Branding, Graphic Design, Logos, Papercut, Typography

What is Visual Communication

This month at Papercut we’ve been talking a lot about branding, and how essential brands are for businesses of all sizes.

It’s been good to be reminded of those key elements that make up a brand identity toolkit, components that supplement your logo and form the graphic ‘face’ of your business.

It might help to think of your logo as the ‘boss’ of your brand, and the visual communication elements as the ‘employees’. In most of your communication materials, your logo won’t appear by itself, it will have the help of all of these visual elements to accomplish its job of communicating and connecting with your target market.

Some of the key design elements include font styles, colours, shapes and layouts.  They all work together to create the impression of your business, and the way your business presents to your customers.

Visual Communication Poster

Your Visual Communication can include design elements such as:

  • Font styles: You should have a small collection of typefaces, font weights, and styles that you use regularly in your materials. Consider fonts for both print and web use, and specify styles for headlines, subheads, and body copy in each case.
  • Colours: Creating a colour palette for your business can add flexibility to your marketing materials and give you an easy resource to go to when choosing colours for illustrations, graphics, or any other part of your Visual Communication. If you keep your colours consistent and limited, then you’ll develop a more focused palette that will be easier for your audience to associate with your business.
  • Shapes: The shape that you use for your bullets, break-out boxes, colour-blocked areas, and even borders in your materials can create a strong visual component that will contribute to your brand memorability.
  • Layout: The layout of a marketing piece covers elements like the number of columns and the placement of all of the other Visual Communication elements. Remember that white space allows the eyes to rest, white space in any layout is crucial.
  • Backgrounds: Using background screens or shapes, or even a specially designed watermark, can give your materials extra flair. You can also develop a special background that will make your materials stand out.
  • Photographs: Photos can add a lot of personality to your materials and really help you to connect with your target audience. Stock photography is easily accessed; buy a few shots that are compelling and really match the rest of your Visual Communication. Make sure that you buy the highest resolution and the largest possible size to ensure you have images for both print and web.
  • Paper type: Printing your materials on a special type of paper can make them look even more interesting. Papers come in different colours, textures, and thicknesses that can contribute to the uniqueness of your brand.

Crafting a tool kit for your visual communication and then using it consistently will define your business in the marketplace and create a strong brand.

Advertisements
Standard
Branding, Graphic Design, Logos, Papercut

What is Visual Communication?

Visual Communication PosterYour Visual Communication is an essential tool in your business’s brand identity toolkit. It is made up of all of the graphics that supplement your logo, forming the graphic “face” of your business and anchoring your brand identity.

Think of your logo as the “boss” of your brand, and the Visual Communication elements as its “employees”; in many design applications and finished materials, your logo won’t appear by itself. It will have the help of all of these visual elements to accomplish its job of communicating and connecting with your target market.

Your Visual Communication can include design elements such as:

  • Font styles: You should have a small collection of typefaces, font weights, and styles that you use regularly in your materials. Consider fonts for both print and web use, and specify styles for headlines, subheads, and body copy in each case.
  • Colours: Creating a colour palette for your business can add flexibility to your marketing materials and give you an easy resource to go to when choosing colours for illustrations, graphics, or any other part of your Visual Communication. If you keep your colours consistent and limited, then you’ll develop a more focused palette that will be easier for your audience to associate with your business.
  • Shapes: The shape that you use for your bullets, break-out boxes, colour-blocked areas, and even borders in your materials can create a strong visual component that will contribute to your memorability.
  • Layout: The layout of a marketing piece covers elements like the number of columns and the placement of all of the other Visual Communication elements.
  • Backgrounds: Using background screens or shapes, or even a specially designed watermark, can give your materials extra flair. You can also develop a special background that will make your materials stand out.
  • Photographs: Photos can add a lot of personality to your materials and really help you to make a connection with your target audience. You can purchase stock photography inexpensively these days; buy a few shots that are compelling and really match the rest of your Visual Communication. Make sure that you buy the highest resolution and the largest possible size to ensure you have images for both print and web.
  • Special textual treatments: For very special text that you want to highlight, such as your tagline, marketing bullets, sidebars, or bullets that detail your specialties, consider specifying a particular typeface, size, and colour to use in all of your materials.
  • Paper type: Printing your materials on a special type of paper can make them look even more interesting. Papers come in different colours, textures, and thicknesses that can contribute to the uniqueness of your business marketing material.

Crafting a tool kit for your visual communication and then using it consistently will define your business in the marketplace and create a strong brand.

