April 30, 2022No Comments

What’s in a name – and how does it affect your image?

I have a confession. I'd never really, truly, been happy with my original company name. I’m not saying it was a terrible name, it just didn't fit very well.

I lived with it, but there was always that little niggle in the back of my mind.

I won’t dwell on my personal thought process here – I’m all sorted now. But what I wanted to talk about today was how important it is to get it right – the correlation between your company name and your image.

As a graphic designer, I spend a lot of time thinking about company images and branding. And my plight has made me think a little deeper about the process. Where do I start when faced with a rebrand, or a web design, for a client? I think that actually, the name probably plays a more significant part than I previously thought.

Subconsciously, I’m often led at first by the name. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Colours, fonts, and the tone of voice are all hinged on the business name, even if it’s not that obvious.

A reflection of you and your market

A good business name reflects who you are and who your clients are. It’s usually the first item on the agenda when we create our business, but how much do we really consider the name when we start the design process for our websites and branding?

Perhaps, then, we should start by going back to basics. Who do you want to attract? By getting a clear profile of your perfect client, you can get into their heads and explore what attracts them. If your ideal client base is, for example, the CEO of a high-profile marketing agency, you don’t want to approach them with a name and image that more reflects a small business or e-commerce company.

Different demographics have different needs – by tapping into those needs, we can better design our business branding to attract them.

It’s good to visualise what your business name will look like under your brand. Does the name make you think of something modern and vibrant, or does it lend itself to something traditional or more subdued? We can do this in both our business name and our image – both should fit seamlessly together.

Of course, the type of industry will also come into play. Still, it stands to reason that if your company name includes something soft and feminine, you’ll want to consider soft colours and perhaps a more rounded font. In contrast, if you’re in an industry where your audience and product are universal, you’ll want to appeal by using stronger, bolder themes.

Imagine, for example, a classic motorbike restoration business using pastel coloured handwritten script in its logo. It doesn’t quite fit, does it?

On choosing a name

Your name is probably the most recognisable aspect of your business, so it’s actually pretty important to get it right. It should reflect your personality, what your company does, and most of all, be memorable.

It needs to be, first and foremost, a name that you’re comfortable with. Think of this – would you be happy to answer the phone and announce your company name, or would it make you cringe a little? There’s a good test right there.

It’s OK to have a quirky name if that’s your vibe but make sure it’s relatable and tells your customers who you are.

Something else to consider is the spelling. Is your name a play on words? Is it a long name, or does it include numbers or symbols? Replacing letters with numbers can look cute – but make sure it’s evident in your web address! Most of your customers will want to search for you online, so if there’s something a little different in your name, make sure it can easily be searched for online.

Simplicity is key

It can be easy to overcomplicate things in both the name and the design. There’s no real need to – often, the most straightforward ideas are the most memorable.

Make your business name easy to pronounce and communicate (“Severn… with an ‘r’… yes, like the river…”) and easy to translate into your branding, and you won’t go far wrong.

There are plenty of sources of inspiration if you’re stuck for ideas, and there’s nothing wrong with testing out a few ideas with people you know – perhaps set up a few mock-ups and see which your friends, family, and peers prefer. You might get feedback that hadn’t occurred to you, which can be invaluable.

February 2, 2022No Comments

Step outside the obvious

Go local for your next design project

I feel this. I live in a small market town in the centre of the country, where design agencies and studios are very much ‘hidden away’, despite there being a real hub of creative talent here.

Local designers with hidden talents

As a small design agency, it’s so easy for businesses to overlook us, when we’re competing with large, often well-known agencies who have the budgets to make themselves heard. It’s a shame, really, because the little guys like us have so much to offer. Not to blow my own trumpet here, but in talking to other small designers both locally and in other towns, we truly believe that we can offer something unique that city-agencies can’t. That personal service, care and attention to detail, which big agencies simply don’t have the time for.

In truth, local designers know the local market inside out – because we work with our own communities every day. We know the type of people that live around us, and we get to talk with local business owners, who tell us what works and what doesn’t. And more importantly, we have the time to listen.

Small agencies and freelancers

In my experience, businesses are often wary of micro-agencies and freelancers, there’s an underlying negativity around them that they are less qualified, less experienced, and won’t have the proper resources to complete complex projects. That’s simply not the case. Though they might not have the financial clout, they are often more specialist in what they do, and so rather than being ‘all-rounders’ (though some are, and are great), they are able to focus on their specialism without all of the other stuff. For example, there are agencies within your town who will just do web design, print design, or branding, and excel at doing that and that alone.

Look at what your community can offer first

There’s definitely something to be said about ‘shopping local’ when it comes to hiring creative talent. You’d be surprised at the hidden gems that can be found right on your doorstep – and can offer a bespoke, personal service that big agencies can’t.

Perhaps you think that going the local, small agency route isn’t right for you – but then again, in hiring out locally, you could find that avenues are opened that you hadn’t even thought of. It could be the opportunity to completely freshen up your branding, or look at the design of your online presence with fresh eyes.

Take a look at some of your local designers for your next project, and see what they can offer.

©2017–2022 Tony Clarkson/&Something Limited