Photography and Design Process

When it comes to taking memorable photographs of food and drink our main objective is for them to look enticing. However, it is equally important that we take the time to find out from each of our clients how they intend on using the final images. This is why we set up our sister company, Thyme Photo (thymephoto.co.uk) who are experts in commercial photography for the food and drinks industry. By working side by side with a dedicated photography company, we can really make sure both the design and photos are tailored to suit the company’s individual requirements. Here are some of the things we take into consideration when snapping photographs for commercial use.

Allow enough room for text

Creating a successful design, whether it’s for a brochure or an advertising poster, requires both the pictures and text to work in harmony. By this, we mean, they allow each other space and room to breathe. If you require a lot of text in the design, then you wouldn’t want your image to be too busy, as the words could easily become lost and illegible. We always think about placement of text and leave space accordingly for this. For example if we were shooting an image that we knew was specifically going to be for a front cover, we would leave space at the top for cover lines and down the sides for any additional text or graphics.

Having plain backgrounds like simple colours, wood or slate, gives us a lot more freedom as we are able to easily extend and edit them in post-production. We also ensure any area that we know text is going to be placed on is either light or dark in colour and not a mixture of both, making it easier for the text to stand out.

Cropping

If you were designing a menu where you needed a close-up of an image then of course we can take this for you, but it is also important that we give you an option where we’ve zoomed out enough to capture the whole product. This means that if you want to use the image later on in a different way, you won’t be restrained by the way it has been cropped. This is perfectly illustrated in the pictures of the burger below, one has a tight crop, whilst the other features the whole product.

Images going over the fold

When designing a brochure or book, bear in mind that anything placed in the area between the two pages, otherwise known as the gutter, may get lost in the binding of the book. The amount that is lost can vary depending on page count, paper thickness, and other factors during the printing process such as trimming, and binding of the book. It’s therefore wise to make sure that no important information is placed in this area. We also split the image and move it by a couple of mm either side to account for this.

By taking all these things into consideration, we can ensure that the image not only looks fantastic but it is also fit for purpose. We are fortunate to be in the position where both our companies can learn from each other and collaborate to guarantee a smooth and happy process throughout.


The Power of a Brand Image

Collins English Dictionary defines brand image as “the attributes of a brand as perceived by potential and actual customers.” A company’s branding is a lot more than just their logo as it encompasses everything from their employees dress code to their website to the service they provide. Quite simply put, it’s anything that consumers can see and therefore make a judgement on. We’ve put together some key points to think about when developing a powerful and meaningful brand.

Making the right impression

Brand identity is the term coined for how the company wants to be portrayed and if this doesn’t exactly mirror the brand image then you may struggle to attain your desired customer base. You and your customers should be on the same wavelength and they should understand exactly what they are getting from you. A strong brand will build confidence, which in return produces loyalty with customers that keep returning for repeat business.

Keeping consistency throughout

You want the visual elements of your brand to be easily recognisable so that people can, at a glance, identify you and distinguish you from your competitors. We’ve been working with Dogrobes since 2013. The first step in the process was to create a striking logo and establish brand colours. This was utilised on the product itself, business cards, packaging, letterheads, gift bags, advertising, and signage to name just a few.

Reflect your company’s personality

This means assigning human characteristics to a brand in order to make it relatable and to connect with your target audience. Just like people, no two companies are the same. You want your company to be friendly and approachable and your customers should be able to see themselves, or what they aspire to be, in the face of your company.

Brand guidelines

Brand guidelines are essentially an owner’s manual of how to “use” your brand. It is important to create a comprehensive document like this to list the specific colours, fonts, imagery, taglines etc in your brand and ensure it is used correctly across the board. For example, if you were having an advert created for you in the paper, the guidelines could be helpful by stating how far from the edges your logo should be placed and the amount of whitespace that is acceptable around it. It’s small details like this that are important in helping to maintain integrity.

When it comes to building an impactful brand the devil is in the details. It’s important that enough time and attention is allocated to the actual brand itself and not just the logo. Think of it like a jigsaw, with all the small components of the business interlocking firmly together to create an overall image of your company. Once you have everything laid out, that’s half the battle and you can rely on us to help you piece them altogether in the correct order.


5 Small Ways Small Businesses can Attract new Customers

It’s all very well having an amazing product or service to sing and shout about but what’s the point in doing so if there’s nobody within earshot to hear it. Establishing a client base and then continuing to add to it takes a certain grit and determination that every small business owner should really possess. Here are our top five tips for attracting new customers…

1. Be likeable!

Whoever said “nice guys finish last” clearly wasn’t a small business owner. Remember, even if you are having a lousy day, try and treat every single client or enquiry like they are the only one. If you deliver excellent customer service now you will reap the rewards later when your current clients come back to you or recommend you to other people. Ask past customers to write you testimonials which you can then proudly display on printed material, your social media or your website.

