About the Author
Sarah is co-director of Malvolio. She brings her creative skills to the business, and loves concept development in commercial projects, illustration, and working on various self-initiated paper craft projects in her spare time.
For the month of December, I thought I’d do a re-hash of projects we’ve completed this year. I’m only touching a few categories: logo design, website design, event branding and brochure design.
I’ll start with logo design. This is only a small snippet of a much bigger pool of work, but it will be good to reflect on in years to come. There was definitely a nudge towards brush script writing in logos for 2018 – text looking more natural and casual than a few years back.
Single colour logos have been popular, moving away from very detailed and overly colourful logo design. Obviously not in all cases – some (such as Friends of Coolart), colour was hugely important in the design. However, I have a feeling that single colour logos have been making a comeback because people like to have more options than just a “full colour print”. We’ve designed logos that have been produced in foil finishes, spot varnish, embroidery and even screenprinted in 2018. Single colour logos make this easy to achieve.
For those logos which include images, they have been very icon-based in 2018. A bit of a retro feel. Bold, bright and strong enough to stand on their own.
Swing tags (or price tags) are a necessary for clothing and other merchandise. Sometimes they can be really plain – simply a card with stickers on it. But sometimes, if the budget permits, you can have a lot of fun with designing swing tags.
Two examples we’ve designed are for Wild Warriors and Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. Rectangle is a very popular shape for swing tags, and while SMAPS went for rectangle, it was the design that’s different. Generally, the back is left plain for a price sticker, but in this situation we were able to design it. So no matter what side the tag flips to, it catches your eye.
Wild Warriors went for a fancy option: not only are the tags round, but they have spot varnish on them to highlight the second W in the logo, instead of using colour. It gives the tags a different tactile feel too.
When you have swing tags to get designed, don’t be shy to think outside the standard expectation. You have the possibility to make them memorable in simple but clever ways.
New section launched on No Lights No Lycra’s website for their locations. They have over 50 sessions running worldwide (most are weekly), and outgrew the list they used to use.
It is now an interactive map showing all locations. Users can search for their own location by postcode, a list of locations or navigating through the map. It’s such a big change from what they had before!
We designed and built Emma’s website all the way back in 2012, before mobile responsive websites were a common thing. The website design hasn’t changed (it’s standing the test of time!), but the lack of mobile responsiveness was becoming a problem. So we’ve now upgraded it to be the same design and mobile responsive.
Mobile users always prefer a website that fits on their screen with no effort – make sure your own website is easy to view on mobiles. Search engines are also known for ranking mobile responsive websites above non-mobile friendly websites. In some cases, a non-mobile website will not even appear in mobile search results.
If you have a website you still love, but doesn’t fit on mobile devices, get in touch – we might be able to convert it for you!
Want your business stationery to be a little more fancy? There’s a lot of paper options out there, but you can also have extra touches, like spot UV (glossy finish), letterpress (embossing) or foil detail.
We’ve had a lot of requests for foil and glitter lately, and it’s been super fun. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving glitter and shiny things. A lot of people seem to think foil is limited to gold and silver – but we’ve got over 20 colours of foil and glitter to choose from that we can add to print orders. There’s even black for a really subtle but classy look.
These finishes can be added to business cards, letterheads, stickers, packaging, brochures, swing tags and more. We can also add a bit of glam to signage for your shop, market stall or vehicle in the same way. Sparkle and shine everywhere!
We find that clients get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to brochures: they supply content and say it *has* to fit into a particular sized brochure. Sometimes this is to do with budget, but a lot of the time it’s that they just didn’t realise there’s other options.
Everyone is familiar with a piece of A4 paper. Most brochures we all see are just folded pieces of A4 paper. 1 fold, 2 folds, 3 folds…but it’s the same size paper in the end.
The thing is: a simple piece of paper can be so much more! Maybe this is my love of origami shining through. A brochure doesn’t need to “only” be A4. We can get paper in all kinds of sizes, and cut it to all kinds of lengths.
So our advice? Write up the information for your brochure first, and then work out how much paper you need to put it all onto (we can help with this). It can feel like a game of Tetris, but we love the challenge.
So what if your information takes up more than one piece of A4 paper? It might work better as a booklet, or it might just need a few more panels.
A recent example is the brochure we designed for Somerville Myotherapy & Pilates Studio. Instead of the standard 6-panel DL brochure (A4 folded into three), we did 10 panels. The panels are folded in a zig-zag (concertina) which works best for the information presented. One side of the brochure features pilates, the opposite side features myotherapy.
It was a similar story to the usual: the information wouldn’t fit on an A4 sheet, but they couldn’t cut anything out. Two brochures wasn’t suitable – they needed everything together. A booklet also wasn’t suitable – they wanted to be able to stick the brochure up on a wall when desired, like a poster.
So for all of your brochure challenges, call us. We love a little bit of an origami and information Tetris challenge – and it will help your business stand out.
One of our biggest client bases are start-ups. People come to us with their ideas and dreams, and seek help to make them look professional.
For those starting out on their business journey, it can seem really daunting. There is SO much you can get made. And then you wonder: do you really need everything that everyone else has? The answer is usually no.
For start-ups, we begin with the basics.
Registering a Business Name
Choosing a business name can be damn hard. There are going to be times you’ll come up with a name, think it’s awesome, then find out someone else already has it. But then you’ll find the one that’s for you.
The point is – we always make sure you have your business name registered before we start with branding. It can be heartbreaking to fall in love with a name, have your brand designed and then find that you have to start again. It’s worth going through the stress and bother of getting a business name first – we promise you.
