The Key to a Successful Logo Design

Simple is best. Yes, I said it! And mean it. Do I cringe while writing this because I make a living by creating logos? Not a chance. I want to share what I’ve learned after developing thousands of logos for companies around the world. A business needs a recognizable mark- which may mean a chosen typography style and/or color palette and iconic image.

But what solidifies your brand is how you style everything else and what design elements you choose to style with your logo. The act of creating a visual cohesiveness that you use throughout solidifies your brand.

Think of your top 3 favorite brands- maybe a boutique retailer, hotel or magazine. What do their logos look like? In most cases, I’d bet they are clean logotypes (a logo built from typography only).

W magazine's logo, a typeset serif W

*above: W magazine’s logo, a typeset serif W

Building your brand requires a lot of work and consistency beyond creating a logo, so consider staying away from too much color, lots of detail, and things that are difficult to reprint. Versatility is key.

However, if you want a detailed and colorful logo, consider having a secondary, more simple version of the logo that works well at various sizes and can be printed easily.

Consider building visual unity through:

▸ a brand color palette
▸ mood board
▸ signature images and photographs
▸ custom artwork
▸ business collateral

 

Simplicity and consistency help achieve professionalism and trust- a way to visually say “I’m good at what I do.”.

The Best iPhone Photography Apps

The Best iPhone Photography Apps for Photo Editing

Social media integration is imperative for most businesses. This means posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter regularly. Often posts are image-based and quickly taken from an iPhone; most of the time natural lighting isn’t quite enough.Here are the best apps for editing photos on the go:

1. Afterlight: More than 30 filters available. Finite adjustments like brightness, contrast, saturation. Simple borders available, polaroid borders, circular cropping, light leaks. Perfect for making minor adjustments for close to a #nofilter aesthetic.

2. PicTapGo: Ability to easily layer filters, apply various levels of filter adjustments. Can save “recipes” for editing to apply the same effect to other images instantly. Perfect for quick editing.

3. Picfx: Dramatic photo filter layering such as vintage film settings, scratches, light leaks, textures, and grunge. Can adjust levels of filter application. Great for adding light variations to an image.

4. Filtergram: Clean and clear editing style filters. Lots of options. Light leaks, lens flares, blurs. Image adjusts: brightness, contrast, saturation, temperature, etc. Great for creating a crisp, professional style image.

5. Camera+: Fast photo filters and adjustments. Detailed editing tools such as soft focus (hides wrinkles!), film grain, exposure, highlights and shadows.

6. Mextures: Filters for layering: radiance, grit and grain, light leaks, emulsion (vintage photography techniques), grunge, landscape color gradients, and vintage gradients. Great for dramatic editing with an art-like quality.

7. Luminance: Quick and simple filters and adjustments: tone curve, brightness/contrast, exposure, white balance and more. Great for editing quickly.

8. PicStitch: App for creating photo grids. Almost 70 free grid templates.

9. Waterlogue: With a couple of quick clicks, turn an image into a watercolor painting. Several watercolor settings including natural, bold, luminous, travelogue, and more. Fun way to turn a photo into art.

Beating Procrastination. Just Start.

Beat Procrastination. Just Start. Advice that Works.
Procrastination can be the root of emotional distress. Fear of performance or avoidance of a making a decision is often the reason for putting a task off until later, or more simply the reason of, “I just don’t feel like it.”Recently, I was given the best advice from my dear friend Hannah Davis Warner, celebrity personal trainer and fitness expert on the advisory board of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Her words,

“You know the best way to get over not feeling like it? Just start. Just start. If you tell yourself I’ll do it for 5 minutes and if I really can’t stand any longer, I’ll allow myself to stop. But more often than not, that 5 minutes is just what you need to keep going.”

Try it. 5 minutes at the gym. 5 minutes reading emails. 5 minutes spent doing the task that keeps getting rolled over on your to-do list. The best way to get something done is to begin.

“The shortest answer is doing the thing.” -Ernest Hemingway

 

Easy Ways to Build a Website

Easy Ways to Build a Website
I am asked often by clients, “What is the easiest way to build my own website?” So I am always on the lookout for easy solutions that won’t break the bank.If you are in the market for a low-budget website you can manage on your own, here are a few suggestions for template sites with a nice, clean aesthetic:

1. Square Space: A great spot for clean and minimalist website templates for blogs, portfolios, business websites and e-commerce. They offer custom domains, mobile versions, 24/7 support for a monthly fee. Pricing is between $8/mo and $24/mo.

2. Virb: This site has a wide variety of clean and modern themed webpages with prices beginning at $10/mo. Features include media galleries, blogs, stores, Etsy integration and more.

