Instantly Download Thousands of Logos With This Awesome Search Engine

There are often times when I find myself looking around for a company’s logo for one reason or another. Maybe I’m doing a website design and I need to put in the Facebook logo, or I just want to mock up a product box and I’d like to put the «Made by Apple» logo in there. Finding that stuff can be easy, but more often than not it’s a grind. Who wants to lose an hour or two digging around the Internet trying to find that perfect (and accurate) version of a logo? Well now there’s a single place to look: Instant Logo Search.

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As the name says, Instant Logo Search is a place where you can go to search for logos, and get results instantly. The site then gives you two options — SVG and PNG — and you can download the file(s) by clicking a link and moving on. You can also add logos to a bucket, then download them in a batch afterwards.

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Now this site doesn’t have every logo on the planet (McDonald’s, for example, wasn’t there when I searched), but it does have enough to become entirely too useful. You may not need it today, but bookmark it, because it could come in handy someday soon.


Kevin Whipps is a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When he’s not working on one of the many writing projects in his queue, he’s designing stickers with his wife at Whipps Sticker Co.

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The Psychology of Color Behind 5 Brilliant Brands

When it comes to branding, color can be considered the single most influential facet of a company’s identity. Neuroscientist Bevil Conway, who studied the neural machinery behind color, believes that the science behind color processing is extremely powerful, and “completely unexploited.” In short, color deeply affects people’s emotions on a subconscious level — and not everyone has utilized this powerful connection.

To fully grasp how powerful color can be, here are a few key stats from WebpageFX’s infographic on the psychology of color:

  • People make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone.
  • 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product
  • 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.

Because color psychology is subtle, subliminal, and often overlooked, we thought it’d be helpful to examine how five famous brands use color in their logos. Whether you’re a designer, a marketer, or a consumer (which, in reality, is everyone!), knowing the power of color psychology can help you make better decisions. Let’s get started!

Whole Foods

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Whole Foods, whose tagline is “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” prides itself on high-quality, natural, and organic products. They promote ethical behavior by offering fair-trade products and locally sourced foods, and believe in improving the health of their customers through eating education. These high-quality products understandably come with a more expensive price tag, classifying Whole Foods as a premium grocery store. Consider their store architecture: it’s usually got an open-air, rural market vibe with bright scenery and modern shop elements — an elite shopping experience for sure.

Whole Foods’ logo is green, which traditionally evokes nature, wealth, freshness, growth, and the environment — all connotations that match their brand perfectly. Green also represents many eco-friendly and outdoor recreation companies, expressing the harmonious nature that comes with experiencing their products. (Although, that may be shifting, as a new study revealed that blue is the most eco-friendly color for consumers.) From a design perspective, the earthy shade compliments the logo’s stylized “O” (believed to represent a fruit or vegetable), inducing a natural and healthy quality that so many consumers crave.

To create a fresh, healthy logo of your own, check out these organic, natural and vegan badges.

Denny’s

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Denny’s, quite possibly the polar opposite of Whole Foods when it comes to branding, has a bright and playful yellow and red logo. They’re a casual family restaurant chain mostly known for their breakfast, but do an incredible job of taking something that can be considered boring, and elevating it to a compelling and hilarious brand.

Take their Twitter feed as a great representation of their identity. It’s filled with silly thoughts about pancakes and bacon, pop-culture references, and shenanigans that only a brand as bold and playful as Denny’s could pull off. Yellow represents optimism, confidence, creativity, and lightheartedness — all of which are extremely on brand for Denny’s.

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Dennys TwitterSave

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Yellow is generally too bright to stand on its own, so Denny’s red logo text works well in contrast with its background. Red conveys love, anger, passion, and intensity — a wide range of emotions that can suit many different niches. In Denny’s case, red can represent a customer’s intense desire to eat, or be served immediately. Ever notice how many fast food chains also have red and yellow logos?

Looking for a font that channels boldness and charm, like Denny’s? Take a peep at Frontage.

NASA

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NASA’s logo is primarily blue, conjuring the blue sky and NASA’s exploration of what lies beyond. As America’s space agency, NASA pioneers the future in space exploration and scientific discovery. This type of innovation inevitably deals with many unknowns, so NASA must be trustworthy, honest, and calm under pressure. Based on these qualities, blue is the perfect fit for NASA — evoking professionalism and a calm intelligence.

According to Webpage FX’s infographic, blue has been shown to lower blood pressure and stimulate feelings of trust, order, and cleanliness. That’s one of the reasons why financial institutions and online businesses gravitate towards blue branding. In fact, blue is the most commonly used color in corporate identities. NASA’s logo does an excellent job of illustrating all it stands for — the blue sphere, representing a planet, twinkling stars for outer space, the red chevron representing aeronautics, and a white orbiting spacecraft traveling around the text.

For an out-of-this-world graphic, use these futuristic sci-fi badges.

The New York Times

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Black is an interesting choice for a logo color, and one that’s less commonly used. It represents power, elegance, and mystery. It also represents dominance and finality. Think of athletic brands like Under Armour and Nike — they aspire to make their customers feel more powerful for wearing their clothes, and black works perfectly for that strategy.

The shade works similarly for The New York Times. It aligns with their classy, authoritative, and serious brand. The New York Times was founded in 1851 on solid values. Their inaugural edition stated this laudable mission: “We do not believe that everything in Society is either exactly right or exactly wrong — what is good we desire to preserve and improve, what is evil, to exterminate, or reform.” In addition, The New York Times has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. These accomplishments and their commitment to serious journalism is well reflected in their black, minimalist logo that features a classic Old English typeface.

