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Nice Branding Agency is a graphic design firm with offices in Nashville, TN and Lakeland, FL. This blog breaks down the importance of spacing with a specific look at kerning, leading and tracking.

Have you ever looked at something and thought to yourself, that just doesn’t look good? And by “something,” we’re referring to marketing collateral, packaging, outdoor advertising, magazine ads, etc.

We’ve all been there. We’ve seen a business card or brochure that just looks a little off, or we’ve gotten a direct mailer that just seems kind of wonky. Near our graphic design firm in Nashville, we’ve even seen some big ol’ billboards that seem like something is just not right. Hey, maybe that’s their tactic for catching your eye?!

Sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on it, and sometimes it’s as plain as day that the piece is just too dang hard to read.

Typography is the art of arranging letters and words so that they are appealing to the eye, easy to read, and evoke a certain emotion based on the style and arrangement of the letters.

It’s typography that either draws the elements of a design piece together or really leaves you squinting your eyes and scratching your head.

Now that you’re reading this blog post, you won’t be able to escape bad type. You’ll notice it everywhere, we promise. You’ll start critiquing ads and picking apart packaging design. You will probably even start to notice the type on product labels. Sorry! But also, you’re welcome.

There’s nothing we hate more at our graphic design firm in Nashville than a poorly kerned word, and maybe we can expose the injustice that’s being done to type, one blog reader at a time. Hey, we can have a little hope, right?

Let’s jump right into it. Basic typographic design skills boil down to include a mastery of kerning, leading (rhymes with bedding), and spacing.

Graphic Design Firm Talks Kerning

Kerning refers to adjusting the spacing between the letters of a word, separately. This one seems simple, but handled improperly, kerning can impact the legibility of a word. With letters spaced too closely together, the word can become indecipherable. And if they’re too far apart, the word becomes too difficult to read. It’s kind of a Goldilocks situation.

Letters should be proportionally spaced, and designers must take into account the stylistic needs of certain fonts. There’s no easy button for this one. Kerning a font precisely requires a sharp eye, patience, and determination.

Not all fonts are created equal. When fonts come off the keyboard, after being typed, the spacing between x and y maybe not be the same spacing as what is between a and b. Attention must be given to this spacing, especially when the font size is large, for example, as it is when used as a headline.

We aren’t suggesting that you start tackling your own graphic design after simply reading this post, but if you’re already a designer, here are a few quick tips we found on how to kill it at kerning.

Graphic Design Firm Talks Leading Increased Leading

Not Enough Leading

Nice Leading

Also a spacing technique, leading determines how text is spaced vertically when there are several lines of copy. You may know this as “double spacing” in Word, but in the design world, this is much more precise.

Leading is measured by setting a baseline for where the letters of one line will sit. A designer then takes into account descenders (like lowercase j or g) and ascenders (like lowercase d or b), and then sets leading, or spacing between the lines, to accommodate the font size.

Generally, leading at 20 percent of the font size is standard, but once again, there’s no standard to design. We are asked weekly to create templates so that they can be updated by our clients in-house. Although we understand the value to this, there’s just no dollar amount that can be placed on a good designer. Once you start paying attention, you’ll really start to notice how leading will either guide you through copy effortlessly, or cause you to stumble through the written word.

Graphic Design Firm Talks Tracking

Just when you thought you had a handle on spacing in the design world, we’re going to throw one more concept at you straight from our graphic design firm in Nashville. Tracking is the adjustment of the spacing between letters throughout an entire word.

I hear you, you’re probably saying to yourself, ok so tracking is another term for kerning. Well, no it’s not.

Once you’ve kerned the crap out of the each letter relationship in your word, you can adjust the tracking to set the same amount of space between each letter throughout the entire word. Does that make sense?

Often times designers will increase leading drastically to create big spaces between each letter in a word, but they are all evenly spaced. You’ve probably seen this before and not even realized it. Can we say conversation starter?

Now that you know, you can critique design with the rest of us! Just kidding, but seriously, if you’re a designer or your commissioning one to create something for you, paying attention to these typographic design skills is like going back to basics. We often see designers throwing everything and the kitchen sink at their design, all while overlooking the most basic fundamentals.

Wondering how well we can walk the talk? Contact our graphic design firm in Nashville, aka Nice Branding Agency, today to get started on a design project, and let us put your money where our mouth is!

The post Kerning, Leading and Tracking appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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On our quest to educate our followers about the ins and outs of burger restaurant branding, all while getting some meals in along the way, our Nice Branding Florida girls hit the highway to Tampa recently.

Tampa’s food scene has exploded in recent years, and the Nice Girls are always willing to take one for the team by taking it to Tampa for lunch instead of grabbing takeout.

For this burger restaurant branding review excursion, we selected the burger joint, Goody Goody. Let’s start by saying that we anticipated this review to be less than stellar. From the looks of their website, the restaurant seemed a bit cheesy, and not in the extra-cheese-on-my-burger-please good way.

Nevertheless, burgers are kinda our thing, so we set out to taste test the food and analyze the burger restaurant branding.

As we arrived in Hyde Park, we realized that the location of Goody Goody is goody goody. It’s right on Swann, surrounded by Sprinkles Cupcakes, Anthropology, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and tons of other shops and restaurants.

The exterior of the restaurant was also well done (pardon the pun).

As you approach the restaurant, right away you get a retro, diner, nostalgic feel, which appears to be the goal of the brand. However, you’re also struck with the sense that this spot has been recently renovated, since the vibe is undeniably cool.

