Brand Identity

Brand identity is a collection of all the representations of a brand. it’s the logo, the trademark, the mascot, the brand collateral, the signage, and all other company collateral. Basically, anything that communicates the message of a brand to its audience.

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What is Branding?

Branding helps a business form its identity in the marketplace. In order to be able to stand out from a countless amount of different companies and agencies a business has to have a unique voice. By creating a cohesive and consistent form of visual representation a brand is able to convey its story and its core message to the consumer. To be able to do this effectively you must pay attention to the needs of your consumers.

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How to Create Brand Identity?

A brand is a perceived image of your company that represents the company. A brand identity system consists of using style guides and framework to create a visual representation. Before you start creating a brand identity system it is important to have a strategy in place. This will help you define your company’s goals more easily and will help your branding design deliver the brand’s message with clarity and consistency.

After the brand strategy is documented research is usually done. This research is not just figuring out the core values and needs of the company, but it’s also researching the competition in the marketplace. Understanding your company and it’s needs will help you gain an understanding of your business and this will help you create the perfect branding in a more methodical and systematic way.

To create effective designs it is important to consider the following factors:

  1. Making your design distinct so that it stands out from your competition.
  1. Making it memorable by creating visceral experiences that people can connect with.
  1. Make it scalable, flexible and consistent throughout the system.

In addition to all of the above it would also make sense to invest in thinking about how your branding is going to live after its made. Figuring out ‘What it means to design for the future?’ and ‘What are the ethical implications of the design?’ will help you tackle u foreseen problems and design solutions that can bridge the gap between the consumer and the product.

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Why do You Need a Branding Identity?

Brand identity helps define your company’s image in the marketplace. It includes all the different associations and interactions a consumer has with the company. If you are not able to make a great impression upon the consumer, the brand tends to be forgotten in the vast amount of choices that are out there. It’s very important to pay attention to all the details, such as the logo, the web design, and the packaging to presentation design, everything matters for a brand to be taken seriously.

Recognition is another important aspect of brand identity design. It helps the user form associations. With consistent interactions with your brand it will seep into the daily life of the consumer. This means that it’s essential to create a design that is scalable across all devices, products, and platforms to keep the overall image of the brand consistent. Your brand identity needs to live and breathe within the product itself and should shape and influence your consumers.

Ultimately understanding your product and the marketplace is crucial when it comes to creating a strong brand identity system. If you are looking to create a branding identity for your company GraphicCom is more than happy to help you. Please contact us at GraphicCom.com or call us at (586) 566-5200.

Website Design

Website Design, Website Development, UI, UX are terms used frequently when discussing websites. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, each of them have a specific meaning. It is important to understand the difference if you are in the process of or planning to get a website done.

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Website Design

Web design is everything that you are able to see on the screen of mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Each and every element on the website, including the layout, graphics, colors, text,

photographs, videos and visual elements of UI and UX are all part of the website design. It all starts with the creation of a website wireframe, layout design, and mock ups. Web design defines the functionality of the website and helps you enhance the website experience and increase conversion rate. Coding is not part of the website design process.

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Website Development

Web development is creating and maintaining a website with the use of different types of programming languages, frameworks, and tools. Even creating a single web page with HTML and CSS is web development. It can range from 200 lines of coding to 2 million lines of coding. In the beginning web developers were limited to creating static web pages. Nowadays, web developers can create dynamic websites, online tools, web based applications and portals using different technologies.

Web development handles the coding of the website and is divided into two types of categories, front-end, and back end. The front-end coding controls the actual display of the website design, and the back-end coding is the processing of user data on the web server and displaying it back to the user. There are also full-stack website developers who can manage both the front-end and back-end coding of the website.

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UI

UI is the visual platform that enables us to control the device functionalities. Any device with a screen has a UI or User Interface Design. UI designing differs with the mobile screen, laptop, tablet, and website. UI design can be divided into three categories, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and User Testing.