Want to channel retro print? Caston Inked may be the perfect font for you.

Google

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Lastly, let’s take a look at a logo that uses multiple colors — Google. Multicolored logos express fun, easy-going, and child-like qualities. They’re often used by internet companies or multi-disciplinary organizations, which describe Google to a T. In addition to being one of the world’s most powerful search engines, Google has a plethora of other services: internet analytics, Google Apps for work, and media businesses such as YouTube. And, with the recent launch of Alphabet, Google is associated with innovative ventures like self-driving cars and anti-aging research through their biotech arm, Calico.

Evidently, Google’s multi-colored logo matches its multifaceted and unconventional identity. On it’s playful color choice, Ruth Kedar, its graphic designer explains: «There were a lot of different color iterations. We ended up with the primary colors, but instead of having the pattern go in order, we put a secondary color on the L, which brought back the idea that Google doesn’t follow the rules.»

Check out Anke Sans for a Google font dupe.

As you can see, color can signify deep meanings behind logos. And, whether you’re aware of it or not, color influences how you perceive a brand and what you decide to purchase. So if you’re tasked with creating a new email campaign, rebranding your company, or designing a brand identity for a new startup, do your research first. Color is a powerful force — be sure to use it to your advantage!


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Katerina Jeng is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Brandfolder, the world’s simplest tool to manage and share your digital assets. She enjoys traveling, writing, and all things hip-hop. Follow her on Twitter for marketing & design goodness, and snippets of everyday life.

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How to Quit Your Day Job and Open a Design Shop

Let’s build on a few of our past articles. In the past, I’ve written guides on how to rent a studio and whether graphic designers should freelance or take a 9-5. Combining both, Caitlin Zorzini’s written on how to freelance while you work a 9-5. Now, let’s talk about how to start a design business with the potential to pay your bills.

First of all, it won’t be easy. In addition to being a good enough designer to sustain a business, you’ll need to learn as much as possible about finances, accounting, management, and marketing. I put that first because it should clear out the readers who aren’t willing to put the work into those parts. It’s a tall order.

In fact, it’s so much to learn that just summing it up is hard – each of these sections could be a separate article, but we’re going to try to cover them as well as possible in around 1,600 words – which is why I recommend you do a lot more research before even committing to it.

Are You Designing for Yourself or Others?

First, are you starting a studio to work for clients, or on your passion projects?

If it’s the former, great, that’s what we’ll focus on. If it’s the latter, and you need advice on how to monetize them, that’s outside the scope of this article — just make sure you take the time to figure it out while you’re in the “business plan” stage.

If it’s both, it’s still doable, but you’re going to be in for a rough time. “Investing time in a project you really want to make means compromising on commercial projects,” says From Form co-founder Wouter Keijzer. However, the studio asserts that the risk was worth it, and their passion projects won them a number of industry awards and attracted more than enough new clients to pay for them.

Vinh disagrees, though. “If I were to start a new studio, I would square with myself — and my partners — that we’d be in the business of providing services to our clients, period,” says Vinh. “I wouldn’t want the creative and emotional distraction of trying to build products of our own, too.

Creating a Business Plan

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From Reynermedia

“Your business plan should be the first thing you do; before your website wireframes, before thinking about your studio space,” says Rob Carney. For those of you who’ve never written one before, the linked article does an excellent job laying out what you need to know, but here’s the short list of what it should contain:

  • Your business’s name and location
  • Your Unique Selling Proposition: what you specialize in and how it sets you apart from the competition
  • How you’ll make money
  • Who you’re aiming to make your clients, how you’ll find them, and why they’ll buy from you
  • How you’ll market your business
  • How many clients and projects you’re aiming to take on per week/month/year
  • How much you’ll charge, and how much you hope to earn
  • Your intended hours
  • Your expenses, both starting and recurring
  • Other ways your studio can make money if Plan A doesn’t work out

Here’s a real design studio’s business plan, for those wondering what it would look like. The spelling and grammar aren’t so great, but it’s a good look into all the elements needed to pull one off.

Assembling a Team

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“Almost nothing matters more than people,” says Adobe design exec Khoi Vinh. “How well a team works together … is a bigger determining factor than the contracts you win, the work that you do, the press coverage you get or even the money you make.”

Take both skills and how you get along into consideration. In terms of skills, if you can find one person to specialize in each part of the business you need, that works out the best. One graphic art director, one web designer, one programmer, one videographer, one marketer, etc. If you don’t have an expert in each of these in your circle of friends, a motivated amateur will do. And perhaps even more important than their skill set is how well they get along with the other team members. Thankfully, you can usually judge this pretty quickly: I’ve learned the hard way that if you start out not getting along with a business partner that well, you should probably cut your losses because it won’t improve with time.

I also recommend that you decide on a leader. It’s been my experience going into business that equal partnerships don’t work very well. Almost-equal partnerships, sure, but someone has to be able to pull rank in the end.

Funding

Are you a young designer struggling to find a career path? Have you cracked open a design mag lately? Have you seen the kinds of studios they always feature? Have you noticed how they’re all located in neighborhoods where you couldn’t even afford a studio apartment in and filled with furniture that costs more than your net worth? Have you ever torn your hair out wondering how someone could ever afford a place like that making pictures?