The exterior restaurant sign is very visible, and the “GG” icon appears in several places on the exterior, such as on the custom metal railing and in vinyl on the front door. There is a mix of subway tile and green brick present on the outside that gives the storefront a modern feel, while the railing and tables bring in the diner element without being overtly obvious.

There were also graphics on the exterior of the building that put a playful spin on the restaurant name, and patio seating that’s perfect for outdoor dining.

Ok, you got our attention, Goody Goody. Let’s go in.

As soon as you step foot into the restaurant, you’re taken back in time. The custom floor tile is a feature for sure, and ties in the supporting brand colors. The mosaic tile is in square patterns on the floor and then runs along the underside of the bar in a more random pattern. The ceiling features distinctive white tile that resembles a vintage tin style. The variation, yet complementing design and color of all of the tile in this space, allows for cohesiveness of the brand without the monotony of subway tile from wall to wall. There are just enough colors and textures in place to hit the spot without overwhelming the senses. This is burger restaurant branding in the making …

Now, on to the bar. Or rather, the counter. THIS is the true focal point of the restaurant, and your eye is immediately drawn to this area as you enter the space. Styled like an old-school diner counter, the words “Burgers,” “Pies,” and “Shakes” line the bar installation. And just like that, within half a second of being inside the place, you know exactly what they are famous for. Plus, if you’re anything like us, you’re already trying to decide what flavor shake to order.

There are big booths around the outer walls of the restaurant, tables in the center of the restaurant, and a few spots perfect for someone who’s dining solo. These one-seaters are vintage school desks set with a place setting to indicate that you can actually sit there. This unique setup seems to be the perfect way to get a few more seats into the space, while creating a design element that sets the restaurant apart and draws a bit of interest.

Yes, there’s a lot going on when you walk into Goody Goody. But, it’s done relatively well so nothing really seems like “too much.” Something that plays into that fact is that the restaurant is completely lined on two sides by garage-style doors that were totally open. Fans on the outside and the A/C cranking provided climate control, while the open-air aesthetic gave the restaurant a very airy and lively feel, without being too overstimulating.

As we were gawking at all of the design elements, a hostess politely waited for us to snap our photos and talk amongst ourselves before she brought us to a tiny table tucked into the back of the restaurant.

Speaking of the hostess, she was wearing a Goody Goody branded shirt; however, we think that a tee with a catchy phrase could have brought more of the brand voice to the forefront. You already know how we feel about puns…

Now, we sit.

Come to find out, Goody Goody has been around since 1925 and is owned by renowned Florida restaurant, The Columbia. This info was communicated to us by our super-friendly server (yes, your staff’s demeanor totally plays into your burger restaurant branding experience), but the story was also told on the custom-designed placemats at our table. The mats depicted Tampa in a playful way and showed the journey of Goody Goody from 1925 to present day.

The servers and staff dressed the part, and the staff’s attire played into the overall personality of the brand well. Even something as simple as an embroidered logo on a staff shirt can elevate the old-time feel that really seems to serve this brand well.

As we waited for our food to arrive, we scoped out the bathroom. The ladies and gents rooms are an often-overlooked but super-effective place to communicate your brand to patrons.

The bathroom at Goody Goody seemed to be dedicated to telling the story of the restaurant. It was decked out with black and white pictures of the original Goody Goody and super-old newspaper articles that told the story of the brand’s growth. When you see actual, printed newspaper articles about a business, doesn’t it just give you that family-owned, been-here-a-long-time feel? We loved seeing these and wished that they were brought inside of the restaurant in a bigger way. Hey, if someone didn’t have to potty, they would miss out on these goodies. Or should we say Goodys?

Back at our table, we noticed that while the articles and old-time photos were not on the walls, some really strange art was taking up valuable wall space. Along the walls that weren’t occupied by the garage doors or the big bar, there were several graffiti-style paintings. It seemed like maybe they were designed to bring in a community aspect, but really they just looked out of place, and their presence took away from the retro feel of the restaurant a bit.

Pro Tip: While tempting to put a little something personal or communal in your restaurant, you must must must adhere to your brand direction at all costs to create true burger restaurant branding magic within your restaurant. There’s typically always a way you can accomplish what you’re after while still staying on brand, so be relentless about making sure that every aspect aligns.

Ok, now we’re really hungry. Our food arrives and we’re starving, but of course we’ve got to get some #foodporn pics. So we get ready to snap away, and we notice that the baskets and table tops aren’t that great for the instagram pics. Bummer and big miss.

Although the green and yellow baskets technically, kinda match the brand colors (not exactly though), metal baskets or small metal trays would have been a better fit for the overall brand direction. There is already so much yellow and green being used on the tables, walls and floors, and the metal would have been a nice contrast. Plus, it seems cleaner and more sleek.

The Goody Goody logo was on the basket liner, but it was underneath all the food. One thing we would have recommended is that the liner be more simple, and the burger paper feature a catchy saying or the icon or logo.

We also felt like there were opportunities missed on the napkin holders and menu. The use of the typography seen in other areas of the restaurant could have been brought into the menu to update the design immensely, while still keeping the nostalgia intact. Basically, it seemed like tons of dough was dropped on the interior, but the menus were just so-so.

Overall, our adventure to the big city was a success, and we were able to review a really cool restaurant. While there was room for improvement in weaving the burger restaurant branding through the menu, tabletop items, and walls in a more connective manner, Goody Goody seemed to stay true to their roots as an updated diner.

If you’re a restaurateur who is reading this and it’s resonating with you, give us a shout. We would love to help you create that branding magic in your own restaurant space.

We also reviewed The Grilled Cheeserie in Nashville — read it here if you’re still not convinced we are the best choice when it comes to restaurant branding.

