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Archive for logo design

Small Pond Graphics Earns Two American Graphic Design Awards

wiI am very pleased to announce that Small Pond Graphics has been awarded two American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine in its annual design competition. Awards in more than two dozen categories were judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. Small Pond Graphics received honors in the Marketing Collateral Campaign and Logo Development categories for projects completed for the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Thomas Urology Clinic. If you need help with citation services for any projects try Yext alternative and get what you are looking for. It’s such a privilege to have the opportunity to work with great local clients, and it’s exciting that these recent projects have been recognized nationally.

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Small Pond Graphics earned American Graphic Design honors in the Marketing Collateral Campaign category for a series of five culinary maps created for the “Savor Starkville” marketing campaign launched by the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Maps in the series included Starkville Favorites, Artisan Breads & Sweets, Pizzas & Italian, Starkville After Dark, and Made in Starkville — each featuring watercolor paintings of some of Starkville’s top local restaurants using the right theme for showcasing. In addition to the watercolor painted maps, Small Pond also contributed campaign concept development, copy writing, as well as digital and print design for advertising, brochure, and other marketing materials. The “Savor Starkville” multimedia campaign, which also included award-winning video and event elements, recently received the 2016 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Tourism as “Promotion of the Year”. We collaborate with many sites and campaigns to produce the best results on marketing and design, one of this collaborators is softwaredevelopment.com web design.

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Small Pond Graphics also received an American Graphic Design Award in the Logo Development category for a branding package created for Thomas Urology Clinic, which opened in Starkville in 2015. Dr. Kenneth Thomas wanted the logo for his new practice to include imagery reflecting the state of Mississippi, but not necessarily in a traditional way. Small Pond chose the mockingbird, Mississippi’s state bird, as inspiration to create an identity that would convey overall health and wellness.

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For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards, with the American Graphic Design Awards being it’s flagship program. According to GDUSA, nearly 10,000 entries were received in this year’s 53rd annual competition, with only the top 15% recognized with Certificates of Excellence. The Awards program showcases outstanding new work in print, packaging, point-of-purchase, internet, interactive and motion graphics. NYC-based GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.

Small Pond Graphics also received three American Graphic Design Awards and an American Web Design Award through GDUSA competitions in 2015.

A Chalkboard Painting Project

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One of my monthly clients, Eat Cities, LLC, launched a new brand and online magazine at the beginning of January called Eat Y’all. A year in the making, the project aims to showcase food in the South as only Southerners can through great editorial content, the creation of food trails, and the production of exclusive Chef’s Table events giving diners the opportunity to interact with regional chefs. Yum! I’ve had the opportunity to work with Eat Y’all on their branding and marketing, which will soon include a new website. As part of their ongoing Chef’s Table series, they asked me to paint the logo on chalkboards to be used at the events. It was a fitting project for a Friday last week, and I thought I would share the process. Enjoy a peek! And, watch for details about Chef’s Table events in your region of the South. It’s an intimate Southern food experience you won’t want to miss!

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font crush . Portagol

Font Crush alert! Lately I’ve been so enamored by the PORTAGOL ITC font. Stencil-type fonts aren’t always cool, but I love the narrow scale of this one and the uneven-ness of the lines. It just reminds me of literal hand-stenciling — hand-crafting, hand-built. That’s a lot to ask from a digital font ;). I used it this summer as part of this logo for a client’s Low Country-themed food and beer event, and I’ve been looking for excuses to use it ever since. [And I’m not above manufacturing an excuse!] If you’re looking for a look that’s crafty and earthy, mixed with a little grunge, this may be a good download.

princely projects . Starkville Environmental Services

Today I’m sharing a recent logo project I completed for the City of Starkville Department of Environmental Services. I’m posting it because it was a fun public project and because I think it’s a good design solution. But, I’m also sharing it because Starkville, MS is doing something special, and I always enjoy applying good design to good ideas.

