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Brands are continually looking for a way to stay top of mind with their target audiences. The more unique and engaging a brand can be with their design, the more likely they are to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Knowing what aspects of design matter to your audience can help you get noticed by potential customers.

To illustrate why design plays such an integral role in today’s marketing and branding efforts and how audiences view brand design, here are some compelling statistics from design and marketing organizations that every company should know. Take a look at these stats and you’ll see how understanding brand design can pay off.

Web page design by 2ché 1. Users seek out visually appealing content —

2019 research from Quick Sprout concluded that users will stop interacting with a website if they have had a bad experience with how it looks and instead seek out visually appealing content.

Imagine losing one-third of your potential customer base simply because your brand’s website design is ugly. That’s a huge loss considering limited marketing budgets and increasing pressure from the competition. Instead of underestimating good website design, invest in creating an online experience your audience enjoys navigating, so they’ll want to return over and over again.

Web design by DSKY2. Visuals are an integral part of campaigns —

A 2018 MicroCreatives infographic noted that nearly 61 percent of marketers believe visuals are an integral part of a successful marketing campaign.

Statistics have found that design elements like color and graphics tend to allow a person to remember information for a longer period of time. By doubling down on your design approach using some form of graphs, images, layout and a host of other visuals, your campaigns will achieve that top of mind objective. Always include high-quality visuals in your branding approach across all channels.

Brand identity by DSKY 3. Consistent design can increase revenue and recognition —

A 2017 LucidPress report noted that consistent design across all the places your brand appears in can increase your revenue and recognition.

Just like consistency in marketing messaging is critical, the consistent use of a similar set of colors, design look and feel, and overall presentation is equally important for a brand to maintain. This visual consistency, which is also known as brand identity, facilitates brand recognition amongst viewers.

Avoid confusing your audience by making sure your brand’s appearance is consistent everywhere you present your company. This goes even for informal items. Stay consistent in print materials, your website, social media channels and even when it comes to t-shirts and jackets. This will ensure your clients and customers will recognize you anywhere.

Brochure design by VKre84. Visuals are a priority for B2B brands —

A 2017 Content Marketing Institute study found 51 percent of B2B marketers make creating visual assets a priority.

While it would seem like visuals and graphics might be more important to B2C brands, it turns out if your customers are other businesses, graphic design as a marketing element is essential. You’ll need to spend extra time and money to create aesthetically pleasing graphics when representing your brand to other businesses.

App design by Alaa Elalfi 5. Content is consumed on multiple devices at the same time —

2016 Google research indicated that 85 percent of adults consume content on multiple devices at the same time.

This split attention means that your brand design needs to be fully optimized for mobile devices and iPads as well as desktop computers. Your content has to be able to compete with other content and grab your clients attention.

Test and see how your brand design looks on each device before launching and make sure it provides the best first impression. Consider using intuitive, or responsive design so that your website design gives the best user experience across all screens.

Infographic by FritzR 6. B2B marketers love infographics —

A 2017 Content Marketing Institute study found that 65 percent of B2B marketers use infographics.

Well-designed infographics are an important visual content tactic. Both B2C and B2B companies need to incorporate high-quality visuals in their branding strategy and infographics are a great way to do that. Presenting data in this format helps to explain the desired information in a succinct and memorable way—leaving your users with the best experience.

7. Original graphics perform best —

A 2019 Venngage survey of online marketers revealed that original graphics were the visual content that performs best and drives the most traffic.

There is no doubt that beautiful design work is eye-catching, but there is something magical about original artwork. No matter how your company plans to illustrate their points, the type of graphic design elements used can impact your results. Think “original” and give your designer the freedom to create something unique for you, rather than relying on things like stock photography.

Lessons for marketers and graphic designers

When done right the potential of graphic design is endless and can be your brand’s secret to success. Implement the design lessons from these statistics and your brand will see some incredible results in no time.

About the author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

The post 7 significant brand design statistics that every company should know appeared first on 99designs.

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Video production can be a laborious process, but the payoff is definitely worth it. Video is the most engaging type of content people consume these days. And if you can work out how to produce videos for your business in an effective, sustainable way, you will reap the benefits a long time.

With that said, let’s walk through the steps of video production and get you on your way to bringing your own videos to life.

The video production process. Illustration by Vladanland

The video production process consists of 3 main steps: pre-production, which is the planning stage for mapping out your strategy and script for the video, production is the phase in which the video is shot, and finally post-production, which involves editing the video, adding music and other effects. Let’s walk through the process step by step.

Pre-Production

The first phase in the process is pre-production. Essentially, pre-production is where you will map out the plan for your video. You’ll figure out what you’re going to produce, who you’ll be producing for, what resources you’ll need to get the video made and how long the production period will be.

You’ll notice this is the longest phase of the video production process for the simple reason that good preplanning will ensure your video is a success.

What are your objectives? via RoundIcons.com

Before you even begin planning, you need to define the objectives behind this video. Why are you making it? What do you want from it? Who’s the audience, and what will they gain from it? Like any other type of content, a video needs a goal from the very beginning to guide the project and measure whether or not it’s a success.

Use the SMART methodology to create your objectives—i.e., identify goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
Who is this video for?

A successful video knows who it’s speaking to. You may already have a firm understanding of who your audience is, what they like, and how they think. If that’s the case then articulate it here.

If not, it’s time to do some audience research. Go beyond just finding out their general age, gender and location. What are their most common problems, questions and interests? What do they connect with? Who are their influences? Conduct interviews, ask for feedback, trawl your social media pages to find out who’s connecting with your brand and ask them questions.

by GOODAIR

Go the extra mile to know who exactly this video is for, and you’ll have a strong foundation on which to make decisions throughout the video production process.

What is your core message?

Now that you know who you’re making this video for it’s time to reflect on that data, combine it with your objectives and come up with your core message.

Think about what your audience should want to do after watching your video and work backwards from there. Is it to click on a link, purchase your product or simply subscribe to your YouTube channel? What is the direct next step you expect them to take after watching your video? Once you’ve got that, figure out what your audience needs to see in your video in order to take that action. This will become your core message.

Build a video strategy by Promo Designer

A video strategy is critical for injecting each decision you make with a long-term view. In this phase, you need to think about the logistics around how your video will be produced. How will you stay within your budget and deadline? How will this content be used and repurposed to maximize its return on investment (ROI)? Take a look at this article on how to build a video strategy to learn more.

While a good strategy is critical to the success of your video, your video strategy will evolve over time. You shouldn’t feel too much pressure to get it right on the first go. Instead, the aim is to have a clear framework you can refer to that empowers you to make videos in a sustainable way. This will ensure you stay on budget and that your video has the best chance of delivering a positive ROI well into the future.

Write a video production brief

A production brief is a summary of the information you’ve compiled so far and should serve as a guide throughout the production process to keep everyone on track. It should cover your video objectives, target audience, core message, budget and deadline. Be sure to include what success looks like—how you will achieve a positive ROI for this video.

What’s your creative approach?

It’s time to get into the content of your video by coming up with the concept. Draw insights from your brief and brainstorm what your video should include, including how things need to be presented and what it needs to stand out.

by monteiro.gdi

Look for inspiration from other videos around the web that have tackled what you’re covering. Look at your competitors and what they’ve done. And draw inspiration from videos you’ve found really effective and memorable. Distill what makes them work.

Stitch all of this together into a plan for your video content, and you will have the creative approach of your video.

Write your script

With your strategy and creative approach developed, it’s time to write a script. Your creative approach should heavily influence your script and your research should ground the message behind it.

via RoundIcons.com

Think ahead to the talent (actors or presenters) you’ll be using to read this script. Assuming you’ve already hired them, try to write to their style and tone of voice. Maybe get them involved to ensure the script is a good match.

Make your script natural and engaging, using easy to understand language that’s targeted to your audience. Where possible, be concise so that the video isn’t unnecessarily long.

And if you’ve already mapped out ideas about locations and actions, you can work these into the script as well.

Create your storyboard

Storyboards enable you to visualize how your video will be shot, and what you’ll need to animate or source footage for. It will help you translate the ideas in your head into tangible, visual goals that are closely aligned with parts of the script.

Detail what you’re imagining for each shot as much as you can. What subjects need to be where? What’s the lighting like? How about the coloring and framing? Pinch screenshots and visual references from other videos, movies and images on the web as references. Or create a scamp—a roughly sketched storyboard that will indicate what kinds of shots you need where.

The level of sophistication of this storyboard will be dependent on the kind of video you’re making. But ultimately, you’re the creator, so do whatever works for you. The main goal is to have a plan of the shots to ensure you get them on the day.

Scout locations to film in by Henrylim

Assuming your video is live action (that is, not an animated or motion graphics video), you’ll need to source locations for the shoot.

For a simple video where the talent needs to present to the camera, office space or a quiet room with a plain background should suffice.

If you need to shoot outside or at specific locations, you’ll need to get permission ahead of time.

What video equipment do you need?

You’ll most likely need a camera, a microphone and lights as a starting point. Depending on where you’re filming, you may need to consider extra lighting, heating, a generator and a computer to power any monitors you’re using for graphics in the background. Refer to your shot list and storyboard to make the final decision on what equipment you need.

Cast talent

By this stage, you should have a fair idea of what type of video you’re making and whether or not you need to cast talent.

If your video needs a voiceover, think about what kind of personality and tone the audience you’re targeting will respond to. Is there someone you know or work with that has the appropriate voice for it? Do you have the voice for it? Or is this something you’re going to need to outsource? There are many sites that can provide you with options to connect with freelance voiceover artists. Check them out in our guide on the best video marketing tools.

by gajsky

Next, consider how much of your video requires information to be presented (or acted) on screen. Do you know people who can fill these roles, or do you need to cast a professional? If so, you may need to put out ads and host auditions for talent.

Schedule the shoot

Your plan is all laid out. All that’s left now is to make a schedule for the day of the shoot. Organize the schedule around how much you need to shoot, the distance between locations and your talent’s availability.