The post Burger Restaurant Branding Review: Goody Goody appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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Looking for logo design tips?

We’ve put together a list of three key elements that a logo must posses in order to be considered “good,” “well done,” or “‘strong.”

Obviously, if you’re not graphically inclined, it’s probably best to leave the logo development to a graphic designer.

Even more, you might consider looking specifically for a branding expert to develop your logo, because your logo is such a crucial element of your overall brand image.

Not every graphic designer or user of the design programs is necessarily qualified to create a logo for your business.

There’s so much to consider and so much more on the line.

If today’s the day you need to make a wise decision, read no further, and call the logo design experts at Nice Branding Agency at 615-905-9936.

If you’re feeling brave, need to make sure the branding company you hired is doing it right, or you’re just curious overall, read on, my friend.

Logo Design Tips: Your logo must be versatile.

A big word with a lot of meaning.

Your logo must be versatile in size.

It’s got to be able to scale down to the size of a quarter or up to the size of a billboard and still be recognizable, clear, and readable.

Keep it simple with no intricate details. Keep font sizes and element sizes fairly consistent. Use well-crafted, classic fonts. Respect the grid.

Your logo must be versatile in color.

This baby has got to be effective in black, white, and in color. If your logo only works when displayed with all of its colors in all of their glory, it’s a no go.

Your logo must be versatile in layout.

Your brand mark is going to need to fit this space, that space, and probably a bunch of spaces in between.

You should have multiple setups of your logo. Vertical, horizontal, just the icon, just the logo type, with the slogan, without the slogan … you get the picture.

If it only works in one layout setup, you gotta keep workin’ it.

Logo Design Tips: Your logo must align.

This is another big one with multiple things to think about.

Let’s just start by saying that strategy is big here. There’s gotta be something behind your logo.

The concept or meaning behind your logo should ideally align with your core purpose, offerings, or values of your business. It’s can’t just be a slick stock icon paired with a sans serif font, boxed in and reversed out.

Your logo has to be distinctive and suggestive of the goods and/or services you’re putting out there, or the result of using those goods and services.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean it has to say what you do through a direct icon. For example, a restaurant logo does not have to have a burger in it.

A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does. Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, doesn’t mean you can’t do better. The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an airplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer. Etc.
David Airey

Well-designed logos oftentimes include an element of surprise.

Notice the arrow between the E and the X.

Notice here how the b in the icon is the same shape as headphones on an ear.

Notice the hidden 31 in the BR icon.

It’s gotta be unique and it needs to point your brand in the direction it needs to go for success.

The font choice and overall design aesthetic plays a huge part in what your business is saying to your customers or potential clients.

Playful logos are going to say fun. Sophisticated logos are going to say expensive. Trendy logos are going to say innovation. The list goes on and on.

Make sure the positioning of your logo is correct or you might go down the wrong road fast.

The logo has to carry forth something more than just a “good” design.

Logo Design Tips: Your logo must be simple.

Yes. Can you believe that? Simple is best. Think of Apple. Think of Nike. Think of Starbucks.

It took two of these three companies years to nail down the art of simplicity. Multiple rebrands each offered a bit more simplicity until ultimately solving the puzzle and skyrocketing their brand awareness.

Just remember, it must be simple, but it also must be distinctive, to the extreme.

Simplicity is not only key in the design of your logo, but it’s also a key factor in the decoration of your logo.

No embossed logos. No drop shadows. No beveling. Gradients only sometimes.

Simple logos are often easily recognized, incredibly memorable, and the most effective in conveying the requirements of the client.
Jeff Fisher

Sometimes it should be so simple that you may feel slighted as a paying client; however, remember the art of simplicity is not something all designers posses.

Bonus Logo Design Tips:

Your logo isn’t timeless. If you didn’t notice, this world is changing — fast. You wouldn’t wear that same shirt you loved 15 years ago, and your business shouldn’t be wearing the logo it loved 15 years ago.

Your logo, if you are refreshing it, should respect the heritage of the brand. Don’t throw it all away. Boil it down to what is truly important and capture that in an updated fashion.

Review the competition before beginning logo development. Lay them all out. Examine them. Be better. A logo can often be the deciding factor for clients choosing between companies with similar offerings.

Choose solid, clean, well-crafted fonts. Don’t go throwing in a font that is going to be outdated in a year. Clean lines and structure.

Tip your hat to the color wheel, and then bow down to it. Read more about choosing brand colors in our previous blog post.

Don’t put too much pressure on your logo. It’s typically not going to take up more than 25% of the real estate of the piece it is on. There’s a big solid brand coming behind it, and it may only truly shine when paired with its supporting brand elements.

And lastly, remember that you’re probably great at what you do. It’s OK to not be so great at logo design. When you’re ready to throw in the towel, give the girls at Nice Branding Agency a call.

We’ll get all these things we just mentioned wrapped into a nice little logo mark for you.

The post 3 Crucial Logo Design Tips You Don’t Want to Miss appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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May Trends – A Sweet Addition at Chipotle

We’re starting the May trends off strong with a sweet surprise.

The ladies at Nice Branding are big fans of Chipotle. Sign us up for any lunch date that involves guacamole, chips, and burritos.

Despite our love for Tex-Mex food, many people haven’t been quick to forget the brand’s 2015 E. Coli, norovirus, and salmonella outbreaks in restaurants across the nation.

But Chipotle isn’t going down without a fight. In the effort to rebuild their brand loyalty and image, and improve sales, they’ve tweaked their menu and introduced several new items over the past two years.

