What are brand guidelines?

Brand guidelines (also referred to as a style guide) is a comprehensive document that can be used to help identify and build your brand. It is, in essence, your owner’s manual on how to use your brand and ensures it is always portrayed consistently and accurately.

Why are they needed?

Brand guidelines put a set of rules in place to make sure that your brand is being portrayed professionally and helps limit any variations or confusion. These are usually created by the design agency after a brand identity (or rebrand) has been completed.

Who is it created for?

Almost all sections of a company can benefit from having brand guidelines, from the product development team right through to the marketing and creative departments. It can also be a useful resource to hand out to new employees so they gain a better understanding of the brand’s history, vision, personality and key values.

What should be included?

Some brand guidelines may be as thick as a novel, while others are short, easy to digest documents. Although their primary function is to lay out a set of rules, this doesn’t mean that they have to be boring.

Some key points to include are:

  • Introduction: This is the section where you introduce your brand and give an insight into what your company stands for and what you are hoping to achieve. You should include your brand story, your mission, your values and your personality.
  • Logo: You should display your logo as full colour and a black and white version. Give examples of how it works on various backgrounds. Rules should then be set in place with regards to your logos safe area, positioning and scaling – you could state the minimum size the logo can be used at in order to keep it legible.


  • Colour palette: Colour is an important element of a brands visual language. It keeps it distinctive and reflects the brands personality. Introduce your core and secondary colours and break these colours down into their values for Spot, CMYK and RGB (or HEX for online if relevant). State any tints that can be used and any other variations or rules that should be considered when selecting colour.

  • Typography: Layout both your primary and secondary typefaces and show the full font families for both of these ( bold, italic etc). State if there are any rules for what font is to be used as a header, body text etc. If your fonts for online are different you should also list these. Any rules when it comes to kerning, tracking etc should also be listed.

  • Photography: You will no doubt have a clear idea of what imagery will best portray your company. Show examples of images that have performed well for your brand or create a mood board of the type of images that should be used.
  • Voice: How you communicate to your audience is important. It influences the way people interact with the company and how they feel about your brand. Set the tone of voice that you should be using and the style you should be communicating in – technical/ non-technical; formal/casual/slang.

The above are just a few points which you ought to include in your brand guidelines. You may also want to go into detail about your iconography, tone of voice, packaging, and any of your online or offline marketing materials.

As your business grows, so will the level of detail needed. Ensure you strike the right balance when creating the document  – the guidelines need to be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough so that there’s no confusion about how to implement your visual identity. 


Tips for creating a successful Powerpoint presentation

PowerPoint can be a valuable tool to convey information and is a great way to engage visual learners. Even if the spoken presentation is well rehearsed, a bad visual experience can ruin it for the audience. That’s why it’s always best to enlist the help of a designer, so that your slides look polished, professional and on-brand. Here are our tips for creating a successful presentation…

Keep it Simple

Keep your design as clutter free as possible so that it is easy for people to process. White space should be used generously as it sets the tone of your design and gives more impact to your message. If you feel your slide is beginning to look a bit too busy with too much happening, then split your message out over several slides.

When it comes to text, remember that less is more. Headlines should be bold and stand out on the page. You can use bullet points to get across your key messages and make sure you keep the text brief and to the point.

Keep the design consistent

Having one style for one slide and then a different style for another can be jarring to the audience. The design of your presentation should be in keeping with your brand. The same fonts should be used and ideally you should stick to no more than two font families. A template can be created with certain features you want to remain consistent throughout the whole presentation. For example this one we created for Vestey (pictured below) has the orange and red lines at the top and bottom of each page, the logo on the right hand corner and the headline in the same colour, font, size and location on every page.

Make it visual

Nothing makes peoples’ eyes glaze over faster than a text-heavy slide, or slide after slide of just text . We understand images instantly. We have to work to process text. In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. Therefore the use of large, powerful images will get your point across quicker as well as looking visually appealing. You should make sure your images are of good quality and not pixelated.