Locations, crew, equipment, talent, makeup, wardrobe and permissions should all be locked in in advance. If your video is turning into a big production that requires a lot of these elements, you may want to consider hiring an experienced producer to help manage the shoot. Otherwise, make sure that you are extremely prepared on the day.

Production
How to make a video: production. By RoundIcons.com.

The production phase spans the actual filming of your video. Because you’ve mapped out a schedule, you should have a reliable estimation of how long this phase will take. And as a producer or stakeholder, your job is to ensure things run as close to that schedule as possible.

This part of the process usually requires someone to fill the role of director. That may be you or depending on how elaborate your production is, may require you to hire a professional. Directors are important for ensuring that your talent gives the desired performance, that you get through all the shots you need, that they’re framed and lit correctly and that the script and storyboard are followed through.

Set up the lights

Make sure you have more than enough time beforehand for you and your crew to light each setting.

by ssissi

Your schedule should factor in setup time, and the amount of setup will depend on how many locations you’re shooting in and how many types of shots you need.

Set up the camera

Your storyboarded and shot list will tell you ahead of time what kind of camera setup you’ll need. Depending on how elaborate your shoot is going to be, setting up the camera may be as simple as using a tripod or building a crane. You may be shooting this video yourself with one camera or you may require a professional cinematographer whose setup could be complex. Make sure you’ve scheduled enough time in either case.

Direct the talent by maneka

Directing the talent is a critical part of the process. The way that they deliver the script influences your video’s speed, dynamics, style and audience appeal. Even when you’re working with experienced presenters or actors, it’s up to you (or your director) to keep your goals in mind and get the performance you need out of them.

Get B-roll footage

While you should closely follow your shot list and storyboard, take the initiative to shoot B-roll (extra footage to cut away to during the editing process). This may be shots of your location(s) from different angles, shots of the crew and talent setting up—anything that catches your eye and fits the theme of your video.

Post-Production
How to make a video: post-production. By RoundIcons.com.

The post-production process involves taking your best takes and shots, stitching them together, cutting everything down to fit your desired length, recording a voiceover, coloring the video, and adding music and special effects.

Edit your video

The first step in editing is to compile your best takes and import them into your video editing software.

by Henrylim

To make things easier for yourself, cut each clip down to their most essential parts. Now, dump them into a rough timeline. Group and organize your B-roll footage. Then, start working through the script and storyboard, ordering your footage correctly.

For a more detailed walkthrough, check out our guide on editing your own video.

Record a voiceover

If your video needs a voiceover, you may need to do it yourself, or cast talent to do it for you (see the talent section of the pre-production process). Just like with onscreen talent, voiceover actors need direction. Make sure that they’re appealing to your target audience and that the way they deliver the script reinforces your core message. Once the voiceover is recorded and edited, insert it into your video timeline in your editing software, and sync it to the appropriate footage.

Add graphics, animated text and special effects

Graphics, animation, and animated text can help bring your script to life further by visualizing ideas and emphasizing important points.

by felipe_charria

For example, you might want to show an animated graph to illustrate a key figure. Or you might want to show an animated mockup of a product you’re explaining. Maybe you just want a screen-recording of you scrolling through your product’s website as you talk through it.

These effects can really take your video to the next level and achieve results plain filming sometimes can’t.

Coloring by OrangeCrush

Coloring footage can be as easy as using the auto-coloring feature on Adobe Premiere Pro or as sophisticated as getting a professional colorist to go through your video shot by shot. This depends on your goals and budget. But keep in mind that coloring can be important for reinforcing your visual brand in your videos. Whatever you do, try to keep your coloring consistent with any future videos you choose to make.

Add music

Good music is the final element that can take your video to a whole new level. Not every video needs music running all the way through it. But background music can fill up space, cover up any audio snips and keep people engaged.

Using multiple tracks to evoke the mood of different parts of the video can help the audience feel like they’re progressing through the content, which helps with completion rates, unlike using the same track on an endless loop. Just make sure your video is long enough to use multiple tracks—cutting between music in a short amount of time can be distracting.

The music should complement your video’s tone and mood, help communicate your core message, be appropriate for your target audience, and match the pace of the edit. There are a ton of stock music sites I suggest you check out, some of which are listed in my video tools article.

Optimization and distribution
How to make a video: optimization and distribution. By RoundIcons.com.Render the video

Once your edit is complete, it’s time to render out the video in the appropriate format. For most platforms, like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, mp4 format is best. If it’s for an Instagram post, you’ll want to ensure it can be cropped into square or vertical video aspect ratios. If it’s for Snapchat or an Instagram Story, it will need to be in vertical video aspect ratio.

by Spoon LancerSetup analytics

To measure the success of your video, you’ll want to find a way to track it and feed it into your analytics platform. Paid platforms like Wistia have tracking capabilities built-in. With platforms like YouTube and Facebook, you may need to track them separately or try something like Google Analytics.

The main point is to ensure you have a way to measure how your video has performed against its goals and whether it generated positive or negative ROI. Measuring things like watch times (how long people watched the video) and click-through rates (how many people clicked on in-video links) will be helpful for making meaningful changes to how you produce your videos in the future.

Distribute and promote your video

Distribution may involve sharing your video on social media, embedding it in an article, sharing it with industry outlets, asking industry influencers to share it, putting paid advertising behind it so it gets in front of your target audience, or sharing it via an email newsletter.

However you do this, it should fit into the strategy you’ve previously mapped out, focused on reaching your target audience in the most effective way possible. The goal is to get the best bang for your buck and generate positive ROI. So don’t go too crazy buying ads or promoting your video if it’s going to leave you significantly over budget with no return.

The video production process is worth it
And cut. Now you know how to produce a video. By Icons.com.

When creating a video, remember to be organized, do your research, and preempt as much of the complications as you can in the pre-production process.

If you’re too overwhelmed, consider outsourcing parts of the process to professionals, especially when it comes to producing, presenting, shooting, directing and editing.

Video can be a lot to produce. But if you organize yourself well, and have a focused strategy behind it, you’ll end up with a standout product that your viewers will be compelled to share.

Looking for professional help creating a video? Get matched with one of our talented filmmakers.

The post How to create a video: the process of video production appeared first on 99designs.

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You have the exceptional culinary skills, tenacity and poise under pressure. All you need to take your catering business to the next level is some exceptional branding.

A strong logo is the first step. It’s the foundation of a strong branding strategy and is considered to be the most important branding investment a business can make. Your logo will be the face of your amazing catering business, where how things look is as important as how they taste.

Design by olimpio

Current food service buzzwords include technology, sustainability and convenience. If any of these speak to you and the way you run things, then it’s a good idea to weave them into the visual language of your business. It’s essential to figure out who and what your business is all about before creating a logo or any other elements of branding. Your logo is the anchor to all of your branding initiatives.

Whether logo design has already been on your mind, or this is just the beginning, we’re here to share some amazing catering logo inspiration with you.

What makes a good caterer or catering logo?

The most important aspect of developing your branding and your logo is to understand your niche. Do you focus on a particular type of cuisine? Is your company known for serving the most addictive homemade barbeque? Is your menu strictly vegan or does it provide a wide range of options for international corporate events? Look directly to the type of cuisine and events you specialize in for inspiration. This will set you apart from companies who lean on obvious industry symbols like utensils, a chef’s hat or an apron.

Amazing ideas for catering and caterer logos
— Romantic logos for wedding caterers

Not only is your focus on food, but you have the amazing task of creating an ideal atmosphere for one of the most important days of a couple’s life. The right visuals can show prospective clients that you understand how important it is to be detail-oriented and patient on this most important of days.

A logo design by A3″Modern catering logos for corporate events

Corporate events range from catering for startups and smaller offices all the way up to massive international events. If your catering business specializes in providing delicious food in a business setting, a professional and efficient presentation is essential. Choose a logo that’s classy or modern, with a style that speaks to the type of business you’re targeting.

Friendly catering logos for social events

As this category is much more down to earth, so should your logo be. Whether your clients include parents throwing birthday parties, or older folks celebrating anniversaries, there should be an immediate human touch to your branding.

A logo design by ludibesElegant logos for sit-down events

For the more elegant ambience where guests are served and dishes are typically more expensive, choosing the right logo is determined by connecting with this audience. If that’s the type of catering you focus on, go for a stylish, hand-crafted and luxurious look.

Unique logos for unique caterers

Catering can look a lot of ways these days from biodynamic food trucks, gourmet slow food event producers and traveling craft cocktailers. If your catering business is unique and different, make sure your logos conveys how special you are.

The fundamentals of logo design

If you’re coming into logo design without any experience, it can be intimidating. Here we’ll give you a crash course in logo design.

Logo design is a nuanced specialization of graphic design that encompasses aesthetics, branding & marketing, composition, color theory, typography and artistic skill. We give a fuller introduction to the craft in our free online guide How to design a logo, but here we’ll summarize some key points to provide a little background.

Design for your brand. There’s not one “best type of logo”—the most successful logos are the ones that best represent their brand. The aggressive red and garish typography of the Coca Cola logo suit the brand well, but those same design choices wouldn’t be fitting for a catering company who specialize in baked goods for princess parties.

So before anything else, you have to consider what kind of brand you want to be—your “brand identity.” Are you a more serious brand, focused on corporate events? Are you fun and focused on providing a playful atmosphere in your events? That will guide your design choices, in particular colors, shapes and letters.

Colors, shapes and letters. Each different color and shape represents different emotions—for example, logos with excessive black seem more sophisticated, logos with a lot of circles seem friendlier etc. Likewise, that extends to font choice, such a formal serifs vs. casual sans-serif. Every design decision reflects on your brand, so build your brand identity from the ground up with strategic choices.

