Why Graphics Matter
When it comes to creating a brand, a great logo is important, as this symbol will help others identify your brand, and know what you're about. However, this is only possible so long as your visual branding is consistent, meaning that you stick to one font, and two or three colors.
That being said, while it's good to have a logo, it's even better to have a great one. Yet, in order to achieve this, there are few things you to need to keep in mind. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares how you can better your brand by building your visuals, from the expertise of Katie Dooley, who is the Founder and Brand Strategist of Paper Lime Creative.
A Little More About Katie
Katie is the Founder and Brand Strategist of Paper Lime Creative, a Canadian design agency that helps businesses amplify their branding through great graphics. At her agency, they believe that branding is always an emotional experience. Katie is also certified through the Graphic Designers of Canada, a national certification board whose members must meet rigorous and standardized criteria. In 2021, she was internationally recognized, and granted a Muse Award for her design and development of the Blackmore Real Estate brand.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: What I'd love to do is have our listeners learn a little bit about you and how you got to where you are today as the founder of an agency who is all about design and aesthetic.
Answer: Yeah, I got super lucky. I always knew I wanted to be a graphic designer even before I knew what graphic design was. Somewhere in my house, there's the first tri-fold brochure I ever created at 11 years old for social studies class. All throughout school, I loved just making information look good. Whenever teachers would assign those projects, I was all over it. By high school, I realized graphic design was a job and a career, so I pursued it right out of high school, into university.
I graduated with my design diploma back in 2012, and I worked in the industry as an employee for about five years. I realized we weren't serving clients the way that they deserve to be served, and I wasn't doing the work I wanted to do. Paper Lime Creative started in 2016 and now we are basically a full service design agency focusing on brand strategy and corporate identity development.
Question: With the types of brands and companies that you work with, what are some of the general first steps when you're meeting with a client and it's time to do a project and maybe a brand revamp? How do you first find out about the brand, learn about the brand, and figure out what really might be the best overall design for them?
Answer: Yeah. We start our process with a discovery session, and we always ask that the client bring anyone they want the opinion of to that discovery session. So everyone is onboard from start to finish. I always ask the client to describe their business for me. Absolutely I do some backend research on who they are, what they're doing, read their website, see what they have, but I think there's a lot of value in having business owners describe what they do to you. That's a part of our discovery session.
And then the largest part of our discovery session is actually getting them to really, I mean, really define their ideal customer. We have a few fun exercises that they work through, a lot of question and answer, and eventually we pull out all the information we need and then we take it away after that. But that's the initial meeting with the client.
Question: You have the first meeting. You do a deep dive. You get a very good understanding of what the business is about, the fundamentals, what they're trying to achieve, their objectives, their growth goals, all of those types of things. And then what happens?
Answer: We take all that information and we set a timeline. We do a bunch of research. We make sure that anything we're about to design that we can back it up with research. We make sure we have a really collaborative process with the client and they actually get to check the research at a point in the process. I make sure that they approve it, because I could research their industry for years and not know as much as they do working in the industry.
We do all the research and that will guide our creative direction and the brand position. Like I said, they approve that. And then once that's approved, we start what I think is the fun part, the creative part, start with the visuals and messaging...I get really frustrated when people leave with just the logo, because there's so much more to branding. A logo is great and very important, but it will never tell the full experience. And to have someone walk away with just a logo doesn't give them a roadmap to use their brand successfully. Maybe it's hard to picture now, but I like to give the Nike Swoop as an example. If you just saw the Nike Swoop on its on a white sheet of paper, you might go, "What is this and how do I use it?"
And even when we present brands, I'll never just show the logo. I'll show it on a business card. I show it on a billboard. I showed on a t-shirt. Because to just show it on a white screen or a white piece of paper, it'll never be shown in that context. Same thing, early on in my career, I realized I had far more success showing it in some sort of usable context than just on white, because people can't imagine how it could be used in the future or in different ways.
Question: What are some of the other mistakes that you see happen?
Answer: I think one of the biggest pieces for branding is people get really personal about it. I often talk about my clients being ready for the branding process and starting your business does not mean that you are ready for it. A lot of people will come in and put their own likes onto something. A lot of people come in knowing exactly what they want. Even throughout the discovery session, my questions start quite broad. I giggle with my operations manager about it sometimes.
One of the questions is, what do you value? I mean this like broadly. Do you value integrity or honesty or family time? I'll go back to the realtor example. Some people come to me like "they value a good real estate experience." I'm like "no, they don't." If you pulled someone off the side of the street and ask them what they value, no one is going to say a good real estate experience. So even to be able to step out of your business, your shoes, and really think about what your customer is looking for.
Question: Are there some best practices for someone who is just starting out their business? What are some of the general graphic design thoughts that they need to be keeping in mind when they're creating new brands?
Answer: Yeah, that's a really great question. I think the biggest thing, especially new businesses that are DIYing it, forget is consistency. It's pick a font and stick with it. Pick a color, or two, or three, and stick with it. Even just googling color psychology. It might not be the perfect choice if you're not willing to do a week's worth of research, but you can get pretty close and then stick with that. Because a consistent brand that looks consistent, but also puts out consistently, will do far better than a brand that is inconsistent, and in any way inconsistent.
Either you're not putting content out frequently enough, or you're switching it up. One week you're orange, one week you're red, next week you're green. That wrecks your visibility because people don't remember you from the previous time. If they do know, it's breaking trust because people are going, why are they always changing?
Check Out The Podcast!
Katie has so much great information from her experience in graphic design and branding. Check out the podcast below to learn more about creating great visuals!
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
- Finding Your Brand Archetype: Tips To Becoming A Better Entrepreneur
- Making The Most Of Marketing Automation: How To Leverage Hubspot And SalesForce
- The Secrets To Successful Brand Partnerships
- Why Company Swag Should Be Purposeful And Practical
- Building Brand Partnerships For Professional Athletes: The Do's, Don'ts, Rewards, And Risks
Every week we release a new podcast featuring guest's with so much knowledge about marketing, you don't want to miss one! How can you make sure you don't miss an episode? Click below to subscribe!