Luxgraphicus Design Agency


Shiny Things!
January 17, 2011, 8:04 am
Filed under: general, Philosophy | Tags: , , , ,

I realised today, probably belatedly, that I like making shiny things.

If something isn’t shiny, then I like to make it shiny. It doesn’t need to be shiny, it just can be shiny.

Recently I polished the floorboards in our lounge room after ripping up the awful old carpet. I really enjoyed the process. The filling of holes and cracks, the sanding, the numerous coats of varnish with more sanding between each.

Shiny floor

It’s now shiny! It looks great. People like to come into the room and walk on the floor. It adds amenity to the space and value too. The floor isn’t a better floor now. I haven’t made it stronger, or more useful as a floor. But people perceive it’s value as greater.

Why? Because it’s shiny!

I’ve also just made some wooden boxes to hold camping gear. (holiday activities you might notice) I’m very keen to add some more unnecessary coats of varnish to these too. It is sure to give them added value, plus I like sanding and varnishing, and looking at shiny things.

Making things look and feel shiny, or more polished, or professional, or targeted, or appropriate, or even just easier to read, gives the underlying material more value. Our old lounge room floor was just as good a floor before its makeover. It stopped us falling through to the dirt underneath. We could walk on it, put our chairs and TV on it, but it wasn’t as valuable. We didn’t enjoy walking on it. We didn’t want to show it to our friends. Others didn’t comment on how good it looked, wished they had one just like it, or contemplate doing the same themselves.

Designers like to make things shiny. The basic content, the marketing messages, the delivery method, they may all be created by others and be just as strong, but when a designer polishes them into a beautiful shiny thing, people want to look at it, they want to have one too and they want to show it to others.

Make your stuff shiny too and others will want one just like it.

I’m off to put the next coat of varnish on my wooden camping boxes.

Brian.

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Tis the season to be branding.

This time each year I normally talk about re-branding, and use a familiar icon of the time to illustrate how brand can influence perception and help your audience to identify with your business.

So lets look at how we might re-brand that icon of the Christmas season which seems to have been taken over by the corporate and commercial world that is modern Christmas, Santa Clause.

Lots of opportunity here to fiddle with looks, colours, and audience perception.

Lets try for a different audience, hipper, young adults. They buy lots of expensive, hi tech stuff at Christmas. They want a cooler, tougher, Santa. One who doesn’t pander to little kids pathetic whims. A rebel the audience can connect and identify with…

Enter, hard rocking, hard drinking, Santa!

 

Hard rocking, hard drinking Santa

What about looking from a different angle? Teenage and early twenties males, older men in mid-life crisis mode, aspiring females (this is a perverse angle, true). What would attract this audience?

Enter, sexy Santa!

Sexy Santa

Or, then there is always the safe option. Family friendly, good for the young kids, traditional, big audience acceptance here…

Yes, it’s fat and friendly Santa Clause!

Friendly and fat Santa

And, for this year especially! How about we take up the most influential brand currently on the planet. Huge audience appeal, trend setter to the biggest market in the world …

Of course it’s, Oprah Clause!

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Santa

Which Santa would you choose to take the brand into the next century?

Clearly there are pitfalls in several options. But is staying put therefore the best option?

Branding, and even more so, re-branding, are critical business decisions which need to be carefully thought through, planned and implemented.

To stand still could well mean irrelevancy and ultimately, failure. But make sure the change is done well and make use of professionals to guide you through the potential pitfalls.

I think Santa is safe for the time being, although Oprah does seem quite friendly and, if I’m not mistaken, seems to be getting fatter too!

Brian.

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Who needs a designer?

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

Have you had a light bulb moment lately?

Last week I was asked  – “what would a business person be saying that would indicate that they might need a new business identity or re-branding?”

Chances are that those most in need of new or re-branded identities wouldn’t be saying anything about it at all! Those who would interest a designer as a potential client however might be talking about their marketing plan, or plans they have for growing their business, or entering  a new market. They would be giving off clues that they were proactively taking their business on a path towards success.

I answered a research survey from a personal development coach today. By completing the survey and returning it I identified myself as their target audience. I was clearly ready to begin to accept the help of a coach in my development. All people would benefit from these services but it is vital that they, themselves see that they need and are ready for this help. Like the light bulb which can be changed by the single psychiatrist, so long as it wants to change, I was accepting that I too was ready to be helped. The questionaire survey raised several issues which swayed me in the direction of the coaching help, but just by taking the time and effort to start the survey rather than dump it in the bin, was evidence enough that I was ready to take the first steps with the coach. We could all do well by working with a development coach, but we have to want to. In fact it is often those who most need the help that are most unready to accept that help.

Similarly, all business could do well by working with a designer on the audit and review of their existing visual identity. Ongoing management of its application and access to its components for operational and marketing activities will ensure a consistent message delivery. This involvement can also identify areas for improvement and potential need to re-brand or re-fresh the existing branding details.

Those businesses in most need of this service will probably not place any value on it. They will dismiss the effort and resources required as unnecessary or wasteful. They are not ready for the change. They are not the audience of the designer. The designers audience are managing their business towards success. They have plans and they are carrying out those plans. A marketing plan will be key amongst those plans and the delivery of its messages will rely on visual design.

The business person may not know they have need for new design, but they will accept that doing an audit of their visual material is a worthwhile process, and one which could help them on their path towards success. Like the coach’s questionaire, accepting that doing the audit is not a waste of time is the first step in working with a designer to drive the success of the business.