3. Other People’s Pixels: Minimalist websites geared toward portfolio-type content. Pricing packages are either $16/mo or $26/mo. Great site for clean, simple and modern portfolio sites.

4. Shopify: An e-commerce and hosting solution. You have the ability to edit all the HTML and CSS of these templates, which is nice but not something all small businesses want to tackle or hire out. Shopify offers great marketing, SEO, and support. Pricing is between $29-$179/mo.

5. Big Cartel: Big Cartel is for small e-commerce websites only. Pricing is between $0-$29.99/mo. Set up, check out, and customizations are super easy to implement. Custom HTML and CSS can be applied as well as additional customizable templates available for purchase.

6. Goodsie: You can create a professional e-commerce site without knowing how to write code. Pricing structure is $30/mo or $75/mo. “Genius Idea: Making a point-and-click product look like it was made by a professional designer.” –Mashable

7. IM Creator: This site has amazing, very simple templates for informational websites. The templates and customization tools can be explored on their website without signing up for an account. Domain and unlimited hosting plans start out at $7.95/mo.

8. Folio Websites: Portfolio, blog and mobile site in one. Pricing is $14.60/mo. Clean and minimalist templates, perfect for photographers. Advanced SEO.

9. Storeenvy: Storenvy has the e-commerce community feel that Etsy does, with page templates that allow for a more couture and customized look. “E-commerce Transformed With Storenvy’s Social Shopping Platform” –Business Insider

If you happen to have used other great website builders, please feel free to reply and share.

You can also follow my Pinterest board for Easy Ways to Build a Website that I will update as I discover new and different solutions.

4 Steps to Creating a Logo

If you are in the market for a new logo design or perhaps even a redesign, you may feel overwhelmed.

I’m sure you’ve done a bit of research and compiled a selection of logo designs you really love however you are unsure of what you’d like for your company.Whenever my clients are having a tough time boiling down the most important factors to consider, I tell them… take a breather, and come back to this with a fresh eye.

Then, make a list.

These are the 4 most important aspects to talk over and consider.

1. FONT STYLE

I typically categorize font styles into 6 categories:

▸ serif
▸ sans serif
▸ handwritten
▸ script
▸ handwritten script
▸ typewriter

6 different font styles explained: serif, sans serif, handwritten, handwritten script, script, typewriter

There are many other sub-categories or descriptive words you can choose to use (for example: italic, brush, calligraphy, stencil, etc.) but these are the most widely-used and cover 90% of all font styles.

Understanding Font Weight and Kerning

Font kerning is the spacing between the letters. You can have anywhere from very tight kerning to standard or loose.

Font weight describes the thickness of the letters. Many font styles come available in different font weights i.e. heavy, bold, normal, light,  extra light. However, some fonts are available in only one weight. Designers can often edit standard fonts to be lighter or heavier, within reason.

2. COLOR PALETTE

Color Wheel

Source: Aaron Klopp

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first known writers to examine color theory in the late 1400’s. In 1666, Isaac Newton introduced his Theory of Color, including the primary colors. A hundred years later, secondary, tertiary, and the concept of warm and cool colors were added to our current understanding of color theory.

Johannes Itten

Johannes Itten, German Painter 1888-1967

Color choice can evoke a certain mood and bring about a subliminal psychological response. Color can also evoke different responses for different people, and may have different meanings cross-culturally.

Consider your audience and what you want to say about your company. Do you want a bold, energetic design? Consider warms like yellow and red. Do you want a subtle, soothing design? Consider cool tones like blue or green.

Design Seeds, Pantone and Colour Lovers are a few places I’d strongly recommend to review potential color palettes.

3. ILLUSTRATION / IMAGERY

Logos can either A.) include an illustration or B.) be typographic only (this is called a logotype).

Logo with Illustration vs. Logotype

Think about the ways you plan to use your logo. Printing on business cards? Placing it on the header of your website? Using it for a Facebook profile image? Printing on t-shirts? Having a stamp made?

If a design is too detailed, the versatility may be compromised. Most logos need to be scalable, meaning they work well in a very small format as well as a very large format. If a design is too detailed, you may need various versions of the logo (text only, illustration and text, condensed version of the design, icon version, etc.)

4. HOW YOU WANT THE DESIGN TO FEEL

What kind of impression should the logo give: unique, professional, handmade, artistic, corporate, organic, clean, precise, balanced, symmetrical, layered, simple?

You should try to consider what a potential viewer may feel within the first 10 seconds of seeing your design. Research conducted by EyeTracking, Inc. shows that a consumer can make a choice in as little as a third of a second.

Who you are and what you do

A logo should quickly embody who you are and what you do. How can you visually achieve this?