  • Graphic design is mostly known to everyone. It is the process of visual designing of a digital product.
  • Interaction design is all about designing the operational flow and specifications. It is mostly performed by Interaction Designers.
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UX

UX or User Experience designs the experience of the website users. UX designers will make sure that the website is engaging and interactive to enhance the user’s website experience. The user experience is scaled on the basis of the interactive abilities of the user interface created by UI designers. UX designer crafts the wireframe for the website and renders interface communications to acquire the feedback of users. UI design is associated with UX design but they are not the same, many people get confused between the roles of both UI and UX designers.

Depending on what you are looking for you first have to understand the key differences between Web Design, Web Development, UI and UX to narrow down what you need according to your requirements. This will help you select the best suitable option for you.

Paula Scher

Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia and grew up in Philadelphia and Washington DC. During High School she embraced Art, stating that it was “the first place where I felt like I actually belonged” and she became a publicity chairman for her school, designing posters and pamphlets for school dances and events. She continued her interest in the arts and took night classes at Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her mother wasn’t supportive of her interest in the arts and insisted she should obtain a certificate in teaching so she would have something to fall back on, but Paula would go on to prove her mother wrong.

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In the Beginning

Paula attended college in1966 with the intent to become a painter, but admitted that she couldn’t really draw so she decided to experiment with both metal working and print work. She went on feeling like she wasn’t good at anything, but then she discovered she had an natural liking for graphic design in her junior year. She went on to graduate in 1970 and against her mother’s advice and moved to New York City, where she was employed to design the insides of children’s books. Paula would go on to become an incredible designer, with her work winning dozens of awards and being featured in numerous museums including the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Her Career

Paula’s first major role in New York was with CBS Records in 1972. She joined CBS as part of the publicity team and wasn’t involved with the design of album covers, which is what she wanted to do. She then left CBS a year later and joined Atlantic Records where she worked for a year designing various album covers and promotional materials.When Paula was 25 she decided to return to CBS Records to become their new Art Director for the East Coast. For the next decade, Paula Scher would design almost 150 record covers each year and countless more ads and posters. All of her album covers used imagery from popular culture in an effort to engage with the audience and make them more inclined to buy the record.

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In 1982 she grew tired of the music industry and left it to form her own design agency with an old friend, Terry Koppel, who at the time was a magazine designer. Together Paula and Terry began producing brand identities, product packaging and book covers. Unfortunately with the Gulf War in 1990 and the recession it ended Scher and Koppel’s agency.

Soon after Woody Pirtle, a partner at Pentagram invited Paula out for coffee and asked if she would be interested in joining. She decided to join in 1991, and has stayed there ever since. Since joining she has designed identities such as; Citibank and Microsoft, exhibitions for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and editorial designs for Metropolis.

In 1998, Paula was tasked with creating an identity for the multi-billion dollar company, Citi. Paula designed the logo during an initial client meeting. The concept only took only a few seconds to sketch and was on a napkin. Pentagram was concerned that their clients would not pay for something that only took several seconds to design, but they did. Paula’s ability to design such an iconic identity on a napkin in a few seconds was from her abundance of experience that she had gained through her career.

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Other Work

Some of Paula’s lesser known work includes commissioned graphics for public buildings. Paula herself refers to these large-scale designs as ‘environmental graphics’, transforming blank space with the use of vivid colors and unique typography.

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Recently she was commissioned by the PAVE Academy Charter School, to turn their range of motivational and inspirational messages into environmental graphics. Paula worked closely with the architects for the build, creating dimensional signage and bold super-graphics. The unique identity for the school has helped freshen the existing brand, and to create a memorable learning experience for students and teachers alike.

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Alongside her professional work, Paula also works on a range of fine art pieces in her free time. She spends most of this time creating incredibly detailed maps by hand. Her father, Marvin Scher was involved with cartography, which is the science or practice of drawing maps. She spends a great amount of time adding tiny details to each map. The work forces her to have patience, which she says she lacks in her day job at Pentagram. Paula finds that both art and design compliment each other perfectly.

