|Posted by Jennafer Conley on October 15, 2019 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
I see posts all of the time on facebook, instagram, etc asking for branding help.
I see other professionals such as myself responding with their online portfolio links, cheap "designers" quoting logo rates of $25 to $100, people telling them to outsource to fiverr and others telling them to DIY in Canva.
I usually don't respond to these as there are several hundred comments and its just a sea of confusion. But I'm writing this blog post so that when I see these moving forward, I'l drop a link to this post. And they can choose to educate themselves or not. If you really want to know the whys and why nots, read on.
Here's the thing. I'm not here to trash every option but my own. Everything has a place- albeit a small niche in my personal and professional opinion. Here's the truth.
Fiverr: If you're going on Fiverr to create your logo, here's what you get. You'll get a logo. A logo based on what you asked for. Probably not one that can be used across all platforms, enlarged to go on a billboard without being pixelated, etc. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a say so in your logo and brand. But when you go to Fiverr, you're getting a logo (that most likely has purchased and/or recycled elements) that doesn't take into account: color psychology, font theory, YOUR ideal client/target audience, your competition and exactly what you want to CONVEY. Just because you love butterflies doesn't necessarily mean it's the best thing for your visual brand (but it could be based on the above). A brand expert can not only tell you that, but they can tell you why.
Canva: If you're creating your logo yourself in Canva, or worse, paying a "professional" to do it for you, you're using parts and pieces that are available to anyone. Even if you're paying for access to certain things, other people can pay for access to them as well. So you're getting a logo that is not created just of you and your brand, and again, it doesn't take into account: color psychology, font theory, YOUR ideal client/target audience, your competition and exactly what you want to CONVEY.
Designers that charge $25-$100: Oh there's some shitty work out there folks. There are so many so called designers out there that are using pieces they've purchased or gotten for free online to create your logo. Or, perhaps they are creating a logo for you with a two sentence tagline, a LOT of glitter, several elements and basically everything but the kitchen sink. Or, your logo looks like every one else's. A big trend right now is metallic, squares or hexagons, watercolor and script fonts (and ones that you can't really READ!). Which is fine and dandy. But, say someone is on your website and then looking at your competition to decide who to go with. They look around and want come back to you because of your delicious copy or your magical service/product but hm. They can't seem to remember which one you were... because you look just like everyone else. And bam. You lose a sale. Several. Many, many. Think of all the big brands out there. Target, Google, AT&T, Kate Spade, are a few that come to mind. Their logos are clear, clean, simple, easy to recognize and remember. And they don't all look the same.
I can't speak for every person that calls themselves a brand expert. I can only speak for myself. When you work with me, you start with a brand questionnaire. We go over colors, fonts, other brands, etc. We talk about what you like and don't and then I'll guide you and explain why those will serve you well or not. We'll set up an ideal client avatar as we go over your target audience and we'll discuss what and why will be attractive to them. We'll discuss your personality and how you'll infuse it with your brand- both overall and visually.
I totally understand wanting to pay the least amount possible or trying to DIY. Everything has its place. If you want to truly separate yourself from your competition, have a clear strong brand, set a professional tone of TRUST, appeal to your ideal clients/customers and get a brand created just for you from scratch, hire a brand expert. They'll give you files in: EPS, PNG, JPEG, and PDF. They'll talk to you about the importance of vector. They'll give you color and black and white versions and they'll be sure you have a stand alone icon or something you can use in the square world of social media.They'll charge at least $500 per logo and at least $2000 for creating your overall brand. And word to the wise- if you want the best of both, hire a brand expert to build your logo, a brand sheet with your colors, fonts, target audience, brand "feel", etc. as well as a few Canva templates. This way, you'll get the bells and whistles and a strong, clear brand and you can take the ball and run with it.
If you want someone to create exactly what you want in your mind- then you'll probably be ok with Fiverr or Canva. But you're not a professional that went to school to understand that psychology of design and its not what you do for a living (I've personally got over 15 years experience in the field). If you've read this and you still think a logo is just a logo and you don't see what the big deal is, by all means, proceed as you fit. Just know that you aren't taking your business to the level it can achieve when a brand is built the correct way. Just like there are people that don't see the value in a realtor and want to sell their homes themselves. And people who think life coaches are full of shit and a scam. And people that don't think your service or product is "worth it". That's ok. They aren't your ideal client. And if you feel this way, you aren't mine.
|Posted by Jennafer Conley on June 6, 2019 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
We live in a world of instant gratification and too many choices. We can cook our frozen food in minutes thanks to instant pots and we can have basically anything delivered in hours or less than 3 days. We carry pocket computers (which we occasionally talk on) that provide infinite knowledge at our sticky little fingertips. With texting communication and social media ruling our lives, we get annoyed when we don’t hear back immediately. We expect it all NOW.
