Thoughts and professional design and marketing advice from Resolution Creative.
You’ve probably heard that phrase at some point in your life, but how many businesses apply this principle to their website? If a website has too much information, or unnecessary images, it may obstruct your message and drive your audience away. According to Manta, websites should be uncluttered and easy to navigate. Keep it simple: your copy should be concise, and use white space between your images and text to improve readability and create a pleasing online experience.
Your professionalism will be communicated through your copy and the visual appearance of your website. If you find the idea of creating a website daunting, Resolution Creative will work with you and suggest options which will fit your budget. Contact us for a free design consultation.
A good example of a small “brochure” website is the design created for KB Health Insurance Solutions by Resolution Creative. Potential clients may request information, access a location map, and download insurance applications. The graphics are kept to a minimum, but utilize colors and typestyles which reinforce KB Health Insurance Solutions branding. Fewer images are used in the mobile version, which helps in navigating the site on a smaller platform.
(Or, don’t look like an amateur.)
During lunch at a local brew pub last week, my son Ben observed “I’ve never tried this beer before, because the label uses Comic Sans.” While Ben is an admitted beer snob, he is not a designer, so this piqued my curiosity. Designers are known to mock the use of the Comic Sans font. There’s even a group, “Ban Comic Sans.”
I asked why the use of Comic Cans bothered him. “It shows the company did not care enough to hire a professional designer. It’s looks amateurish. If the company is not professional in their presentation, how does the beer taste?”
Apply this anecdote to your business. Are your visual communications professional, or do they look amateurish? Using underlines for emphasis, poor quality photos and lack of consistency among the graphic elements are just a few of the tell tale signs of the amateur. Aesthetics are not the only consideration. Amateur mistakes in production can cost you when your marketing goes to print, or a website does not display correctly.
Being a designer is not only knowing how to use the tools of design, but how to achieve the desired results. Professional design will ensure the right message is delivered to your customers. Do you care how you appear to your audience? Contact Resolution Creative for a free design audit.
2014 was a busy year for VNA Health Care. VNA Navigators assisted 115,693 consumers during Open Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, completing more applications per Navigator than all other Illinois grantees. Resolution Creative designed bilingual posters, fliers and brochures providing information during this process. Part of VNA’s mission is The Triple Aim:
- improved health
- improved patient experience
- reduced cost of care.
The 2014 Annual Report designed by Resolution Creative used triangle elements throughout as a motif recognizing the Triple Aim. With bold colors and a substantial uncoated paper stock, the information is organized to be pleasurable and easy to read for both the public they serve and their donors. Click here to flip through the annual report online.
My graphic design business is located within Water Street Studios in Batavia; I am a resident artist, nestled among photographers, jewelry designers, ceramicists, sculptors and painters. At a recent gallery opening, a visitor to my studio looking at some of the work on my walls commented “But this isn’t really art.” I will argue that “graphic design, with its own traditions and esthetic principles, deserves to be considered an art as much as architecture, photography and other functional forms of visual expression.”*
Logo design for KB Health Insurance Solutions, Inc. The initials become a single unique graphic element, as the swash from the K becomes the bottom left serif on the B. The bottom swash on the B winds around entwining both letters.
The circle with the initials may be used separately as a social media avatar.
Basic Design Principles Will Make Your Message Easier to Understand.
One of my clients has large Hispanic audience. Many of the print communications created for this client are bilingual, using both English and Spanish in a single document. Often this means the front and back are the same design, but printed in different languages. Sometimes both languages are printed on the same side of the paper, leaving it to the reader to find the content he can read.
How do you engage the reader, make the content comfortable to read, and still give equal weight to the different content areas? It’s all based upon good design. A well designed page organizes information so it is easy to understand. This poster, designed for a new diabetes program at VNA Health, presents a bilingual message while following the principles of design.
Establish a design hierarchy to determine an emphasis in the layout. The most important element in your communication may be emphasized by size, color, or isolated. In the poster, the name of the program and description are larger than the rest of the content, and centered on the poster. The Spanish program name is on the right, English on the left, both incorporating the large word “Diabetes” as part of the title.
Using a large single image has more impact than numerous small images. The English and Spanish descriptions are centered on either side of the graphic. The program name, image, and description are easy to see at a glance. (more…)
Do you ever wonder why certain professions feature a photograph of the business person on the card? I certainly have. Seeing someone’s face doesn’t make me want to buy insurance. But according to an article in online news source Patch, in some businesses your personality is your selling point. You should have a photo on your business card if you are in real estate, consulting, etc. Other tips offered include placing a special offer or coupon on the card, listing areas of expertise, and including your social media links.
However, the 5 for 5 Marketing and Branding Tips video series presents the argument that putting your personal photo on your business card is not an effective Brand Strategy. A photograph of yourself on a business card does not tell the consumer why what you offer is preferable to your competition. Better to use a logo or tagline that aligns with your business strategy.
Image Awards Engraving and Creative Keepsakes, Inc. is a retail business based in Geneva, Illinois. A successful business, providing trophies, corporate awards, and personalized gifts. All engraving and color imprinting is done onsite. The successful business is owned by Patty Donohue who was recently featured in “Building Your Business the Right Brain Way” by Jennifer Lee.
As the twentieth anniversary for the business approached, Patty decided it was time to reinvigorate her logo. She did some tweaking to her existing logo, and asked for opinions on Facebook. Most of the opinions posted were actually recommendations for different designers she could use, The logo contained a photo of a trophy. Using a photograph violates one of the requirements of a logo design; it needs to be scalable at any size. Patty decided that it was time to hire a professional, and contacted Resolution Creative. (more…)
Have you thought about going old school with your marketing and adding door hangers to the mix? A door hanger guarantees interaction with your audience; it has to be noticed if it’s hanging from your doorknob.
Resolution Creative recently created a series of door hangers for VNA Health Care.
Amy Downing, VNA’s director of Marketing, uses door hangers because “door hangers are a cost effective alternative to direct mail. I like that I have more control over when the door hangers deliver and I can cover a larger area for my budget. I targeted our door hangers based on geography close to the clinics.” There was increased volume at the different VNA clinics in March, and she attributes that to the marketing efforts.
Intuit Small Business blog has tips for the effective use of door hangers. It is important to keep the design simple, so it can be easily read. This means a simple message and big headlines with a strong call to action, and the contact information should be prominently featured.
Contact Resolution Creative for a custom design solution for your marketing.
When I first began working as a designer, I’d often work with photographers to create a specific image or photograph a product or display for use in advertising or packaging. I would sketch out my concept, and the photographer would create an image to meet my specifications, often improving my original concept with his or her own artistry. Occasionally I would purchase stock photos, usually for something not easily accessible, such as the flag waving over the Capitol. Stock images were selected by looking through print catalogs of images, or viewed on cd. Priced according to usage, the price of these rights-managed photos could be quite expensive.
These days, it’s easy to browse stock photography online, and there are many inexpensive stock photography websites. Professional and amateur photographers sell their photos online and at an affordable cost. iStockPhoto.com is one of the most well known sites, selling royalty free images. Royalty free means you pay for rights to use the image, not the distribution of the image.
Getty Images recently made 35 million of their images available at no charge for web use, providing an embed code is used that will link the image to Getty’s website. It’s now easy and common practice to purchase inexpensive stock photos and add visual interest to your website or print collateral.
There are some disadvantages to using stock photos. Many stock images look clichéd or dated. These often laughable images have become fodder for blog content, such as “Stock Photo Cliches To Make You Laugh Alone With Salad. There has even been a song created. “The Clichéd Stock Photo Song.”