The latest addition that we can’t stop dreaming about? A sweet treat to enjoy after our meal—the buñuelo. This new dessert is a flat fried fritter topped with honey, sugar, and cinnamon, and served with an apple dipping sauce that will be offered in test markets in May.

Is Chipotle’s new take on a fried donut ball the perfect recipe to rejuvenate their brand and bring customers back in? We’re keeping our fingers crossed and making plans to try this new dish as soon as possible.

May Trends – Pinterest Perfect

When you work in the world of social media, your personal and professional lives often collide. Our feeds are filled with brands and friends that we personally love, but at the same time, we follow a variety of accounts that keep us updated on the latest trends and insights for our clients.

After the work day wraps up, you can catch us pinning our #OOTD goals, recipes, and home decor ideas on Pinterest. But one thing is certain: we can’t resist pinning items that inspire our day-to-day creativity for our clients.

When you’re on Pinterest, your home feed automatically populates with “Picked for You Pins.” These pins are personalized and recommended to you based on your repins and likes. But what happens when the recommendations are totally off base because of the variety of pins you’re repinning for both your professional and personal needs?

Pinterest now offers an easy fix to fine tune your home feed. To turn off the “Picked for you Pins” function in your settings, follow these simple instructions: Click the bolt icon > Click “Home Feed” in the menu on the left > Click the “Picked for you Pins” toggle to turn the feature on and off > Click Save Settings button.

Now your home feed will be curated with pins that you’ve picked. Happy pinning, friends!

May Trends – Calling All Fashionistas

Picking out the perfect outfit can be quite the undertaking. Which shoes really look the best with that dress? Is this outfit flattering?

Well, Amazon’s latest product, the Echo Look, is going to be your new BFF. By simply saying, “Alexa, take a photo,” this $200 voice-activated camera connects with an app on your phone to offer you a view of yourself from multiple angles. Echo Look is the constant friend you’ve always needed to take pictures and videos of your outfit before heading out the door.

And let’s not forget our favorite thing about this new product. You can get advice from “fashion specialists” by using the Style Check feature. Simply upload two photos of your outfit, and their team will provide you with feedback based on current trends and the overall style of of your outfits.

Will you welcome this high-tech fashionista to your closet? The Echo Look isn’t available for purchase yet, but you can sign-up for an invitation to get the latest news on this product.

Consider this our friendship bracelet offering, Alexa. We’re ready to be best friends with you.

May Trends – We’re Hooked

A new app, Hooked, is on a mission to change the way you read and write fiction stories. The app shares short stories modeled on text message conversations. Even the least avid reader will be captured by this modern format.

In the Hooked’s latest update, they introduced the option for users to create their own stories. An added bonus is you can add photos and videos into your stories.

So if reading and writing text messages is more of your style, then we’d definitely recommend downloading and reading your next short story on this app. We’re ready to spice up our next book club meeting with a story on Hooked!

May Trends – Creative Trends Dominating 2017

Our friends at Shutterstock recently released a Creative Trends infographic that we’re obsessed with. They took a deep dive into data to show us trends and styles that will lead the creative world in 2017.

From design trends, to digital trends, to video trends, this infographic offers amazing insights that will help guide strategy and design for our clients this year.

Have you incorporated emojis into your digital content? Here’s a sneak peek on what you’ll learn in the infographic: Shutterstock’s research shows that emoji usage has increased by 328 percent. Our team has got all of the emoji heart eyes that more brands are incorporating into their captions on social media. Excuse us while we go add another emoji to our Instagram post.

Click here to get the scoop on more creative trends.

May Trends – Spinning Through the Day Like

You’ve seen them on the news. Your Facebook is bombarded with videos of them. And you may be a proud, new owner of the season’s hot fad: the fidget spinner.

These small objects are marketed as “an antidote for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, and autism.” The fidget toys are spinning off the shelves as people are flocking to stores to purchase the spinners to keep either themselves or their children focused.

In the news this week, it’s clear that this trend isn’t catching on with educators. What started out as a therapy tool for children has now become a distraction in classrooms. Teachers and schools are now banning them from learning environments due to their noise.

Only time will tell whether or not the fidget spinners will remain one of the hottest trends this month.

The post Six May Trends We’re Loving appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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Some of you may be swamped with spam and seriously questioning the validity of email marketing as an effective tool.

We see most of you flocking to social media, and we even notice that some of you are dipping a toe into text message marketing to reach your target market.

If you’ve been wondering what text message marketing looks like compared to email marketing, check out our quick comparison here. You may be surprised at some of our insights.

There are even platforms that allow you to send push notifications to your customers. The means of contact are becoming endless!

Now, that’s all well and good, but don’t disregard the power of the inbox. Email marketing is alive and well.

In fact, McKinsey & Company conducted a study that uncovered the fact that, “Email is a staggering 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.”

GetResponse’s 2016 State of Email pointed out that, “For every $1 invested, email marketing generates an average return of $38.”

OK, so now that we’ve established that email marketing campaigns do in fact drive business, we bet you’re brainstorming your next subject line as we speak. Or write. Or whatever.

You might want to pump the brakes, to make sure you’re not putting the cart before the horse.

Before you start firing off promotional emails, it’s important that you have a solid, clean, organized email list.  

Go ahead and login to your Mailchimp or Constant Contact or Emma account — it’s OK, we’ll wait — and check to see how many subscribers you have. Underwhelmed? Yeah, it’s OK.  

We’ve outlined a few simple ways to build your email marketing list below.  

You can start by subscribing to our list, so you can make certain that you get little tips and tidbits like this one, direct to your inbox.