How to get a logo

As we explained in a previous guide How to create a logo: Comparing the best ways to get a logo designed, a company has four main options for getting a logo. Let’s briefly review them now:

  • Logo maker (DIY). With the help of a logo maker or other entry-level design software, you essentially make your logo yourself from scratch.
  • Hire a design agency. You hand off all logo design duties to a design agency and their suite of specialists, but the extra talent comes at an extra cost.
  • Work with a freelancer. You can find a freelance designer to design your logo for you. This gives you the benefit of a professional at less cost than an agency.
  • Commission a design contest. In a design contest, you explain what you want in a briefing, including visual preferences and business goals. Multiple designers from all over the world then submit samples based on your briefing. From there, you simply pick the one you like best and start revisions. You only pay for the one sample you choose.

For starters, DIY and logo makers are only advisable under extreme circumstances, like if you have next to nothing in your budget. Your logo is an asset too important to skimp on, and considering how complicated logo design is, if it’s not designed by a professional, it may not  be as effective as it could be.

From there, it’s a decision of both cost and preference. If your only concern is price, check out our Logo design cost guide for more detailed distinctions.

The strongest advantage of logo design contests—and the reason they’re so popular—is that it leverages the creativity of multiple designers, who come up with different ideas of logos designs you can choose from. If you’re still unsure what style and look is right for you, a contest has the benefit of experimentation—you may not know what logo design best suits you until you see some creative drafts from several designers.

If you already know what style and look you’re going for, your best bet is going to be working directly with a freelancer. You can browse designer portfolios to find the perfect match in terms of style and then work with the freelancer to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Are you ready to get a tasty-looking catering logo?

The right logo can help you book more clients, transform your business into a brick and mortar shop or expand your professional reach to new locations. Now that we’ve got your creative juices flowing, what are you waiting for?

Want a logo that makes your clients' mouths water? Work with our talented designers to make it happen.

The post 32 catering and caterer logos to feed your inspiration appeared first on 99designs.

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The lights and camera may have changed, but the Action! is still the same. Thanks to social media, video marketing has never been more popular. Brands can make a stronger, more personal impact than with text or photos, and at the same time they give people their favorite type of content on the internet. Everyone wins… except people who don’t know much about video marketing on social media.

Squarespace | Dream It with Idris Elba (Directed by Spike Jonze) - YouTube

That’s where this guide comes in. Here, you’ll find the best strategies and tips for social media video marketing, divided by platform. We break down what the users on each platform want and expect from their videos, as well as some different approaches to take for ads, stories, and regular posts. But first, let’s talk a little about why online videos work so well in the first place.

Why is video marketing on social media so important?

If you’re still not sold on video marketing, there’s no shortage of statistics to convince you of its potency.

  • Video drives 41% more organic traffic and generates 49% more revenue
  • 64% of people are more likely to make a purchase online after watching a video
  • 54% of people want more videos from brands they follow
  • Video marketing produces 66% more qualified leads per year

We don’t want to get bogged down by statistics, so when we talk about video marketing on social media, there’s only one number you need to remember: 1200%. That’s how many more shares video content gets on social media, compared to text and images combined!

Tim Ferriss gives 5 tips for starting a kick-ass small business - YouTube

Now, you can’t just post any video online and then open a new bank account for the millions of dollars coming in overnight. You have to post the right video on the right platform, but what makes a video right largely depends on the brand and its business goals.

You have a variety of options for what kind of video to make—explainers, live streams, how-tos, commercials—but also a rainbow of styles, tones, and cinematic techniques to encapsulate your own unique brand personality. To learn what types of videos are best for your brand and goals, check out our Ultimate guide to video marketing.

How to master social media video marketing on any platform
— Facebook

As the social media platform with the most users, Facebook is a great place to start marketing. With their wide reach—both geographically and in terms of taste—Facebook offers marketers the chance to connect with any group they want. The platform also provides a variety of options for brands: you can upload videos as regular posts, host them as ads to target niches, or live stream them at Facebook Live for a more personal approach.

Facebook Posts

How this small business found the perfect graphic designer - YouTube

Prioritize visuals. Everyone’s Facebook feeds are full of eye-catching visuals, so you have to outshine the competition if you want the views. Make sure your video looks compelling to entice people to actually watch it—this is doubly important considering that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Don’t forget the closed captioning for the same reason!

Upload directly to Facebook. As opposed to sharing a link to YouTube or another site, if you upload your videos directly to Facebook, they receive a boost from Facebook’s own algorithm. That means native Facebook videos show up in feeds more than non-native videos do.

Group videos into playlists. If your followers like one of your videos, they may want to watch more of the same. Facilitate this by organizing your videos into playlists, clearly labeled for easy browsing.

Facebook Ads

Welcome to 99designs - YouTube

Customize audience. Arguably the best part about marketing on Facebook is fine-tuning your audience, and video ads are no different. Use your analytics to target your ideal viewers as specifically as possible. Age, location, even personal interests—views cost money, so make each one count.

Call-to-action. Considering that these are ads rather than more casual posts, be sure to include a call-to-action. If your ad successfully “hooked” the viewer and they want to know more, you have to tell them what to do next or risk losing them. Even something subtle like “click here for more information” will deliver better results than nothing.

Facebook Live

Bill Nye Facebook Live Q+A: LightSail 2 - YouTube

Host a Q&A. Facebook Live allows real-time interaction with your followers, so press that advantage by hosting Q&A videos. Have followers type in questions and answer them live on camera. Not only is this type of video cheap and easy to produce, it also forges stronger, more personal bonds with followers.

Share follow-up posts. It’s called Facebook Live, not Facebook Whenever It’s Convenient. Naturally, some people will miss the live stream simply because they’re not online at the time. To catch these viewers, share a follow-up post linking back to the archived video. You can even post new questions to elicit new comments, or thank viewers who showed up to the live stream by name to encourage more people to tune in next time.

Instagram

Although Facebook still has the top slot, Instagram is on the rise (and without Facebook’s bad press). If this continues, Instagram may very well unseat its parent company. All the more reason to start building your base there now.

Based on their new features, Instagram seems to encourage more video content. Aside from video posts and ads, they also introduced live streaming in Instagram Stories and released a sister app, IGTV, which operates similarly to YouTube.

Instagram Posts

Choose a theme. While other social media platforms revolve around the user (or brand), Instagram accounts tend to be thematic. You have foodie users, fashion users, artsy users, etc., and people follow the users who adhere to themes they like. Give your videos a consistent theme, whether topics, visual style, or a regular setting.

Let your videos do the talking. Instagram has always been about visuals, so its users aren’t interested in long captions. Keep your descriptions short and poignant and make your main points in the video.

Keep it under a minute. There’s a 60-second time limit for Instagram videos, so keep it short. Save more in-depth videos like how-tos, Q&As, and short films for other platforms.

Instagram Ads

Customize your audience like Facebook. Instagram uses a similar “campaign objectives” system as Facebook, its owner. So if you’ve found something that works well for your Facebook ads, try it here as well. Otherwise, figure out your specific target audience beforehand and hone in on them.

Instagram Stories

Short, sweet, and minimal effort. Instagram Stories have an even shorter time limit—15 seconds—and they disappear after 24 hours like Snapchat. That means don’t spend too much time or money perfecting these; rather, feel free to be impulsive and personal, like a video status update. Instagram Stories are best for interacting with your followers (especially if you’re live streaming) or checking in briefly.

IGTV

Think like a vlogger. IGTV works like YouTube, so you want to follow the same basic strategies a professional vlogger would. If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, check out our guide on IGTV.

YouTube

YouTube is the social media platform for videos. In fact, it’s more for videos than social media. Most videos on the internet wind up on YouTube. And because there’s so much emphasis on videos, and
so much competition, being good at YouTube means being good at video marketing.

YouTube Posts

Keanu Reeves Had a Crush on 'Speed' Co-Star Sandra Bullock - YouTube

Use keywords in your title. YouTube is a big, messy swamp of videos, so even quality content can get lost there. Make your videos searchable by using keywords in the title. If your strategy incorporates how-tos or instructionals, try long-tail keywords of the questions you’re answering; for example, if your video explains why the sky is blue, include the question “Why is the sky blue?” in your title.

Find your niche. YouTube can accommodate any video, including all the ones on our list in the Ultimate guide to video marketing. That affords you the freedom to experiment and try different styles, tones, and formats until you find one that clicks.

Post regularly. As the social media platform for videos, your followers will expect new videos on a schedule. Not only should you post regularly (at least once a week), but it also helps to post at the same times so your followers know when to check your feed.

Like and subscribe CTAs. It’s already a joke on YouTube—everyone’s always begging you to “like and subscribe.” Well, the reason it’s overused is because it works; repeating these things to viewers reminds them to do it, and each new like and subscription helps your video rank better in search feeds. So don’t forget to mention liking and subscribing in the video itself… just try to do it in a fresh way that doesn’t make viewers roll their eyes.

YouTube Ads

Introducing OrderMetrics - Accurate Profit Analytics for ecommerce - YouTube

Not all ad types are the same. YouTube offers a few different varieties of ads, with your choice of whether they can be skipped, where they come in the video, and whether you pay by clicks or views. We don’t want to take up too much time explaining it here, but you can see for yourself at the YouTube Advertising page.

Twitter

Think Twitter is just for text content? Then why do video tweets get 10x more interactions than non-video tweets? The truth is, Twitter is just as lucrative for social media marketing as any other platform—maybe even more.

As with the other platforms, users can post videos normally as Tweets, or pay for video ads. Both have their own best practices.

Twitter posts via Android on Twitter

The first 3 seconds. A general rule of thumb for Twitter—both posts and ads — is that shorter is better. In particular, you want some kind of hook in the first three seconds, hopefully an emotional one. Twitter users scroll fast, so even if you manage to hook them at the beginning, don’t keep them idle for long with lengthy videos.

Subtitles and closed captioning. Most Twitter videos are watched without sound. That means include closed captioning for all users, not just for those with disabilities.