Avoid using distracting graphics, such as clipart, that do not offer value and can make your presentation appear tacky. Infographics can be used to break up the monotony of words, these should be simple, easy to follow and use the same colours and fonts as your brand.

Tell a story

Every presentation should start with an intro and an end slide, these need to instantly grab the audiences attention. Storytelling has always been an effective way to convey information and make it more memorable. So, don’t just give information, facts, and figures on your slides. See if there is a theme you can tie throughout your whole presentation. Just like a story, your presentation should have a good structure to it and should flow easily.

If you’ve ever had to present to a group of people, you will know how intimidating it can be. You can relieve a lot of this pressure by putting some groundwork in and preparing an engaging visual presentation that is sure to impress your audience. 


How to stand out at your next trade show

Exhibitions and trade shows are an excellent way for your business to gain exposure and meet prospective clients. We’ve had a lot of experience over the years of creating everything from pop-up banners all the way up to full scale exhibition stand design, so here’s all you need to know to make your company stand out at your next event…

Stay true to your brand

First impressions are everything and therefore it’s vital that your brand is instantly recognisable and consistent. Stick to the same colours, fonts and approach that is used throughout your other marketing material. You should take into account your brand values and what you want to reflect in the design. Always think about your target audience and the people who are attending the show and create a design that works for them. Your logo should be in a prominent position that can be seen from all angles, so that there is no mistaking who you are. Ideally it should be placed on the top half of your exhibit stand so that it is not blocked by people in your display area. Make sure other key information (like your website and contact details) are given plenty of room and are bold enough to be seen from a distance.

Maximise your space

It is essential to maximise and fully utilise the exhibition floor space you have been allocated. You will need to confirm dimensions with the organisers beforehand so you know exactly what space you have available to work with. Some shows allow you to build exhibit up to 6 metres or 20 feet high. Be sure to capitalize on this height if it is allowed. Find out if there are any pillars or structural elements in your area that may restrict the design. Always try to keep meeting areas to the back of the exhibition stand space to prevent anybody from blocking the view of potential new clients.

Go big and go bold 

Attendees often don’t have the time (or patience!) to stop and read scrolls of text on your exhibition stand. Instead use headers, quotes and bullet points to grab people’s attention. Strong, powerful imagery and graphics are a quick and effective medium to communicate a complex message or idea. Carefully consider where you place your images, making sure they can be seen from a distance and won’t be concealed. If you want to display products or packaging then do so in a clean and uncluttered way.

Consider a Shell Clad system

Trade show stands are simple metal frames with soft boards available for you to hang your artwork onto, however it can be tricky to avoid the metal frames getting in the way of your designs or branding. Using a Shell Clad system allows you to have a seamless design or image run over the entire wall or walls of your stand. They come in sturdy rollable panels and use velcro attachments, so can be put up in minutes. They create an impressive impact and avoid the distracting silver lines throughout your stand.

Consider using roller banners

Roller banners are a great way to present lots of information about your brand without needing to have printed leaflets or brochures, which can take up a lot of space. The banners should be branded and tie in with the rest of your design. An advantage of roller banners is that can be quickly assembled and they offer you the flexibility of moving their position to suit your needs. They can then be easily stored and reused for future events.

Invest in a great promotional video

If you want to grab people’s attention then invest in a short promotional video which describe your products, services or company values. A television or computer screen has the added benefit of taking up minimal space on your stand and you can share a couple of videos or presentations which allow you to get your key messages across.

Get a branded Gazebo

The summer months bring lots of opportunities for outdoor festivals and fayres that companies can exhibit at. The last thing you want to do at these events is blend into the background. Printed Gazebo’s have become extremely popular at outdoor events – especially given the Scottish Summer it is always wise to have a waterproof shelter at your event! They are essentially a huge blank canvas for you to advertise your brand on. With lots of different panels, there is plenty of space to get across your messages. Due to their compact folding nature they take up little room when packed away and are therefore easily stored and transported.