I’m a planner. I’m a very creative person but I’m also super analytical. Many people have commented throughout the years that I am in my head way too much. But hey, I like it in there. I like to have a plan and a clear concise vision before I pull the trigger on things. As you know (and if you don’t, this is key) you can’t wait to move forward until things are perfect because then you’ll never move forward. You have to take “messy action”. Will you screw up? Hell yes. Will you getter better every time you do it? Hell yes. You’ll learn in the actual process of doing. I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone on a daily to weekly basis for the past month and its terrifying. But its also electrifying. And I’m amazed at how quickly it gets easier it gets every time.
In the past few months, I’ve invested in a life coach, outlined a 30 Day Course for Branding Your Biz, landed an interview on a Podcast, booked a conference in ATL, and started taking my social media, videos and blogs very seriously. I’m at a place in my career and my business (designer for 15 years and small business owner for 10) where I really feel I have enough experience and knowledge to be able to share and educate. Obviously I’m busting my ass and though I’m proud of myself, I want instant gratification.
When I’m indecisive I can beat myself up and also not come to a conclusion even after I’ve mulled it over for hours, days, or even weeks. But once I KNOW what I want ohhhh girl, you better watch out! I’m ready to hustle, to get up early and work into the evening and go guns blazing.
When I’ve made a decision I get, what I like to call, Veruca Salt Syndrome. You’ve seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory right? And please tell me you think of the original and not that shitty remake. “I want the world, I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket, It's my bar of chocolate.Give it to me Now! Don’t Care How, I Want It NOOOOOWWWWWW”. Sing it with me! That’s my mindset when I know what I want. I am a person that is very confident in my abilities and when I make up my mind to do something, I’m gonna make it happen. I know it won’t be an easy road and I’m okay with that, but dammit, I want it now. I want to see those instant results!
Isn’t that how we are with everything nowadays? We start eating better for a few days and get upset because we haven’t dropped 10 pounds yet. When we put effort in, especially when it’s a LOT of effort and a big change, we want that payoff now. The difference is that a lot of people give up when they don’t get that instant payoff. But not me. Nope. I’m going to keep on keepin’ on because I KNOW that whether its sooner or if its later, it WILL pay off. So I’m not going to stop.
I had to sit myself down and remind myself to be a little more Charlie Bucket and a little less Veruca Salt. Charlie wanted more but he was glad of what he had and it was because he was kind and not entitled that he really won it all. So I’m proud of who and where I am, I know I have a concrete plan to achieve more and I just have to stay the course.
Chew on that! And in the mean time, Laffy Taffy anyone?
|Posted by Jennafer Conley on May 20, 2019 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
As a Small Business Onwer, there are lots of time when I need to Motivate and Empower myself. It could something I need to gear up for-a new client consult, a new program I'm debuting, a facebook live, etc. or I've just had a particularly shit day. Yes, it's the same for both for me. My motivational playlist gets me excited before something, or says "You still rule, babe" after something hasn't gone my way. I don't usually listen to ballads or emotional music unless I need to cry it out because of something personal. Maybe I'll share that with ya later too!
There are other ways I pump myself up and I look forward to sharing those with you soon. For now, I wanted to share my motivational playlist with you. FYI, my taste in super eclectic! I've chosen songs that either have an empowering message, just make me happy or BONUS! both.
Do you have a motivational playlist of your own? What's on it? What song suggestions do you have for mine? I'd love to hear what song really PUMPS YOU UP as Hanz and Franz from SNL would say.
"It's All Right" by The Impressions
"Feels" by Calvin Harris
"We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus
"Roar" by Katy Perry
"Keep Ya Head Up" by 2Pac
"Come and Get it" by Selena Gomez
"Harder Better Faster Strong" by Daft Punk
"Survivor" by Destiny's Child
"Stronger" by Kanye West
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
"Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest
"A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)" by Elvis Presley
"Rollout" by Ludacris
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem
"Born This Way" by Lady Gaga
"All I Do is Win" by DJ Khaled
"Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac
"The Distance" by CAKE
"Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" by Geto Boys
"Army of Me" by Bjork
|Posted by Jennafer Conley on April 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
There are a lot of designers out there. I'm all for small business, solopreneurs and learning as you go/teaching yourself. However. There are a lot of folks out there portraying themselves as professional designers when they are not. A logo is not simply slapping a crappy graphic next to your business name. A brand is more than just an image. Also, all "logos" are not created equal. Usually, you get what you pay for. So if your "designer" is charging under $100 for a logo, chances are they are not a true professional and they do not actually understand the ins and outs of design, file formats, etc. Sometimes these people even charge professional prices when they do not provide professional quality. Only a true creative professional can create a clear logo that is engaging, presents your business in the light you wish and can actually be used in many applications- from your business card to a billboard to the web and everywhere in between.
Here's my advice when you're looking to hire a designer/creator/branding specialist. Please note: as a non-designer, you don't have to know what these things mean. But your designer HAS to if they are a true professional.