2. Get your name out there

Establish exactly what it is that makes your company stand out above the rest. Got it? Congratulations, you are now in possession of the elusive USP (Unique Selling Point). It’s now your job to make sure that everybody knows about it, whether this means attending trade shows, going to networking events or showing up at business gatherings in your local area. Business Gateway (www.bgateway.com) is a great source of information where you can meet up with your peers and find out what your competitors are up to as well as speaking directly to business experts. Keep your eye on social media for any specific events related to your field and make sure you get yourself along, bringing business cards or leaflets with you.

3. Create a strong online presence

Word of mouth nowadays is mainly done online and it’s vital that your company is active across a range of channels. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are the most widely used medias and keeping these up to date can be a full time job in itself. Make sure you engage in group discussions and use hashtags to your advantage so that people can begin interacting with you. This could potentially lead to a new client. There could be opportunities for you to do competitions in return for likes and shares of your page. Try and drive all your social media traffic back to your website. Speaking of your website, this should be uncluttered and easy to navigate with your brand message shining through from that first initial click. Make sure your contact details are laid out clearly and perhaps consider adding a mailing list, where clients can sign up to keep up to date with your latest news.

4. Show your products in the best light

Companies often overlook professional photography and this is such a shame as it is truly a crucial part of many marketing campaigns. Enticing photographs can really lure in new customers. A picture is worth a thousand words and if you have opened a new restaurant or food company for example, then you should endeavour to fill your marketing material with mouth-watering images that will capture people’s attention.

5. Look at your image

Does your brand image need a complete overhaul? Put yourself inside the mind of a client and take a good look at all your marketing material, it’s vital that it looks professional and consistent across all platforms. Having a clipart logo that you did yourself in a word document doesn’t quite cut it I’m afraid. If you are selling a product, make sure your packaging is of the highest standard and your brand identity is strong throughout.

So there you have it. This is by no means an exhaustive list and don’t expect to make your first millions by the end of the year. It should, however, get you off the starter blocks and with the right resolve you can watch your customer base continue to grow from strength to strength.


6 Golden Rules of Logo Design

A successful logo provides an instant visual communication of your brand and it is often the first thing your customers see. With this in mind, we’ve put together our 6 golden rules of logo design

1. Be unique

We always listen to what the client is after and we do this by building up a mood board of your company and discussing in depth the direction you would like to take the logo in. We then look at the competition in your particular field and choose a route to go down that is not predictable or cliché. When asked to design a logo for Freelance Chef Patrick Gilmour it would have been all too easy for us to hark back to the classic chef’s hat but instead we wanted to show the journey from “field to fork”. The finished product was an elegant icon that had the added benefit of looking like a glass, which neatly tied the whole meal concept together.

2. Simplicity is key

Take a moment to think of all the big brands that have successful icons. Nike could have demanded runners or athletic equipment in their logo; instead they went for a big tick. Simple. Similarly, McDonald’s could have requested burgers or fries to take centre stage in their logo; instead they went for the iconic yellow M on a red background. Believe us when we say, less is most definitely more! A complex logo can be difficult to reproduce and remember when it’s scaled down it’s going to lose a lot of its impact.

3. Choose colour carefully

Your logo has to work in black and white foremost. When picking your palette of colours, remember to keep it simple (there’s that word again!) We recommend just one or two colours at the most. Think about the brand you are trying to convey. An outdoors company, for example, may want earthy tones like greens or brown whereas a corporate company could opt for a muted palette of navy’s and greys. Colour associations can play a role in the decision making process as well. Red can be a very emotive colour, conjuring up images of fire and passion while in contrast blue is a lot more subdued. We always make sure to stick to Pantone references when it comes to choosing your brand colours, this guarantees a consistent reproduction and eliminates the wide variations of shades that can often be delivered by different printers.

4.Typography matters

There’s an endless amount of fonts out there and sometimes it can be difficult to decipher just where to start. We, as designers, all have our favourites but we realise it’s crucial to research our clients company before we choose the fonts that we think set the tone best. A serif typeface can look more authoritative whilst a sans serif can give a modern and clean vibe. It often strikes a nice balance to have a mixture of the two between the business name and the tagline. The font can also be modified to include an icon, like the one we created below for outdoor clothing specialists GearPest.

5. Flexibiliy

The visual elements of your logo can be used to create other marketing resources such as stationery, signage and your website. When we are creating a logo we think about how it is going to work on both landscape and portrait formats and we always supply you with variations to choose from. All our logos are created in vector formats, which gives you the flexibility of using it across a range of platforms, scaled up to as big as you like without loss of resolution.

6. Longevity

And finally once we’ve completed your logo we don’t want to be revisiting it again, at least not for a very, very long time. That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed having you as a client (I’m sure we have!) but hopefully it’s because the design we’ve provided you with will stand the test of time as it doesn’t include any gimmicks or fads. Then we can get onto helping you with the next stage in your marketing journey… long term brand management.