re not the calls you want and don’t turn into business leads. These two marketing tips will help with that, as well.


Getting customer calls from your website has everything to do with your website design and content.
Here are two ways to drive traffic to your website and increase business calls!

  1. Make your phone number visible and put it on every page.

If you want customers to call you, make it is as easy for people to contact you. In our experience, when our clients come to us they often put their phone number and contact info just on the Contact page. This can hurt your business because people don’t want to have to search through your site to find what they are looking for, so make it easy for them.

Place your phone number on every page of your site, and make it stand out visually. Also, think about users who are using mobile phones. When users are looking for a service or product through their smartphones, the business with the best mobile-friendly website will get bring that user in.

Already have your number on your site? Awesome, you’re ready to take your website a step further and turn your website traffic to leads. Download our 25 Website Must-Haves to see other ways that you can ensure your website leads to new customer calls.

  1. Know your customer base and what they want.

Businesses are switching to inbound marketing tactics because they are effective compared to old school marketing, such as cold calling. The key to creating a great business site is by understanding your customers and clients, knowing what they are looking for, and catering your website to them. Get inside their heads and understand the words they are using to search for your services.

Once you have this point down, it will impact everything that you do in terms of marketing. So how do you go about that? Start by brainstorming and jotting down clients that you want to bring into your business. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:

What customers have we had in the past that remained loyal?
What type of customers have the resources to help our business meet our goals?
Who do we enjoy working with?

When working on our marketing, we used Mindmeister to create a visual word map of industries and clients that we want to reach to increase our customer base. From this word map, we then narrowed down our industries to specific buyer personas (a.k.a. customer persona or customer profile).
As defined by Hubspot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”

Developing a detailed persona to market takes time initially, but is worth the investment and will save you time in the future. You’d be amazed at how your business grows when you are saying exactly the right words to appeal to your clients. If you’re not sure where to start, contact us today to get help developing a buyer persona that will suit your business. Once you have it established, you can then focus your web design, blog posts, and social media marketing to target this persona.
When your website is designed well, it will work for you and bring in those calls you are waiting for! It will help you to establish trust with website visitors from the start and turn them into business.

website design bay area ca

How Infographics Grow Your Business

Marketing your business in a highly digital and networked era is based on creating engaging and informative content for your clients and target market.

In the past we’ve discussed how to create search engine optimized content and how to produce content for social media. Today we’re going to take things beyond the text and discuss the usefulness of infographics.

The truth is that visuals are much more compelling and engaging than text. Sections of text is informative but visuals are much easier to digest, which is great news when it comes to creating website content. According to an article from TIME, people typically spend 15 seconds on a website. Just 15 seconds! That means in order to get people to stay on our websites, then we need to grab their attention and give them the information they are looking for quickly.

This is where infographics save the day.

Infographics have been trending for the last few years, but we’ve noticed that the “trend” is lasting. Infographics aren’t going out of style because they are valuable. These visual narratives are an excellent tool for business marketing that can be continually utilized for producing creative content.

Infographics are Informative

Not only do infographics contain information, but they effectively deliver the message to the viewer very quickly. They provide a means, beyond words, to convey information in an interesting way. Our brains were originally programmed to see visual cues and visual communication gets to the brain 60,000 times faster than text!

One of the advantages of infographics is that they can be used to provide information in various formats. An infographic can be created to tell a story, show steps to a process, or display a map. These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities for infographics.

Reputable designer David McCandless is known for his stunning information design. On his website, Information is Beautiful, you will find examples of how informative infographics truly are.
Take this one, for example. McCandless and his team created a graphic detailing the attributes of various cooking oils, called “Oil Well.”

Infographic Design

(View the full infographic)

This infographic contains a wealth of information about each cooking oil, and yet it is not overwhelming. There is a simple use of color which refers to the types of fats contained in the oil. They layout is legible and easy to read. Not to mention, this is one of the exceptional times that it’s okay to use multiple typefaces within one design – each typeface used to represent each oil. This is a great example of how infographics can take content and make it useful and beautiful.

Infographics are Engaging

By using infographics to share information, you invite the user to respond. Infographics allow for the use of creative visual aesthetics (such as icons, charts, and graphs), which are much more intriguing than chunks of text. Infographics can also be digitally interactive and direct users to other web pages or sites.
We recently created an infographic for one of our clients, Artificial Turf Express, to inform their audience about the products that they offer. They came to us wanting more graphic elements to increase the visibility of their business, but were unsure of what they exactly wanted or what would be best. Our design team presented the idea of an infographic and they agreed. We laid out the information and produced a visually appealing infographic that breaks down their product options based on user need.