Before the trade show begins take the time to promote your presence at the event on social media. You can also create an email marketing promotion, using a list of people who fit your audience’s profile and are likely to attend the event (please ensure you stick to GDPR guidelines). By following these tips and creating a stand that is both eye-catching and inviting you should be able to attract the attention you deserve at your next trade show.


Tips for creating successful business stationery

In this digital era, it is all too easy for companies to underestimate the impact that a well-designed stationery set can have on their clientele. Printed stationery is an important advertising tool that can project your company’s image in a positive light.

Giving the right impression

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you’re handed a cheap looking business card or receive a poorly designed letter through the door, chances are you will be left with a negative opinion of that business and question whether you can trust them or not.

Customers need to be able to make a clear connection between your brand and the validity of the communication you’ve sent them. With each printed material the design should stay consistent throughout, using the same colours, fonts and approach that is used in your branding.

Using premium paper stocks, that are professionally printed, can highlight your stationery as coming from a credible company. There are also different printing techniques that can be used which can add extra interest to your finished product.

Some examples of these are:

Spot UV – A creative way to add depth and contrast through varying levels of sheen and texture.

Foil stamping – Foil stamping uses foil rather than ink to create coloured designs on stationery. Foil is transferred onto the paper or card using a die that presses the foil into the design with the help of heat and pressure.

Letterpress – The process involves using moulds of letters and designs along with ink to press the designs into thick paper, leaving the paper indented.

So what business stationery do you need?

Of course, needs may vary from business to business, but here are some of the most common categories for essential business stationery

  • Letterheads
    A letterhead, or letterheaded paper, is the heading at the top of a sheet of letter paper. That heading usually consists of a name and an address, and a logo or corporate design, and sometimes a background pattern. In addition to a strong design, there are some things you need to include by law. These differ depending on your type of business. The general list of requirements are as follows:
    1. The name of your company.
    2. The location where your company is registered.
    3. The company registration number.
    4. The registered address.
    5. The address of any other company location unless it is living accommodation.
    For a full breakdown of what you need to include click here 

 

  • Envelopes
    Creating a strong branded envelope can really make an impact when it lands on a customer’s doorstep. Not only does it show professionalism but it stands out amongst other generic mailings.

 

  • Compliment slips
    A compliment slip is a small piece of paper on which a company’s name, address, and logo are printed and which is sent out with goods or information, typically in place of a covering letter. Compliment slips give the opportunity for a genuine connection between you and a client, as they allow you the space to add a handwritten note

 

  • Business cards
    There are a couple of ‘standard’ sizes for business cards, with one of the most popular being 55 x 85mm. Our main advice when it comes to designing business cards is to keep them simple. Usually this consists of the company logo on the front and the key information on the back – typically a name, phone number, email, web address and social handles. Most business cards are printed on card stock as this is the most cost-effective. If you’re willing to get a little more creative, you can print onto all sorts of different materials including transparent plastics, metals or even wood. Think carefully about the quantities you’re likely to use before any of your business details change – such as your address or telephone number. We can organise printing as little as 50x units, however a more standard and sometimes cost effective quantity is 250-500x or 500x plus. Printing larger volumes is cheaper – but you don’t want to be left with old stock with outdated information.

 

  • Other
    Corporate stationery does not start and finish with letterheads and business cards, but covers plenty of other products that can play a role in setting the right tone for your business. These can range from notepads, pens, USB sticks, labels, stickers, cards, diaries, calendars, highlighter pens, postcards…the list is endless. There’s no need to go crazy and buy lots of business stationary you won’t use, instead be selective and choose the right stationery for your marketing purpose.

 

Whether your just starting out in your business or it has been going a while, business stationery is something you are going to need at your disposal as a marketing asset to build your brand. Taking the time to get it looking right is sure to benefit you greatly in the long run.


Using video to capture your ideal customers

In the past 30 days, more online video content has been uploaded to the web than the past 30 years of TV content. This is a staggering statistic and one that highlights just how important online video is as a marketing tool in today’s society. It’s not hard to see why – video is an easy-to-digest format and it gives consumers eyes a break from reading scrolls of text that may ultimately lose their attention.