Well, wonder no more. The truth might be disappointing, though. According to Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust, most design businesses, like businesses of any stripe, get started on savings or loans from family and friends. “Start small, get some clients, and work your way up from there,” she says, but adds, “you might be surprised how little you actually need to get your business off the ground.” For more advice on starting a business on a tight budget, she recommends Chris Guillebeau’s “The $100 Startup.”

Finding Investors

What about those “angel investors“ you hear so much about? Well, some of them are willing to invest in design, but you’ll need to have a ton of experience in the industry, a rock-solid business plan, and preferably several successful projects like this under your belt already. Investors are thorough, and tend to make decisions by committee, so expect to be subjected to a thorough look-over, and meetings with a lot of different parties, before any money comes your way. And be wary that investor money always comes with strings attached, too. They’ll own a part of your company, so they’ll want a say in major decisions, projects, and the overall direction of the studio.

Finding Clients

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From Got Credit

Do you want to take anyone who’ll pay, or only locally-sourced, organic, indie, artisanal, fair trade vegan cupcake shops whose politics align exactly with yours? Actually, for the purposes of this article, it doesn’t matter. Determine how workable your restrictions are, put them in your business plan, and move on.

The important part is, you’ll need to spend between 10% and a quarter of your time aggressively marketing to your target audience. Network with people outside your industry, send out pitch letters and emails as well as social networking, start building an email list, and when you have the budget for it, design some slick ads and start sending them out via targeted mail and online campaigns.

As van den Akker said, start small, then use the portfolio you accumulate to find new clients. “Stefan Sagmeister, from Manhattan design firm Sagmeister & Walsh, agrees. “[Our] first music client was… a band where I was friends with the singer. We got paid the equivalent of $ 8.00 per hour. But the CD packaging was nominated for a Grammy and got us a real foot in the door with the record labels.”

When you do land clients, focus on keeping in touch with them to find out their ongoing needs and resell to them. Remember, 80% of your income will come from 20% of your clients. You don’t just need any clients, you need ones who can bring you regular enough work to pay you and your team’s salaries.

At What Point Do You Quit Your Job?

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From Quinn Dombrowski

We’ve set up the parade route, let’s rain on it.

In the words of Industrial Brand’s Mark Busse, “Rushing into starting your own design business can turn a dream into a nightmare.” The article from where that quote comes is a fantastic breakdown on the subject, and required reading for entrepreneurs of all stripes who want to quit their jobs, but the basics are that without experience, enough financial backing, and a unique feature that sets them apart from the competition, most small businesses will fail.

“There are few choices more self-indulgent than starting a business because you don’t want to put in the time to earn a position at an established company and invest the time to learn from experienced experts.” He adds.

No matter how exciting the idea of chasing your dreams, in reality, design is still a saturated market, and the costs of running one of those flashy studios from the design mags is still astronomical.

It’s not just Busse who thinks that way. When asked to advise someone who wanted to start his own studio right out of college, Mule Design’s Mike Monteiro instead suggested: “If you are serious about a career in design, the absolute best thing you can do right now is to get yourself a job at a studio working for experienced designers who are willing to teach you the parts of the trade you didn’t get in school.”

“It’s called work for a reason, and if you got into the design field because you thought it was going to be fun and easy, you’re in for a bumpy ride with a nasty ending.”

In short, stay in your job until you no longer have time for it, and until you’re consistently making enough to cover all your bills.


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Donald Trump and the Rebrand of the Century

We’re a design site, not a political one, so we won’t take a position on the election.

However, “Trump is acting like a consumer brand,” says Tom Bassett of design strategy firm Bassett & Partners, “by establishing an identity with strong cultural associations.”

And not only that, he’s performing one of the most dramatic rebrands in recent history, which is particularly interesting from a marketing and design point of view.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

His Visuals

Trump’s brand has been a chameleon over the years. His fonts and color schemes change from building to building, from book to book. “Each of Trump’s licensed products uses a different visual identity,” says DesignObserver.

In general, though, there’s a clear split between his branding before and during his presidential campaign.

He’s preferred serif fonts for most of his career, as they were the de facto for “high class” brands throughout the eighties and nineties. Stymie Extra Bold appears on the front of his HQ, and he used similar ones for the covers of his first two books and his early licensed products.

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From Richard Bravo

…But for his campaign, he’s using an Arial-Black-ish font called Akzidenz-Grotesk BQ Super, paired with a slogan in FF Meta OT Bold (whose designer isn’t happy about this).

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The only place we still see serifs is on his hats:

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From Digital Trends

The only thing all his branding has in common is capslock. “Donald Trump is an all-caps kind of guy,” says Steven Heller, design director for the School of Visual Arts.

For an even more dramatic difference, compare the difference between The Trump Organization’s website to that of his campaign.

The former tries to exude class: note the thin, understated fonts and the reliance on big, colorful slideshows: hallmarks of luxury brands. But at the same time, if you look closely, you’ll notice some amateur web design traits like brushed aluminum textures and tiny body text.

The latter’s no-frills, focuses on readability, and is strictly red, white, and blue. He’s stripping away the air of class in favor of a bolder, more straightforward image, and these changes reflect the identity he’s chosen for his run.

His Marketing Tactics

The differences aren’t just visual: his whole brand and persona underwent a massive shift for his presidential runs. Where his old one revolved primarily around wealth and class, his new one is solid strength. With that as his brand message, he’s basing his branding around three shopworn tactics.