Email Marketing List Growth #1: Free Content Pop-Up or Pleasure Button

Bribe to subscribe, lead magnets, carrot content. This is information, tips and tricks that you promise to provide once someone forks over their email address.

This content has to be well-timed and relevant in order to rope someone into giving you their contact information. This should not be a sales piece, rather it should be valuable content that someone would welcome into their inbox.

Creating custom, click-worthy content isn’t a walk in the park, but it also doesn’t have to be a marathon. Create something simple that addresses the core problem that your would-be clients are facing.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Just give away the goods to achieve one great solution.

OK, great. So, we’ve convinced you to spill the beans for free to get subscribers. Now, practically speaking, how will this go down?

You’ll need a place to make your promise and a spot for people to type in that all-important email address.

C’mon, get creative! Use a homepage pop-up with pleasure or pain buttons to entice someone to open up their inbox to you. Something like this would work well:

Headline: Want Marketing That Plucks Customers from Your Competitors?

Subhead: Grab this PDF to learn how to steal business from the competition.

Buttons: “Yes, I want to beat the competition!” – or – “No, I’m good losing business.”

If you’re not sure how to build a pop-up, that’s OK. Because we are! Lucky for you, we can create and implement something like this for you, like tomorrow. Really. Just give us a shout.

Email Marketing List Growth #2: Host a Giveaway

If you’re not keen on giving away the secret sauce to anyone and everyone that signs up on your site, you could host a giveaway instead.

Make the prize something substantial — a free month of classes at your barre studio, a $100 gift card to your restaurant, a complimentary massage at your spa — you get the idea.

Determine contest start and end dates, set up an email collect on your homepage, and then market the heck out of it.

Post about the giveaway on your website, social pages, in-store, and to whoever will listen. The idea is to get as many entries as possible, right?

Bonus points for telling people that you’ll announce the winner on social media and encouraging them to also follow you there.

Email Marketing List Growth #3: Sign-Up Sheet or iPad App

This one is easy. Just collect emails everywhere you go.

No, seriously. If your team is a vendor at an event, or you host an event at your place of business, make sure to make email collection a priority.

The money you spend on the event will come back to you in spades if you’re able to generate a list of leads that you can add to your email database.

Remember, every dollar spent on email marketing pays $38 in revenue.

Several iPad apps like privy and icapture are available to make email collection a breeze. Mailchimp even has its own app for collecting emails and adding them directly into your list.

Even if you don’t want to get all tech savvy with it, you can simply put out a sign-up sheet and ask people to leave their contact info.  

We would recommend keeping this as easy for the potential customer as possible by only asking for the email address and possibly their zip code if you serve multiple regions.

Obviously, you should also take the email address of every customer you serve either at your point of sale or during the course of communication with them, and make sure they get added to your list.

Now, segmenting this list, that’s for another blog post — stay tuned!

Now that we’ve established the importance of email marketing, and the importance of a good, solid list of subscribers, we send you out into the world to market your services.

If you’re sitting there in your office or on your smartphone and you’re reading this thinking — that really sounds like a lot of work, well then, fear not, because we would make the perfect partners.

Email campaigns really get us going, and we would be thrilled to beef up your list to get some emails going out and dollars coming in.

Contact the Nice Girls today to get started building up a list of leads.

The post appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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Have you checked out Google Apps lately? There are some serious productivity tools available through the Apps. And these tools are free for regular folks, for the most part. Chances are, you already have access to Google Apps and you haven’t yet tapped into the potential.

We’re breaking down these Google Apps, in hopes that you can put them to use for a more productive and simpler work life (and home life — hello syncing calendars!). We’ve even included some new features that are built just for running a business.

These first few Google Apps are available to any and all Google users with either a free or paid account. Just like Google says, “One Account is All You Need.” Listen, we have all been there with our @aol.com or @hotmail.com accounts.

Trust us, create your Google Account and prepare to be wowed. We can almost guarantee that at some point you might utter the words, “Why didn’t I switch sooner?!”

And no, this isn’t a paid post. We’re just goo-goo-ga-ga for Google products. If you really want to nerd-out, check out a complete list here.

Google Apps: Google Calendar

Reminders in Google Calendar - YouTube

Did you know that you can have and share multiple calendars through Google Calendar?

Yes, as a business owner, maybe you need a personal calendar as well as a calendar for each of your team members. However, you might not want your entire team to have access to things like your colonoscopy appointment.

With Google Calendar, there are multiple settings for sharing and permissions, one allowing you to show time that you are unavailable, but not show why you are unavailable.

Additionally, using the Google Calendar provides seamless integration with other apps within Google Apps, such as Drive, Gmail, and Hangouts.

Through Google Calendar you can set up events, meetings, calls, etc. and send invites to anyone you want, to which those people can accept and add those events to their own calendars.

Want to have your favorite sports team calendar viewable in YOUR calendar? Or maybe you’re curious about holidays in Greece? Or perhaps you like knowing what phase the moon is scheduled for that week?

Well, guess what … you can. Simply click the little down arrow in the upper left corner of the “Other Calendars” section (left side of your screen) and select “Browse Other Calendars.” And the options are endless.

Google Apps: Google Hangouts

Hangouts is Google’s version of chat and video that fluidly works within all its apps while you are working in them, or functions as its own separate app, if desired.

Easily create group chats as well as group video chats. And an added bonus is there’s no limit to how many people can be on the call.

Another efficient feature within Google Apps is the ability to set up a Hangout meeting through Google Calendar. Simply invite who you want, and when it’s time for the meeting, all they have to do is click the link to the hangout from their calendar event and they are added to the video call.