The project began as a logo for the city’s Curbside Recycling program. Several years ago, Starkville began a free program of picking up recycling at the curbside with no sorting required by citizens. That’s a pretty common service, but in our area, the fact that it was free to citizens was pretty groundbreaking. We were one of the first communities in the state to offer it as a free service.

In our initial meetings on the project, however, the tone of the conversation began to expand beyond just recycling to the concept of environmental services as a whole. In addition to recycling, the department handles sanitation, as you might imagine, but also rubbish & debris, a landfill (like most communities), and city landscaping. The committee members shared their thoughts on the ways sanitation and recycling are tied together and their goals of creating a community where the days for recycling pick-up actually outnumber the days for garbage pick-up. We recognized together that the underlying goals were really bigger than just recycling. The work of the department is really about creating a positive environment in the community, and about doing that responsibly with greater citizen involvement and buy-in.

We changed the program of the project to create a logo and brand image for the Department of Environmental Services as a whole, so that all the elements of creating this “clean community” are represented by the same image. With the visuals, we wanted the logo to be about more than trash — just as the department is. And, we wanted the brand to reflect that Starkville is growing something positive with our environmental services — in both mindset and the physical environment.

Enjoy this first look at the solution the City of Starkville embraced!

Anatomy of a Logo

In my last post I promised that January was Logo Month around the Small Pond. Logo designs are one of very favorite kinds of projects because they are usually about saying the most with the most simplicity. I love the challenge of that balancing act. I’m hoping to take time this month to share some thoughts and ideas about logos and the process of designing them. A business or organization’s logo is the center point in its marketing and branding efforts. You see them everywhere. From the golden arches to the favorite team to the swoosh, logos are one of the most recognizable elements of a company’s visual image. And, often times, they work to promote a company or product without our even realizing it. When you drive by those arches, you probably don’t consciously think “Why that’s a McDonald’s restaurant!” No, you just instinctively know it because you’ve seen the golden “M” so many times in so many places. That’s the power of a logo. In graphic design circles, we call it an “identity.” That’s because when used consistently, your logo really becomes something that identifies your business in the marketplace.

So what makes up a logo? For this month’s first themed post, I thought I would share what I consider to be the anatomy of a logo. Depending on the type of business, organization or product it represents, these various elements might be used to create the most appropriate and effective visual identity. To illustrate my point, let’s look at this logo I developed last year for a new life-coaching company. It shows three elements of a logo that I feel are important to consider when determining your visual identity. [Loved working with my friend Andrea on this project. Here’s her website!]

1. Wordmark
Simply put, the wordmark is your business name. But, it’s not just the words themselves. Your wordmark is the WAY the words are written. It includes the font style, the arrangement of words or letters, and even the color. You’ll notice from the example above the “Inside Voice Coaching” has a specific arrangement with different font and scale choices for each word. When used consistently, this arrangement will be perceived as a whole, rather than the individual words and letters. So even without actually reading the words, the target audience will recognize that it represents the coaching company.

It is very common for brands to have more than one arrangement for their wordmark. A good logo should be flexible enough to offer options that will work in both horizontal and vertical applications as well as large and small. However, the various arrangements of a wordmark should maintain a consistent look with similar font and color treatment.

2. Icons
The swoosh. It’s a visual element  that represents Nike even when the word isn’t displayed. In fact, the swoosh may be even more widely recognized than any font that’s been used for the name of the company. Visual images have power. People are often drawn to “pictures” rather than words, especially given the number of words most people see every day. Creating an “icon” as part of your business or organization’s logo gives you an opportunity to tell a story about what you do or what products you offer. In the example above, both the figure of the man and the “talk bubble” serve as icons. They reinforce the entire business concept in a visual and more abstract way.

A logo design that includes one or more icons offers many branding opportunities that can be expanded throughout your marketing efforts. The icons provide additional components in your visual arsenal to make your brand visual even where your company name isn’t included. Icons might be used as bullet points or content cues on a website. They might adorn a shopping bag or a t-shirt. They might give that extra touch to the 2nd sheets of your printed letters. The list goes on.