First, where most politicians want to appeal to as broad a base as possible, Trump’s taking the opposite approach, using “laser-targeted marketing” to appeal to a very specific voting block. In this case, people like your uncle who worked at the steel plant for 30 years before they outsourced his job; who’s never trusted politicians aside from Reagan, or the government aside from the police, fire department, and military, hence his bumper stickers; and who’s always wished a street-smart, tough-talking guy like himself could get in there and sort all this mess out for good, dammit.

He appeals to the target market’s fantasies, another ad tactic, by contrasting that persona with his wealth: he’s portraying himself as the American dream personified: a regular Joe who earned billions through hard work and grit.

Second comes the element of surprise: your theoretical uncle’s now the frontrunner for president, it all happened very fast, and no one’s sure how, but we can’t stop watching it. Copyhackers calls this the “Bizarreness Effect,” and he uses it constantly in his marketing. While politicos decry his “unpresidential behavior,” insults towards media personalities’ anatomies, and crude remarks, they’re all part of the plan.

Third, he’s sticking to his message no matter what. He made headlines today by refusing to condemn violence at his rallies, but maybe that’s because, according to the brand story, his cause is worth fighting for.

His Language

A pitchman at heart, he weaves further marketing techniques into his speech. Last year, Nerd Writer made a popular video deconstructing this….

…And it’s practically a copywriting guidebook.

  • He speaks in the second person, peppers his sentences with calls-to-action, and implicates the listener as if they’ve already agreed with him.

  • He favors short, punchy words and sentences. He repeats himself. “Repeat your message again and again,” says Copyhacker.

  • The way he ends sentences with dramatic words? That’s the Serial Position Effect, which states that people remember what they hear first and last, but never in the middle.

  • He applies the Bizarreness Effect here, too Like George W. Bush, his odd grammar and phrasings go viral: even if they’re used to mock him, they’re remembered.

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From Reddit


…And he keeps it simple, with his speeches averaging a fourth grade reading level, according to The Boston Globe. His entire speaking style and presentation is tailored to appeal to his audience’s emotions, in sharp contrast to the watery language of most politicians.

The Costs

This rebrand comes at the expense of his previous base, though. In December, a nationwide consumer opinion survey by marketing giants Young & Rubicam found that “in categories such as ‘prestigious,’ ‘upper class’ and ‘glamorous’ the Trump name has plummeted among high-income consumers,” who are the very bracket who pay his bills, being the ones who can afford to rent office space in his towers and buy his luxury goods.

Was it worth it? You decide, both at the polls in November and in the comments below.

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5 Small Changes That Make a BIG Impact on Your Design Proposals

The design proposal is at the heart of any good successful project. This is the starting point that kicks off the relationship between you and your client. If you get this right, it paves the way for a smooth working dynamic and can lead to both better creative work and more commercial success.

1. A Clear Layout

First and foremost amongst the objectives for your design proposal should be clarity. This is not about showing off your most cutting-edge art direction or a time to be exploring avant-garde design solutions. What is needed however, is a clear and consistent layout that is inviting and easy to read. The one below is a great example of such:

2. Good Typography & Iconography

Good type isn’t just about kerning and leading, it’s about matching your typeface perfectly to the message you’re portraying. Even if a client may not know the ins and outs of fonts or understand how ligatures work, it’s still important to craft something that’s clear and attractive. The typography and iconography of your document should clarify the content of your pitch. A handsome template like this one below is a great start:

3. The Right Tone

As said above, there’s no need to go overboard and art direct your design proposal to the same degree you would a brand or an app. But it is important for your document to match the tone of your client’s business. A beige, corporate design proposal document wouldn’t make sense if you’re pitching a punk rock venue, for example. The Saint-Martin proposal on the other hand, shown below, has a nice, natural look and feel that might be perfectly suited for a cosmetic company or a classy hospitality brand:

4. A Professional Portfolio

A design proposal should include a sample of the work you’ve done so far as a studio or designer, especially any pieces that are similar to the project you’re pitching for. A document like the template below is a great way to show off your current projects, and makes for a handy leave-behind once the pitch is complete:

5. Details

If you’re putting together a proposal to do a simple rebrand for a small client, a one pager might be sufficient. But if you’re pitching on a large piece of business, a more detailed proposal will be necessary. A template like the one below contains enough options for tables, charts and other figures you might need when putting together something comprehensive.

So there you have it, a few things to aim for when putting together your next design proposal. Do you have any tips on putting together a good design proposal? Let us know in the comments below.


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Bad or Rad: Aquafina

You probably don’t drink enough water. I mean, nobody does, right? So when you reach for your next sip of some non-alcoholic clear liquid, it might be from an Aquafina bottle. The more than 20-year-old Pepsi company changed its logo for the first time in years. Here’s the old one:

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According to Brand New, this new design was done in-house by the people at Pepsi Co:

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So what do you think? On the one hand, having the same logo for 22 years — particularly when it looked like Aquafina’s previous version — means that a refresh was probably beyond due. But on the other, do you change a brand’s logo just for the sake of change? Let us know!

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How to Design a Killer Email Signature

It’s just an email signature, right?

People don’t really think much of their email signatures sometimes. Besides, it’s not exactly rocket science. You just have to put all your contact details, then that’s it, «you’re good to go».

This, however, is the sad thing about it. Although they are seen as easy enough to make, a lot of people still find it hard to create effective email signatures. This greatly affects the way they do business in more ways than they realize.

Why is your email signature important?

Email signature by Robey LawrenceSave

Email signature by Robey Lawrence

When you send out emails, you open up the lines of communication between you and the recipients of your email. Although it is normal for people to put a lot of focus on the body of their email, remember that even the smallest things count. This includes your email signature.

