Logo and corporate identity design

The Importance of Great Logo & Corporate Identity Design

Logo and corporate identity design

A great logo and corporate identity is probably one of the most important investments a company or organisation can make. After all, the logo and the accompanying visual ‘identity’ are one of the first things prospective customers will see. As such, they’ll send out an overall impression about that company or organisation and prospects will use it to form a near instant judgement — and usually one that sticks. A well-designed, modern logo and visual branding will usually lead the onlooker to naturally assume that the organisation in question is professional and modern. In stark contrast, an untidy, poorly designed or outdated logo will have the opposite effect. So it’s important to get it right — first impressions tend to stick and the long-term health of the organisation is at stake if you get it wrong.

Logos & Corporate Identities – What’s the Difference?

First, though, a clarification; the logo is the symbol associated with the company or organisation, whereas the corporate identity refers to the wider visual look associated with that organisation (think of it as the branding). That visual identity actually includes the logo but also governs the ‘house’ colours, fonts and design style that go with it. By using a house style in a predefined way, everything associated with the company or organisation has the same feel and look, so naturally builds brand awareness and a cohesive approach to communication and marketing for the organisation in question. One only has to think about the branding for large organisations like The National Trust, Coca-Cola, Heinz and Virgin to see how they each have a particular house style, each with their own corporate colours, fonts, visual style and logo.

Corporate Design Manuals

In fact, many companies and organisations produce a ‘corporate design manual’ which is a complete guide to their visual corporate identity. It will usually contain a guide, including examples, of how to use — and how not to use — firstly, the logo. This will include colours, proportions, positioning of the logo, logo variants (for example the logo as used on a white background and a perhaps different variant of it for use on dark backgrounds) and rules governing the minimum space that should appear around the logo and so on. Corporate manuals also include similar sections outlining the rules for house fonts, house colours and even house layout styles for such things as letterheads, compliments slips, business cards and other stationery, brochures, adverts and so on. By carefully setting up the design rules and, through corporate manuals, making sure they’re adhered to wherever in the world they’re used, businesses and organisations enhance their brand awareness and become more quickly recognised.

Buying Into Your Brand

Indeed, some brands have this all down to such a fine art that people identify with the brand and are proud to show the world that they own that company’s products. Apple products are a classic example of this. Nike trainers, with their famous tick mark, are another — many people like to be seen with such things in their possession, almost like a status symbol. Yet another example is Beats headphones with their funky, modern but simple ‘b’ logo. Now imagine that last example with a boring old ‘b’ using Times New Roman or Courier instead and you’ll quickly see how that whole offering could have failed miserably … and that’s an example using just one letter as a logo! When your corporate identity and logo offering expertly encourage ‘buying into the brand’, that buying in by your target market will quite literally lead to more sales and increased profits.

Read more

Printed stationery

Create a Great Impression with Printed Stationery

Printed stationery - letterheads, compliments slips, business cards and continuation sheets

Printed stationery is a basic yet incredibly important ingredient for any successful corporate identity. It’s also what clients and prospects often see at an early stage, so it needs to be well designed, well printed and well presented. It’s no good having a great design and second rate printing — and vice-versa. It’s also a missed opportunity if you get those two factors right but then serve it all up to your customer in a cheap-looking, incompatible envelope.

Create a great first impression

It’s important to get the detail right because first impressions really count. When you present something visually attractive in a highly professional way, it rubs off on you directly – you will automatically look more professional too, straight off the bat. So make sure letterheads look great, compliments slips and business cards follow suit and take the trouble to include printed continuation sheets in your suite of stationery. It shows care and attention to detail and is another easy way to remind the recipient of your brand.

Tip: also consider the reverse side of your stationery. All too often this is left blank but sometimes, for example, flooding a colour across the entire back of your letterhead, compliments slip or business card can look a million dollars, particularly if your logo is ‘ghosted’ into the flat colour somehow. This works particularly well with modern designs and helps to create something a little more unusual, to make you and your company or organisation more memorable. It also reinforces your brand recognition.