The last feature we will highlight within Hangouts is the ability to screen share. Easily show presentations or projects with the click of your mouse. Great for internal communication with your team or showing visual items to a client.

Could Hangouts be all you ever need for internal communication? Maybe so.

Google Apps: Google Drive

Drive is probably one of the most beneficial apps within Google, especially if your company requires a load of word processing docs and spreadsheets.

Within Drive is Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, and Sites.

These features allow you to create online documents, spreadsheets, forms, and presentations that are shareable, meaning that anyone you share the file with can or cannot (depending on permission granted) edit and work on the project.

Multiple people can be working within the same file at the same time, and there’s no overworking each other because the updates made are in real time.

Additionally, you can leave comments for discussion and track and restore all revision history.

All of these perks allow for more efficient project management and cohesive work flow within a company or organization.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. These next couple of apps were designed specifically for use by businesses. What used to be Google for Business is now called G Suite. Pretty slick, huh? After a 14-day free trial, you’ve got to pay for these Google goodies.

The G Suite offers businesses a complete, cloud-based solution for communication, collaboration, storage, security, and administration.

With the G Suite, you get a branded email address and access to the apps above, in addition to Google+, slides, forms, sites, mobile device management, and these two gems below.

Google Apps: Jamboard

Introducing, Jamboard. Google’s newest attempt at hardware is a 55-inch, 4k, pressure-sensitive touchscreen.

It’s part of G Suite, but it’s more than just an app.

Jamboard seeks to take the place of traditional white board planning by offering teams a sleekly designed interactive screen that allows members to pull in images from the web, write notes with the provided sidewalk chalk-like stylii, add digital sticky notes, etc.

Now, this isn’t the first digital whiteboard to hit the market, but it is different in that Google’s cloud capabilities allow team members spread out across the globe to collaborate seamlessly.  

Collaborators can see a real-time feed of the board and add images, thoughts, and notes via tablet. Then, the team leader can share the board via Hangouts.

At this time, there is not an exact release date set, however the rumor mill is estimating that Jamboard will be available for purchase for a mere $5k starting in May 2017.

Google Apps: Vault

Vault is yet another innovative member of the G Suite (and you might already have access to it!).

Included in the Enterprise, Business, or Education editions of the G Suite, Vault allows your organization to retain, hold, search, and export data including emails, Hangout messages, and files in Drive.

You can see how this might come in handy in a legal situation that requires to you gather all messages between two people (yikes!), or to delete all email messages to or from an employee who is no longer with your organization (we all know how that goes).

What other apps are you loving in Google? Give us a shout! We’d love to hear about them.


Written by Samantha Bamaca, Creative Strategist

The post The Best Google Apps for Business appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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Discount supermarket chain Aldi has released a refreshed Aldi logo in an effort to align its visual appearance with the overall modernization and future-oriented perception that the chain is aiming for.

The new Aldi logo was designed by illion. Markensocietaet: a design agency based in Selters, West Germany.

The visual evolvement of the brand has been ever changing since its first logo launch in 1982.

The first Aldi logo was introduced in 1975 as a white sans-serif logotype set against a dark blue background in a rectangular frame. Previous logos displayed the Albrecht brand name set overtop of a solid background.

The “A” icon logo with a three-lined frame was birthed in 1982 and last refreshed in 2006.

So what’s the story? What are the changes? What do they mean, and how do they align with the overall company purpose? Let’s dig in.

As stated in some of our other “review” blog posts, we want to make sure it’s fully disclosed that we are in the business of branding and graphic design. We are not here to discourage anyone or exude negativity towards any other designer or agencies; however, we do believe that by examining various rebrands, we can learn more about branding practices and branding pitfalls, and use this knowledge to improve our future work for our clients.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of information that we aren’t privy to, such as client demands, overall goals, budgets, limitations, etc, which could potentially highly impact our review.

Nevertheless, here’s what we can see and interpret.

At first glance, it seems as though the red in the logo has become more prominent or more equal with the existing marigold and orange colors in the frame of the logo. The red was virtually nonexistent in the originally updated Aldi logo in 1982.

This may have been done in an effort to revive the original color in the logo for Albrecht; however, when bringing a new color to life within a logo refresh, we would like to be blown away with reasoning. Aldi should have done a better job with communicating what feeling they wanted the red to evoke as related to the brand.

In this updated version of the logo, we also notice that the frames around the edges of the logo design have been evened out to a certain extent; however, they are still looking dreadfully uneven, especially to those who hold the design grid close to their heart.

Although there seems to be some amount of rhythm going on, and these frames do show improvement on the last iteration of the logo, the overall appearance of the logo could have been modernized by eliminating these frames altogether or giving each of them an even width.

Maybe Aldi will get these frames right in 2021, or even better, maybe they will be gone? A girl can dream, right?

Can we get a high five for the elimination of the inner frame around the “A” icon? One less box is something to cheer for.

Our main concern is, why all these boxes in the first place? The only correlation that an Aldi shopper and graphic designer can make between the experience of the brand and the frames is all the boxes you see in the store that seem to be a result of the warehouse/discount type of store for which the chain is known.

We did find this in the Aldi story which may be the reasoning behind all the boxes in the logo.

“We carry the weekly must-haves and display them in their designed shipping boxes to help save time and resources to restock shelves.”

The next major change seen in the Aldi logo is the shape of the “A” icon. The corners have been rounded and overall height of the icon has decreased. There’s a ribbon-like flow to these lines with a bit of a curved edge. The three-line design is still there, but, man, do they look different now.

Here again, what’s the purpose of the three-line “A”? Is there significance here? It would be something we would love to know.