Why is your email signature important?

It gives your recipient the chance to get back to you.

Sure, each recipient can always reply to your email. But what if they would prefer other means of contacting you? What if they believe that what they have to say is so urgent that it has to be coursed through a phone call or a Skype message?

With a proper email signature, you open up all potential lines of communication, making it easier for every single one of your contacts to reach you.

It helps you represent your brand better.

The right email signature would (ideally) bear the same branding that goes with your company. It should use the right fonts and the right colors. Because of this, it also gives you the opportunity to be consistent with the brand you represent, promoting further brand recognition.

It also makes it better for your email recipients to easily relate certain colors and symbols to your brand. If, for example, they see the same prominent colors on your email signature and your website (which, of course, they can find through your email signature), they are better able to connect the two as part of a single brand.

It adds legitimacy to the business.

When you pay attention to how your email signature appears and what pieces of information goes with it, you also add legitimacy to your business. Remember when people still sent out traditional business letters? The use of a letterhead somehow makes your letters look more official. This is the same thing that your email signature does.

When you have a complete email signature, it makes it easier for every email recipient to trust you and the brand your represent. The moment you miss out on any important piece of information, it could send a message that you are not as transparent as you claim. People may also think that it is not as convenient to connect with you.

Seeing how much your email signature can actually do for you, it’s time to pay closer attention to it and everything that goes with it.

How do you create an effective email signature?

Personal Email Signature by Antonio Lo ConteSave
Personal Email Signature by Antonio Lo Conte

So how do you make your email signature as effective as possible? Here are a few tips that would help you figure out whether the one you’re using now needs to be changed or improved. Use this as a checklist of all the things that truly matter when it comes to email signatures.

Make sure it isn’t overwhelming.

Look at that email signature. Is there a lot of white space around it? If you seem to have a surplus of white space, then this only means that you’re doing things right.

A lot of people feel compelled to fill every inch of space around their email signature. But with so much going on within a small amount of space, making your email signature visually overwhelming will only take your recipient’s focus away from the important information you have to share. So stick to what’s important and forget about those glittering pictures and loudly printed quotes.

Make sure there is clear hierarchy.

Remember that in most languages, people read from left to right, from top to bottom. Because of this natural reading process, you also have to make sure that you create a visual hierarchy that corresponds to this.

Your name should, of course, take most prominent place in the hierarchy, which means that it has to be visually heavier than all the other elements. In case you want to save up on space, might as well use a pipe (the | symbol) or a slash to separate different pieces of information given in a single line. For example, you can say that you’re the Founder of ABC Company by writing “Founder | ABC Company”.

Experiment with contrast.

Ever noticed how any form of contrast will always draw your eyes into a certain point in a design? This makes this technique an effective way of drawing attention to a certain point on your email signature as well. You can use contrasting fonts or colors to make a few things on your email signature pop.

Of course, you also have to know the difference between good contrast and bad contrast. Don’t use too many fonts and colors – that’s too distracting. Stick to 1 to 2 colors and 1 to 2 fonts. Of course, you also have to make sure that all these would be aligned to your branding as well. If your brand uses the colors red and blue, that’s enough contrast for your email signature – there’s no need to add greens or yellows.

Stick to your branding.

Since we already mentioned branding in the previous tip, I might as well go ahead and explain how this works.

Remember that your email signature shows what your role is in the brand you represent. This means that your email signature itself should also represent the brand you carry. If your brand has specific colors, try to use them in your email signature. If your brand has a specific font that it uses in all company correspondence, the make sure you stick to that as well.

There are also times when some brands are known for their motto – use this on your email signature, but not in a way that it overshadows other more important elements. You can also place your logo on one side of the signature.

Make sure you have complete information, but not too much.

What are the most important things you should add to your email signature? Of course, you have your name, your company name and the position you hold, as well as your contact information. Make sure you can fit all these in around 4 lines, with a max of around 72 characters per line. This ensures that your recipient has enough reading room.

Make sure you are careful about the information you provide as well. Although you would want people to have as many options as they can in contacting you, putting in too much will also get you into trouble. If, for example, you place your personal mobile number, make sure you are ready to expect calls from clients any time of the day (or night). Wouldn’t want to entertain Skype calls at odd hours, but would prefer messages through your email? Then think twice before putting that in.

Think twice about using vcards.

VCard Profile by Fernando MaclenSave

Card Profile by Fernando Maclen

Sure, it’s very convenient for your recipient to receive a Vcard the first time they get any form of correspondence from you. This ensures that they can save your contact information more efficiently. However, if you use this format every single time, it can get pretty annoying for anyone receiving it.

Vcards can also appear as attachments on emails, so it can get scary for people who are unaware of what a vcard is. Remember that although it can be easier for a few people, you would have to think about the majority. Skip the use of vcards to make it less complicated for less technical recipients.

Do you really need that confidentiality clause?

Although some big businesses have gotten into the practice of adding a confidentiality clause below their email signature, this does not mean that you have to do the same thing. Do you really think your email recipients will be reading all that fine print?

Besides, maybe it’s better if you discuss confidential issues personally or through other means other than through an email conversation. If there is no other choice, then you can probably add a short confidentiality notice on specific emails, but not on every single one of them. This only adds to the clutter.

Are social media icons a must?

This could be a tricky one. On one hand, some people would tell you that social media details will only add to the clutter. On the other hand, social media is a great way for your email recipient to find out more about you and your brand. So how do you decide if you need to include this?

