ISSUE NO. 47
Here is the shortlist of what we do:
- Branding / Logo Development
- Corporate Communication
- Marketing Materials
- Publication Design
- Website Design
- Print Design (All Kinds)
- Package Design
- Exhibit Design
- Email Marketing
- Product and Service Literature
- If you don’t see it here just ask
If you have some thoughts or questions and would like to schedule a phone call with us… click here.
What is a Logo?
We could look back in history, way back, and say that the first squiggle carved in stone to represent a person or a place could be considered a logo. Someone’s signature could be considered a logo. But what I’m talking about is the thoughtful design of a symbol that not only represents an entity, but is specifically created to draw in customers or clients, and if done well it can begin to create an impression about a specific company, service or product.
A signature on steroids
As an identifier, essentially a signature on steroids for a company, a logo should be distinctive and aesthetically interesting. There were times in the late 1800s and early 1900s when some logos were more like illustrations. They were beautiful, but as the decades passed that style lacked the impact and quick readability that needed to be seen with the ever-increasing speed of life. As with many aspects, the pendulum of logo design swung in the opposite direction, and in the 1970s and 1980s sterile, cold typographic treatments became popular. The danger with this approach is that so many of the logos of that era began to look similar, they lacked interest and were less effective at delivering a positive impression. There is a wonderful example of logo evolution with the Prudential logo. The “rock” has evolved considerably from its origin. In the 80s it was distilled down to simply diagonal lines in a circle. I find it interesting (and appropriate) that that severe and cold version of the Prudential logo didn’t last long They then brought back a more descriptive version of the rock.
A logo becomes a quick identifier for a business. It allows the public to quickly recognize a company without having to read a single word. And if I as a consumer see a logo in many different places it subliminally delivers the impression that they are a large and stable company… and maybe more importantly, worth trusting. Watching any professional football game I will deliver endless examples of this.
Quantity vs Quality
Like so many things in life, there are also the issues of quantity and quality. A conservative or “safer” company might choose to create a less distinct logo but gain traction through a large volume of impressions. A smaller company, without the deep pockets for all those advertising impressions, can benefit from a more aggressive or innovative logo.
The design of this “signature” for your company or product should be influenced by the business area, the personality of the company (or product), the competition, and the target audience. All these factors are explored, thought through and then creativity begins. Design approaches are explored, adjusted, and discarded, and through this process this identifying signature is born. If it is created well (and handled well) a logo can be much more than a symbol, it can function as a great foundation for marketing and branding.
When I was very young I put more effort into the creation of a report cover than into the creation of the report itself. Little did I know then that the visual delivery of stories would be my profession. But now, it’s the combination of writing, design, imagery, concept, composition, style, color, typography, and many other things that can deliver a more effective story. In every case, a story is being delivered to an audience.
It might be the story of a hard-working company. It might be a story of a brand new product and what it can do for the public. It might be a story of legacy and how a company became dominant in an industry over many decades. Every time we work for a client we are telling their specific story and sculpting a structure to deliver that story, the facts, and the emotions around their particular company or product. And like with any storyteller, engaging the audience is critical.
Pacing, image, techniques
In a movie, the audience is brought through the story with pacing, image techniques, focus on one subject or another, and many other tools that keep you the viewer interested. The design of effective marketing uses these and other tools with similar goals. A story about any company or product is distinct from any other. And keeping the audience’s attention while delivering this story is critical, whether it be entertaining information or technical data… or a combination of these and/or other qualities.
It’s important to understand the audience that you are telling the story. There is a style, a language, and a tone that’s better for keeping their attention. This is as true for the construction and creation of written text as it is for the design and development of the visual structure. This is what designers think about when delivering stories to their clients. I have frequently said that 90% of the decisions that I make for my work are subliminal to most of the end audience. But if I don’t put the work into making the right decisions a negative subliminal message is delivered… and the story is either not understood, or worse yet… they get up and leave the theater before the movie is over. What stories do you want to tell for your business?
The Purpose of Branding
I’ve enjoyed the profession of graphic design for more than a few decades. In that time I have seen a considerable change in how work is produced and where work is delivered. I have watched phrases and terms that were once proprietary to the design industry become commonplace in an average American’s dialogue. Words like “font” and “brand” are now heard in conversations over a cup of coffee with friends. “PhotoShop” has now become a common verb. Tools that were once proprietary to the graphic industry now sit on most people’s desktops. Although, I have frequently said “trusting someone as a surgeon just because they own a scalpel may not be the wisest decision.”
Beyond an open door
But to get back to the topic at hand, the purpose of branding. Branding is an investment, not dissimilar to buying faster equipment or hiring better employees. The purpose is usually to create interest, deliver an impression about a company or product, and get more people to “walk in the door.” Historically, there was a time when a simple sign or newspaper ad stating what you had to offer was enough. People read it, and if they needed the product they would come into your store. Culturally we’ve evolved considerably beyond that point. Between demanding information faster and the different ways that we determine the trust, value, and quality of a product or service, branding has become a more critical asset for cutting through the clutter, being noticed, and delivering the appropriate impression to a potential buyer.
A varied audience
Every company has a different target audience. They also have different personalities, different business areas, different industry languages, different competition… and so on. So, although the general process of branding different companies might be similar, the look, the design, the tone of the writing, and the areas of marketing (where you choose to be seen) can be very different. And even within a single business area, one company might have a different “personality” that they want to project to their audience versus another.
Whatever custom branding is created for each company the goal is to affect a change in someone’s behavior. In most cases, the goal is to build recognition, trust, loyalty, and a happy customer base. This is usually intended to improve the bottom line. But at times the goal might be the education of a target group, or in politics to simply get elected in order to implement a specific policy. No matter what the specific purpose, we have watched how marketing and branding successfully affects people’s behavior. The purpose may vary from company to company, but branding is a valuable investment.
AXIS Website Awarded
We were pleasantly surprised when we were notified that the AXIS web site was admitted to the Web Excellence Awards Winners Gallery. The winners of Web Excellence Awards are selected by a group of top-tier professionals consisting of web experts, communications specialists, advertisers, creative and marketing gurus, graphic designers, and academics focused on web science, marketing, and design. Looking at the other winners… we are in good company.
The environment for communicating always changes. Communication has to adjust as well.
When you are ready we’d be happy to help with your communication, design, and marketing needs.
Stay well. Stay safe.
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1600 Lower State Rd.
Doylestown, PA 18901