ac4designs partners with AlFindlay.com

Announcing the latest development for ac4designs. 2019 sees me partnering with www.alfindlay.com to provide graphic support to Al and his team supporting the promotion of the business and work on website development.

Working with businesses in the local community is an important part of the ac4designs philosophy. Working local but thinking national means building links with like-minded businesses that want to deliver the very best service. Al Findlay and his team are a business that truly believes this to be true. ac4designs looks forward to working across a range of projects as we move towards 2020.

Designing for bees

Working with the local community is vitally important to me. Ensuring I use my skills to help the community in which I live as well as the wider world is a must.

Local bees matter

When local beekeeper Jenifer Tucker ask for some help to sell her honey, I was only pleased to help out. The welfare of our local bee populations is something we should all be concerned about, so helping Jenifer make her small hobby business viable by helping her package and sell a small number of honeypots every year was very rewarding.

 

Why is colour important to your business and brand?

Colour swatchesWhy small business should make the most of their colour!

This post discusses a simple but highly effective approach that can significantly improve the visibility of your brand. Big global brands take full advantage of colour use but many smaller businesses fail to grasp and make effective use of this attribute.

The power of colour

Colour is a hugely powerful and emotive in all aspects of life. Colour is used all around us every day to warn us, direct us, define our mood and re-enforce our perceptions. We all understand why a fire engine is painted red and what a blue flashing light means. For business branding and marketing, colour is just as powerful. The best brands really understand the importance of colour to support the visibility of the brand and messaging.

“Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.

Source: CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research

The quote above can also be found in this article on the same theme along with a number of other very interesting facts.

www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/why-color-matters

Take the colour test

As a bit of fun take the list of colours below and write a brand name next to each one. See how many match my answers at the end of this article. (No peeking!)

  • Red:
  • Orange:
  • Yellow:
  • Green:
  • Blue:
  • Purple:
  • Red & Yellow:
  • Green & Black:
  • White:
  • Multi:

It will be interesting to see how many of your answers match mine, but actually, that’s not the point. After all, colours are not owned (with a few exceptions) by brands. Colour is not the only aspect of establishing a successful brand identity. However, I would be more surprised, nay astonished if you could think of an answer for each. The point is simply to emphasise how important colour is to establishing brands in the mind of customers.

The lessons for small business

So how is this applicable to my small local business? Well, you may have a much smaller number of actual and potential customers but the rules are just the same. If you can secure your colours in the mind of your customers the recognition of your brand and its message will be amplified. Now it’s important to make clear that colour on its own is not a winning marketing strategy. The importance of your message to the customer and your capacity to deliver on your promise remain the key factors. Painting your falling down wooden fence a consistent shade of red isn’t going to stop it being ineffective at keeping the chickens in the field. In fact, it can have the opposite effect and just get your ineffective fence noticed more by your neighbours… (Slash customers!)

BUT there are several key benefits to using colour consistently with effective messaging:

  • Increased recognition of your brand.
  • Increased engagement and trust.

The common colour mistake small business make

This is really obvious but happens so much in my opinion. Inconsistent use of colour! Most business owners understand they need a logo to define their business for marketing purposes, but few consider the application. Consistent presentation of your identity and use of colour has so many benefits. It simplifies the time, effort and money required to deliver your message. Essentially because there is no debate to be had on the issue of presentation style or colour. This allows you to focus on getting that marketing message just right. Sadly so many small business fail to take control of their presentation style and colour use. This leads to marketing material that may be effective in its messaging, but which is not embedding your brand recognition. It will also inevitably lead to increased costs in creating materials as the presentation of colour is debated each time a task is undertaken.

The 5 simple rules for small business colour use

Before you read my list I should make something clear. This list defines a simple approach to using colour in your brand. There are plenty of examples of brands that use colour in complex and creative ways. However, the more complex the use of colour the more time and money it takes to manage, so if you’re a small business try the following:

  1. Define a simple colour palette for your business
  2. Ensure your logo reflects your use of colour
  3. Use colour consistently in all your marketing
  4. Document your colour palette and ideas for use of colour in your business and across marketing. Share this across your business and with those that apply your brand.
  5. Be consistent!

Clearly, the use of colour by some brands is very much more complex. There are times when you will need to adjust your approach to colour. Sub-brands or developing individual product brands are just a couple of examples. But for a small start-up or existing business keep it simple. Look around you and ask yourself what your brand colour or colours are? Now ask yourself (and others) if your customers would give you the same answer? Look at your marketing material and ask yourself does it all look as if it comes from the same business? If the answers no then I can be pretty sure it’s cost you more money than it should have. And probably missed an opportunity to embed your brand in your customer’s mind.

Colour by itself won’t make you successful. But it will help!

>>>

 

 

This is my list (remember I’m UK based so my answers are biased that way and it’s all subjective to your own experience).