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“Design happens quickly on a computer and the painting is laborious. Design is social. Painting is isolating. Design has a purpose. Art has no purpose. I can’t imagine one without the other.”

– Paula Scher

Paula Scher is a perfect combination of both art and design which creates a perfect blend of the two. Her work spans many fields, and has certainly influenced many designers in creating their own work.

Marketing

Marketing is the action a company takes to place a product in front of potential customers. The goal of marketing is to convert potential customers into actual, paying customers. Two important marketing concepts are used to do this: tactical and strategic marketing. Tactical marketing is all about taking action, and strategic marketing is all about the thought process behind the action. Balancing these two strategies together makes for an effective marketing campaign.

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What is Strategic Marketing?

Strategic marketing is all about the content of a marketing campaign and how a brand can differentiate itself from its competition. It is about taking the time to understand the customer and what is important to them and why the customer purchases specific items. Strategic marketing allows companies to provide a solution to a customer’s needs.

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What is Tactical Marketing?

Tactical marketing is the actions a company takes in order to market a product to a consumer and how to reach a specific goal with specific actions. These goals may be meeting a general revenue target or meeting a specific sales figure within a targeted demographic. Tactical marketing is the way the product is placed in front of potential customers.

The Key Differences

With strategic and tactical marketing there are many similarities. Most brands will incorporate both strategies into their marketing efforts. Here are the key differences between the two and how they are used in each way.

1. The Approach

Strategic marketing involves creating the specific components that are required by the recipients of the message to want what is being offered. Consumers need the message to show value and is defined as a problem they have whether they realized it or not, that can be solved if they decide to purchase what is being marketed to them.

Tactical marketing takes the approach of what actions a brand or business must conduct to meet the specific goals of goods or services that are being offered. Choosing what advertising methods to use, creating a follow-up system, and other tactics are implemented so the product is placed in front of the consumer.

2. Engagement

Strategic marketing tells consumers what the value proposal happens to be. “If you buy this product, then you will save 30 minutes and it costs $40 less than what you are currently using.”

Tactical marketing shows consumers what the value proposal happens to be and makes it up to the consumer to determine if the value proposition of what is being offered can apply to them.

3. Implementation

Strategic marketing is about implementing a vision. The intent is to fulfill a goal that has been predetermined and meeting objectives that are needed for the survival of the business. Every activity in a strategic effort must contribute in some way to the goals.

Tactical marketing is about implementing a course of action. It focuses on the practical things that can be done to achieve specific goals, mission statements, or metrics. Updating a Facebook post, sending a tweet, or creating an email campaign would all be examples of the tactics that can be used to achieve marketing success.

4. Vision

Strategic marketing vision must be based on goals that are specific, measurable, and actionable. If the goals are not relevant or do not have a time-based component to it, it makes it difficult to implement tactics that can help it be successful.

Tactical marketing is the actions that need to happen for a business to find success. If the goal for a business is to move from a 5% marketing share to a 15% marketing share within the next 5 years, it will focus on the specifics of what needs to be done to make that happen.

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Combining the Strategies

The problem with many marketing campaigns is that they only use tactical marketing strategies. Many companies do not take the time to fully understand their targeted customers, which causes campaigns to fail. Ignoring the strategic part of marketing by working hard to complete important tasks like placing ads and building websites may seem super effective, but without thought behind the action it becomes ineffective. The marketing campaigns that accomplish their goals are generally the ones that combine both strategic and tactical marketing strategies.

If both strategic and tactical marketing are working in harmony, success will be found. The differences between the two become one of the greatest strengths a brand can have.

Infographics

Infographics have evolved in recent years to become a means of mass communication; they are designed to reach a wider audience by simplifying complex subjects and arranging it in an easy to digest format, unlike other types of visualizations. Because of its simplicity and a compelling storytelling, it has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and we can see infographics being shared all over the internet and social media.

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What is an Infographic?