The popularity of online video in the food & drink sector

Buzzfeed’s Tasty Facebook page only launched in July 2015, but since then it has amassed over 96 million fans and it has revolutionised overhead video for the food and drink industry. Take one of their most popular videos “Sliders four ways” for example. This has been viewed over 209 million times.

In the past 30 days, more online video content has been uploaded to the web than the past 30 years of TV content 

Tasty’s videos last from 30 seconds to two minutes and their fast pace and quick visual steps help viewers watch them right until the very end. The videos tap into current trends as well as users’ interests. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in a text (Source: Forbes, 2018). The combination of brevity, simplicity and relevance makes Tasty’s videos highly shareable and this has significantly contributed to the success of the page. Sharing the content helps the page reach a wider audience and this in turn encourages the company to create further videos.

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in a text 

Many famous chefs and high-profile food producers are following this trend and creating short recipe or process videos to share across social media. Companies such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are now filming recipe videos to inspire potential customers by showing them simple meal ideas that they can create at home using their products

So how do you transfer viewers into clients?

Online brand video must be unique, engaging and straight to the point – 33% of viewers will stop watching after 30 seconds and 45% will leave after one minute if they aren’t interested in what they see (Source: Forbes). People want to learn something that they don’t already know, for example, “how-to” searches on YouTube are up 70% year over year (according to data released by Google). This could range from teaching a tasty new recipe to showing your manufacturing process. We always make sure that we spend a great deal of time on the storyboarding phase, so that the timeline of the video is well planned and the message gets across clearly. The final few seconds of the video should always be dedicated to incorporating your contact info and a call to action telling viewers their next step.

Using the right equipment

Video equipment has evolved so much in recent years and is much more readily available. Companies can now get professional video content without having to hire an entire film crew. Smaller more affordable cameras, stabilisers, light and audio as well as things like drones mean it’s much easier to capture captivating, cinematic video on a smaller budget

33% of viewers will stop watching after 30 seconds and 45% will leave after one minute if they aren’t interested in what they see 

Not only has the equipment changed but so has the speed in which video has to be produced. No longer can you spend months upon months painstakingly editing footage – by the time you’ve done this your competitor has already hosted multiple live videos, completed several social video marketing campaigns and raised customer retention. Advances in editing software, processing speeds and file transfers mean we can turnaround quality videos quickly, ensuring your content is being shared to the world at right time.

One of the biggest strengths of video marketing is that it’s highly visual and auditory, which means it’s easier for many users to remember than its text-based counterpart. If your brand sticks in a customers mind then this can translate into more sales and leads for your company.


The Good and Bad of Advertising

Earlier this week Cadbury had to withdraw an advertising campaign, which urged children to dig for treasure after archaeologists said it encouraged people to break the law (view the full story here).

This isn’t the first time an ad campaign has had to be pulled due to a badly thought out idea. We’ve scoured the internet to find some of our favourite examples of engaging advertisements and also some of the biggest mistakes, which ended up crossing the boundaries of good taste and design.

Vehicle Livery

The Good

  • Copenhagen Zoo
    This memorable wrap created by Y&R, Denmark for Copenhagen Zoo is guaranteed to grab people’s attention and get them talking. It shows a giant constrictor snake squeezing the complete Copenhagen citybus.
  • National Geographic Channel
    Sticking with the animal theme, this bus features shark jaws printed on double doors that appear to swallow up any passenger that steps inside. Where many others would see the door as a restriction, this particular designer has not only creatively incorporated it, but made it a key feature of the design.
  • FedEx
    Entitled the “Always first truck”, this clever design was created by Miami Ad School, Germany for FedEx. The concept behind it is to show that they are always ahead of their competitor, DHL. It’s  brilliantly executed and if you look closely you can still see the Fedex truck through the DHL truck’s windows.
The Bad
  • Unknown
    The designer of this advert failed to take into account that vehicles have moveable features (we’re talking doors and windows!) that once adjusted can make a professional design look not quite so professional anymore.
  • Starbucks
    The global coffee chain were left red faced after the sliding door on their van sent out a completely different message than they had intended. Somebody took a photograph and before you know it, the picture had gone viral for the world to see. This just goes to prove that as a designer you have to think of every eventuality to make sure you are never caught out.