  • Red: Coca-Cola
  • Orange: B&Q
  • Yellow: AA
  • Green: M&S
  • Blue: Boots
  • Purple: Cadburys
  • Red & Yellow: McDonald’s
  • Green & Black: Starbucks
  • White: EBAY

 

Becoming a website owner

In terms of being a website owner, this post is currently a case of ‘do I as I say not as I do’. I hope however it does provide some useful insight into the things to consider and the potential pitfalls of choosing to set up and manage your own website. This first part will consider aspects of planning and approach and the second post will follow with some practical issues to address and implement…

Read the first part of becoming a website owner in full here.

Blame the Jubilee – my May update is late!

Design and branding have to take a back seat – The Jubilee celebrations are to blame!

Newton Poppleford Jubilee Parade 2012

Actually thats not really true, but I design and branding did certainly did take a back seat with all the jubilee celebrations both nationally and locally in Newton Poppleford. Hats off to all those that put together the events that took place in and around Newton Poppleford. Much fun was had by all and it was great to see so may Brits coming together to celebrate.

I for one say long live the Queen!

Posting this news-up-date almost two weeks late means I will be giving myself a slap on the wrists (but not to hard we had to celebrate the Jubilee). May was a busy month for ac4designs so heres a round up of what went on.

New business identity

Firstly I am please to announce the completion of an initial business identity to launch FST.UK the UK’s Leading Experts in Fascial Stretch Therapy.

FST.UK logo

Based at Darts Farm in Devon FST.UK provide an innovative form of muscle stretch and preparation specifically aimed at athletes looking to improve performance. Steve Pavis, one of a select number of qualified instructors in the UK, will be launching this new venture to compliment his current Pilates Studio SMP Piliates. As well as creating an initial identity I have been providing Steve with plenty of advice regarding domains, web set up and getting his business identity protected with a trade mark.

I will hope to get more visuals and details added to the site shortly.

Own label branding for packaging and labelling

Dorringtons Generic Own Label for Jams and ChutneysAlso complete and now at production are several projects for Dorringtons a bakers based in Hertfordshire. I continue to help Dorringtons define their brand with designs for gift tins and biscuit boxes, own label designs for jams and chutneys and an as yet to be confirmed new project.

So watch this space for final presentation photos and an update on that latest task.

The ac4designs Facebook challenge!

Friendly CowsFinally I also decided it was time to try and reach the magic 30 likes on my Facebook page by the end of last month. Didn’t quite manage this but did climb from 3 to 15 ( less than 7 days) simply by asking via Facebook and Twitter for people to do so. Many thanks to all those EC friends that helped out and perhaps there is a lesson for us all in there? If you don’t ask you don’t get! Oh and if any one fancies liking my page I am trying again to reach 30 this month.

These cows like me! So can you…
www.facebook.com/ac4designsMain 

Thats all for now folks… accept for one last thought… in this month of EURO 2012…

Watching the England football team is a little like watching paint dry. Tedious. You just hope it dries back the right colour (which in England’s case it usually doesn’t).

But here’s hoping!


Brand shouldn’t be forgotten!

Remember your Brand is your business

In the current economic climate you might be forgiven for thinking that grappling with the complexities of your Brand are the least of your problems.

Brand example: photo of the Apple logoHowever, a strong Brand and effective management can help protect your business in tough economic times. In some cases it can even position you to take advantage of potential opportunities.

Read the full article on my blog...

Good luck to Martin Baines Learning Solutions

Just wanted to pass on best wishes to mbls for the future. Hoping the work completed by ac4designs on the business identity, business cards, Microsoft Word stationary templates, PowerPoint presentation templates and website will provide a solid communications platform for the business as it finds its feet.

Martin Baines Learning Solutions logo

More examples of the work produced will appear soon in the ac4designs portfolio.

Looking forward to working with Martin Baines Learning Solutions as 2012 progresses.

Accessible content delivery

Can  PDF files be made accessible to people with visual impairment or who need assistive technology to use the internet?

A college of mine recently asked this question, above, and thought I would post my thoughts.

To use PDF or Microsoft Word files with assistive technology effectively content creators must create files that have this in mind. This essentially means that the design needs to consider the user and that the document should contain good structured and tagging. To do this each element that makes up a document needs a definition – so define text what is a top-level heading (the title of a book) separately from a sub heading and from body text using styles and tag images to give an alternative text description that indicates an image in a non visual environment.

Design and publishing tools such as Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Word do deliver help in creating well structure documents, using style sheets and tagging tools, some of which is automatic. However to achieve a high quality solution this task needs considering fully as part of the process of creating the document file.

Read my full blog article on this subject.

Festive greetings!

Festive greetings from Antony Cox at ac4designs

ac4designs would like to wish you and yours a very happy Christmas!

With best wishes for 2012!

If I have worked with you in 2011, it has been a pleasure.
If not lets hope that 2012 is just the start!

best wishes
Antony Cox