Words to live by…

By: > March 7th, 2014 > One comment

As a designer, it’s easy to get bogged down by the illusion of perfection.

  • Is the spacing right on that headline?
  • Maybe we should scootch that block just a hair to the left.
  • That orange may be too orange.
  • Check the thesaurus. There has to be a better word to use there.

This need for perfection can be paralyzing in life. Chores go undone because they can’t be done perfectly. Pictures lean against the wall until the perfect location and hanging mechanism are determined. A run fails to happen because I don’t have my headphones or the right socks.

As we established Serif Group in 2000, our business mentor gave us the best bit of advice: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of better.”

We have since used it weekly to help clients feel better about pulling the trigger on a name change, brochure printing, logo design – you name it.

If you find yourself stuck, just do SOMETHING. You can always go back and make it better later. Taking the first step will feel so good.

I was inspired to create a graphic to remind us of these words to live by. If you need a reminder, you can order a variety of products featuring this design on Café Press.


Dusty souls and art trolls

By: > November 1st, 2013

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” –Pablo Picasso

Are our souls just way too dusty? I recently came across a video that got me thinking. Is there too much great stuff out there? Are we so overly-programmed to tune out stimuli from meaningless and unverified sources that we will ignore great work when presented to us?

World-renowned and notorious artist Banksy set up an experiment recently on a street in New York. He offered his work for $60 and hired an older man to sit at the booth all day to see if he would find any buyers. For perspective, Banksy’s work Keep it Spotless went for $1.8 million in 2008.

Would you pay $60 for a Banksy?

Another similar sting operation was set up in a subway station in Washington D.C. with famous violinist Joshua Bell… would you stop to listen –would it even phase you?

Check out this article from bloomberg.com for more on art vs. hype.

Jump start your social media efforts for business

By: > January 25th, 2010 > 9 comments

Social Media Jumpstart

With a background and a passion for graphic design, I often share in the joke with other designers that knowing how to use the software doesn’t make you a designer. Sometimes you can pass as a designer because you pleased the person who hired you, but your design may not have worked effectively.

What’s a designer to do? Nothing, really. All we can do is educate our clients and the public on the value of good, professional graphic design. Although your customers may not ask for it, they react to it. And if done with good commercial sense, your business will benefit from it.

When it comes to social media, many of the arguments are similar. Using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for business does make you a social media marketer—but it doesn’t necessarily make you an effective one. Knowing the tools will help you be an effective social media marketer.

And while knowing the tools is an important aspect of social media marketing, using good engagement practices and solid marketing principles will go much further than knowing how to upload a link to your Facebook page. Fortune 500 companies and small mom-and-pop corner stores alike are using these social platforms to reach new and existing prospects. But are they doing it effectively?

Sales Pitch

So I had to be going somewhere with this, right? Yes, I admit this is a sales pitch, but my pitch won’t be for everyone. After all, my personalized session for social media consulting is an on-site session—here in Lexington. For those reading this who aren’t willing to travel in for the on-site session, I encourage you to look for a marketing agency in your area that can help you navigate the tools of social media, and educate you on the best practices. Or, contact me and we can organize a Skype session.

And for those of you who live here or are coming to Lexington, Kentucky in the near future I hope you would consider scheduling a time I can advise you on using the social media tools effectively and introduce you to best practices. Find out more information about my social media jumpstart session.

How to Get Your Brand to Speak for Itself

By: > August 13th, 2014

Was my handshake too intense? Did I make enough eye contact? Did I make too much eye contact? Am I standing too close?

Thirty seconds. Sometimes that’s all you get. What do they think of you? You gave this stranger thirty seconds to decide what they thought of you.

And how did you do?

According to scientific research, the way someone perceives you for the majority of your first interactions can be established within thirty seconds. That’s all it takes for them to decide if they like you or not. First impressions are intimidating. You’re meeting someone – a stranger – for the first time. Neither of you really know what to expect. In business, you often make your first impression on a client before you even meet them face-to-face. They can type your company or name in to a Google search, find you on Facebook, peruse through your website, or ask what other people know about you. What sort of impression are you leaving for potential clients to find? How can you ensure that they will be impressed from the outset?

Clients often step in to marketing offices asking for only one small adjustment or addition: “My logo needs to stand out more… My website needs an update…” and so it goes. Sometimes, they are right and that is all they need. Other times, and often, what they really need is an entire face-lift for their brand. It is not that the brand in itself is worthless or bad, because many times it is not, but it is that the brand has aged and in order to make a bold statement in the business world today, it needs an update. A brand is what tells a customer or client that you have what it takes to give them what they want. Your brand speaks for your company, explaining what your purpose is and what you will give. Your brand is a promise of quality, communication, and production. It could also be your breakthrough.

Don’t waste the time you have to make a quick and brilliant impression – beef up your branding. Take the bold step and make the decision to revamp every nook and cranny of your brand, and throw out those things that could taint your reputation with one glance. It could be the thing that makes or breaks a potential business endeavor – or your reputation. Invest in your brand: it may be what keeps your business alive and thriving. Don’t cut yourself short when you have so many places to go.

With great business branding, you don’t have to worry about a great first impression: it has already been done for you. Let your brand speak for itself, and you worry about living up to your promise!