Print Design

The Good

  • Belgian League of Alhzeimer
    This newspaper ad shows the ink dissolving or being brushed away, much like the memory of those living with Alzheimer’s Disease. The caption simply reads: Today 85 000 Belgians won’t remember what they read in their newspaper. Let’s support them.

  • Band-Aid
    Good advertising is all about simplicity and strong imagery. This ad campaign for Band-Aid Flexible Fabric shows how their plaster will stay on even after you transform into The Hulk. It also gives the message that even the strongest, most indestructible characters need plasters every now and then.

  • Moms Demand Action
    This powerful ad uses shock tactics to get its point across. The advertisement is questioning the logic which bans chocolate eggs to protect the safety and health of the kids, but does not do anything about ownership of something as deadly as assault weapons. It is a conversation starter and by using innocent children in the ad it resonates with many parents and inspires them to take action.
The Bad

  • Match.com
    In 2016 the dating site found itself in hot water after an advert placed in the London Underground left many commuters with a bitter taste in their mouth. “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.” the text read, on top of an image of a woman with red hair and freckles. The wording of the ad had caused hostility on Twitter from redheads and non-redheads alike and Match.com were forced to issue an apology

  • Pepsi
    A co-promotion between Pepsi’s Hong Kong division and Japanese clothing maker A Bathing Ape started out with promise. However, by using Pepsi’s typeface the Aape “A” ended up looking a whole lot like an “R.” So Aape became Rape. Ooops!

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
    Dunkin’ Donuts has apologised after it ran an advertisement in Thailand featuring a woman in “blackface” make-up. The advert, which was used to promote the donut giant’s “charcoal donut”, was called “bizarre and racist” by a leading human rights group.

So what have we learnt from these examples? Firstly, a great deal of thought has to go into the design, from thinking about the functionality to making sure that the message is clear and can’t be misconstrued. For advertising to be effective it has to resonate with consumers by ringing true and delivering a meaningful message.

Every project should be checked and then double-checked. Getting a fresh pair of eyes on the design can also help to give a new perspective and spot any errors that may have been missed. Following good design principles means that projects can confidently be sent to print without any nasty repercussions.


The Psychology of Colour

Understanding the psychology of colour can be a valuable asset for designers and business owners when it comes to selecting the right palette for their brand. Colour is all around us, and different shades and hues can effect consumers emotions which may have an impact on how they perceive your company. The emotional effect of colours differ from person to person based on gender, cultural context and neurological variances. Below we’ve listed some general pointers which might help you pick the best colour for your brand.

Blue

Blue is a very popular choice for a brand colour. It represents stability, harmony, peace, calm and trust. Because of these reasons it is found in an abundance of different industries from tech companies to the banking sector. It is also the colour the NHS chose to use in their logo. Blue is thought to put people at ease as it reminds them of the sky and the ocean. Conversely, blue can also carry some negative connotations and can be seen as quite cold if used incorrectly.

Green

This is associated with growth, health and nature. It is a relaxing colour that is easy on the eye and is used heavily among “healthy brands” from pharmaceuticals to organic food. There is a wide variation between the shades with deeper greens being associated with affluence and lighter greens with serenity. Negative associations that come along with green can include envy and greed.

Red

Using red in your branding can capture attention. It is associated with excitement, passion, energy, and action. On the flip side, red can also be linked to danger and possibly even anger. After all red is the colour of stop signs. Red is often used in call to actions or in sale icons, as the powerful shade helps draw consumers eyes towards it. This colour also encourages appetite and is therefore frequently used by fast food chains.

Yellow

When you think of yellow, you might recount bright summer days and sunshine. It evokes feelings of happiness and optimism. A little touch of yellow can help your audience associate your brand with something positive. Much like how red has been proven to increase heart rate and increase appetite, yellow has a similar effect. Together they are the most popular colours for fast food restaurants because they evoke the tastebuds and appetite. However, some shades of yellow can look dirty, while tints can challenge the eyesight, so it is important to select the right palette.