If your brand is very active on your social media profiles, then by all means, add those social media icons. Just make sure your social media profiles are something you are actually proud of. Ensure that you have valuable content. If you are still in the stage of building your profiles, or are barely available on these social media networks, then forget it.

As small as these email signatures may seem, they add value to every piece of correspondence you send out. This is why you have to be careful about how you build and present your email signature. It’s not something that you should just dismiss as unimportant. Remember that one false move on your signature can be one point deducted from your own and your brand’s appeal.


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Steal These Experts’ Client Acquisition Tricks

You have the imagination and creativity that matches nobody else’s. You have all the tools and materials needed to successfully portray every design that you create in your mind. You have the right knowledge and foresight that allows you to plan all the steps necessary to complete every project thrown your way.

What else is missing?

If you say that you’re still short on the number of clients to work with, then don’t worry, you are definitely not alone.

There are so many amazing, talented designers out there who have yet to showcase their skills because, well, there’s just no one to work with, no project to complete. More often than not, the projects go to those who have already established their presence in the business. So it’s the same people over and over again, while those new to the industry are left trying to scramble after the leftovers.

But every so often, someone breaks the mold and grabs great clients from under the more experienced designers’ noses. This is something you can do if you pay close attention to client acquisition secrets given by nothing less than the true experts in the field.

Here are a few pieces of advice coming from the very people who have mastered the art of client acquisition. By applying their tips to your client acquisition approach and methods, you can undoubtedly close deal after deal and score client after client in no time.

Lisa Calhoun, President and Founder of Write2Market

Lisa CalhounSave

Write2Market has been declared by Hubspot as one of the Top 10 Agencies for Startups in the US. Knowing that they were given this honor, there is no doubt at all that they were under the kind of leadership that knew exactly how to make those clients sign. In other words, Lisa Calhoun definitely knew what client acquisition is all about.

When asked what the secret ingredient is to client acquisition, she only has one advice – measure the broadest possible array or marketing media.

We see so many business owners, professionals and marketers pour out all their hearts and souls into one or two marketing strategies, like blogging and social media or email marketing and Facebook. But what about the potential clients that they can connect with through other means?

Before these clients seal the deal with someone else, it’s better to jump right in and get a head start. Remember that clients are always finding new ways to connect, new ways to find partners, new ways to find people they can work with. And as long as you are willing to go beyond your usual default marketing media and try out every new thing that emerges, you will find clients who can see your potential and trust you to do the job for them.

Liam Brown, Founder of Sidestep Coaching

Liam Brown, Founder of Sidestep CoachingSave

Having built 3 successful companies himself, we know that he has probably experienced and encountered every stumbling block there is when it comes to client acquisition. And guess what he did to these stumbling blocks? He went through them.

Liam Brown believes that the most important thing you should be doing before jumping into client acquisition is to identify your target market. Sure, you hear this all the time. It’s one of those sales clichés that a lot of you have gotten tired of hearing. But you know what? It has been proven to work – a lot of people just don’t know what to do with it.

This question will probably solidify things for you – if you have no idea who you’re talking to, how would you catch any of them?

Liam gave a great example when NG Data, a customer experience management solutions firm, asked him about the topic. He says that if you were to reach out to mortgage brokers, you can’t get them to say yes to attend a seminar that’s entitled “Learn How to Generate More Customers for Your Business” because it’s just too generic. It will never appeal to the mortgage broker in them.

Now try offering a seminar called “Learn how to Generate More Customers for Your Mortgage Business Through Profitable Relationships with Realtors” and you’ll see actual results. And where will this creativity and personalization come from? From knowing who your target market really is.

Bhavesh Vaghela, Chief Marketing Officer at ResponseTap

Bhavesh VaghelaSave

Knowing that ResponseTap is a leader in the industry that automates call-based marketing, it’s not surprising at all that they also know a secret or two when it comes to client acquisition. And when it comes to this topic, their CMO has only one thing to say – focus on your omni-channel client acquisition strategy.

What is omni-channel client acquisition? This means that you pay close attention not only to your online touchpoints, but to the ones available offline as well.

The digital era has made every single marketer turn into digital experts, which has led a lot of them to neglect the traditional means of marketing. Yes, going online and staying digitally connected gives definite results. But you would also have to consider those who fancy a real conversation done the traditional way – by talking to them personally, and not through a gadget.

Call center data, according to studies, are still important. After all, this data reveals actual customers talking to you as a brand, telling you what their actual experience is. So what if you get a few rude calls telling you that you’re no good? Remember that this is the juicy stuff – the stuff that’s going to allow you to improve on what you can improve and change the way clients see your service.

Antoinette Forth, Entrepreneur, Strategic Advisor and Mentor

Antoinette ForthSave

Imagine having worked in corporate sales for over 25 years. Add to that 8 years of successful independent consultancy and you have a true expert in Antoinette Forth. Her advice to those struggling with client acquisition? Look at customers both on micro and macro levels.

It can’t be just one approach. It has to be a perfect blend of the two.

The micro level deals with actual human interaction between you and your customer. How do you do this? By joining conversations on social media. By looking at their network connections and understanding how they interact with other people online. The moment you start understanding how these people interact with one another is the same moment you understand how to interact with them yourself.

And when you look at them on a macro level, you create personas for them. You paint a picture of who they are, what they’re interested in, what they look for and what they despise. This is the key step in any client acquisition strategy because it allows you to draw plans and personalize your products and services before you even talk to any of the people you are targeting.