Trend of targeting trends. Many people use Twitter as a news source and way to stay up-to-date. That’s why topical and trending content is 32% more likely to be viewed. Keep an eye on the top hashtags and “join the conversation,” as Twitter recommends.

Twitter ads

Twitter Instream Video Ad Example - YouTube

Under 15 seconds. We weren’t kidding when we said to keep it short. According to a Twitter study, ads 15 seconds or less performed best at memory encoding, producing similar results as a longer, 30-second TV spot.

Snapchat

When Snapchat first came out, brands viewed it as juvenile—a social media platform for kids and teenagers. And while Snapchat’s numbers are highest among younger markets, today those same brands that wrote it off are scrambling to break through. After all, those kids make up a profitable segment of customers, but you have to speak their language.

Snapchat was the first to originate the 24-hour time limit, which allows users to be a little more intimate and a little less prepared. Your social media video marketing strategy should incorporate that, aiming your Snapchat videos at more informal conversations with your followers.

Snapchat posts

General Electric - exploring inside a volcano snapstory - YouTube

Take advantage of filters, lenses and effects. Call it immature if you want, but Snapchat and its users enjoy a degree of silliness. We saw it before with the dog filter trend, and we’re seeing it again now with the gender-swapping lenses. That’s the preferred culture of Snapchat, so either loosen up about your self-image, or get a younger employee to represent your brand there. For more ambitious marketers, you can even design your own Snapchat filter and work to make it viral.

Don’t forget to smile emoji. Following suit, don’t shy away from emoji in your Snapchat text. Again, the younger audience dominates here, and most of them speak emoji fluently.

Quick and personal. Because of their temporary nature, you don’t want to spend too much time and effort on your posts. Follow the advice we outlined above for Instagram Stories and keep to casual posts.

SnapAds

SnapAd - Taco Bell Sponsored Lens - YouTube

Internal external links. Aside from sponsored lenses and filters, you can also run traditional video ads. However, unlike other social media video marketing, Snapchat ads offer a unique twist—the ability for viewers to interact with the ad and go to another location without leaving the Snapchat app. Because every extra step reduces the likelihood of a conversion, it’s a big deal that Snapchat facilitates taking users directly to your product page, landing page, app install page, or even a longer version of the same video hosted elsewhere.

TikTok

The youngest entry into the social media industry is the most downloaded app of 2018. And while it’s exciting that TikTok provides a new social media frontier for marketers to explore, its newness also makes it uncharted territory with little precedent to draw on. Nonetheless, TikTok has been around long enough for some substantial trends to have emerged.

TikTok posts

Jimmy Fallon's Tumbleweed Challenge - YouTube

The spiritual successor to Vine. If you were a successful on Vine, the short-form video social media platform of the early 2010s, just do on TikTok what you did there. The same best practices apply to TikTok—short, energetic videos with a potent punchline. Like other videos with a time limit, you want yours to be more casual and carefree; but TikTok doesn’t have an automatic expiration like Snapchat, so you can invest more time and resources into a single video.

Typically topical. Like on Twitter, TikTok users tend to trend. Hashtags are very important, especially hashtag challenges. Participating in whatever challenges match your brand is a smart way to break into your TikTok community fast.

Shoot vertical (against your own instincts). There seems to be a war brewing between vertical video and horizontal video, and TikTok doesn’t hide which side its own. It’s best to resist your fondness for the horizontal style of TV and film and go with the pack.

TikTok ads

TIK TOK ADS!!||SHORT COMPILATION! MUST WATCH!! - YouTube

…Wait. It’s worth noting that TikTok only introduced advertising into their platform in January 2019, and as of this writing they don’t yet have an advertising service open to all. That’s just as well, as they’re still ironing out the wrinkles, in particular the backlash from their users. In other words, your campaign would be more effective if you waited a few more months until TikTok’s ad platform ripens.

Now’s the time for video marketing on social media!

With all this talk about video marketing on social media, you might still be wondering how to actually make a video. Chances are you’ve never worked on a film crew, and can’t tell apart a boom from a dolly. Don’t worry, you’re not supposed to.

Unless all your video marketing will involve on-the-street live streams, you’ll want a professional-quality video you can only get from a professional crew. Luckily, 99designs video production services can not only find the most talented filmographers in your local area, we can also filter out the best one for you based on style, budget, and business needs.

Looking for professional help shooting a video? Get matched with one of our talented filmmakers.

The post How to master video marketing on social media appeared first on 99designs.

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Spending time in the garden means soft soil beneath our feet and the vibrant smells of blooming flowers as wind chimes sing in the breeze. As a brand that makes and maintains beautiful yards and gardens, your landscaping logo has to speak to humanity’s love of the outdoors and pride in the little slices of nature we call our own.

There are a lot of unique ways to display your green thumb. When you’ve got a bunch of logo ideas and you’re not sure which to nurture and which to prune, take a look at some awesome gardening and landscaping logo designs from our designers to sprout your imagination.

What makes a great garden or landscaping logo?

A great garden or landscaping logo is one that shows the world you’ve got a green thumb. Whether you’re a garden supply store, a commercial landscaper, a custom pond and patio builder or an independent gardener, your logo should make it clear that you’re the go-to brand for beautiful outdoor spaces.

Traditional ways to do that are by incorporating leaves, gardening tools and/or plants. But that’s what most gardening and landscaping companies do… So how you can set yourself apart from orchards of leafy green logos and letterpress watering cans?

1. Get clever with your imagery

Experiment with the typical garden and landscaping palette of greens and gloves by using them in ways you haven’t seen before. In a space that’s dominated by rustic imagery and serene greens, maybe your brand can stand out with bold oranges and reds reminiscent of tiger lilies and azaleas. Or you can also look to your brand’s specific strengths to figure out how to use brand imagery in new ways. For example, if your microbe blend grows plants larger, you might communicate that with nesting doll-style tomatoes on your logo.

2. Be true to yourself

The other component of designing a great gardening or landscaping logo is being true to your brand. It must be something that attracts attention, but that attention won’t become a sale unless you’re connecting with the right demographic. A modern, innovative brand needs a different logo than an established, traditional brand. A landscape designer who builds custom koi pond aquaponic systems might communicate their brand with a minimalist take on a koi fish wrapped around submerged roots. But a custom shed installer might emphasize their unique spaces with a whimsical fairy door logo.

Amazing ideas for landscaping and gardening logos
— Garden logos that go green

You knew this was gonna be one of the categories before you even clicked this post’s title, didn’t you? Green is an obvious color choice for gardening and landscaping logos because, well, your job is either working with green plants or nurturing plants back to a healthy green.

In the gardening and landscaping world, green is good. You can’t go wrong with green. If you’ve got a logo that doesn’t explicitly shout “landscaping,” like a wordmark or an abstract logo, making it green is a way to instantly “garden-ify” it.

Green can do more than just show which field you’re in. It can also show the world what you can do. If you’re a gardener or landscaper who specializes in revitalizing dying lawns and gardens, use a gradient that goes from a mossy olive green to a vibrant emerald hue to communicate that your company makes plants and gardens beautiful and healthy.

Logo design by designer wielliamLandscaping logos that show what you grow

Another obvious choice for a gardening or landscaping logo is a logo that works in plant imagery. If your brand focuses on a specific type of plant, like vegetable gardens or lawns, put this type of plant front and center in your logo. Don’t feel like you have to get specific with the kind of plant you feature in your logo, though—sometimes a regular-looking leaf, flower or tree is the best choice, like when you’re not focused on a specific species or category of plants.

Your plant-based logo doesn’t necessarily have to be green. Maybe the right plant to represent your brand is a fiery tiger lily or a snowy white dogwood. If green really isn’t the right color for your brand, going with a non-green plant logo can be an effective way to graft your brand identity with your niche.

Logo design by designer YokaonaLogo design by designer ciobyLogo design by designer trinitiffLogos that are a breath of fresh air

Transforming an outdoor space from an overgrown patch of weedy grass into a manicured, comfortable living space is an art. If that’s your craft, tell the world with a logo that literally shows what you do for clients. Show them how you can transform their yards into relaxing, fun outdoor living spaces with your logo.

Another approach to this kind of logo is showing how much prospective clients can enjoy themselves once they’re outside and where your company fits into their outdoor leisure time. Logos that communicate the simple pleasure of being outside work great for outdoor furniture brands, garden lighting and decor brands and gardening tool companies.

Logo design by designer ‘PulaGardening logos that celebrate nature

Beyond the foliage, every garden and backyard is teeming with life. With a logo that recognizes all the lives that overlap in the garden, your brand communicates that it’s in tune with nature and takes care to avoid disrupting the local ecosystem. Logos that feature animals and the relationships between animals, plants and people are a great choice for companies that use eco-friendly products and prioritize conservation.

And logos like these are also a great choice for brands that want to communicate that they’re fun and friendly with cuddly cartoon animals… or if you’re so inclined, other garden inhabitants. Like gnomes.

Logo design by designer KVALogo design by designer CalikusuThe fundamentals of logo design

If you’ve never designed a logo before, the thought of creating the perfect logo for your business can be intimidating. We’ll make it less daunting for you with a crash course in logo design.

Logo design is the specific type of graphic design that combines branding and marketing, color theory, aesthetics, composition, typography and artistic skill to create logos. In our free online guide, How to design a logo, we dig deeper into all the components of a great logo but for now, we’ll summarize the most important points.

Root your design in your brand identity. In other words, your brand identity determines what kind of logo is best for you. There isn’t one specific “best” kind of logo; there are only logos that match your brand identity and logos that don’t.

Logo design by designer TikaDesign

Think of Coca Cola’s swoopy, high-contrast red and white logo or Fanta’s bold, leaf-topped logo. They’re both sodas, they’re both from the same company, but they have very different brand identities.

If you’re not 100% sure of your brand identity, you need to figure that out before you’re ready for a logo. We can help. Take a look at our brand identity guide and ask yourself who your brand would be if it was a person. Are you playful or serious? Sophisticated or a little rough around the edges? Knowing exactly who you are matters because this is what drives your design choices like your logo’s fonts, colors and shapes.

