Do you know how to breathe life into your graphic brand? Recently a good friend and business associate, Joel Comm, updated his brand with a hot red header graphic that morphs from his previous blue header into a new photo/video component that maximizes his LIVE action status. The look is totally appealing and inspiring, suitable for his high-energy business aesthetic. I was sold from the first view.
So, the question becomes, how does the average online business owner – who isn’t highly photogenic – breathe life into your graphic brand to maximize their personal brand?
Here are a few fun and innovative tricks to the whole ‘BRAND RECOGNITION’ theme that goes hand in hand with header graphic elements, and fresh touch revival of your printed and digital marketing pieces.
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~Jim Rohn
1 – Match it up.
Whether you’re sending out a letter head or just schmoozing on Facebook, breathe life into your graphic brand with coordinating header graphics. They don’t have to match up exactly, but the feel has to be apparent. The reader needs to know who’s sending the piece before they rip into the envelop, or click through to the about page. However they first see YOU on the page, you want that recognition to be stamped on their brain throughout their visit to your page, or scan through your mail. I always recommend not changing the personal (unless you’re using current pictures in your header), so much as upgrading the color, refreshing the fonts, or adding a textile print to your design.
Your header elements are the perfect place to showcase your unstoppable momentum.
2 – Raise the impact.
Bolder. Bigger. Better. Make whatever elements are in your message larger. High-impact color is a great shift. Joel breathed life into his graphic brand with RED. He upped the anti with graphic elements of his header in RED, to shock you into action. And the surprising side note of his header is the pointing finger that gives you an indication that he wants you to follow his finger and achieve your goal. Is it a call to action? Do you follow? What you do with the impact in your header is up to you, but in many cases it will drive your residual action into double numbers, simply because people allow their eyes to move off toward the impact.
3 – White space rocks.
Did you ever notice how the page opens up and certain things stand out, when they’re allowed to stand alone? One of my favorite design elements ever is my daughter’s new ALL White bathroom. Everything in the room is either white, palest gray, or brushed chrome, with is almost white by design – except for the chair by the balcony door. With the wispy white sheer curtains flowing and billowing around it, she parked a red chenille lounge chair with a rolled arm angled away from the doors just enough to slip past it, if you decide you absolutely must go out the door. Every other single thing in the room is white.
If you arrive at her house, mid-day, and nobody else is home, you can bet your bottom dollar she’s got a book and she’s in front of the open door, curtains billowing around her, and she’s stretched out on the lounge reading. It is her favorite space in the house. It’s a BATHROOM! But it’s her favorite space, because WHITE space is open, airy, and aesthetic.
Simplify your project and breathe life into your graphic brand with an open layout and plenty of white space.
4 – Enhancements.
Highlight a benefit your reader will receive from you that they get from no other source. For instance, that open window. I bet my daughter visited 300 houses before she found a master bedroom – bath that opened into it’s very own garden views in a private garden. It was a pre-requisite to purchasing a house. There may have been other specific details that she wanted in the house, but that was the one that was non-negotiable for her.
A reader who has specific desires won’t be able to tell you what those desires are, but as you design your website and marketing materials remember the readers you’re trying to reach will have some specific desires, and you’ll want to fulfill those expectations. The more of those you can fill without overloading your site or marketing materials, the bigger your audience will be. Make sure your enhancements don’t conflict with each other.
5 – Inserts & fly overs.
Whether your customers open your brochure as a website, or as an envelope received in the mail, you’ll want their attention immediately drawn to your PRIME opportunity. Online, I recommend a fly-over with a contrasting color, plenty of detail, and a vivid, compelling point of reference that captures their attention. If it’s a snail mail, I often recommend you put in an insert in a bright color, different textured paper, to capture that attention. Imagine opening a letter from your realtor and receiving a gift card from the hardware store for $200 to be activated at closing? Would that appeal to you? Would you keep that card with the realtor’s number until you closed on a house?
We did. In fact, over the last five years, we’ve closed with three real estate agents who used the gift card idea as his Business Card of choice. We really appreciate their services and their gifts.
You can accomplish the same thing when you breathe life into your graphic brand with an insert or other element of design that captivates your audience.
6 – Unexpected & captivating selections.
Colors? Living, vivid colors can be unexpected, captivating, and often create the WOW factor required to capture your audience’s attention. Recently, I visited a site where the background color was a soft ivory-gray, and the site color selections were soft rose, country green, and pale gray. The lack of definition and contrast between the colors made the page difficult to read, but worse… The grays all blended together creating a bland, unappealing appearance on their website. And graphic elements were blurry or fragmented with gray as well. The demure intent of the site was lost in the gray aesthetics.
Out of sheer frustration, I created a page with similar colors, but bolded the pink and green with more intensity, added crisp, clear graphics, and shifted the background color to a sparkling white. I invited the owner of the site to view my “signin page” with a FREE Site review listed as a reason for the sign in.
Consequently, not only did she sign in, and referred several friends, but I sold three new site makeovers to some of my newly minted marketing list. Be willing to play with color, but don’t settle for less than an absolutely captivating selection of colors and graphics. Because you’ll want the best results, and they don’t come with boring graphics or color schemes. Breathe life into your graphic brand with astounding color selections.
7 – Responsive.
Clarity and comprehension are the most important concepts you’ll display to your buying clients, before they sign the check. If you don’t understand the importance of a responsive website, think about the last shopping experience you had with a company who didn’t have a current website? Was it responsive? Did it work on your cell phone? Tablet? If the site isn’t responsive, you’ll want to fix that fast.
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