Many design critics around town, aka the world wide web, are saying that the logo refresh looks too much like an airline company. We’d have to say that the shape and slant of the lines in the “A” icon are what gives off this notion.

They are very similar to lines that indicate motion or moving forward, which does seem to align with the Aldi brand’s mantra to progress.

Additionally, the gradient is very similar to what is shown in many airline logos.

Subtle gradients are beginning to show up more and more in logo refreshes. Could this be a new trend?

The updated gradients in the newly designed Aldi logo do give the logo a polished and modern look. There’s a very nice use of highlights on the lines that begin to provide a level of sophistication and shine.

One major problem that we see is that the icon is not centered vertically within the box or frame.

This little detail paired with the difference in frame widths do make us question the integrity of the logo design.

The darker blue background behind the logo helps the “A” icon and white type pop when compared to the previous logo. This was a positive tweak that adds to the overall sophistication of the logo.

Wait, so now it’s shining and looking sophisticated — are we still at Aldi, the discount, no-frills grocery brand?

The new typeface allows more breathing room for the internal opening of a few of the letters; however, the width of the letters are inconsistent and uneven.

The font is bolder, yet, a bit disturbing in the fact that one of the four letters appears rounded and the others do not. It doesn’t seem like a solid choice for a well-crafted font which should be a no-brainer for a worldwide brand.

Back to the un-uniformity. Back to questioning the integrity of the design.

The 1982 logo design seemed like a well-balanced designed. Whatever happened in 2006 should be buried in the next box of “O’s”, and the brand should take a second go at this refresh — not based on the 2006 design.

Even the fonts used in the logos between 1963 and 1975 were better balanced and more “modern” and “evolved” than the current choice.

It boils down to this. There’s no connection. This is simply a design that was updated with misdirected thoughts. Yes, there were thoughts to change the font face, alter some shapes, update colors, thus updating the overall design; but the thought should have been more about creating a connect that correlated with the direction the brand is moving and not creating just a more modern design.

What’s the difference now? How can your redesigned logo help connect your customers to this refreshed message of futuristic grocery shopping?

Aldi touts family first through high demand, exclusive brand products tested and guaranteed, saving you time spent on your weekly grocery shopping. Aldi brings low prices to you by avoiding nonessential services like banking, pharmacies, check cashing, and carts. It all boils down to no-frills grocery shopping.

Honing in on their core purposes and offerings, or the result that their philosophy provides, could help to bring some unique features to their logo and tie their visual image to their purpose in a more compelling, connective way.

What we have seen with the Aldi logo is a different evolution than what we have seen with larger, more iconic brands. Most brands (think Apple and Starbucks) have gone from complex multicolor designs to more simplistic, one- or two-color designs. Aldi started with an extremely simple design and has now evolved into a more complex, detailed logo design.

Here again, this evolvement is misrepresentative of one of the company’s core traits — simplicity.



Overall yes, the logo does look updated and more futuristic, but a logo refresh for a worldwide company should go deeper than just face value. Oh, and next time, please hire an agency who knows how to use the align tools.


Written by Amy Dennis, Creative Director

The post Aldi Logo Refresh: A Logo Design Review appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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We’ve all heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and when it comes to professional food photography, it’s a good idea to give a nod to that saying.

Professional food photography will take your branding and marketing from average to awesome and can help increase sales and new customers.

Food photography has the ability to appeal to the consumers’ emotions, making them stop, look, and want to taste. Usually this is an action that the human body can’t ignore!

So, we’ve pulled together a few thoughts that speak to why we, at Nice Branding Agency,  wholeheartedly believe that food photography is worth the time and money, along with a few notes to consider if you’re going to invest in food photography.

Professional Food Photography Tip One: The Results Exceed the Sacrifice

One of the biggest fears of food photography is the cost. Yes, the initial investment can be pricey, but the long-term benefits FAR exceed the initial cost.

It has been proven over and over that great food photography is what draws customers in and ultimately drives sales.

When you compare a professional-quality photograph of a menu item next to a snapshot of unstaged food, it’s not rocket science to figure out which will make a selling statement.

Think about it — for a restaurant, food is the passion, the center, the core offering.

Therefore, showcasing the food is what you SHOULD be spending the most money on when considering promoting your restaurant.

We can almost guarantee that restaurants who have invested in professional photography have never regretted that decision.

Additionally, once the food photos are completed, think of all the places you will be able to use them. That initial investment starts to whittle itself to a more feasible cost after the photographs are plastered on all of your print ads, social posts, online ads, and menus.

Professional Food Photography Tip Two: But I Can Just Use My Phone

Many believe that food photography is not worth it simply because they can “just snap a decent photo with their phone” or basic point-and-shoot camera. Nope, no, stop, please.

You have all seen photos like this before right? Maybe on a restaurant’s website or social media?

Do these type of blurry, dark, poorly positioned photos entice you to eat there, or do they generally turn you off right away? Probably the latter.

Leave the real images to your customers. Let them snap the photos with their phones and share them. As a restaurant owner, it’s your job to convey your food in the most enticing manner possible to enhance your restaurant branding.

Yes,we get it. You want to showcase the real thing, but with a little bit of creative direction, staging, and prop consideration, your food photography has the ability to extend your brand in enormous ways.

It’s not easy to get all the elements just right without a professional food photographer or food stylist. It’s their job to consider the food, the lighting, the colors, the angles, the props and on and on.

With all of these challenges, you can see that it takes a team to get gorgeous and appetizing food images. But it is so worth it, y’all!