Registering a Domain Name
This might seem like skipping a few steps ahead, but it’s always worth registering your domain name early in the process. This is something we do on behalf of their clients. We can show you a range of available domain names that match your business, and register it in your name. This means you can also set up a professional email address early on, and start communicating with the outside world from your new business!
Designing a Logo
We step you through our design process, where we find out as much about your business as possible. Sometimes clients want to rush the logo stage so they have something tangible/visual to show others straight away. But it’s the one part of your business development where spending that little extra bit of time pays off long-term. We don’t design “pretty” logos; each logo has a story, a meaning. You will want your logo to last at least 5-7 years minimum, so you’re only having to invest in your branding once while you get started.
We see a number of businesses go for a cheap logo service while starting out, but they end up spending more getting all their artwork redesigned. Getting it right the first time is definitely cheaper in the long run.
Designing Your Business Stationery
“What do I need?” is a good question, but the answer differs from business to business. You might only need a business card. Or you might need letterheads, presentation folders and brochures all packaged together. Or it might be a packaging design, stamps or stickers you require.
We always recommend writing out your ideas on how you plan to communicate to your customers, and how you plan to promote your business. That list you write will tell you what items you need.
Setting Up Social Media
Social media is great for getting people excited about an upcoming brand. You can start to build your following before you have officially launched, providing you have a few visual things you can show: such as your logo, product samples, etc.
We can help you brand your social media profiles, using the logo and branding we have designed.
Designing Your Website
Websites are often bigger projects than most people realise, and it can seem overwhelming as a start-up. We help by breaking it down into small steps: planning out the pages on your website, helping work out where images need to go (and what sort of images). We’re happy to read over your content and help you allocate it to certain pages, or we can write the content for you.
However small your website is at the start, it is built so you can add to it in the future. So you will have something to grow and evolve with your business.
Think of everything as a start-up as: something that will last, something that will evolve, something that will grow with me. Treat it like you’re planting a seedling to grow into a tree. We’re the ones with the tools (and water!) you need to help your tree grow.
The Pawfect Pet Foods Delivery Co are a fellow Somerville business, who came to us wanting to build an online store.
They were taking orders manually – in-store and via email – but felt there had to be an easier way. They wanted to automate the ordering process. So an online store was built. Their entire menu of raw pet foods is listed on their website, available to order in 1kg batches. The online store has also made it possible for add-ons during ordering, such as adding veggies to selected dishes.
As Pawfect Pet Foods deliver Victoria-wide, they have varied delivery prices. The checkout process automatically works out which delivery area they are within, and sets their delivery fee accordingly. Before their online store was launched, they worked this out for each order manually.
The online store also has the ability to create coupon codes for selected customers to use. Coupons can be set for single use, for only selected email addresses, selected products, and more – making them versatile. Much easier than trying to figure out a discount at the counter!
Other pages on their website include meal plans, useful guides such as meat/weight percentages, and happy snaps of their furry friend customers.
Forms come in all kinds of formats and sizes. It’s one of those things we all take for granted – we don’t really pay attention to a form until it doesn’t work. If it’s difficult to understand or complete, it becomes bothersome.
The technology available to use for forms is improving in leaps and bounds. While we used to be tied to paper forms, a lot can be done via computer now. We are regularly converting forms from paper to interactive PDF or online.
The “in-between” option from paper to online is PDF format. This gives people the flexibility of printing out the form, or completing it on their computer. In PDFs (when set up correctly), form fields can be made interactive, where they can be typed into on-screen. Buttons can even be placed in the PDF to save, print or email the completed form.
The downside to interactive PDF forms is that not all programs that open PDFs support the interactive fields. At this stage, they seem to work best in Adobe Acrobat. Opening PDFs in browsers is possible, but completing the form fields is not always an available option (such as in Microsoft Edge). We’re hoping that the support of interactive PDFs will become more common.
I personally think the biggest reason for the demand in converting to online is that payment can be completed within the form. There’s no need for someone to post a form and attach a cheque, or hope their direct deposit arrives some time after their form. Payments and form entries are easier to reconcile when they are completed together.
Online forms can use a feature called conditional logic, which is really handy for complex forms. Instead of having a paper form that tells you to skip pages depending on your circumstances, the online form does the “skipping” for the user. They won’t see all of the extra fields they didn’t need to complete – they are only shown the fields relevant to them. So what looks like a daunting form on paper can feel very straightforward when using conditional logic.
The forms can include the option to upload files, which would normally need to be sent separately.
Online forms are also easy to export data from. The details can be placed into a spreadsheet, making it easy to import the data into other programs. And no need to manually type out each entry.
I think that online forms will eventually be the only type of forms we will use in everyday life, but we’re not quite there…not just yet.
We have clients across a broad range of industries, and each industry uses graphic design in different ways. Design can be much more than just your logo and business stationery.
An example I’ll use is our client Harigon Gourmet Foods. As a supplier to supermarkets, butchers and other food stores, packaging and shelf presence have high priority. As their products are quite specialised, making the contents easy to identify at a quick glance has been important too.
Due to the different types of products, different packaging solutions have been designed. These include:
- Complete packaging, where the entire box or pouch is designed.
- Full colour labels, unique to each product.
- Generic labels, where product details can be added as an overprint.
For promoting the products, we have designed various posters and information flyers. A recent project was to design a promotional table for in-store taste tests of their products.
Graphic design can be used by businesses in many different ways. How does your business use design to improve your sales?