Rob Watson, Freelance Marketing Consultant

Rob WatsonSave

Rob Watson has been in marketing for over 20 years, helping companies and individuals market their brands, products and services. With such a huge amount of experience in his portfolio, it’s safe to say that he’s seem them all.

When it comes to customer acquisition, he has one thing to say. Look at the numbers.

A lot of people strategize and brainstorm endlessly, sometimes forgetting about why they’re strategizing and what they’re brainstorming for. If you want real, effective results from all the planning, you need to have the numbers laid out in front of you.

How much budget are you working with? How was your performance last quarter? What are your goals for this period? How many clients are you targeting? How many clients are you currently connected with?

By asking yourself these questions, you can get the kind of numbers that matter. From here, you can have a more organized plan that once implemented will give you the kind of results you’ve been hoping for.

Idan Shpizear, Owner and Founder of 911 Restoration

Idan Shpizear goes right back to the basics and tells it how it is. When it comes to customer acquisition, he believe that the most important thing to look at is building trust.

Step outside your marketing hat and think of yourself as a consumer. Would you purchase anything from a person you don’t trust? Would you even consider trying something out if your gut tells you that the person selling it to you is up to no good?

Now step right back into the marketing realm and ask yourself – am I trustworthy?

Trust, however, is not exactly something that you can have in an instant. It’s something that you build over time.

Be approachable and make sure you are open to people’s inquiries, suggestions, and comments. Avoid blocking anyone’s opinions no matter how different these are from your own. Practice this every chance you get, from smiling at a random person you see in the grocery aisles to having some light chitchat with the storekeeper down the road. This simple brand of friendliness will shine through and will transform you into someone who people can instantly feel comfortable with, someone who can be easily trusted.

And once you have gained people’s trust, make sure you don’t break it. Deliver what you promise and make sure you attend to any issues the moment they surface. This way, people know that anytime anything goes wrong, you still have their back. That’s where clients can prove that their trust is in the right place, something that they’ll happily share with other people who can potentially be your clients, too.

Maile Cabral, Brand Publicist

Maile CabralSave

Maile Cabral is someone who has proven how well she understands the entire process of client acquisition solely by the clients she has gotten and retained throughout the years. She is considered an expert in celebrity endorsement, celebrity placements and celebrity social media brand support and engagement.

The best advice she can give to those who are struggling with client acquisition? Concentrate on long-term branding.

Sure, you may be seeing a huge influx of site visitors today. You may have sold so much of your products in just a single week. But have you thought about planning for next week? Next month? Next quarter?

When you think about branding, you have to think long-term. This is where the real treasure lies, after all. Those customers may be buying for now, but how are you ensuring that they remember you after their initial purchase? When you focus on long-term branding, you can make sure that they will be coming back for more, cementing your numbers and allowing them to grow faster and stronger.

Jeremy Durant, Business Principal for Bop Design

Jeremy DurantSave

Jeremy Durant has worked with so many Fortune 500 companies, helping them build branding and marketing strategies. And if he were to share one of his most surefire client acquisition strategies with you, he would tell you this – look at your content.

Remember that through your content, people can immediately sense whether you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s the best way for you to be discovered by potential clients, and will also be the best way for you to connect with them. The best part about this is that people already know how good you are on what you do based on what they have read and seen. So closing the deal will pretty much be a little easier from there.

Make sure you deliver consistent relevant content so that you can make every potential client feel that you truly are looking after their welfare and would like them to be as educated as possible. From here, you can start building long-term relationships, pushing these people to become brand ambassadors for you in the end.

Different experts, different pieces of advice. Remember that client acquisition is not just something you do so that you can start hitting your quotas or raising your profits. Rather, it’s something you do to build a stronger foundation for your profession and business, allowing you to make those great design projects to just keep coming in without you even putting in as much effort a good few years from now.


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Infographic Design: How to Visualize Data Like a Pro

From Column Five

This is the golden age of the infographic, but the process behind them is still a mystery to the general public: where does the data come from? How do they come up with the ideas for all these stunning interactive ones? And what data should be made into an infographic in the first place?

An Infographic’s True Purpose

Simply put, an infographic is born when numbers are needed to back up a story, but there’s too much of it, or it’s too difficult to interpret, to just dump on the page. Although the cool factor’s good for bringing in the social shares, it’s not the main reason they’re made.

“The goal of a graphic is not to make numbers ‘interesting,’ but to transform those numbers (or other phenomena) into visual shapes from which the human brain can extract meaning,” says infographics and visualization professor Alberto Cairo.

Every infographic has to prove a point, or tell a story, and the design should support that. Professional news teams around the globe are excelling when it comes to infographic production, and we’re here to tell you how they do it.

Gathering Data

Once a news team comes up with a rough concept, collecting the data is the next step. Or it’s sometimes the first, if a news team comes across that data before they know what to do with it.

A lot of it can come from public records. If you need data on the global economy, check The World Bank or for your own country’s, someone like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you need info on a publicly traded company, check their quarterly shareholder reports. Something to do with the lay of the land? Check your country’s geoscience data. The Census Bureau can provide a lot more than you’d think: aside from the predictable demographic stuff, they also chart things like commute times and housing rentals.

If that’s the case, the design team’s lucked out. But some newsrooms prefer to collect it themselves to make sure it’s accurate and can best paint the picture it needs to. “We’ve always thought it better for us to go out ourselves to gather the material that we need,” says the New York Times’s Archie Tse. This can take the form of calling up a company and requesting it, sending a team out to take opinion polls, or interviewing experts.