Orange

Orange represents creativity, adventure, enthusiasm and success. Due to how fresh it looks, you will see it in a lot of food and drink branding. Because orange is associated with fun and vibrancy, it is well suited to youthful, energetic brands and possibly less so for traditional or more corporate brands. There is usually a strong positive or negative reaction to orange – you either love it or you hate it (we absolutely love it!)

Purple

In colour psychology, purple is seen as a royal colour. It evokes thoughts of power, nobility, luxury and wisdom. Purple is said to be one of the hardest colours for the human eye to pick out. Perhaps this is why it’s not a particularly common colour within branding, although several larger ‘luxury’ confectionery brands do utilise this colour to their advantage.

Pink

Pink is a delicate colour which has connotations of compassion, sweetness, playfulness and love. It tends to be used in cosmetics, fashion, beauty and romance. Combining it with darker colours can give it more sophistication and strength.

Brown

Brown is an earthy colour and can relate to comfort, security and a down to earth nature. It is organic and wholesome, simple and honest. It may not be everyones’ favourite colour, however it is still used frequently in marketing. Coffee and chocolate companies often use it in their packaging because it compliments their product.

The best colour combinations are ones that reflect your brands personality. By using colours strategically it can help you to attract customers and connect with them.


How to Write the Perfect Creative Brief

Writing a detailed and accurate creative brief can greatly speed up the creative process. It eliminates any time spent on guesswork and allows us, the designers, to understand the clients objectives as well as allowing the client to understand the design aspects better. To find out what makes a fantastic creative brief, we’ve listed some pointers below. 

1. Tell us about yourself

First of all we want to learn all about your company so that we can understand your background and your goals for the future. What are your USP’s (unique selling points) that make you stand out from the crowd? Tell us about your vision, set of values or mission statement. If you have Brand Guidelines then please share them with us so that we can have a read through and make sure that we adhere to them.

2. What is the message you want to deliver?

What would you like to achieve with this project?  Are you trying to deliver a completely new message to your audience or reinforce what you already stand for? Once we are clear about what your message is we can then translate this into every aspect of the design.

3. Who is your target audience?

Now that we’ve found out all about you, we want to know who your target audience are. This is so we can tailor the design towards their specific needs. Are they young or old? Male or female? Fun or serious? Corporate or non-corporate?

4. Competitor Analysis

Who are your biggest competitors in the marketplace at the moment? It’s always worthwhile doing some research into similar brands to find out how they are portraying themselves and to allow us to see what we are up against. Feel free to include if there is anything you admire about your competitor’s approach or alternatively what you would like to steer clear of. We want to create a fresh design for you that is powerful, original and stands out from the crowd.

5. Who will we be working with on the project?

Knowing each of the different people we will come into contact with during the project can be extremely helpful for us. Is there a marketing team we will be working with, or will it just be one single person who will be dealing with the project? If it is multiple people we are dealing with, then knowing who to approach during different stages of the project will save everybody a lot of time and cut out any back and forth. For example who is responsible for supplying the content? And who is responsible for signing off the project?

6. Anything you have seen that you like?

If you have ideas in your head of how you envisage the design looking then we would love you to share them with us. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to know how the final design is going to look (after all, that’s what we’re here for!) but if there’s certain styles that you like, colours you want incorporated or fonts that you prefer, then please feel free to share them with us either via images, sketches or links to websites etc. You can use Pinterest to create a mood board of things that inspire you and then you can share this board with us, so we can see exactly what you are thinking. Perhaps you have designs you have done in the past and you would like them to follow a similar format. This isn’t a problem, as we can replicate and enhance the design so it falls in line with the same style that has been done previously.

7. Project specifics

There may be things from the get-go that you are clear need to be included. For example if we are designing a brochure for you, you may know the size and orientation it needs to be. There may be certain logos, elements or information that you want included in specific places. Drawing a flat plan can often help in these instances – so you can allocate exactly where you want certain details to be.

