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You know how sometimes a group of words are thrown around together so much their meaning becomes blurry? If you don’t understand what I mean, think about how you understand brand, identity, and logo. Almost any article about logo design will intrinsically link these three words together without clarifying where the line between each one is. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.

Jacob Cass from Just Creative noticed this and put it upon himself to clarify the differences between brand, identity, and logo, and what each does. Breaking it down simply:

  • Brand is the “perceived emotional corporate image” of the business all together.
  • Identity combines all of the visual aspects that form a brand.
  • Logos identify a business in the simplest form by using icons.
It is a heirarchy in which a logo is part of the visual identity of a company, which helps mold the brand as a whole.

Branding

It is hard to write shortly about branding, as Cass even points out, but to summarize the concept, it is the audience’s idea of a service, product, or organization. Visual aspects of the brand including its marketing and logo can help mold it, but ultimately, the audience decides the shared perception overall. “A designer can’t make a brand […] a designer forms the foundation of the brand”, which the audience then builds upon with their reception of the product and marketing as a whole.

Identity Design

That foundation the brand is built on is it’s identity, or its image. Every business creates sets of visual devices they use to interact with their audience including color palettes, fonts, layouts, etc. Every visual aspect is considered part of the identity, even things like a web page design, and especially the logo.

Logos

I’ve talked quite a bit about logos before, but when it comes down to it, a logo identifies your brand. It becomes one of the most prevalent aspects of the image, and shapes how customers perceive your brand.
According to Cass, a logo doesn’t sell or describe a company, but that is the only aspect of his article with which I don’t completely agree. Once a business is established, their logo is understood by the quality of the company and product it represents. However, for young businesses trying to establish themselves, a quality logo is important in attracting companies by letting them quickly know what that company does and showing they care about how their audience feels about them.

Conclusion

The three are absolutely linked, but when writing about them we often make it unclear what each seperate part really is. Logos affect identities, which set the floor for a brand. All are important, but they are all unique to each other

Do you ever find yourself wondering how to achieve that perfect design you see in your mind? You can get it. You just need a design brief. If you are a designer or a client, the design brief will be the largest determining factor in deciding the success of a project.

This guide will help you understand the benefits of a design brief as well how to create an effective one.

What is a Design Brief?

A design brief provides your designer wth all of the information needed to reach or exceed your expectations. It should focus on the results and outcomes of the design you would like to achieve. Business objectives and goals are important to make sure your designer knows what to strive for. A design brief however shouldn’t deal with aesthetics. That is the role of the designer.

How To Write an Effective Brief?

Jacob Cass, writer for Just Creative, has a list of great questions that will help you make a great brief. If you can answer the questions I’ve compiled here, you will be 90% done. Don’t try to think of one sentence answers, but think of the questions as jumping off points.

What does your business do? Your designer will not necessarily know anything about your business. Avoid jargon, and address what your company does, as well as its history.

What are your goals? Why are you hoping to achieve those goals? The designer needs to know what you are trying to communicate, as well as your motive to decide how the design should address these issues. Let them know what makes you different from competitors. A good idea is to also provide old promotional materials to give them an idea of your promotion history.

You designer should also be given knowledge of your target audience. What is your target markets demographic? Which audiences are more important than others?

What is your budget? Knowing this will help designers reach benchmarks without wasting time or resources, as well as helping inform what size and specifications you desire.

Conclusion

Give the designer as much information as you can to help inform them. You won’t get what you want, unless you inform them.

 

I’ve written a lot about branding for your clients, but do you know that personal branding is just as important to your success as a designer?

You hopefully do, because personal branding is far from a new idea, but social media has made personal branding as available as ever before. It is also a much more competitive field now.

To make yourself a valued brand, follow this collection of tips. They will help you climb above the competition.

  1. Set Goals and Plan Ahead – Before you ever begin to define your brand, you have to think ahead and see where you want to be a few months or even a year or two from now. Are you trying to get a new job, or do you want to stay a freelancer? How do you want to grow your business? Once you know where you want to be, you can layout a plan to help get you there.
  2. Know and Understand Your Brand – The look and feel of your brand is a lot more than just a brand or a couple of social media accounts. You have to keep a consistent image in all mediums at all times. As Jacob Cass from Just Creative puts it, “The fundamental idea and core concept behind having this ‘corporate image’ is that everything you do, everything you own and everything you produce, should reflect the values and aims of your personal brand as a whole.”
  3. Create and Maintain Your Brand – One of the best ways to set yourself apart from the crowd is to have a unique visual identity that is consistent and reflective of your goals. You should also maintain social media accounts in ways that reflect your brand positively. Are you of any value to your followers and friends? Or are you wasting the biggest platforms to promote your brand?

Above all, the secret to personal branding is the same for many things in life. Plan ahead, and follow through. If you put forth a solid, planned image to the public, and follow through with valuable content, people will come to respect your personal brand.

 

 

As a web designer or developer, it’s always important to understand what the client wants. That’s why it is strange how few designers and developers understand online marketing.

Understanding and implementing online marketing give any developer or designer a great advantage in the marketplace and promises much more of a long term reward than those that fail to learn about online marketing. This isn’t to say neglecting your designing or developing skills is a wise decision, but by combining your skills with online marketing, you can do three things:

1) Get more clients – When clients post ads for developers or design jobs, they often get responses detailing what features and formats the person could implement. They promise so many pages, or list how they are proficient in HTML5, jQuery, and W4C standards. This may seem like a great approach for contacting potential employers, but it has a great weakness.

Potential employers want to know what you will do for them, and what they want you to do is make more money. Employers want to hear that you will raise the number of subscribers a certain percent, or will raise their revenue. Wether you use HTML5 or jQuery is not of much importance to them.

There are plenty of good web designers that can make nice looking websites, but there are way less designers that know how to increase sales. Those that know online marketing will get the better clients, and higher rates.

2) Build Your Brand – The biggest problem for every freelancer is building a base of clients. It would be great for clients to just come to you ready to pay however much you want, but that is a fantasy. Or is it?

Building a strong personal brand online attracts clients by exhibiting your skills to them beforehand. This can be fairly difficult and requires a lot of perseverance, but there is a basic pattern. First, you build a popular blog, followed by establishing a decent social media following. Then, you participate in outside activities like conferences, and make yourself known about.

This path does two very important things for you. It establishes you as a reputable expert, and gains you tons of publicity many would pay for. When employers need work done, they go to the experts they know first, and if you’ve built a strong brand, they will know about you.

If you want to know more about building a personal brand, I highly recommend watching the TED talk by Jacob Cass.

3) Earn extra income – Freelancing is far from a stable career and anyone should be prepared for unexpected problems. That is why it is important to make yourself as financially secure as possible before the problems arrive.

One of the best options for securing your finances is to diversify your streams of income between client work and passive income. If you are already perceived as an expert in your field, creating a passive income shouldn’t be difficult. There are a slew of monetization options, such as creating and selling your own products or even simply displaying ads on your site.

It does take effort to create a product, and even more to market and sell it, but it could be extremely important in your future.

Think of it this way, if you want to run a local bakery, you have to be as good at business as you are at baking. Otherwise, the business won’t get off the ground. The same goes for creating a business online. If you want to be successful online, learn online marketing.

 

If you want to learn more about online marketing and the mistakes you can make while starting out, read more at 1stwebdesigner.