Five Questions to Ask:
In what file formats will my logo be supplied? If they do not answer with at least PNG, EPS and PDF, run. Run as fast as you can. If your designer cannot provide you with an EPS File, then they are not giving you a logo that you can truly use on anything. The other two are just standard for print and web and secondary to your EPS. Also note, you yourself will not be able to open an EPS. EPS files require professional designer software. The other two, you can open and use yourself. EPS files are what a designer will want if you advertise on anything later on.
Will you be providing my logo in a vector format? If they can't provide it or explain to you what vector is, smack them for me. Then run. A vector format means the logo can be scaled from an inch to 1000 feet and never be pixelated. You MUST have this if you want to portray yourself as a professional business. I can't tell you how many times I've been working on something, say a sponsor banner for an event. I'm supposed to place the sponsor logos on this large banner for print. And companies, I'm talking large, million dollar corporations here, that will send a low res, web version JPEG of their logo that is 2 inches tall. It gets pixelated at even twice it's size (4 inches) and can you imagine how bad it looks at 2 feet wide?? And when I ask for an EPS, they say it's all their designer gave them. Either thats the case, or whoever is running their design and/or marketing department doesn't understand the intricacies of file formats and what they are best used for. Either way, the company is wasting money.I can't imagine what they paid for something that going to look awful and present them as a sad company that doesn't even have a professional logo. See below for an example of how shitty this looks.
Ask them to tell you the difference between CMYK, RGB and Pantone/PMS. A professional, trained designer will have no problem with this. Also, be sure to ask them if they will be using Pantone colors in your logo. Ask them to guide you as to whether PMS or CYMK should be used.
Ask them what software they will be designing your logo in. Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard. Some use Corel Draw. Photoshop is not for logos guys!! If they use photoshop for a logo, they are the Dollar General of design. And if they say Canva, feel free to tell 'em that Canva was made so that business owners are marketers could DIY. It's a simple design program that is made for the individual and NOT the professional. If you use Canva, you shouldn't be charging for your services and labeling yourself a designer.
Ask them if your logo will be original. Will they be using any design elements they've found online and from other designers? This can be a grey area and something you should think about as Business. How professional do you want to appear to your customers? If you have a small budget, a designer may use remade design elements as parts of your logo to save them time and save you money. Again, it's a "you get what you pay for" kinda thing. If the design elements come from outside sources then someone out there can have the same exact icon as you or at least a part of it. It's not unique and it's personalized completely to you and your business. If you are being charged $500 of over for your logo, then the designer should be able to provide original design that is unique to you and your company.
Feel free to ask me any questions about how to be sure you're hiring a professional. Whether it's me or someone else you choose to work with, its very important to me to empower the small business owner with knowledge. Email me at jennaferbconley[at]gmail.com
|Posted by Jennafer Conley on April 4, 2019 at 9:00 AM||comments (1)|
You've got a vision for your business, right? You know what you have to offer and you know who wants it.
When it comes to branding and choosing how to portray your business to the world, visuals are helpful. As a designer and brand strategist, I often ask my clients to do image searches for images that convey the feeling they want to convey. Sometimes I ask for images, sometimes logos. I do this because as a visual person, it's helpful. I also want keywords from my clients about their business and how they want it portrayed. Rustic, Elegant, Modern, Clean, etc. these words are super helpful. However, sometimes, "Rustic" to you may mean more shabby chic that it does to me. Getting those visuals helps me to nail it. I always ask them to search logos that are NOT their competition. If you're opening a salon, don't look for inspiration by googling "salon logos". Instead, try searching for the word "logo" and your descriptor, like "rustic logo" or "elegant logo".
You know why? Are you ready for a giant pet peeve and just an all around general no-no? You may find something that you like. Or love. And you want it. Guess what? You can't have it! It belongs to someone else. They already have it. It's their logo. I can't tell you how many times people come to me with a logo they've taken from a Google image search and say "I want this but in pink with my business name". Step back. Walk away. Do you really honestly want what someone else already has? A second rate copy? I won't do it. I've turned down scads of work because I won't do it. It's not fair to the original owner, the original designer, it's not fair to you and it's not fair to me! And guess whattttt- Its illegal. It belongs to someone else. They own it.
When you hire a designer, rely on their expertise. We know what we're talking about people! We went to school for it. We've studied color theory and balance and art history. We've taken typography courses and we know what kerning means. We know how to convert Pantone to CMYK and how to be sure images are quality for print. Rely on us. It's what we do. We can take your vision and make it into something uniquely you. You deserve that. Isn't that why you hired us? Not to rip off someone else.
You can want a leaf in your logo and other people will have it and that's ok. The challenge for a designer is to create something that perfectly blends your vision, while staying true to our craft. You hired a professional because you want to be seen as a professional, right? Trust me. If you have a designer that is happy taking a logo someone else created and recreating it for you in a different color or whatever, they aren't a professional. And it could come back one day to bite them, and you, in the ass. So sit back, do your research using your descriptive words and hand it off to a professional designer. Logos and branding are a process. I promise that if you choose to work with me, you'll have and end result we both love and can be proud of.
Stick around for more rants and rules of thumb when it comes to design.