An infographic is a visual representation of information and data. It takes a large amount of information in text or numerical form and then condenses it by combining elements of text, images, charts, and diagrams. It is an effective tool to present data and explain complex issues in a way that can quickly lead to insight and better understanding.

History of Infographics

Although infographics have only recently gained widespread popularity online, they have actually existed since the 17th century.

The Commercial and Political Atlas, published in 1786 by William Playfair, was the first example of modern infographics.

In 1983, a data visualization expert named Edward Tufte wrote a series of books about infographics. He also offered lectures and hands-on workshops on the subject.

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At the dawn of the 21st century, infographics transitioned into a digital format. With so many historic examples, Tufte’s teachings, and the emergence of the Internet, infographics seamlessly transitioned online.

It was around 2010 that they became what we know today – digital graphics designed to present complex information, usually posted on blogs or within articles on websites,  sometimes spreading virally.

Types of Infographics

Infographics come in various forms. They are categorized based on purpose, types of objects used and the flow of information. Not all infographics will strictly fall into a specific category. Most infographics will have elements of multiple types. The type of infographic that will be most appropriate in a given situation will depend on the objective of the data visualization.

Statistical infographic 

A statistical infographic puts the focus on your data. The layout and visuals will help you tell the story behind your data.

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Informational infographic

A informational infographic template is ideal for if you want to clearly communicate a new or specialized concept, or to give an overview of a topic.

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Timeline infographic 

A timeline infographic is an effective way to visualize the history of something, or to highlight important dates, or to give an overview of events.

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A process infographic is ideal for providing a summary or overview of the steps in a process.

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Comparison infographic

A comparison infographic is for when you want to compare options in an unbiased way, or you want to make one option seem better.

When to use an Infographic

  • Illustrating data: You can take data from surveys and make it more interesting than your average chart.
  • Simplifying a complex subject: If you’ve got a rather complex concept, and need a way to break it down quickly and easily, infographics are the way to go.
  • Making comparisons: Infographics are great at showing when two things are incredibly similar or different.
  • Awareness: Whether it’s related to business, politics or any other area, you can quickly raise awareness of a brand or cause with an infographic.

Infographics will continue to be used frequently by businesses, educators and the media, but there’s a good chance they’ll evolve like our technology does. Possibly in the future we may start seeing more interactive, as well as 3D immersive ones incorporated into virtual reality experiences.

Paul Rand

Peretz Rosenbaum (born August 15, 1914, in Brooklyn, NY) would later change his name to Paul Rand and become one of the most famous and influential graphic designers in history. He is best known for his logo design and corporate branding, creating timeless icons such as the IBM and ABC television logos. He was one of the first American commercial artists to embrace and practice the Swiss Style of graphic design.

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Early Life

On August 15, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York, Rand was born as Peretz Rosenbaum and was raised in a strict Orthodox Jewish home. Orthodox Jewish law forbids the creation of images that can be worshiped as idols, but already at a young age, Rand copied pictures of the models shown on advertising displays in his father’s grocery store, and violated the rules. His father frequently warned him that art was no way to make a living, so he decided to enroll him at Manhattan’s Harren High School. While Paul was studying there, his father agreed to let his son attend night classes at the Pratt Institute. Paul attended several art schools, such as The New School for Design, the Art Students League, and Yale University in Connecticut. Even with his rich academic career in arts, Rand developed his graphic sense through self-education.

Career

Rand began his career as a part-time stock image creator for a syndicate. Soon his class assignments and part-time job rendered him to assemble a distinguished portfolio. His work was highly influenced by Sachplakat, the German advertising style and Gustav Jensen’s works. During this time he also decided to camouflage his Jewish origin by shortening and modernizing his name Peretz Rosenbaum as Paul Rand.

Rand went and made a name for himself as an editorial designer, doing work for magazines such as Esquire and Direction. He even worked for free in some cases in turn for creative freedom, and as a result, his style became known in the design community.

Rand’s popularity really grew as an art director for the William H. Weintraub          agency in New York, where he worked from 1941 through 1954. There, he partnered  with copywriter Bill Bernbach and together they created a model for the writer-  designer relationship.