Professional Food Photography Tip Three: Give Those Images Legs

Not only do you have to think about composition, angles, lighting, color, etc., but your photos are what will visually represent your restaurant’s brand in print ads, online ads, social media posts, signage, menus, and so much more

Once you have those photos taken, they will be splashed all over everything to get the word out about your restaurant.

So, just like an ad or a menu, your food photography must display your brand personality and visual image. They should be very strong elements of your visual image and align with your overall brand direction.

If your brand is bright, colorful, and upbeat, then your food photography should reflect that. If your personality is classy, sophisticated, and traditional, then your food photography should say that.

Think about people who look up a restaurant online and all they have to influence their decision are photos of the food that tell them what the restaurant is all about.

What would you want those photos to say? You get the idea, right?

As a result, your food will literally speak for itself — and that’s the goal!

Professional food photography may be your saving grace or that boost you need to take your business to the next level.

Even a small library of photos can be the best marketing tool you ever invest in, since they can be used in advertisements, social media posts, menus, etc.

Bottom line, food is food is food, right? So you need something to make your restaurant stand out, that speaks to who you are as a company, that presents to people the best of what you offer.

So now you have all of the info, which route will you go?

Have you poured your passion into your menu and created a concept that you’re excited to share with your customers?

Let us help showcase the heart of your venture in a way that captures that passion.

If you’re ready for food photography, or simply want to find out more about how you can portray your brand in the best light, contact the Nice Girls today!


Written by Sonya Harrison, Art Director

The post Is Professional Food Photography Important for Restaurant Branding? appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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In this digital age, having a social media presence and social network for business is nonnegotiable. Those of you who don’t have social media for business set up, we see you! Or actually, we don’t see you.

Often times, potential customers actually land on your social pages before they have even stepped foot into your website.

And, well, if your social pages are lacking or nonexistent, there’s not a great chance they will ever get over to your website or make any kind of contact with your business.

Further, properly running a social media channel or campaign for your business can add to enhanced engagement, conversion, and brand loyalty.

Now, in just a few sentences here, we’ve explained why you need social media for business.

But hang on, partner. Don’t leave us yet to go set up social accounts on any and every platform out there.

As it’s nearly impossible to keep up appearances on all social sites, it’s important to invest your time and energy into the outlets that will actually reach your potential clients and customers.

Here are four quick steps to follow that will help you identify which social networks will serve your business best.

Social Media for Business Step 1: Define Your Brand

Choosing the right social media channels is an important aspect of creating a social network for business. Knowing what your brand is about is the first step.

Start off by defining what it is that you are selling. Is it a service, product, or lifestyle?

Once you have what you do defined (and this isn’t always a no-brainer), you can determine how you can best showcase this product or service to reach potential customers or clients.

Some products and services speak to consumers best through video, while others show well in photos, and still others call for real-time updates.

Most require a recipe that includes a bit of everything, and there’s more to content development than meets the eye. But we’ll save that for another blog post.

Thinking about how your product or service will be showcased best will help you narrow down the platforms that will serve you best.

In addition to figuring out who you are and where you need to be online, you’ll need to determine how you want to come across.

When managing social media for business platforms you need to find your unique online “voice.” It’s important to use social media to build your brand personality.

If your brand was a person, how would it talk? Which mannerisms would it have? Opt for something that comes natural, since trying too hard won’t come across as authentic.

Social Media for Business Step 2: Define Your Audience

Social media for business is all about connecting and engaging with your audience. In order to do this, you need to know where they “hang out.”

Do you have a local small business, or are you offering services to an international market? What are the general demographics of your prospective client?

Certain age groups use certain social media channels, and furthermore, certain demographics and characteristics flock to specific social outlets.

For instance, if you are a B2B company, Instagram won’t work nearly as well as LinkedIn.

Sit down and determine who your target is, and then figure out which network or networks align with that target.  

Social Media for Business Step 3: Determine Your Goal

Just as with any endeavor, it’s imperative to set a goal before diving into setting up your social strategy.

Figure out what you want to get out of your social media marketing.

Is it brand awareness? A platform for engaging with potential clients or customers? Clicks to your website?

Figuring out the purpose of your social efforts will help you hone in on what social media platforms will work best for you and what exactly you should be communicating on each one.

Social Media for Business Step 4: Determine Your Platforms

Now that you know who you want to reach and where you can reach them, you can decide which platforms will work well for you.

Make a list and narrow it down to the top two or three outlets.

Let’s just go ahead and say that you should definitely be on Facebook. Facebook has more active users than any other platform, hands down.

That said, there’s tons of competition for newsfeed placement, so be prepared to pay to play. Read more about how Facebook may be eating your posts on the Nice Branding blog.

If you’re offering something that is visually appealing, you should consider Instagram. Facebook owns Instagram, so if you’re running Facebook ads, you could very easily run these on Instagram, too.

Now that third option. Here is what trips people up. Should you have a Twitter account? What’s up with Google+? Why would a business need Pinterest? How about Snapchat?

For more details on the different platforms, check out our blog post here.

Let’s just say, SEO has a part to play for a few of these, and we all know how important it is to consider SE to the O.

We’re pretty sure that by now you get that we are passionate about using social media for business. We hope that these four steps have given you some insight into how you can decide which social platforms will work well for you.

Now, creating a content calendar, writing post copy, designing art, engaging with your followers, and building likes is a whole different story.

We really recommend that you leave your social media management up to us while you focus on providing top-notch service to your clients and customers.

For more information about social media management, give us a shout — we’re expecting your call.


Written by Chelsea Magdanz, Digital Strategist 

The post Social Media for Business: Which Social Platforms to Choose for Your Company appeared first on Nice Branding Agency.

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