3. Tag Line
It’s my word for the phrase you sometimes see adjacent to a logo offering more explanation. Marketing folks might call it a “positioning statement”. Not all logos require one, but in cases where the business concept is more abstract or where you want to expand the marketing message of a logo, it can be helpful. In the example above, the statement “promoting growth, change & development” offers a one-liner about the company philosophy. I usually recommend that a tagline be positioned in a logo so that it can be easily removed with the logo effectiveness still in tact.

Of course, not all these elements are used in every logo. I encourage my clients to look at what’s really necessary for representing their business across multiple marketing channels and over time. Sometimes the simplicity of a wordmark is all that’s needed to create the right image. Sometimes a tagline becomes redundant or overcomplicates. In these examples from past projects I’ve worked on, you’ll see that your logo’s anatomy doesn’t necessarily follow strict rules. Because one of the goals of a logo is to help your company or products stand out from the crowd, the priority is always communicating WHO you are and WHAT you do in an innovative way.

Leave your comments and questions about developing a logo here and I’ll offer my best expertise.

Top 10 Marketing Moves for 2011 (part 1)

Hello 2011! The New Year is the perfect time for businesses and organizations to evaluate their marketing efforts. It’s also a time of year when folks are putting together budgets and looking at ways to make their dollars more effective. I’ve been thinking a lot about fresh approaches this season. And that thought process involves boiling ideas down to their essential elements–taking a wish list and turning it into something that’s really doable.

When I meet with new business clients, they often ask me to prioritize for them what I feel are the most essential elements for marketing their new ventures. It makes sense. It’s important to set priorities before you can correctly allocate a limited budget. And, let’s face it. All budgets are limited.

So, I’ve been evaluating my list of “essentials” when it comes to marketing my own business and the dreams of my clients. I’ve settled on 10 recommended Marketing Moves for 2011. I’ll start with the first 5 here and share the rest in a second post.

1. A “Yes” Mentality — This one is more about mindset than anything else. I look at the hallmarks of small, local businesses and I see that the successful ones have a “yes” mindset. With every customer encounter, they are looking for a way to say “yes.” Even if they can’t do exactly what a customer asks, even if their services don’t exactly match what a customer needs, and even if saying “yes” means finding the phone number to another business the customer can try. This type of approach to working with customers makes a lasting impression. It fosters good recommendations and the word-of-mouth we covet. It creates a culture of service and builds relationships that have value beyond a single sale.

2. Brand Consistency — If a brand isn’t created, used and built upon consistently, it has no hope of producing good marketing results. In 2011, I’m looking at ways my clients can filter their brand through the unexpected areas of the customer experience. Every surface, every piece of paper, every product, every aspect of a business that touches a customer is a branding opportunity. And, creating consistency isn’t that difficult. It usually boils down to paying attention to the little things like repeated phrases, correctly selected fonts, color choices. And it involves thinking creatively about how you want a customer to experience your products, services and environment.

3. An Effective Logo — Without question, I believe an effective logo is the center point of any business’ marketing and branding efforts (aside from actually delivering the goods, of course). It is the most recognizable image of a company or organization and when used consistently becomes what visually defines it. That’s a powerful marketing tool. I almost always recommend a well-designed logo as the first marketing investment for a new business.

[Programming Note: This year I’m developing monthly content themes for sharing ideas and experience here on Plop! and on the Small Pond Facebook page. January is LOGO month! So, stay tuned for some more comprehensive thoughts on creating an effective logo and how it can benefit your business.]

4. Your own well-told story — I’ve seen so much about “story-telling” over the last few months. It’s the new watch phrase in marketing communications. But, I have to admit; I like it. Each business–large or small, start-up or third generation–has a unique story to tell. Often the key to engaging with customers is communicating that story effectively with information that matters to the target audience. Approaching a company’s “message” as a unique story takes it away from the same-old marketing spiel and more into the realm of people-centered communication to which customers can relate. In addition, the “story-telling” approach is a flexible one. It allows for both past, present and future and for the message to evolve in the same way a real company does.

