Author Archives: Lara Rankoff

New Business Start-Ups and Graphic Design

New Business Start-Ups and Graphic Design

Last month we touched on new start-ups and the importance of Logo Design and getting it right, right from the start! This month’s blog follows on from this, by looking at the importance of good design in business and why it’s a must!

You can have the best business in the world, but unless it gives a professional first impression, you’re going to have a hard time convincing clients to believe and trust in you.

A graphic designer can help businesses leapfrog that entire first part by making a brand new business look super-professional from Day One, with an identity that reflects the business and expresses the company’s brand.

To a start-up, that is really worth something!

Some mistakes to avoid
Most businesses when starting out, don’t have a massive budget, a large client base, or a website showing their audience evidence of their expertise, what they do and how they do it. Nor do they have the marketing materials to roll out for the many activities a business will try throughout its lifetime.

Producing any of these things is difficult unless the business has a solid identity and brand and a unique selling point – or USP as you will frequently hear it called. The first thing a new start-up needs before introducing itself to the world is to create an identity that reflects the business and expresses the company’s purpose and vision.

Now you could, as most new businesses do… think BUDGET and may decide the best way to start is to produce this yourself or get a friend, or an inexperienced designer to do this. And a lot of businesses do!

We have worked with many that have started this way but realised in quite a short space of time that the identity they have created is just not cutting it and standing out among the competition. In fact, sometimes they are quite embarrassed by their company’s image. And that can’t be good for the growth of any business, and will definitely give the wrong message and impression to potential clients.

These businesses have had a bit of practice in running a business, before they realise they cannot move forward and approach new audiences without looking the part. Hey, all of us have been new start-ups at some point and whatever your knowledge, there is always another element to explore, expand and take on board as a business owner, design being just one of them. We know: not only do we work with a lot of new start-ups, we’ve been there too! Which is why we understand the process and our clients’ needs and pressure points at the stage of starting out.

Investing in the right areas
Either way, whether you are a new business or have been established for a little while, at some point you will have spent some of that budget to employ the time and experience of a designer to get this right. Just as you will reach the point where you may employ other professionals to take over the parts of your business which need some expertise, such as your accounts, your marketing strategy, your social media and online presence, your sales techniques, etc…

So why not get that crucial aspect of your design exactly right from your launch! It will allow you to hit the ground running and start marketing the business straight away rather than having to change the business’s image and marketing collateral somewhere down the line, including profiles, your website and printed matter! The last thing you want is having to start again with the recognition game once the business’s appearance has changed!

So! By now I think I have got my point across!

The designer’s role
Let’s talk a bit more about what a designer takes on board to create your identity, which is why we are designers and not accountants! You wouldn’t let an inexperienced person anywhere near your figures so why trust your business identity and the materials it uses to communicate with to anyone less than an experienced and talented designer?

A designer’s job is more than just designing the logo. The idea here isn’t for the designer to just create something cool and eye-catching, it’s to help them stand out in the industry the start-up is looking to work in and make them look like they belong there.

This includes considering the name of the business, conceiving a logo design, the typography, colours, imagery, the message and even the methods of marketing. As designers, we look at what works and what doesn’t and make sure our client’s new brand fits snugly into the very best of everything.

As designers, we love consistency so will ensure the identity and brand is rolled out across the whole marketing suite. We will see that our clients maintain the level of professionalism we have laid out for them throughout the growth of the business, including working with them as the company changes and experiments with new audiences, services and messages.

If you are new in business, you should be looking to find a designer you can build a relationship with who understands your business and can cater for your growing requirements.

Be far-sighted
Look ahead when selecting a designer, don’t just think: “I’ll get the logo designed and that’s         all I need.”

You WILL also need a business card, a website, and depending on the type of business, stationery, leaflets, brochures, advertising signage, as well as photographic and copywriting services.

So try and find a designer or a design agency that can cater for the needs of YOUR business, looking forward with you.

Ideally you want to work with an agency that you can just pick up the phone to, explain your idea, event or campaign and leave them to produce the visual concepts for your feedback. The process should be easy when you have that kind of relationship and a good designer will always add their ideas to the mix!

Here are some of the services a graphic designer CAN provide to a business across the print and digital platforms:

• Logo Design
• Company Identity Design
• Brand Creation
• Stationery
• Leaflets, Postcards, Posters
• Brochures, Magazines, Newsletters, Tabloids
• Advertisements
• Shop and Van Signage
• Illustrations / Infographics
• Photography and Retouching/Manipulation
• Copywriting
• Website Design and Build
• New Start-Up and Marketing Advice

Reflect makes the difference
At Reflect we offer new start-ups all of these design services at affordable prices, and better still, you’ll find working with us a smooth, hassle-free and highly professional process.

You’ll find that we listen to you, understand your business strategy and goals, consider your audience and, of course, your budget, to create marketing materials that reflect your business and tick all your boxes.