Choose your paper wisely

Consider not only the very best logo, colours and design (we can help with that), but also the paper you use for your printed stationery. There are thousands of different stationery papers on the market so it makes sense to take a little time to select the very best type for your particular stationery. Read more

What we can print

We print almost anything!

What we can print

We’re often asked if we print particular items, for example, “Do you print NCR sets?” … “Can you overprint envelopes” … “Do you do packaging” and so on. Well, the good news is that our answer is nearly always “Yes!” We can print any kind of stationery item, virtually any item of sales and marketing collateral and almost any type of large format graphics. However, it goes way beyond those simple categories — take a look:

Stationery

We regularly print:

  • Business & personal stationery
  • Letterheads
  • Continuation sheets
  • Compliments slips
  • Business cards
  • Corporate envelopes

Sales & Marketing Collateral

The following are no problem at all:

  • Brochures & booklets
  • Catalogues
  • Manuals
  • Flyers & leaflets
  • Newsletters
  • Folders
  • Annual reports
  • Labels and stickers
  • Variable data mail shots
  • Direct mailers
  • Pop-ups & cardboard engineering
  • Overprinted envelopes
  • Programmes
  • Postcards
  • Name tags
  • Point-of-sale signs
  • Point-of-sale flyers
  • Corporate manuals
  • NCR sets
  • Forms

Packaging

If it’s printed digitally or via litho printing, then packaging is also no problem here at Firstpoint Print. For example:

  • Cartons
  • Pillow packs
  • Sleeves
  • Header cards
  • Hanging packs
  • Labels
  • Swing tags
  • CD and DVD inserts and covers
  • Printed dust jackets for books;
  • Sample packs and swatch packs etc.

Large format printing

Need something printed large? No problem — we can produce all this and more: Read more

A guide to online marketing (Part 1)

A Guide to Online Marketing: Part 1

A guide to online marketing (Part 1)

It’s useful to understand the principles behind online marketing whether you’re sub-contracting your online marketing to a 3rd party expert, or doing it all in-house.

Part 1 – Setting the Foundations

In this, the first of a series of related posts, we explain how to set the ‘foundations’ right before actively engaging in online marketing for your product, service, company or organisation.

You’ll need a website

It goes without saying that, to compete online, you will nearly always benefit from having your own website. That’s not always the case, of course. For instance, you may simply have an eBay or Amazon-based business which doesn’t require one. However, for pretty much everyone else, a website is crucial as a marketing tool. After all, it’ll represent your online ‘shop window’ to the world and is the obvious place people will start looking for information about your products or services before making a buying decision.

Your website must be mobile-friendly

These days websites simply must be mobile-friendly, i.e. display your content at a legible size in user-friendly manner on mobile phones. Otherwise you will lose a significant portion of potential online traffic right off the bat. This is because Google, the most important and dominant of all search engines, demotes the search rank of non mobile-friendly sites specifically in searches from mobile devices and that is a bad thing because mobile searches now represent a large and ever-growing proportion of all online searches, even overtaking desktop searches in many countries. We should also mention that online search engines are potentially the richest source of website traffic and enquiries, gaining you a regular stream of qualified leads if you get your online marketing right. So the message is simple: don’t fail at the first hurdle; your website simply must be mobile-friendly nowadays, or you will lose out. You can test whether your site is mobile-friendly by tapping its URL into this tester and clicking ‘Analyze’. You’ll get the answer in just a few seconds.

Firstpoint Print can help to design and build you a mobile-friendly website should you require professional help. We use a web architecture which is search-engine-friendly, mobile-friendly and allows you to control your own content should you want to do so. It is also an ‘open source’ platform which means that we can add all manner of bells and whistles (e.g. e-commerce, booking systems etc.) without it costing you an arm and a leg because such modules already exist as plug-ins written specially for the platform, so can be easily bolted on.