8. Content

This is  obviously a vital part of the project. Captivating copy and stand out imagery is really going to attract potential customers. Let us know if there is anything we can help with –  we can supply copywriters and we have our own sub-division, Thyme, which specialises in commercial photography for the food and drinks industry. We also have access to stock imagery that we can use throughout the design.

9. Key deadlines

Every project has a timescale that we need to adhere to. However you may have other deadlines along the way, such as board presentations or meetings. If you let us know any dates in advance then we can manage our time accordingly to make sure that we hit every target that is asked from us.

10. Budget

It’s worth making sure that the budget is clearly detailed from the beginning so that you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your money and whether your ideas are feasible.

As you can see, a detailed brief can make the design stage faster, better, and a lot more effective. We hope this blog has helped you to understand the process a little bit better. 


2018 Retrospective

We’d like to begin this blog by wishing you all a Happy New Year! We hope you had a fantastic festive period and you are now fully relaxed and looking forward to a prosperous 2019. We know we certainly are! The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that we updated our website at the end of last year. By collating all our work together it allowed us to take stock on what a busy year we had and reflect on the wide variety of projects we worked on. So we thought we would kick of the year by looking back at some of the clients that we had the pleasure of working with in 2018.

Parsley Box

Parsley Box deliver nutritious ready meals that are both tasty and convenient. We were initially tasked with updating their existing packaging template and designing each sleeve as they’ve extended their range. This led onto us completing further design work as well as photographing their cooked dishes for use on their website, packaging and marketing material.

View the full project here:www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/parsley-box/

Donald Russell

We have a long and established relationship with Donald Russell and have been designing their printed material for some time. Last year we undertook the job of integrating the new Donald Russell identity. This affected every single facet of their business and visual communications. So, working closely together with the Donald Russell marketing team, we started the meticulous task of preparing all the new materials required.

View the full project here: www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/donald-russell

Succulento

Succulento is a manufacturer of premium sauces. The company asked us to help breathe a new lease of life into their overall identity, in particular on their packaging labels. Once the new design was established we translated this into roller banners and recipe cards. We were then asked to update their existing Wordpress website to bring it in line with the new label designs, including new recipe videos that we shot.

View the full project here:www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/succulento

Diet Chef

Diet Chef is the UK’s leading home delivery diet company. They were looking for a packaging sleeve design for their new ‘frozen’ range of ready meals. We then assisted in creating a direct mail campaign, which included a sales flyer and personalised letter.

View the full project here:www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/diet-chef

Great Scottish Events

Great Scottish Events regularly organises various charity events, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed helping to improve the designs and refreshing all of their print work which promotes each of these events. This included flyers of various sizes, sponsor forms, entry booklets and route maps etc.

View the full project here: www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/gse

Bean to Door

Bean to Door launched in February last year and they deliver fresh, hand-roasted, whole coffee beans directly to your door. Our first project was to create labels for the full range of coffees that they provide. Tasting cards for each blend were also required, as well as an information booklet. We took a range of lifestyle and product photographs and documented the coffee making process in a short promotional video.

View the full project here: www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/bean-to-door

FearlessFemme

Fearless Femme is an online magazine which aims to empower young women and non-binary people to overcome stress, anxiety and all the challenges that life throws at them. We were originally tasked to create visual designs for this exciting new social enterprise. Then, after some initial concepts, the brief extended into full website design and build.

View the full project here: www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/fearless-femme

Scotland Food and Drink

We worked with Scotland Food and Drink on a number of projects last year which included producing a booklet to be used at their annual conference as well as a creating and editing two short promotional videos. Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2018 took place between 1-16 September and we were delighted to get involved with the design and build of their website portal.