Standard
Branding, Graphic Design

Every communication builds or erodes your ‘brand’.

Paul Hassing is the founder and senior writer of The Feisty Empire. In 13 years as a copywriter, Paul has written, edited, proofed and produced print, radio, online, outdoor and business copy for over 1200 organisations of every size and sector.

One of Paul Hassing’s business blog posts, The Punter’s Ton, has just been published in Seth Godin’s new book Purple Cow Revised Edition (hardback).

I asked Paul some questions about his craft and this is what he had to say.

1. What does a copywriter do?

A copywriter optimises your communications, whether your audience is your:

  • Staff (e.g. position descriptions, job ads, policy manuals, newsletters).
  • Customers (e.g. brochures, user guides, website).
  • Public (e.g. blog, media releases).

Every communication builds or erodes your ‘brand’. A copywriter ensures your communications: Deliver your message in the best possible way so your audiences react as expected.

2. How can you know what to write about my business?

I don’t write a word until I understand your business thoroughly. Some clients are good at giving briefs, but most aren’t sure what they want.

Over the years I’ve developed penetrating briefing tools to ensure I get all the info I need. I also check out your website and any source materials you give me.

Once I know what you do, and what you want to achieve, I can give you what you need.

3. What are the three main tips for well-written copy?

  • Know your audience (i.e. who you’re talking to). Picture them in your mind and use the language they prefer to write straight to them, just like you’re having a conversation.
  • Tell a story that’s true, interesting and relevant to your audience. Say things they’ll stop what they’re doing to hear.
  • Use clear, concise, language (i.e. fewer, shorter words; the active voice; present infinitive verbs and no tricky jargon).

4. Is there a difference between writing copy for a brochure compared with a website?

Definitely. Online readers have far shorter attention spans and more distractions than brochure readers. As a result, online copy must be especially pithy. It must cut to the chase immediately, if you’re to catch and keep readers.

Cumbersome sentences and long paragraphs are lethal to online copy. Bullets, subheaders and captions all improve it.

5. What are the key things you recommend to clients before they engage a professional writer?

Be objective. Don’t take the copywriter’s word that they’re good. Check their testimonials to see what others think. Look at their work to see if you’d like something similar. Test the copywriter’s knowledge of your industry, operation and needs. If they can’t speak your language, or are not prepared to learn it, find someone who is.

6. What advice would you give to a new business looking for copywriting?

Clarify your thoughts ahead of time. Don’t use the copywriter’s first draft as a point of departure for your thinking. Give the copywriter as much info about who you are and what you want before they start. The more data they have up front, the better, faster (and therefore cheaper) the job will be.

Paul Hassing is Founder & Senior Copywriter at The Feisty Empire.

Standard
Branding, Graphic Design

Is your brand remarkable?

branding graphic design

Your brand = purple cow

When you have had your fill of Christmas treats and afternoon snoozes – it may be time to start thinking about the year ahead. More specifically, it may be time to think about your branding.

Branding affects every stage of the sales funnel. If people are aware of your brand, they will consider it and decide to purchase. If you retain these people, they will turn into advocates for your brand and become your sales force.

Your brand must be remarkable. It must be worth talking about. It must be consistent, clear and unique. Seth Godin sums it up perfectly in his book, Purple Cow.
“A Purple Cow, though, that would really stand out. The essence of the Purple Cow – the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows – is that it would be remarkable . Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to.” –Seth Godin

You need a purple cow.

When you’re relaxing on the beach – consider your branding. Do you need a more effective logo? Do people recognise your brand? Does your print advertising say something different to your website? Are your customers confused?

Define your brand. Get your graphic designer on speed dial if necessary. Find that purple cow.

Standard
Branding, Graphic Design

Why do I need a Graphic Designer?

Simple design creates a powerful first impression

Simple design creates a powerful first impression

First impressions count. If your business materials are presented in a professional and favourable way, you send a powerful signal of strength and credibility.

Although Graphic Design is just one of the elements that create a successful business, it is a vital one. Even if you are pretty good at designing things yourself, a professional graphic designer will have the necessary expertise and software needed to generate functional, print quality designs. By functional, we mean that your design must clearly and consistently communicate the required message of the business within an attractive design. Often, it’s the simplest design that sends the most powerful message.

Once you have a professional design, you’ve got it for life. Every time you reprint your brochure, your powerful design will shine through – time and time again. It really is worth the once-off cost for professional branding.

Papercut is your leading sustainable Graphic Design studio in Canberra, Australia.

Imagine – design that not only speaks of beauty, but is kind to the planet.

Standard