During the 1950s and ’60s, as American corporations were turning to graphic designers to create contemporary trademarks and consistent graphic standards, Rand became a prominent advocate of such visual-identity systems.

Rand’s career spanned seven decades, and in that time his graphic designs, teaching, and ideas broadly influenced several generations of American designers.

Rand’s Signature Style

Rand was part of a movement in the 1940’s and 50’s, in which American designers were coming up with original styles. He was a major figure in this change that had a focus on freeform layouts that were much less structured than prominent European design.

Rand used collage, photography, artwork and unique use of type to engage his audience. When viewing a Rand ad, a viewer is challenged to think, interact, and interpret it. Using clever, fun, unconventional, and risky approaches to the use of shapes, space, and contrast, Rand created a unique user experience.

It was perhaps put most simply and accurately when Rand was featured in one of Apple’s classic ads that stated, “Think Different,” and that’s exactly what he did. Today,  he is known as one of the founding members of the ‘Swiss Style’ of graphic design.

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Rand’s Work

Though best known for the corporate logos he designed in the ’50s and ’60s, it was his earlier work in magazine design and layout that first earned him international acclaim. The reputation Rand so quickly established for himself continued to grow over the years. He produced many extraordinary designs in the ’80s and ’90s. Here are a few of the most well known designs:

In the late 1930s he created covers for a series of design magazines, including Apparel Arts, Direction and AD.

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In the mid-1950s, Rand revolutionized book-cover design using abstraction, dramatic color combinations and his own distinct, thread-thin script.

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He designed many logos, among them the ones for Westinghouse, ABC and United Parcel Services in the 1960s, IMB in 1972, Cummins Engine in 1979 and for Steve Jobs’ Next      in 1986.

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Paul Rand died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 82. At this time, he was living and working in Norwalk, Connecticut. Much of his later years were spent writing his memoirs. Paul Rand will remain one of the most famous graphic designers in the world and his work and advice for approaching graphic design will live on to inspire designers.

History of Vehicle Graphics

In the last decade, vehicle graphics have transformed from an activity normally utilized by businesses with fleet trucks to a popular option for consumers and their cars, trucks, and SUVs. Companies have been using graphics to advertise on their vehicles for more than a century, and the first known examples of automotive advertising occurred around the turn of the last century.

How it All Started

In February of 1900, Milton Hershey became the first to use an automobile to advertise by painting his Lancaster, PA Hershey brand on a vehicle. Later, more embellished designs like Kolb’s Red Label Bread came to surface, incorporating different type faces and imagery. Originally, the only choice was to use paint, but soon something more durable, flexible, and with more design options hit the scene. Paint reigned supreme in the graphics world, and kept its exclusive place for over 50 years. But by the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s a new material began to emerge on the scene and changed the world of graphics forever: vinyl chloride.

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Vinyl for Advertising

At first, only large clients like the U.S. Air Force could afford to use self-adhesive vinyl graphics, but by the 1980’s vinyl production costs and die-cutting technology became affordable enough for small businesses to be able to letter their vehicles without paint.

By the early 1990’s, colorful die-cut vinyl had become the primary method of marking vehicles with lettering and logos for big businesses, while paint remained the choice for customizers and enthusiasts.

In the late 1990’s, new technologies emerged that allowed printing vinyl with a wide format electrostatic printer, but like die-cut vinyl before it, only the largest companies could afford to use it and its capabilities were extremely limited in design, color and image quality.

As the 21st century arrived, an advance in technology happened that not only made it possible for startups to purchase the equipment necessary to print on large format vinyl, but also to make the designs more striking than ever. With piezoelectric inkjet printers, large format graphic design software and computers that could handle over a gigabyte of data, the vinyl wrap was invented.

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Today, vehicle wrapping can be seen everywhere! The industry continues to innovate with better products, strategic printing and installation practices, and more sophisticated designs. If you’re interested in an advertising vehicle wrap for your business, contact Graphic Communications today!