View the full project here: www.creative-storm.co.uk/portfolio/sfd

 

Furthermore 2018 also saw the progression of our sub division Thyme Photo, which specialises in creative photography and video for the food and drinks industry. It was an eventful time as more clients were added to the portfolio and strong relationships were maintained with existing ones. To find out what they were up to keep an eye out for the new blog coming soon www.thymephoto.co.uk

Looking back it’s clear to see that it was a productive year and we look forward with excitement as we take our first steps into 2019 – we hope you’ll join us for the journey!


How to Promote Your Business on Social Media

Social media allows you to stay connected with what’s happening in your field, create a dialogue with new and existing clients and increase your brand awareness. Getting started with social media marketing may seem overwhelming, so here’s our handy guide to help you effectively promote your business across social networks. To help keep things simple, we’ve focussed on three of the most popular channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

Twitter

 

Twitter has over 330 million monthly users. It’s a great opportunity for you to share photos and videos, create custom lists, send direct messages and more. Content can be promoted organically, with Twitter cards or paid promotions.

When’s the best time to post?

The most successful time to post (which according to findings receives the highest average click-through rates) occurs between Mondays and Thursdays, 1 pm and 3 pm. Posting during this period will give you the biggest chance of driving more traffic back to your website.

What is the ideal image size?

Tweets with strong images are the most effective. You are able to use different sizes of images on this platform but if you want to convey professionalism then it is wise to use images that follow the twitter guidelines about publication and size.

  • The optimum header image size is 1500 x 500px.  The maximum file size is 5mb.
  • The optimum profile photo size is 400 x 400px. The maximum file size is 2mb.
  • You can upload videos up to 512MB, however you will be prompted to edit videos to 2 minutes and 20 seconds or less in length.

Our top tip

Your pinned tweet is the first tweet people see when they visit your profile. You can change your pinned tweet whenever you want. Take advantage of this and create a really memorable message that shows off your brand.

 

Instagram

 

Instagram has been rapidly gaining in popularity since it’s release in 2010 and now has 800 million users.  This is the most visual platform where strong images and engaging videos can really help to promote your brand. It can be accessed on the web from a computer, but you are only able to upload and share photos or videos from your iOS or Android device.

When’s the best time to post?

Engagement on Instagram is pretty constant throughout the week with Sunday being the only day that sees a slight drop. Commuting hours and lunch breaks are typically the best times to post as users will be more active and take the time to explore your profile further.

What is the ideal image size?

  • Square images work best on Instagram and the optimum file size is 1080 x 1080px.
  • At present, Instagram Stories are limited to a length of 15 seconds whereas videos in the main feed can run to 60 seconds

Our top tip

Promotional video is a fast growing and effective method of advertising. It allows you to say more than you could in a typical post without taking up much room and gives viewers an insight into your business. To see some of our short promotional videos click here

Facebook

 

Two billion people use Facebook every month and it is a great place for building your audience and  creating targeted advertisements. “Facebook Ads Guide” walks you through the entire advertising process, including planning, creating ads, testing and understanding insight statistics. You can also boost posts, whereby you can chose your target audience and your budget and Facebook will roll your post out to the relevant people.

When’s the best time to post?

  • The best time to post on Facebook is between 12 pm and 3 pm during the week
  • And on the weekends from 12 pm to 1 pm

You can also do your own research into when is best for your particular business to post by going into your Facebook Insights and looking at Posts > When Your Fans Are Online. These hour and number correlations will be adjusted to the time zone of your computer and will let you know when your audience is most active.

What is the ideal image size?

  • Your page’s profile picture displays at 170 x 170px on your page on computers, 128 x 128px on smartphones and 36 x 36px on most feature phones.
  • Your page’s cover photo displays at 820 x 312 pixels on your page on computers and 640 x 360 pixels on smartphones

Our top tip

You can place a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page. You can choose from  pre-made button options (For example “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” “Book Now”) and link it to your website to direct traffic there. It could link to your homepage, a landing page, a video, or somewhere else.

 

In today’s digital world, social media is regarded as the ultimate tool for promoting your brand. Using original imagery and creating new and exciting content will gain people’s interest.  Whatever way you choose to boost your social presence, preparation is the key – once the foundations are in place, you can then build on this and watch your audience grow.