This morning I was packing up some stationery orders to ship out and thought I would photograph a few images of our packing. For larger orders of stationery, we pack in these white boxes with a silver/grey bow and our tag with our name and website on it. As I was admiring my handiwork (you should have seen the bows when I first started making them, not good) I thought, maybe I should do a blog post on the power of branding. When starting a small business it really is one of the first and most important things to think about.
So, here goes, a list of what to do, what not to do and a few things we did. Hopefully, it will be of use to anyone starting out their own small business!
1. After you have your company objective and and name set, think about a logo. Sometimes, less is more. When creating a logo, better to go with simple. Think about where and how this logo is going to be used. If you have a very busy logo with tons of colors, how is that going to translate to black and white? Maybe it looks good printed out, but how will it look on your web site where the resolution is much lower? Very important to consider all the ways in which the logo will be used before you set your heart on it. A couple great sites to check out for logo inspiration: Logo of the Day, Logo Fury and Wolda. And just for fun, what not to do for logo design.
2. Look and feel. What is the vibe that you want your company to give? Clean, modern and sophisticated? Home-spun and a little rough? Think about this carefully when crafting your brand. This visual will really set the tone for people when they receive a business card from you or have their first look at your website. One of the branding firms I really like is 2×4. You can take a look at their site to see how they created identities for a number of companies.
For our look and feel, we went with just our name “pressed” in a very simple sans-serif font. We then extended the line of the “p” and “d” to make it look like the word was being “pressed” between the first and last letter. We went with a grey color palette because as a stationery company, we plan to have many items in many colors and many fonts, and we did not want our brand to compete with our product or overwhelm it in any way. Think about how the brand you create will flow with the product you are trying to sell.
3. Logo abuse, don’t do it! Now you have a name, logo and look. Whatever you do, don’t stretch out your logo. Make sure you know the basics of graphic design or have a friend who does. Be certain that you have the dimensions of your logo right for the space you are planning to use it in. You certainly do not want your logo to be pixilated, grainy, hard to read or distorted, ever. Here you can see what I mean by distorted logo.
4. Make sure you really, really like your brand, because you don’t want to change it….ever really. Once you have it you should really plan to stick with it. Once you build a good size client base, they are going to use your brand to quickly, visually recognize your product. Anyone remember what happened when the Gap tried to change its logo? Huge outcry! Maybe part of that was because the new logo was pretty terrible! Take a look here and here, too.
5. Be consistent! Use your brand and stick to it. Every piece you make, from website, to business card, to thank you notes to ads to package should have the same look and feel, same fonts and same color palette. Change up the merchandise and products offered, but not the brand itself. If there are a number of people starting a business together, build consensus with your partners from the get go. You don’t want to end up down the line with Partner A sending out all of their business cards with one look and Partner B favoring another. (I have seen this happen, everyone wants their own look their own fonts, their own colors, believe me, it is a mess!)
I am sure there are many more things I could discuss, but I think I will save them for another blog entry down the road. Hope my tips help out!
– Stephanie, pressedinbrooklyn.com