It only takes one good designer to create a fabulous business identity, but the business has to want a fabulous identity!

Brian.

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Expert design consultant

unity for small business

Good morning all…
Brian Miller, Luxgraphicus, Design Agency

This week an ongoing client contacted us.

They wanted a pull-up banner for use when they give presentations and seminars.

We have already created their business identity, their website design,  business card and brochure.

Their banner will follow the style and rules already established and their brand will be strengthened. People seeing this business will be reassured about its professionalism, stability, and capacity to deliver.

This business has their own expert design consultant ensuring their brand is developed and maintained across all their visual material.

So a good referral for us this week is a business which wants to have their own expert design consultant, working with their business.

“Luxgraphicus”, it’s Latin for… expert design consultant.

Brian

This weeks BNI 60 sec infomercial

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Is it marketing, or advertising, or branding, or design?

Brian Miller – Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Recently in discussions with business colleagues and clients, an issue of semantics and definition has arisen.

Those involved may not have realised they were entering into such murky waters. The concepts may well be crystal clear in their own minds, but the fact that all were obviously thinking of similar things and calling them different names, or thinking of different things and calling them the same name, raises the issue of definition.

Most business people know the value and importance of marketing. There will, however, be heated discussions as to the value of advertising and branding. And thrown in amongst it all will be talk of design.

When I talk of branding, I’m usually referring to the visual form of the branding; I’m a graphic designer so that’s what I know. But I’m not talking about branding as a strategy or component of a broader strategy.

In marketing terms there are normally three avenues of approach. Advertising, Referrals and Public Relations. Each has it’s own sub categories and associated tactics. A branding strategy will generally sit above all three and create the character and feeling for the different approaches.

So where does design fit in?

Lets start with what it isn’t. It isn’t another sub-category of marketing. It isn’t a sub-category of advertising. It isn’t even a sub-category of branding.

Design is the component that gives a physical form to all the ideas.

All the ideas that are marketing, advertising, public relations, and branding. Design even gives form to referral marketing, where it is required to be more than just spoken words.

Wherever a marketing strategy is meeting with its final audience, design has to give it a form. That may be a press ad, poster or direct mail piece in an advertising campaign. It may be logos and iconic imagery in a branding campaign. It may be this identity applied to written materials or trade show appearances in PR activities. Marketing support from printed collateral or websites need a physical, or electronic form to be available to their audience. All these are created by the designer.

Chronologically, design fits in after the marketing ideas and strategy have been formulated and prescribed. Your designer may help and advise on these matters sometimes, adding subtleties and refinement to the strategy, but their role is not the creation of the ideas initially. This is the role of the business owner and their marketing experts, whether in house or outsourced consultants.

Design is a separate and essential component of the overall business strategy. Not done instead of advertising or branding, and not excluded because referrals or PR have taken its place. Design is crucial for all, or any, of these components to work effectively.

Clearly, design needs these ideas in order to give them a form, and would just be pretty pictures without them. But without design, these ideas will remain just that. Wonderful ideas in the minds of their creators, with no audience to benefit from them, or to ultimately buy from your business.

What to give some form to your great marketing ideas?

Think design.

Brian.



Don’t just stick your logo on everything!

the best small businesses are watching their branding

This weeks BNI 60 second informercial follows;

Good morning everyone,

Brian Miller for the Luxgraphicus Design Agency.

Last week I talked about how our free report, available from our website, can help small business to find out why it’s so important to be watching their visual branding.

This report also reveals how they can take control of a great brand with systems which might have only previously been available to bigger companies. Systems which they can now access through Luxgraphicus services.

So if you know a small business which wants to do so much more than just stick their logo on everything, a business which wants to control how their clients see and perceive them, send them to our website at luxgraphicus.com for their copy of our report.

Luxgraphicus, this week its Latin for… don’t just stick your logo on everything.



What order your design?

the best small businesses are watching their branding

If you are beginning a new business venture, or new marketing push in an existing business, which requires collateral for its delivery, you’re probably going to need something designed to do it well.

Maybe its business cards, or marketing postcards. Perhaps fliers or brochures, menus or signs. You’ve probably decided a website is on the list. Your emails should have header and /or footer graphics too. Letterheads or invoices should carry the right look as well.

You’ll probably have at least a few of these things on your list, if not all, and perhaps several others which I haven’t included.

So which do you have designed and created first? With a limited budget there may be a need to stage or progressively produce them. What order is best?

Something was missing from the list above, did you spot it?

A designer will need to create this first, and most critical of pieces, before they can realistically think about all the others. Without this key element, all the others will lack cohesion and direction. The impact and recognition on their important viewers, your customers and clients, will be lost. Your vital marketing message will be diluted, possibly washed away all together.

The vital piece? Your business visual identity.

Without the set of rules and standards developed as a part of your identity, all subsequent collateral will be floundering. Sure, the identity will include a logo, but also the colours, typestyles, spaces and iconic appearance and feel which will represent your business. Rules will be established around which the rest of your critical business collateral can be developed.

With this development, the resultant material becomes a valuable component of the intellectual property of your business. Not something to enter into lightly.

This identity can, on initial inspection, appear to have a somewhat intangible nature. But consider the value and significance of all that it will influence and control, and you can begin to appreciate its ultimate value.

Be sure to give this value the respect it deserves, get the order of your design right, and devote appropriate time and resources to a most valuable component of your business.

The best small businesses are watching their brand, and they are designing it first.

Brian.