Shapes, colors and fonts. Every color and every shape evokes certain emotions in viewers. For example, red can feel powerful, driven, passionate and even angry while black tends to feel luxurious and sophisticated. Circles feel friendlier than squares, while squares feel contained and secure. This extends to fonts: try typing out the same sentence twice; once in comic sans and then again in courier. See how the tone changes? Every design decision you make shapes your brand, so don’t misrepresent your brand by missing key design choices in your logo.

How to get a garden or landscaping logo

As we explained in a previous guide, How to create a logo: Comparing the best ways to get a logo designed, there’s four main avenues you can take to get a logo. They are:

  • Logo makers (DIY). Using a logo maker or other entry-level design software, you can design your own logo from scratch
  • Design agencies. Opposite logo makers on the design spectrum, a design agency handles every aspect of logo creation from ideation to the finishing touches
  • Freelance designers. To get a professionally designed logo without the cost of an agency, work directly with a freelance designer
  • Design contests. With a design contest, you explain your visual preferences and business goals for your logo in a briefing. Then, multiple designers from around the world submit samples based on your briefing, giving you the opportunity to choose, refine and pay for only the one you like best.

We only advise DIY and logo makers in dire situations, like having next to nothing in your budget. Your logo is one of your brand’s most important assets and even the simplest logos come to fruition through a complex design process. Generally, a DIY logo isn’t as effective as a professionally designed one.

If you know you’ll be working with a professional, how you get your logo depends on your budget and your personal preferences. Take a look at our Logo design cost guide to get a sense of what the different logo design options will cost you.

Logo design contests are popular because they have one huge advantage over the other options: they give you lots of options to choose from. If you’re unsure of what style logo is best for your brand, go with a design contest to see a variety of designers’ takes on your briefing.

But if you’ve already got an idea planted and you just need to find the right designer to germinate it, your fastest, least complicated option is to work directly with a logo designer. You can browse designers’ portfolios to see whose style matches your best to find the perfect designer for your logo.

Are you ready to get a landscaping logo that brings your brand to life?

Branding your gardening or landscaping business with an appropriate, effective logo will make your brand more visible and increase your sales. Don’t just settle for a boring, basic logo. And don’t assume you can transform a basic logo into something that works by just making it green. Work with a designer who has the skills to deliver a logo that’s perfect for your outdoor brand.

Want a logo that makes your business blossom? Work with our talented designers to make it happen.

The post 30 fresh gardening and landscaping logos that will make your brand grow appeared first on 99designs.

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There are many elements to consider in the process of marketing and branding your business. While content—both written and video—get much of the attention, graphic design plays an integral role in transmitting the values and messages a company uses to engage with its audience.

Presentation design by pecas

As a marketer or web developer, it’s essential to have an overall understanding of graphic design and how it can be used to your best advantage. Here are some frequently asked questions about graphic design, why you should outsource design projects, and what it’s like to work with graphic designers:

Business card design by smashingbug1. What is graphic design and what does it include?

Graphic design is a design process that combines text and graphics in a way that is intended to communicate a specific message.

2. Where is graphic design used?

You will find graphic design in company logos, printed materials like brochures, posters, signs, greeting cards, postcards, business cards, billboards and ads. Advances in technology have brought us the digital environment complete with websites, online ads, virtual brochures and presentations, and so very much more.

3. What do graphic designers use to create these designs?

Graphic designers can use hand-illustrated designs as well as computer-aided designs thanks to a wide range of software with nearly endless digital design tools. The availability of software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have become staples of the graphic designer.

Infographic design by westwinds4. What can a graphic designer do that I can’t do?

A graphic designer does more than just put their creative skills to work. Though most graphic designers are intuitively creative already, they have generally spent time studying numerous design principles. It’s vital to understand how to use design elements to transmit the required messages and values as well as evoke a certain feeling in the viewer. As a visual communicator, they leverage these design elements and use concepts such as color, typography, space, balance, form and lines to create their visual message.

Some graphic designers are also able to understand the more technical aspects of design required to create digital assets for a company. For example, a web designer is often able to create wireframes, workflows, and sitemaps and understand how to develop easy navigation for the user experience.

5. What else does a graphic designer accomplish as part of the work they produce for a client?

Besides turning their client’s vision, brand image and value proposition into a graphic display, a designer will undertake many specialty tasks as part of a graphic design project. The specialty tasks include collaborating on the concept (usually with a team), attending meetings about the project, paying attention to what customers are clicking on, doing presentations that explain the various potential designs, revising designs, and preparing asset files for others on the team and for client use.

6. How can I work with a graphic designer and stay on budget?

There are many ways to work with a graphic designer. Partnership options include working through an agency, using a platform like 99designs, or hiring them directly. However, you will want to be prepared to communicate clearly and often about what you want from the graphic designer. The more specific you can be when you fill out your request the more likely the final product will reflect your vision. Communicating clearly and minimizing revisions will hold down your expenses. Most graphic designers include one or two rounds of changes in their project price.

7. What is the best process for working with a graphic designer?

Although some designers have their own design process, there are some overriding ways that define a good process for working with a graphic designer. Before approaching a graphic designer, make sure you’ve done your research in terms of whether they are a good match for your project. The best results happen when you and your graphics designer hit it off with great communication and wonderful artistic results. A continued beneficial working relationship with your freelance graphic designer on future projects is to be hoped for and what you will be working toward.

About the author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

The post 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Graphic Design appeared first on 99designs.

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Unlike other logos, children’s logos have two jobs to do: appeal to both kids and parents. A successful logo will appeal to the curious, colorful and energetic nature of a child, while speaking to the responsibilities of the adult making the purchase.

Whether your business involves toys for toddlers, crafts for kids or blankets for babies, you need a creative and professional logo design to build healthy and direct relationships with customers. It’s not enough to focus on the “fun” aspect of having a kids brand without considering all the other details that go into creating your logo.

Here are some things to take into consideration when creating children’s logos.

What makes a good children’s logo?

To design a kids logo, you need to first understand the realities of the industry. While those using your brand will be children or babies, the ones who are ultimately selecting your brand for children will be adults. Kids are looking for something that’s humorous and playful, and adults are looking for a brand they can trust.

Your logo should appeal with children by being youthful and energetic. But this doesn’t mean that it should be condescending or simple! Kids logos require a level of thoughtful sophistication just like any other brand. Prioritize eye-grabbing visuals: colors, characters, popping typeface.

Your brand might also tell a story or involve an adventure—and that might mean including a character in your logo. Think of all the cereal brands that have mascots. These mascots are friends children meet everyday for breakfast. And don’t forget, people of all ages like cute characters.

Your logo should capture your brand in a single image. This is a way for adults to recognize that your brand has the specific traits they are looking for. For example, if your toys are made to spark creativity in children, emphasize that with inspiring color pairings, magical looking animals and other unique combinations. If your snack bar is healthy and sugar-free, use images of fruits and natural colors.

Finally, when designing a logo for children, empathy is key. Put yourself into the mind of a child. Remember when you were a kid and you always went for the same brand of chocolate and watched your favorite movie over and over again. And think of what it’s like to be a new parent and trying to pick the best out there for your baby. Having a thoughtful logo design will address all of these impulses and more. Inviting your product into a family’s daily routine is no small ask, so make their decision easier by giving careful attention to designing your logo.

Amazing ideas for baby and children’s logos
— Cute, character logos

A character logo is ideal for emphasizing the endearing, childlike aspects of your brand.

Adorable, sometimes personified, animals are a great way to convey that your brand cares about the creative and imaginative ways of life. Who wouldn’t prefer animals illustrated with soft lines, smiling faces and gentle colors over something dull? Character logos also speak to what adults associate as childlike, as well.

With the focus on the image, these logos tend to have a clear, legible typeface with minimal text.

An adorable design for a children’s cooking school by ankepankeNostalgic kids logos

These vintage-feeling, children’s logos tend to speak more to the adults than the kids. The aim is to bring back feelings of a time when they were children and overjoyed at the prospect of ice cream, wooden blocks and books.

Hand-drawn illustrations are always a great way to convey timeless traditions. These logos tend to be over lighter-colored backgrounds with watercolor or painted effects. They make great use of white space and emphasize the familiar.

For the typeface, pair sans serifs with serifs or cursive with modern clean lines for the full vintage feel and easy legibility.

Modern logos for the modern parent

Modern children’s logos tend to be minimalist. Clean lines and a selection of vibrant colors are visible in these uncrowded designs. Subtlety rather than obviousness is the way to go.

If you want your brand identity to be hip and modern, these logos are the way to go. These logos are great for children’s clothing, furniture, toys and game companies.

Dynamic and bold children’s logos

If you would like to convey that your business is bright, bold and high-spirited, your logo can easily reflect that. These logos bring to mind candy and games with a burst of energy.

Expressive and bold fonts, contrasting vibrant colors catch the attention and invite the onlooker to join in with the same enthusiasm. Playful, asymmetric text alignment works great with these logos as well.

Dynamic logos work great for businesses that cater to children’s parties, game companies, fun houses and others in that vein. They also work great for places like dentists and pediatricians, because they need a fun boost to counterbalance their serious reputation.

Serious (but still fun) kids logos

It’s not all play and no work when it comes to children’s products. If your brand works with educational toys, games and classes, then balance the fun with the serious in your logo.

For the typeface, it’s good to use bold sans serifs that emphasize your brand name. Asymmetric text alignment is a great way to give some movement to the otherwise simple text. Make your colors more playful by stacking them together like legos. Use a central image to tie it all together, like an animal or a children’s toy.

This might sound simple, but this type of logo is very nuanced. Your logo can’t look like all the others, and you need to emphasize what makes you different. Take a look at some examples below for inspiration.