5. Website — This one may seem obvious, but I still get asked the question. “Do I need a website?” The answer is unequivocably “yes.” The internet is the chief source for consumer and business-to-business research on products and services. A company that doesn’t have a web presence in some form or another immediately takes a hit image-wise in terms of remaining current and exuding professionalism. Today, marketing without a website can actually become frustrating and off-putting for customers. In addition, a custom website offers a ready vehicle for shary that story I mentioned before.

Look for part 2 of the list next Monday. Meanwhile, what’s on YOUR list of marketing essentials for 2011?

Does Your Logo Need Re-Working? 5 Questions

Over the years, I’ve found that one of the key marketing elements many businesses struggle with is their logo. It’s one of the most basic components of a good branding and marketing strategy, and yet, it’s also something that often creates the most headache and confusion. Developing a single image that adequately conveys your company’s offerings is a daunting task. And, you don’t just want it to “adequately convey.” You want it to ATTRACT customers to your products and services. Add to that the personal stake most entrepreneurs and small business owners have in the way their life’s work and passion is portrayed, and the logo development process can produce trepidation in even the most seasoned client.

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about logos lately with a few Small Pond clients who are in the thick of the logo development process. In addition, I’ve had several colleagues and friends approach me to help them evaluate their business logos to try and gauge effectiveness. Whether it’s a completely new concept or an image you’ve been using for years, how do you know if your logo design could use a tune-up? How can you make this key piece of your marketing plan work to your best benefit? It’s true that when used consistently, almost any image you’ve chosen can come to be associated with your business over time. But, is what you’re using really matching the achievement and potential of your ideas, your products and your services? In my conversations, I’ve been stressing a few questions to consider when judging whether a logo is really working for you.

Is it FLEXIBLE? Is your logo readable in both large and small applications (billboards to business cards, jumbotron to iphones)? Can it be used in both horizontal and vertical formats? Does it convey your image just as well in one color as in full color? Flexibility is the key to consistency. And consistency will make or break your logo’s effectiveness. Make sure the logo design you adopt has the flexibility to serve the breadth of your marketing needs.

Does it have LONGEVITY? Does it strike a balance between timely and timeless? Does it give your image a “look” that is independent of trends? Will it represent your business appropriately 10 years from now? The worst marketing investment you can make is in a logo design that will be dated in a year, or even two. When your logo is too trendy, your customers’ confidence level can take a hit. An outdated logo creates the impression that your products, services and abilities are outdated as well. On the other hand, a logo that maintains a timeless image has the added benefit of upping the professionalism-quotient of your business.

Is it APPEALING? Does it create positive impressions of your business among your specific customer base AND the general marketplace? Does it cause your business to stand out in the crowd? Does it encourage the audience to take a longer look? Your company logo is never going to appeal to everyone. That’s just an unrealistic goal, but consider your specific target audience when determining the imagery and typefaces used in your logo. You want potential customers to make favorable associations with your choices. In addition, you want your choices to produce interest and curiosity in the broader audience.

Is it APPROPRIATE? Does it reflect the reality of what you do? Does it communicate what you have to offer and your business style? Does it interpret your company goals and services for the public? Does it create the image you want your business to be known for? Part of developing an effective logo is helping your customers draw a line between your company’s image and what you actually offer, how you actually deal with customers and your actual approach to business. One should reinforce the other. An appropriate logo helps the audience recognize the “tone” of what you have to offer and how you’ll relate to them in a real-life encounter.

Are you using it CONSISTENTLY? As I mentioned earlier, consistency will make or break your logo’s effectiveness. Even the most well-designed, timeless, appealing, appropriate and flexible logo won’t be effective if it is not used consistently in your marketing efforts. Don’t compromise when it comes to presenting your business to the public. Include your logo on every piece of information about your business that your customers will see. Invest in licenses for the typefaces used in your logo so that they can be applied to other items like proposal headings or even invoices. Be watchful with vendors and advertising outlets to ensure that your logo is being used correctly on promotional items. This consistency will help your audience begin to automatically associate the logo with your business, products and services.

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