Make sure your website includes an integral blog

As well as being mobile-friendly, your site should ideally include an integral blog. The full reasons for that will be explained later, but suffice it to say that you’ll be missing a trick if you decide to run with a website which does not incorporate a fully-functional blog. There you can announce news, useful information, tips, tricks, new product launches, competitions and lots more. Firstpoint Print’s website design & development service incorporates a blog facility by default and it is a cutting-edge system which is both easy to use and search engine-friendly. It also includes an ‘RSS’ feed which, without getting too technical, simply helps your content to be found and automatically ‘syndicated’ around the web, spreading your message to a degree on auto-pilot.

On-line marketing starts off-line – think print!

First, though; let’s first get some more basics in place. You have your website and, we’ll assume, a decent website domain and hosting to house it on (if you need help with that, simply let us know). So now you need to tell people where your website is. At the very least, you should make sure that your website is clearly signposted by printing it on all your sales and marketing literature and corporate stationery. So don’t forget to include its URL (domain address) on your letterheads, compliments slips, business cards, brochures, flyers, leaflets and any other pieces of ‘physical’ marketing collateral — exhibition and display stands included. And don’t forget to include it adverts, mail-shots and, most importantly, in your email signature, where you should also make the web address clickable. Otherwise each one of those corporate pieces is a wasted marketing opportunity, bearing in mind that many people will want to check your business out before picking up the phone — so don’t give them any reason not to contact you. Read more

Top 10 Tips for Typography

Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Typeface

Top 10 Tips for Typography

If you’re not a graphic designer by trade, knowing how to choose the most appropriate typeface for your in-house design or artwork can be confusing. With the shear number of fonts available, both on desktop computers and on-line, the decision as to which fonts to use in your leaflet, brochure, flyer or other sales and marketing literature can be overwhelming.

So — where do you start?

1. Check the corporate identity (‘ID’) guidelines.

First check whether the organisation concerned has a set of corporate identity guidelines. Many of the bigger or more brand-aware organisations have a formal corporate manual in which you’ll usually find a section which tells you exactly which typeface(s) you should be using. This is so that the organisation’s brand remains consistent wherever it appears. Many corporate ID manuals even include finer detail such as the usual size you should use fonts in ‘body text’ or in headings and sub-headings, whether they should be ranged left, right, centred or justified, what Pantone colours they should be and so on. If you have not been supplied a corporate ID manual of this kind, ask the organisation’s marketing or brand manager for a copy.

2. No corporate identity guidelines?

In the absence of formal corporate guidelines, request and try to gather together printed examples of the existing corporate sales and marketing collateral. If you’re in luck this will allow you to see the kind of typefaces which should be used and how they should be used including ranging, size and colour.

3. No Corporate ID guide NOR printed examples?

In the absence of corporate identity guidelines AND existing examples of any kind, if your prospective piece is to contain a company logo or corporate graphic of some kind then that might instead be the most obvious place to start looking at typefaces. If it contains a font, you could first consider whether you can match* that font family — or alternatively find one* which complements it visually.

* 4. No way to compare what fonts look like?

If none of your applications incorporate a way to preview and compare what fonts look like, you could do worse than installing something like ‘Free&Easy Font Viewer’ by Alexander G. Styopkin which, as the name suggests, is both free and easy to use and allows you to see, at a glance, what every font on your PC’s system looks like.

Be careful where you download any 3rd party software** from and always keep your anti-virus software up to date – and switched on – when downloading and installing applications from the internet (particularly free ones!). Carefully check any application file(s) using the anti-virus software before executing and installing them. Also, of course, make sure you have the correct system requirements before downloading anything in the first place.

5. Using Serif fonts

Serif font detailSo what’s a serif? Well, Read more

Corporate Identity

The Benefits of a Great Corporate Identity

Corporate Identity

A professionally designed, up-to-date corporate identity is incredibly important to any business or organisation as it passes on both instant and long-term benefits:

  • It creates a great first impression (this is priceless);
  • It leaves the prospect or customer with a good, lasting impression;
  • It conveys the feel of your company or organisation in an instant;
  • In some instances it can visually impart something about your organisation’s values;
  • When used consistently it creates that all-important brand recognition which again is priceless and feeds directly to your bottom line;
  • More than anything it makes your company or organisation look professional and capable, sorting ‘the men from the boys’ in just a fraction of a second.