The fundamentals of logo design

If this is your first logo design, remember that it’s normal to be intimidated! Logo design is complex and specialized. Creating a design for a children-related business is very different from creating a design for an organic produce delivery company for city dwellers. But before we delve into specifics, let’s take a general look at the basics of logo design.

Logo design is a nuanced specialization of graphic design that encompasses aesthetics, branding & marketing, composition, color theory, typography and artistic skill. We give a fuller introduction to the craft in our free online guide How to design a logo, but here we’ll summarize some key points to provide a little background.

Design for your brand. Simply looking for the “best type of logo” will yield unsatisfactory results—you need to think about your brand identity to figure out the best logo FOR YOUR BRAND. If your company curates children’s parties, you’re going to need a very different logo than a company that makes educational books.

So before starting on a logo, you have to think carefully about what kind of brand you want to be—your “brand identity.” Are you a dynamic brand or a serene brand? Are you aiming to teach or entertain or both? That will guide your design choices, in particular colors, shapes and letters.

Colors, shapes and letters. Each different color and shape represents different emotions—for example, logos with contrasting, vibrant colors convey confidence, logos with a lot of circles seem friendlier etc. Likewise, that extends to font choice, such a formal serifs vs. casual sans-serif. Every design decision reflects on your brand, so build your brand identity from the ground up with strategic choices.

How to get a children’s logo

As we’ve elaborated on in our guide How to create a logo: Comparing the best ways to get a logo designed, a company has four main options for getting a logo. Let’s briefly review them now:

  • Logo maker (DIY). Make your logo yourself from scratch using a logo maker or other entry-level design software.
  • Hire a design agency. Hand off all logo design duties to a design agency and their suite of specialists. This option tends to be costly.
  • Work with a freelancer. Find a freelance designer to design your logo for you. This gives you a professional option at a lower cost than going to an agency.
  • Commission a design contest. Explain what you want in a briefing by including visual preferences and business goals. Designers from all over the world will then submit samples based on your briefing. All that’s left after that point is to pick the one you like best and start revisions. You only pay for the one sample you choose.

Your logo is so crucial to your brand’s success that DIY and logo makers are only advisable under extreme circumstances. Considering how complicated logo design is, if it’s not designed by a professional, it may suffer from mistakes that could have been avoided.

The rest of the options are dependent on your preference. If your only concern is price, check out our Logo design cost guide for more detailed distinctions.

The reason why design contests are a great way to go about it—and the reason they’re so popular—is that they simultaneously present the creativity of multiple designers and give you lots of attractive options. If you’re still unsure what style and look is right for you, a contest has the benefit of experimentation—you may not know what logo design best suits you until you see some creative drafts from several designers.

If you know what style and look you want, a freelancer might be right for you. You can browse portfolios to find one with a style that matches what you want in terms of style and then work with the freelancer to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Are you ready to get an amazing children’s logo?

As you’ll understand from this guide, your logo is your very first brand ambassador. Working with someone professional who knows how to make the ideal expression for your brand is vital. Make sure your devote the necessary attention to creating a logo that reflects your awesome brand.

Get a logo that unleashes your inner child! Work with our talented designers to make it happen.

The post 35 children’s logos that are not kidding around appeared first on 99designs.

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As a small business owner, you might think branding is something that’s best left to the Apples, the Googles and the McDonalds of the world. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how big (or how small!) our company is; if you’re in business, you need to think about branding.

Larger companies have larger budgets to spend on branding. But you don’t need an Apple-sized bank account to build an effective branding strategy from the ground up. There are plenty of things you can do to help your business stand out, grab your customers’ attention, and make your business memorable without blowing your budget.

Let’s take a look at five branding strategies that will help you take your small business to the next level:

1. Define your brand identity
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Branding is more than just a logo you slap on your website. Your branding is who you are as a company; it’s your values and your mission, it’s the way you treat your customers, it’s the look and feel of your visual assets. So, before you can move forward with the more tactical steps in your branding strategy (like designing your logo), you need to take the time to get really clear on who you are as a company—or, in other words, your brand identity.

There are a few steps to the process:

Figure out who you are

If you already have a clear idea of who you are as a brand, that’s great—but if you don’t, that’s ok, too. It’s just time to do a little corporate soul-searching.

Asking yourself some deeper questions can help you figure out who you are—and who you want to be—as a brand. When you’re defining your brand identity, ask yourself questions like:

Logo design by Bila Designs
  • If I had to describe my company in three words, what would they be?
  • What do I want to be known for in the marketplace?
  • What are my company’s core missions and values?
  • What kind of difference do I want to make in my industry?

The more clarity you get on who you are and what you’re about, the more you can infuse that identity into your branding—and the more your brand will stand out and grab customers’ attention as a result.

Figure out who your target customers are Logo design by Allen G

It might sound obvious, but there are tons of small business who put so much focus on figuring out who they are and what kinds of products or services they want to deliver that they completely neglect figuring out who they’re trying to sell those products or services to—and their branding suffers as a result.

Take some time to define your ideal customer. Who are they? How old are they? What kind of income and education do they have? Are they predominantly one gender? What are they looking for in the companies they do business with? What matters to them? When would they use your product or service—and why would they need it?

When you know who your target market is, you can use it to guide your branding strategy—and the end result will be a brand that truly connects with the customers you want to work with most.

Establish your POD (or brand “special sauce”)…

No matter what your business does, chances are, there are already other companies doing the same thing. So, if you want your business to stand out, you need to figure out what makes it stand out.

Logo design by KreatanK

The thing that makes your business different from your competitors is called your point of difference (or POD). Your POD is what makes you special; it’s what makes a customer choose your company to do business with over your competitors—and it should be infused into every part of your branding strategy.

Your POD doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering. Think of it this way: if your company is a Big Mac, your POD is your “special sauce;” it’s what makes your company uniquely you. Do you only use ethically sourced ingredients in your products? Do you have the best customer service in the biz? Has your family business been serving the community for multiple generations? Whatever it is, figure out what makes your business stand out—and build that POD directly into your brand identity.

…But also get clear on what’s working in your industry Logo design by Chris Kay

You want your branding to stand out and be different. But if you want to have the most effective branding strategy, you also need to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s working (and what’s not working) in your industry).

Take stock of your competitors and what they’re doing. Do you notice any trends? For example, let’s say you’re launching a new financial consulting company—and when you check out your competitors, you notice they all have neutral color palettes in their logo design or they all focus their marketing efforts on Facebook instead of Instagram. While you (obviously) don’t want to steal or rip off your competitors’ branding, taking stock of industry trends can give you a sense of what’s connecting with your ideal market (and, just as importantly, what’s not)—and you can build out your brand identity accordingly.

2. Get visual with your branding
Logo and brand identity design by Agi Amri

Once you’ve defined who you are, who your customers are, what makes you special, and what’s working in your industry, it’s time to start actually designing your brand.

Here are a few things you’ll need to create the look and feel of your brand:

  • A brand style guide. Before you start designing, it’s important to figure out the details of your design strategy, like your brand color palette, fonts, and design do’s and dont’s. A brand style guide is a great way to organize your design details and make sure you, your designer, and anyone else working on your brand is on the same page with your brand’s direction.
  • A logo. Your logo is like the face of your company; it’s the first thing most of your customers will see when they encounter your brand—and it’s the visual asset that will be most closely tied with your business. Your logo should be the first thing you design, as it will act as the jumping off point for all of your other visuals (like your website and your business cards).
  • Business cards. If you’re in business, you need a business card—and the design should match your logo and your other design assets.
  • A website. Your website is like your company’s piece of digital real estate—and when people visit your website, the look and feel should be consistent with the rest of your branding.

Depending on your business, you might need additional branding assets (like product packaging or corporate letterhead), but the most important thing to keep in mind? No matter where a customer encounters your brand—whether it’s by seeing your logo or visiting your website or checking out one of your products in store—the look, feel, and design should be consistent. If your branding isn’t consistent, you risk confusing your customers—and, if they’re confused, you could lose them to the competition.

3. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert with the right content

As a small business, you might not have a huge advertising budget. But luckily, you don’t need to spend millions in ad dollars in order to get yourself in front of the right people. There’s a better, easier, and more affordable way to get your name out there—and that’s content marketing.

Logo design by Spoon Lancer

Content marketing works on so many levels. First, it gives you the opportunity to show off your industry expertise; by establishing yourself as a go-to resource and subject matter expert in your field, your audience will come to trust you—and, when it comes time to them to choose a company to do business with, you’ll be the first place they go.

Content marketing is also a great strategy because it gives you an opportunity to strengthen your branding. By developing a strong brand voice (and then carrying that brand voice throughout your content) you reinforce who you are and what you’re about to your customers—which strengthens the relationship and helps to drive business.

And if you need another reason why content marketing is so effective for small business? It’s affordable—so even if you’re working on a shoestring budget, you can make content work for you.

The key to success with using content as a marketing strategy is to create the right content. Do your research to figure out what kinds of questions your customers are asking—and then create content that answers those questions.

So, for example, let’s say you own a local bakery and, after some research, you realize your customers are searching for recipes and guides to make their own bread. You could create a branded blog post or video that outlines the basics of bread making; the science behind bread, the ingredients you’ll need, and how to get the perfect rise and crust. That kind of content provides serious value for your audience—so, when the time comes that they want to actually go out and buy bread (because, let’s be real—no one wants to make their own bread all the time), you’ll be the first place they visit.

The point is, there is a ton of information about your industry that your customers want and need to know. And if you can add value and answer their questions through your content, you’ll build trust with those customers—and that trust will translate into business.

4. Look for partnership opportunities
Logo design by nnorth

People like to do business with brands they trust. But if you’re a new brand, establishing that trust can be time consuming. But a great way to speed up the process? Look for partnership opportunities with other brands your customers already work with.

Think of it as trust building by proxy; if your customers are introduced to your brand by a brand they already know and trust, they’re much more likely to extend that trust to you—and give you their business as a result.

