As we’ve worked with various clients and businesses over the years, we’ve noticed similar questions popping up and decided to share some of the most important Q & A’s we’ve come across.
Why is a Creative Brief important in the design process?
Before you start any design project you should always fill out a Creative Brief. Let’s start by explaining what a Creative Brief is; it’s a nifty little document (about 1-3 pages), outlining the important details of the project including: objectives, target audience, deliverables required, and project specs (tone, message, visuals, size requirements, etc.). It’s not meant to be super detailed describing every single aspect of the project, instead it’s main purpose is to establish the creative direction and strategy to help guide the design team throughout the project. This is especially useful to include in the design process to help keep the project on track, since it can be very easy to lose sight of the main goal when there are so many distractions constantly being thrown at us. Example: you’ve already spent months creating and establishing a logo, name and aesthetic for your brand, then suddenly…you see a magazine ad with some wacky fonts and colors and think “YES”…well think again. At this point, refer back to your Creative Brief to see if this aligns with your objectives, will throwing in a random wacky ad help achieve your goals? Probably not, but don’t fret, your Creative Brief is here to save the day.
Do I need professional photos taken or can I use stock photography?
Depending on the budget for the project, it’s always recommended to have your own professional photos in your arsenal, or at the very least, a decent resource for stock photography. Having your own professional photos takes your business to a new level of authenticity; it brings original personality to your brand in a way that stock photography wouldn’t be able to achieve. With stock photos you have to work with what’s already been done, but being able to art direct the clear vision of your brand makes a world of difference and really shows.
Though let’s be real, not everyone has the means to hire a professional photographer to follow them around all day snapping the perfect photos, and that’s ok! There are resources out there for stock photos that don’t feel like “stock photos” (you know, the group of young professionals sitting around a table all laughing way too much and pointing at the same blank sheet of paper, yea don’t use those.) Some great stock photography resources are Stocksy, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, and Pexels.
Why do I need Brand Guidelines?
Think of your business as a delicious meal, and your Brand Guidelines are the recipe. It includes the ingredients and directions that create your brand, so essentially, you could give your Brand Guidelines to someone and they could use it to create branded collateral for your business. This is an excellent resource to have when working with printers, designers, developers, and anyone responsible for creating marketing material for your business to make sure they uphold the brand’s integrity. Not only is it useful for contractors/vendors, but it’s also important to have for YOURSELF (or your internal team) as a quick and easy reference for your brand’s look & feel, logo usage, fonts, colors, photo styling, social media examples, etc.
What is this “SEO” and why should all businesses have it?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a crucial marketing tool to help improve your web content visibility on non-paid and organic search engines. Studies have shown that about 70% of people choose to only click organic listings rather than paid search results. The best way to improve your SEO is to understand your target audience, this helps narrow down keywords that will attract viewers to your site. So a bit of research will help to identify those keywords, especially your primary keyword, and help to drive more people to your website! But good SEO isn’t just about having the right keywords, you also need good content so your viewers don’t immediately leave once they’re there and want to return to your site. And that’s where we come in… to help bring your brand, and therefore, the content on your site to the next level.
Trademark vs. Copyright – Why are these so important?
In a nutshell, Trademark and Copyright protect your business’s intellectual property from illegal use, and having intellectual property can also boost a company’s net worth. Now here’s where it gets a little sticky, there are different types of intellectual property, and Copyright and Trademark protect different types of assets. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Copyright Breakdown: According to the United States Copyright Office, ‘copyright protects original works created in a fixed form including “literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”’ So basically, any creative material made at your business can be copyrighted, but you need to register for a copyright if you want to be able to sue another party for using your work without paying royalties or license fees. You’ll sometimes see material as Royalty-free (RF), this means you have the right to use the copyrighted material without having to pay royalties or license fees. So when in doubt, Royalty-free is the way to go!
Trademark Breakdown: In another definition from The United States Patent and Trademark Office, ‘trademark protects “words, names, symbols, sounds or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.” In plain english, a business name, slogans, logos and anything that brands the business can be trademarked. Registering for a trademark is a bit more complex than registering for a copyright, so it’s a good idea to have an attorney help sift through the nitty gritty. Bottom line, trademark and copyright are sacred. Obey them. Love them.
We could cover a hell of a lot more in this post, but these are just the most common questions we’ve seen that deserve some attention. If there’s one you have that we didn’t answer this time, holla at us and we’ll include it in our next FAQ’s blog post!