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Is it time to refresh your brand?

December 22, 2014 by Klaus
In September, U.S.-based airline Southwest introduced their refreshed brand image. The new look didn’t reinvent the wheel and didn’t lose their blue, yellow and red colours. Instead, the creative team basically took what they already had and put it through a refreshing filter.

And the results are fantastic.

The dour colour palette of old was made brighter and cleaner and the heart logo was brought front and centre, making a huge statement about the company in general. An announcement from Southwest Airlines at the time of the unveiling says it perfectly:

“The new look puts the airline’s Heart on display, showcasing the strength of the nearly 46,000 employees companywide – whose dedication can be felt by every customer each time Southwest Airlines connects them to what’s important in their life.”

Every brand benefits from a refresh from time to time to ensure it continues to reflect a company’s values and goals. But a refresh is a sizeable investment in both time and money, so what are the compelling reasons to do so and how do you know when the time is right?

The first step is to reflect on the tough questions about who you are and what you do.
• Who are you as a brand?
• What are you best known for?
• How do your employees feel about the brand?
• How do your customers and potential customers see you and does that sync with your expectations?

Once you’ve determined these answers, you can weigh whether or not your brand image is an honest reflection of them. And business owners should take this reflective first step every two to three years to ensure that their image continues to speak to their intended audience and potential customers.

Bringing forward a new look isn’t about revolutionizing your look; it’s about creating an evolution. Southwest’s brand evolution was simply to refine and update.

And introducing a new look isn’t about following the latest trends in design, because if your new look doesn’t have longevity, you’ll find yourself back at the drawing board before you know it.

If the time is right to refresh, a new look can inject energy into your organization, generate excitement among your employees and open up the opportunity to reach new audiences.
Creative

Colour psychology 101: how colour relates to shapes

December 08, 2014 by Klaus
It’s important to properly understand colour psychology before starting any design project. Choosing the right colours can send positive messages, encourage customer recognition, and even boost sales. Choosing the wrong colours can have the opposite effect.

In Colour psychology 101: Understanding the power of colour, we explained how we’re affected by colour and the importance of understanding your audience – because the feelings evoked by colour can vary depending on where in the world you live.

But there is one exception to the rules of colour psychology, and that’s when a colour is related to a specific shape.

Just as there are three primary colours (red, yellow and blue), there are also three primary shapes – squares, triangles and circles. And each of these shapes have a direct emotional connection to a primary colour – a square is associated with red, a triangle is linked to yellow and a circle is connected to blue.

Red makes a statement. And red squares, or square-like shapes, amplify that statement. Think of a stop sign. Though it’s a hexagon, it is related to a square and it makes an obvious statement. Now think of a red carpet rolled out for a star-studded event. That elongated shape makes a bold declaration as people stroll along, but does it evoke the same feelings when it’s rolled up in the corner?

When you think of the colour red in logo and branding design, the most effective and long-lasting ones are square-like shapes. Think of the red box design of the Netflix logo and the LEGO logo.

Logos in blue tend to be round based. Think of GE, Wordpress, Volkswagon and even the NASA logo. They all evoke feelings of trust, depth and strength.

If red squares make a statement and blue circles are about strength and trust, then where do yellow triangles fit? The most obvious connection is found on your drive home. Yellow triangles are warning signs, which evoke feelings of caution. This is why yellow doesn’t translate well into the world of logo design – because few companies want their customers to be cautious.

Will you find these primary shapes in colours other than the ones they’re most readily associated with? Of course. But look around; some of the most effective logo/symbol designs are based on a variation on these three shapes with a variation on these three colours.
Creative

DIY: The creative approach vs. the common approach

November 24, 2014 by Klaus
The do-it-yourself revolution is not a new phenomenon. Back in the 1980s, when Macintosh computers were the next big thing, a colleague coined the term “stove-top publishing.” By that, she meant that the rise of the Mac led to the rise of the mindset that you didn’t need a graphic designer anymore because “you had a Mac.”

Admittedly, there’s a satisfaction that comes from doing something yourself – fixing a leaky faucet instead of calling in a plumber or building a deck instead of calling in a contractor. A quick Internet search allows anyone to learn to do just about anything, even how to do graphic design.

And admittedly, by doing something yourself, you’re potentially saving some money. But a do-it-yourself solution doesn’t always measure up to your expectations. Just because we can do it ourselves, doesn’t mean we should.

When it comes to graphic design, there are dozens of high quality tools and pre-designed templates available to the average user. Anyone can build a website or design a brochure all by themselves. But tools are just tools – they are not the key to creative thinking and do not affect the mindset in which you approach a job.

And here’s wherein lies the difference. Graphic designers may use many of the same tools as the do-it-yourselfer, but they approach every new project with expertise, a unique perspective and a concrete understanding of visual communication. They understand what cuts through the clutter and what sticks.

Professional graphic designers take the time to understand your business, your vision and your needs and then apply that targeted knowledge into creating unique products that speak directly to your prospects and audience and differentiates your business from those of your competitors.

As a trained communicator, a graphic designer understands why you’re doing what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it for.

By investing in a professional, instead of opting for an off-the-shelf solution, you’re experiencing an in-depth process and receiving a solution that’s targeted to meet your needs and reach your audience. And that’s not something that you can find on the Internet.

Creative