And whether you are a new start-up looking to create and develop your logo and company identity or an established business requiring a more focused product for a marketing campaign, we will spend valuable time getting to know you and your business, so that we can create stand-out identities and marketing materials that really reflect your business and speak to your customer base.

Call 01702 513131 or email to arrange a free consultation and find out how we can help your business from the right from the start.

The pleasure of receiving a tactile product…a brief escape from our virtual world…

I am a textile designer by degree, so love anything with  texture, layers, or a tactile surface.
So, I like to go into a shop and feel the fabric of the clothes I am going to wear and try things on before I buy.

I also like the ability to hold, touch and feel something tangible in my hands. For example, when I read a newspaper I take in far more information than if I was to read it online and it’s easy an easy thing for me to pick up and continue reading, without having to sit upright in a chair in front of a glaring computer, or head bent over a phone.

In this digital age and with the advent of email marketing, social media and everything being obtainable online, we spend a massive part of our daily lives sitting in front of computers, phones and tablets.

I myself sit in front of a computer for the majority of the day. If not designing, then emailing and reading emails, typing up quotes, invoicing, sending and ordering print and keeping in touch  with social media and the mass of information out there!!.

Way too much time staring at a screen in one way or another.  This not only happens in our businesses but in our day-to-day lives as well.  And I won’t even go into how it creates bad posture, and a head often filled with information overload.

I am not sure about you but I get square eyes, a stiff back, and lack of concentration after a while and certainly don’t absorb information as effectively or as easily as I do when printed on paper and read at my own pace.

I still enjoy flicking through a newspaper, magazine or a catalogue whilst drinking tea and slouching on the sofa. I still like to open up post – that is not a bill, of course! And as I receive less post nowadays, I do tend to take the time to read it and find that I actually take far more notice of this stuff, what with the over-saturation of digital information and my general like for the tangible and tactile.

Have you also noticed this?

You don’t take notice of half the things that you see online, email marketing campaigns don’t get opened like they used to, you don’t have the time or the desire to sit and read through a whole website of information. This is also evident in the commercial world, say with music – people actual miss buying a CD and the whole packaging experience – just look at the return of the vinyl record!

Do you feel like this?  Well, you are not alone!

And if you are a business owner, what is your audience doing, how are they behaving, how do they feel about constantly being bombarded with digital marketing from all angles.  Are they always really absorbing YOUR digital marketing or getting YOUR message, that YOU have spent time and effort trying to communicate, if they are reading it at all?

It has been a popular topic with our colleagues and clients lately,  which is why I felt the need to write this blog.

They and myself are realising the positive effects of making contact with our audiences in a direct marketing way.

Yes, that’s correct!  

By actually writing a letter,  accompanied with a brochure or corporate folder and inserts, or other product and sending something through the post, to a focused, potential client list, which is then followed up with a phone call, thus creating an opportunity to set-up a meeting.

A tried and tested method and a good old-fashioned way of getting new business, that works!!

The corporate brochure has and always will be a great tool to do this with. It contains, and gets across much more information than just a leaflet or DL mini brochure, plus gives the impression of professionalism to your prospective client, as well as an excuse to make contact with them. We have found that our clients then want to find other marketing exercises and use this tool as the initial door-opener, and to communicate with the client in the first instance.

I love designing brochures, so I am pleased to see that over the past year or so we have had steady increase in the clients that request this service.

We have also enjoyed seeing our clients reap the benefits from investing in a professionally designed company brochure and that they are getting great results in improved lead conversions, as well as an increased confidence to communicate to their audiences.

If you are considering investing in a brochure for your business here are some tips to get you started:

4 tips for producing a great corporate brochure

1. Ask your self these questions. What is the purpose of the brochure?  Is it for a particular audience? An advertising tool? An event? Or is it a generic brochure to sell your services.

If a generic borchure consistancy is key. Make sure it reflects your website, as consistency should be the name of the game throughout your marketing collateral. So, make sure your website is also updated if new copy is created.

And if you have not got a website? Then the brochure is a great starting point for your website content.

2. Don’t add dates or prices to the brochure as this will limit its’ shelf life.
If you have a price list, maybe print a single page insert that can be placed in the back of it and easily replaced, should prices change.

3. Photography – do consider using professionally taken photos of yourself, your staff, and premises.  
Ask your designer if this is something they can help with and provide. Stock photography is still a great, cost-effective way of image sourcing, but real photos will connect your audience to you in a more personal way.

4. Be creative…think about the shape and size of the brochure
How many pages does it need to be, (a minimum of 8pp is required but 12-16 pages produces a substantially more tactile product). Explore the finishing option available. We recommend that a matt lamination in the minimum finish requirement to product a classy product. Ask your designer for samples and to walk you through the possibilities.

Need help or further advice, drop us an email or give us call.