The key to success with this strategy? Finding business with similar—but non-competitive—audiences. So, for example, let’s say you’re launching a new energy bar targeted towards endurance athletes. You could look to partner with local races to include your bars in their gift bags, leave samples at local running stores, or offer to write guest posts on popular endurance blogs. All of those companies have the audience you want to target—endurance athletes—but none of them are direct competitors, which will make them much more willing to work with you.

5. Be a superhero for your customers

If you want to truly stand out in today’s hyper-competitive market, it’s not enough to talk to the talk—you need to walk the walk, too.

Your branding is about more than your logo, your marketing strategies, or how you grab customers’ attention—it’s about what you do once you’ve connected with those customers. The reputation you gain—and what customers say behind your back—is the most important part of your branding.

Design by Monkeii

Which is why if you want to succeed in the long term, you need to be a superhero for your customers—and make living and breathing customer service your top priority.

Think about it. What better to be known for than providing the highest level of service to your customers? If your customers have a positive experience every time they interact with your brand, they’re going to keep coming back—and they’re going to tell their friends, too.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that customer service is bigger than any single interaction or department. If you truly want to live and breathe customer service, you need to provide a consistently positive experience for your customers no matter how, when, and why they interact with your brand.

Look for opportunities to improve customer experience within your business. Is it confusing to place an order on your website? Revamp the design to make it more intuitive for your customers. Is it a hassle to make a return? Send customers a prepaid return label and clear instructions to make the process easier and more straightforward. The point is, the better you can make your customer experience, the more you’ll be known as a company that cares about its customers—and the more customers you’ll get as a result.

Kick start your branding strategy

You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to effectively brand your business. All you need is a little creativity and some good, old-fashioned hard word.

And now that you know how to effectively (and inexpensively!) brand your small business, all that’s left to do? Get out there and get branding!

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This article was originally written by Kelly Morr and published in 2016. It has been updated with new information and examples.

The post 5 Inexpensive branding strategies for small businesses appeared first on 99designs.

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I began my freelancing journey a few years ago, motivated by the arrival of my first baby and the idea of being my own boss. I always liked the idea of working for myself, so I jumped right in! I’ve learned a lot along this journey of self-employment—some things the hard way. Here, I share the tips that have helped me the most to find balance between my professional obligations and my familial responsibilities. Yes, balance is possible!

1. Create a schedule and stick to it
Illustration by Fe Melo

As I launched my freelance career, I quickly discovered that it’s essential to create a work schedule—and make a commitment to stick to it. When you are your own boss the day never ends, unless you say it does. To keep your work/life balance in balance it’s a good idea to design your ideal work day, deciding how many hours you’ll work and when you’ll work them. Be sure to factor in family obligations (when do your kids get home from school? Will you be making dinner for the family? Will you have any outside help? ), self-care (you’ll need to exercise to stay strong for all of your responsibilities) and your prime working hours (do you produce your best work in the early morning or later in the evening?). I usually work when my son is at daycare, so I can give him attention when he comes back. Some days, I also try to get in a few extra hours when he’s gone to sleep.

It’s important to work during the hours you have set aside for work. Even if you don’t have many projects, keep the professional energy flowing—that means avoiding distractions like scrolling Instagram or catching up on household chores—use the time to network or pursue marketing or branding projects that will help to grow your business.

Animation by by Konstantin Kostenko

Communicating your work hours with friends and family is also essential. When you work for yourself it’s easy for your loved ones to assume that you’re always available to socialize. They may ask you to meet for lunch or coffee or to engage in a big conversation during your work day. Let them know that work time is work time. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, and say, “no.”

2. Know when enough is enough

I’m still mastering this one, and probably will be for years to come. Setting limits on the amount of work you take on—and how often you communicate with clients— is absolutely essential. When you work for yourself, the workday never technically ends. But trust me, checking emails in the middle of the night will leave you exhausted. It is important to know when to stop.

Don’t overload. Projects often come in waves, in a when-it-rains-it-pours surge. Try to schedule your projects wisely. Don’t be afraid to tell a client you can’t take on their project if it conflicts with your already full plate. Go for quality over quantity—in the long run this will increase your value as a professional.

And it’s easy to become isolated when you are freelancing, so make sure to set time aside for your friends and family.

T-shirt design by Rockrose 3. Stay organized

Using your time wisely is a major part of working for yourself and organization is a major part of using your time wisely. When you organize your computer files, create folders by subjects and then name every archive and file accordingly. This helps create a database that will come in handy when a client requests a file or if you want to use things you created in the past for new projects. For example, I applied to loads of 99designs contests throughout the years. And for those that I didn’t win, I would recycle my entries, so I could use them for a different contest with a similar briefing down the road.

4. Communicate professionally and effectively with your clients

When working with a client learn to communicate clearly. If you don’t understand exactly what a client wants, make sure that you ask them for clarification at the beginning of the process—it will save you time in the long-run! Show interest in their project and business, and ask them clarifying questions like “do you have any visual references that could help me understand your vision?” and “is there anything in my portfolio that you really like?” If you get the sense that the client doesn’t know what he wants or that you’re not the right person for the project, don’t take it. There are lots of great projects for you out there!

Typography design for T-shirt by diwaz

Before you begin working together, be sure to set clear boundaries around how many changes clients can make during the project. If you think they are asking for too much, communicate your feelings. If you are not available to work on the weekend, or your kid is sick and you won’t be able to do the work in time communicate that as well. Chances are strong that your clients also have family obligations so they will be able to relate. Whatever you do, never ignore a client. Even if you have to have a hard conversation, it’s better to address the issue directly rather than pretend it’s not happening. Lack of communication can lead to bad reviews and a negative reputation in your industry.

5. Use your interests as inspiration for your work

When I was pregnant, I started buying all the gear I needed for baby’s arrival.  As I researched the best products I got really inspired and started working on loads of contests for baby patterns, clothes, and other kiddo-themed projects.

I’ve also always loved coffee, and now that I have a family to look after, I drink loads of it! I have set an alert for coffee contests, too. I really enjoy designing cool graphics for anything java-related.

If you’re working on 99designs, you can set notifications for your favorite subjects and everytime a contest with the same specifications appears on the platform you will receive an email. Even when I don’t have time to participate in the contest, I really enjoy seeing what people come up with. You can learn a lot by monitoring contests.

6. Outsource home tasks

When you work for yourself while attempting to maintain a happy home life, time really is money. Investing in a weekly (or bi-weekly) house cleaner can buy you time to focus on what really matters. You may also want to splurge on prepared foods once or twice a week for dinner (especially useful if you’re raising young children) so you can spend more time with your loved ones.

via Lifehacker7. Become a savvy marketer
Illustration by Fe Melo

Today you can’t avoid social media. The more your work is visible on sites like Instagram, the more chances you’ll have to secure new clients. 99designs has an awesome blog post about it—be sure to check it out. It’s important to keep your website or portfolio up-to-date and to share your favorite works in across the social platforms you use.

8. Challenge yourself

The only way to cultivate versatility and confidence is to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone. I often take projects that give me the opportunity to practice new things. They may take me more time than usual to finish (and I may have to watch some tutorials to get there), but in the end I end up learning another skill that enhances what I have to offer clients and improves my portfolio. Someone once told me if you don’t do something because you’re scared to fail, you have already failed.

It’s also important to get comfortable with rejection. I have lost so many design contests at 99designs. I now know that losing doesn’t mean that I’m less capable than another designer. Sometimes the client’s taste is different than what I’m offering or sometimes it’s clear that I need more practice. Don’t put yourself down in these situations. Cut yourself some slack, be gentle and consider what you could have done differently and apply what you learned next time.

9. Take breaks
Illustration by Fe Melo

Taking breaks can feel scary. You may worry that you’ll lose work or make a client unhappy. But breaks are essential—especially for creatives. They allow you to refresh your energy and come back more inspired and ready to work. (Basically, regular breaks make you a better designer.)

I recently went on a month-long vacation with my family. Of course Murphy’s Law had numerous project invites flowing into my inbox while I was away. I stayed the course and refused each one. My time away from my desk was truly inspiring. I came home fully recharged and ready to dive back into work. And it took just one month to recover a full roster of clients.

With some thought and planning, anyone can build a freelance career on their own terms. Take it step by step and enjoy the ride. By being present in each moment, you actually can have it all.

Want to fire up your freelance career? Start designing on 99designs to connect with more clients on a safe and secure platform

The post How to balance full-time freelancing with family appeared first on 99designs.

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Logos are the face of your business.

Not only do they make your company beer koozies look sharp, but they also attract the right customers by letting people instantaneously understand who you are and what you stand for. In other words, they’re really important to building your business’ brand reputation.

Here are some of the best ways to create a logo:

  • Logo maker: you can use a free website to churn out a logo in less than an hour. (Note that if you actually want to use that logo, you will have to pay for it in most cases.)
  • Logo design contest: designers from all over the world pitch you multiple ideas for a logo. You give feedback and in the end select your perfect logo from the finalists.
  • Work with a freelance designer: you collaborate with a single artist to create your logo.
  • Hire a design agency: you work with a fully staffed design team on your logo design, often in the larger context of branding your business and conducting market research.

How do you know which is right for you? Each option has its advantages and drawbacks.

Logo maker Freelance designer Design contest Design agency
Cost

Free to use and $10-$50 to purchase

Wide range from several hundred to thousands of dollars

Packages from $200-$1300

Typically $10,000+

 Time commitment

Ten minutes to an hour for basic design

Weeks to months depending on the freelancer

One to two weeks

Usually several months depending on the agency

Quality

Basic and generic logos built with a selection of stock icons and fonts

Varies depending on the skills of the freelancer and your feedback

Expect a range. Premium packages result in more options & experienced designers.

High quality designs from a full-service team of creative strategists

Who should use it

Extremely budget- & time-conscious businesses that are OK with a basic design

Businesses that have a specific style in mind and an understanding of the design process

Businesses that are interested in seeing many design options

Well-resourced businesses that want a complete, top-to-bottom branding package

But it’s one thing for me to tell you what the pros and cons of each approach are. Instead, I am going to show you how the different ways of creating a logo compare by putting each to the test.