The make-up of a corporate identity

A corporate identity (or ‘ID’ for short) represents the ‘image’ of a company or organisation and usually has three essential ingredients:

  • The logo or ‘name style’ (a name style is the equivalent of a logo but consists only of styled words or letters rather than including an actual symbol);
  • The supporting corporate colours, fonts and graphical styles which complement, and work in tandem with, the logo or name style.
  • A set of style guidelines governing the usage and presentation of all of the above.

Which brings us to …

The Corporate (or Visual Identity) Manual

It is essential for any decent corporate identity to have rules in place governing how that identity should be applied and presented to the world. This is so that it remains consistent at all times thereby helping brand recognition to grow into the future. Usually such guidelines take the form of a ‘Corporate Manual’ or ‘Visual Identity Manual’ in which detailed brand guidelines specify the correct and incorrect use of the logo, brand, trademark or symbol, any ‘strapline’ (e.g. Nike – just do it … McDonald’s – I’m lovin’ it etc.) the correct corporate fonts to use, the approved colour palette, graphical styles, proportions and even the recommended layout of corporate literature, signs, large format display and any other marketing collateral. So even if the organisation is a global one, personnel and sub-contractors anywhere will be able to consult the manual and know exactly how the brand identity should be presented.

The guidelines can even go a step further to cover corporate ‘values’ and a corporate ‘Mission Statement’. They are also a useful place to let people know whether the company or organisation is a ‘singular’ or ‘plural’ entity. For example, when writing a corporate brochure, should staff write ‘The National Trust is a charity‘ or ‘The National Trust are a charity‘? (For those who are interested, in that example, the former is correct). A good corporate manual will include such detail resulting in a very consistent presentation of the organisation’s identity to the world.

With a high quality and consistently presented corporate identity, your organisation’s success, reputation and bottom line will directly benefit.

Does your organisation have an identity crisis?

Whether you’re starting afresh or need to revamp an existing logo, brand or full corporate identity, Read more

How good graphic design & communication can boost the ROI of your printing

Boost Your R.O.I. With Great Graphic Design & Communication

How good graphic design & communication can boost the ROI of your printing

The value of good graphic design to your bottom line:

Good graphic design is worth its weight in gold; while just about anyone can organise the printing of documents, if they don’t look business-like, eye-catching and professional you may well be wasting your money. A little bit of extra time and budget spent on design of your printed literature and sales collateral will usually completely transform the item and pay dividends in terms of the item’s return on investment (R.O.I.).

A good designer will pitch just the right look and ‘feel’

Making the overall design attractive is, of course, essential. This is where the designer’s visual flair will really come into its own. However part of the initial brief should also include reference to the desired ‘feel’ of the finished piece, for example should it look clean and contemporary, high tech and cutting-edge, quirky and unusual, or perhaps more traditional? The answer can have a profound affect on the perception of the final printed piece so the importance and skill involved in good graphic design should not be underestimated.

Get the right message(s) across, at a glance

A talented graphic designer, it should be noted, does not only concentrate on the look, design and feel of printed documents. They also weigh up which parts of the copy, design, graphics and overall message are the most important i.e. which elements should be given the primary visual focus, to grab the attention first … and similarly which elements should be part of any secondary message … and so on. Hence, good graphic designers weigh up how important each element or message is, and style them accordingly so that the onlooker picks up the sales messages in the “right” order and each with the right level of perceived importance. The handling of this can mean the difference between the success … or failure … of the printed item as a marketing tool.

Employing techniques to stand out in the crowd

Aside from creating an attractive and eye-catching design, other ways to catch the attention include:

  • A great special offer, discount or ‘Sale’ price;
  • Time-sensitivity: a time-sensitive special offer may make people act on impulse and avoid putting off their buying decision until later;
  • Creating demand: making it clear there is limited availability of the product or service;
  • Creating desire: somehow making the product or service seem highly desirable (the graphical equivalent of what Apple do with their groundbreaking product design);
  • Including an element of surprise: this may be part of the overall sales strategy and design, for example an eye-catching photo or illustration, or …
  • Catching the eye with an attention-grabbing headline.

Read more