Infographic Design

Just by taking a look at this infographic, a potential client can gain understanding of who ATE is as a business, what products they offer, and which type of artificial grass would be best for them. Take a peek at the infographic live on their website! Artificial Turf Express was able to utilize this graphic within a blog post, on their website, and share it on social media platforms.

Infographics are a great way to take a large amount of data and narrow it down to a digestible amount through the use of visuals. How overwhelming is it when you go to a website that has large blocks of texts that you have to scroll through, searching for the good stuff? Get creative by using infographics to tell your business’ story or sell your products. A recent report from Modgility states that “86 percent of buyers expressed interest in accessing visual content on demand.” As pointed out in this article, statistics such as this prove that we need to make our content visual and appealing.

Let us know today if you’re interested in having more engaging content on your website, blog or social media platforms. We will brainstorm ideas for an infographic that can deliver information about your business.

 

The International Style & Modern Graphic Design

Helvetica… you’ve probably heard of it. Helvetica is an extremely popular and common, sans-serif typeface that arose in the late 1950’s as a move away from the ornate, and “grotesque” style of typefaces that were typically used in Germany.

Helvetica was one of the typefaces that emerged out of the International Style, which is also often called the Swiss Style. “Helvetica became a national brand, an identity for the popular ‘Swiss style’…” Smashing Magazine writes.

The International Style was a shift in graphic design, as designers felt the need to create designs that were clear and moral, with no political agenda. It was a post-war movement after the power of propaganda (and design within that) was witnessed by those in Europe during WWII. It’s known as the Swiss Style because Switzerland was an ideal for the design style to start, yet it quickly spread throughout Europe and to the United States during the 1960’s (Smashing Magazine). This part of design history is important because it impacted much of graphic design and we see influence of the International Style in design today.
 
Josef Müller-Brockmann was one of the forerunners in the International Style, who wrote Neue Grafik (New Graphic Design) “which spread the principles of Swiss Design internationally (Eye Magazine).” Taking a look at his work, we gain better understanding of this style that was so impactful. The International Style has certain characteristics such as a use of negative space, blocks of texts, sans-serif fonts, and strong geometric shapes. It also commonly utilized objective photography, or clear photography that is free of distortion that is true to the item being photographed. International Style designs were marked by a sense of simplicity with the goal of effectively communicating a message through visuals.

 Graphic Design Livermore

(photo from International Poster Gallery)

Brockmann created a series of posters for a concert in Zürich, Musica Viva (Grafik.Net). As seen in the poster above, we see the characteristics of the International Style. There is a clarity and sense of order. The use of colors is very intentional, as seen in the use of green and blue, which Brockmann was well-known for. Another characteristic of this style, seen in Brockmann’s work, is the use of sans-serif fonts and left justification of the text. These traits are consistent throughout Brockmann’s designs, from posters to building signage, and utilized by other designers of the International Style.

Graphic Design Livermore

(photos from International Poster Gallery)

The International Style made way for coherency in graphic design, while focusing on the arrangement of content. We see a hierarchy in the arrangement of text, where the information that is more important is found in larger size font and sometimes a brighter color. There is an intentionality in the layout of content, something we see in graphic design today that we can attribute to the designers from the International Style era. 

Graphic Design Livermore

 

(photo from Pentagram)

 

Pentagram, “the world’s largest independent design consultancy”, recently designed branding for a line of products at the John Lewis department store (London). This branding is very reminiscent of the International Style. It only uses a fresh yellow to draw attention to clear photographs of the products. Sans-serif fonts? Of course. The design style of this branding is very fitting to the product line, which is “a collection of useful and stylish products, created by [John Lewis] with modern living in mind (JohnLewis.Com).” The modernity of the product line is captured in the branding done by Pentagram.

 Graphic Design Livermore

(photo from Pentagram)

The International Style is just one of many in the past that is notable. It made the way for intentional graphic design that focuses on the layout of elements. Whether it’s text, photographs, colors or textures – each element should be placed in order to better convey a particular message. Simplicity in design, as seen in the International style, doesn’t mean that designs are simplistic, but rather effective.

 Looking for some type inspiration? Take a peek at our ever-growing Pinterest board on Typography!
Follow Designflair’s board Typography | The Art of Type on Pinterest.