Even when the data itself doesn’t come from the team themselves, others, like Bloomberg, will create custom algorithms to better organize it, making sure they have a unique spin on it that other newsrooms or independent companies won’t. From there, it’s usually pasted into Excel, or a similar spreadsheet program, to organize it in preparation for creating the graphic.

NYT Info 1Save

From SND

Telling The Story

Next, the team has to determine whether it actually supports the story they want to tell. If so, they’re good to go on to the next step. If not… An unethical team will doctor it, or present the infographic in a misleading way, to support the story anyway. An ethical team will look for another angle from which to present the data. This often leads to an entirely other infographic concept being created, or the first one being wildly changed.

When the Times was given Netflix’s geo-tagged movie popularity rankings, their initial goal was to create a nationwide map of which ones were the most popular in which places. But that was too broad to highlight the real story within the data, which was revealed in what the different neighborhoods within certain cities were watching, giving them an overview of how class and cultural differences affected viewing tastes. So instead of creating a vague map of the US by county, they created detailed ones of 12 individual cities. “Our focus is mostly on finding interesting or important patterns in the data, and displaying those patterns succinctly,” as their graphic director Steve Duenes puts it.

Pictuwwre-1Save

The design’s rough draft. From SND

Creating The Design

Once the data’s gathered and the story extrapolated, you have to find the best design for the infographic.

“There are two overarching visual approaches to determining the look and feel of an infographic,” says Hyperakt’s Josh Smith. “In one camp, there are those who prefer to make the raw data beautiful [with] charts and graphs … Those in the second camp … prefer to use illustration or metaphor.”

The two camps have a similar design process up to this point, but here’s where they split.

Should the team choose the first approach, simplicity is the goal. There are a limited variety of infographic types, detailed here, and most new ones are just various combinations or modifications of the existing ones. And the content usually dictates which one they choose, as with the Netflix map. So their main concerns become colors, shapes, and what text to put where.

The second approach produces more visually impressive results, but is less practical for a news team. For a map of a journalist’s climb up Kilimanjaro, one graphics editor had to use elevation data to sculpt a 3d model of the mountain, then cover it in satellite images of the mountain. If it seems like this is starting to sound more like a piece of concept art than a chart, that’s because infographics are increasingly blurring the line. And research into the details of a scene can be exhaustive. “We don’t want to invent anything,” says Duenes, so the graphics team frequently has to consult floor plans, architectural photos, and satellite image, and it’s not uncommon for a team member to visit the site—Tse has been to Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon to make sure their graphics were accurate.

Screen-Shot-2015-10-14-at-2.03.45-AMSave


From SND


If the graphic has to be interactive, that adds yet another layer of complexity. “Developing deep interactive features often means joining hands with a couple of other departments whose staff members have extensive specialized skills,” says Duenes. Illustrators are called in to render charts and locations, animators have to make the transitions, and UX designers need to make sure everything’s responsive and works on all platforms. Some of the bigger newsrooms, like the Times, have separate interactive news technology departments.

ezgif-2088031564Save


From Fast Company


The Aftermath

Even after an infographic’s published, that’s often not the end. the first visualization on a subject is often not the only one. The NYT graphics department, for one, prefers to release a quickie infographic right after a story first breaks, then take their time researching the subject in depth to create more detailed ones later on.

Teams also monitor comments sections for visitors who’ve noticed patterns or facts they might not have noticed: this can even provide ideas for future versions, since “online discussion can expand (or tear apart) your argument in new ways. This collective vetting often means the project is never quite done,“ says Smith. However, “while it is intimidating to let your project become a part of this process, it is also the reason the medium is so rewarding. An intensely scrutinized design is one that has stirred the minds of its audience.“

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Today’s Most Impactful Logos, Proven By Science

Logos — particularly logo changes — can be pretty controversial. After all, people get adjusted to looking at a logo a certain way, and since resisting change can sometimes feel so natural, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of hating a new design. But what if there was a scientific way to determine which logos were best? It turns out there is, and it uses your eyes — and an app.

It’s called Dragonfly, and it was created using a system that was developed at Queen Mary University of London. Here’s how they put it: «The technology replicates specific ‘visual pathways’ that we as humans use to process visual information to make sense of what we see around us.»

What does that all mean? Basically, they use this technology to identify what will grab our attention in a design. That concept is called Visual Saliency, and once you run a design through this app, you’ll get a score from 1-100 that determines the «saliency score» of a certain design, with the higher numbers being better. Basically the higher the score, the better — from a scientific perspective based on how your eye tracks to the image.

Business Insider found out about this new technology, and they asked Dragonfly to rate some recent logo changes. Let’s see some of the results:

Instagram

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Instagram’s newest logo scored a 68 over the previous logo’s 58, indicating that it was «more impactful,» with most of the credit going to the bright colors contrasting with the white circles that draw the eyes towards the center.


Twitter

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Twitter’s old logo rated a 47, with the new one sitting at 58. Why? Well, the feathers on the top of the head of the old logo were distracting, and the beak is a bit more of a focal point on the new one.


Facebook

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Blame the «a» for the 1-point change from 80 to 79 in Facebook’s logo. Well, that and the mildly thinner font choice.


Paypal

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PayPal went from 72 to 66 with their logo change. Why? The white border around the previous version was a bit stronger, and the new blue looks a bit washed out.


via Business Insider

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