Where to start when creating a logo

Before you create your logo, you should have a clear vision of the brand values your logo will express. How are you different from your competitors? Who are your customers? What do you want them to feel when they hear your name? Even if your business is already established and/or you’ve done some thinking around this in the past, it is a good idea to revisit your brand strategy so that you can pass this along to designers.

What’s your brand personality? Mascots by t e m a n j a u h.

When the time does come to get your logo designed, you have several options. To help you make an informed decision, I’ve come up with an imaginary business on which I will test each option myself. And I have given the brand some heart to make sure that I am critical of each logo I get. Hence, the client for this project is the hardest working lady I know: my mother.

Her love of travel, coffee, and good conversation has led me to imagine my mom as the proprietor of a cozy coffee shop in the backstreets of Paris: Café Laurier, after the French word for “laurel” which is where her name, Laura, comes from. This dream might not be a reality (yet!), but I can at least realize it in some small way with a beautiful logo.

Without further ado, let’s see how the different ways of getting a logo measure up.

>> Need help on your branding? Get inspired with our ultimate guide to branding. Logo makers: create a logo yourself
— What is a logo maker?

A logo maker is a free-to-use web application that allows you to create a logo by selecting from libraries of fonts, shapes, icons and colors. Although they’re free to play with, you have to purchase your final logo most of the time in order to use it. Purchase prices range from $10-$50, with most in the $40 range. After purchasing the final logo and a usage license, you can freely stick it on your website, packaging, signage, promotional materials and more.

How a logo maker works

Start by picking the application you want to use. These are the logo makers I chose to try out:

Each of these operates a bit differently, but they all guide you through these four basic steps:

  1. Enter your business’s name
  2. Select an icon
  3. Choose a typeface
  4. Pick a color
  5. Pay and download your logo
My logo builder experience

Out of all of the applications, LogoMakr was the most customizable and really captured the design-it-yourself feel. It consists of a blank canvas with some graphics tools—essentially a barebones vector program. You can either make your logo completely from scratch or choose an icon from their database—by far the most extensive of the three. While it gives you a lot of editorial freedom, you may struggle if you’ve never worked with design programs before. There is a how-it-works video that pops up when you first open the page, but this is less intuitive than the step-by-step approach of the others. If you are looking for something easy and fast, this may not be the best option, but overall, LogoMakr had the others beat in terms of customizability and quality.

LogoMakr’s canvas includes layers, shape and type tools, and an icon library

designhill had a promising start—an intuitive process backed up by a nicely designed interface—but a poor follow-through. After choosing from a catalogue of logos to describe my visual style, I was prompted to pick the actual icon for my logo. These icons were nothing like the sample logos—just simple outlines of generic objects—which felt like a bait-and-switch. The sample logos may not have been the most amazing I’ve ever seen, but they were masterpieces compared with what designhill delivered.

The logo icons of designhill

LogoMaker had me worried from the beginning. It went through similar step-by-step choices but in a much less appealing menu of drop down boxes and text fields. Everything worked fine, but the design of the interface didn’t inspire much confidence, considering design was what I came to this platform looking for. Sure enough, the logos I ended up with looked very dated (think Microsoft Word clipart from 1997). I also ran the same query a second time, and the same icons showed up with different font styles, meaning the fonts were paired at random.

LogoMaker’s interfaceLogo maker conclusion

All in all, was the process easy? Absolutely. I never felt lost in any of the applications. Was it inexpensive? Yep. Everything was free-to-use and I only paid for what I needed. Was it fast? Yessir. Each program I used only took a few minutes. Did I get Mom-worthy results? Definitely not. There is nothing about any of them that stands out. So, are the logos usable? Yes, in a pinch. Do they say anything about how unique and awesome my mom’s cafe will be? Not so much.

Logo makers work best for clients who…
  • have a budget under $100
  • need a logo fast
  • are not concerned about trademarking
  • need a temporary logo
Logo maker pros
  • They’re inexpensive. Basic logo packages start at $10.
  • They’re really fast. If you’re not too picky and don’t tweak your design, you’ll be done in minutes.
  • They cut out the middleman. You do the work yourself.
Logo maker cons
  • Your results will be generic. You only have a small library of templates, images, fonts and colors to choose from. Plus, there will likely be many other logos that look similar to (if not the same as) yours.
  • You can’t customize. Unless you know how to use external graphic editing programs, what you see is what you get.
  • You’re at the mercy of your own skill set. Along with the limitations of the web application, how your logo looks is determined by your personal knowledge of color, typography and design.
>> Logo maker your top choice? Check our list of the best logo makers. Logo design contests: working with multiple designers
— What is a design contest?

A logo design contest is a crowdsourced competition in which an international community of designers submit multiple logo proposals based on your creative brief. Throughout the contest, you’re able to interact with designers and give feedback on different versions. You get lots of unique ideas created specifically for your business and get to choose one (or more) as a favorite to purchase.

Design contests differ from logo makers in that your logo is created by real designers (so is totally bespoke), and you receive the exclusive copyright to the design at the end of the process.

How a design contest works

All you need to do is make an account on the platform’s website, follow their instructions to launch a contest, and designers registered to the site will compete to win your prize.

For my logo contest, I went with 99designs.

(Full disclosure: this article is being published on the 99designs blog, and I work for 99designs. That said, I have done my best to give a fair depiction of my experience.)

99designs provides a few pricing options which affect the prize amount, and by extension the number of designers who will be interested in the contest. In addition, higher tier contests restrict the designers allowed access based on their quality level (as assessed by 99designs’ quality experts). I chose a Gold contest, which is open only to designers ranked Mid and Top level.

The contest launch process

From there, the process goes as follows:

  1. Choose examples of designs that appeal to your vision.
  2. Select several qualities that exemplify you business
  3. Select color preference
  4. Write in the details of your brief
  5. Add external documents such as a mood board or a wireframe
  6. Pay and launch

Once your contest is up and running, all you have to do is wait for the designs to roll in.

My logo contest experience

The brief process was more robust than any that I experienced with logo makers while still managing to feel straightforward. Every step, from choosing words that describe my business to designs that describe my visual style, gave me multiple, diverse options. My answers felt like they had real weight given that designers would be interpreting them, not a computer algorithm. Also, the images showcased were actual designs that have been produced on the platform, so I knew I had a chance at getting something similar in quality, if not better.

Writing freeform about my business, competitors and audience was the most time-consuming part, probably more so than it would be for any other design brief. Because I knew that designers would be choosing to enter my contest, I had to treat the brief like an advertisement. This meant that I was as descriptive as possible in the hopes that designers would really care about the brand before entering.

The contest definitely delivered in terms of volume. I launched it at night and woke to twenty or so designs awaiting review, many of them I was already excited about. While this was great, clients new to design might find it overwhelming. I learned quickly that there is a lot of management involved in a design contest if you are (and should be) committed to giving feedback. I had to think about each design that had potential, articulate my opinion of it, assign a rating, and work with multiple designers simultaneously to develop their concept.

The contest interface includes feedback tools

That said, the platform provides you with several handy communication tools. You can draw and comment on specific parts of the design, choose from a list of standard feedback responses if you get stuck and organize polls to have your friends weigh in.

In terms of quality, the designs got off to a great start and got better and better. This is likely because I chose the higher tier contest, and I submitted a detailed brief, which designers seemed to appreciate. I was also surprised at how the designers managed to create substantial variety while still adhering to my specific stylistic directions in the brief. There were a few designs that went after generic coffee shop imagery (coffee cups, beans, croissants, etc.), but even those were infinitely better than anything I saw in the logo makers, many of them illustrated by hand.

Here are a few of my favorite entries into my design contest:

By far the hardest part of the entire process was choosing one winner out of the many talented designers I worked with. But it was an incredible experience to work with so many designers I may not have found on my own.

Check out the brief for my logo design contest and all of the entries I got.

Design contest conclusion The winning design I chose, by Studio Mojo

All in all, was the process easy? Yes and no. I was never lost at any point in the process, and much of the work I put into managing the contest was self-inflicted. I could have sat back and hoped for the ideal logo to come in. But I know that explaining my vision in a clear and compelling way is how you ensure that happens. In the end, I’d say the work I put in was a small investment for the excellent results that I got.

Was it inexpensive? Compared to other ways of getting a design (more on that later), yes, and I could have chosen a lower price point if I’d wanted to. Was it fast? At seven days for a logo that will embody my mom’s amazing business, yes. Did I get Mom-worthy results? I’m mocking up business cards as we speak.

Design contests work best for clients who…
  • have a budget between $299-$1299
  • can wait one to two weeks for a logo
  • are unsure of the exact stylistic direction of their brand
  • are looking to make contacts with many designers for future projects
  • are newer to design
Design contest pros
  • You get multiple options to choose from.
  • The design options you get are created specifically for your business. Designers find you, not the other way around. You’re not looking at a profile and guessing/hoping the designer’s style will work for you.
  • They offer professional quality at affordable prices. With prices on different sites running from $150-$1300, design contests are accessible to both small businesses and larger companies.
  • They’re pretty fast. If you make getting a logo your priority and provide timely feedback to designers, you can get a professional logo in a week.
Design contest cons
  • They do require your time. You’ll need to put together an informative brief and give regular feedback in order to get the perfect design; otherwise, you might end with something off-the-mark.
  • You will get entries that vary in quality. Most design contests are open to both beginner and experienced designers. Good communication and a higher price point can help you attract more experienced designers to your contest.
  • You will see work in draft form. Most designers will enter a rough concept to gauge your interest before spending their time and energy perfecting it.
>> Design contest your top choice? Learn about what makes a successful contest. Freelance designers: working one-to-one to create a logo
— What is a freelancer designer?

A freelancer is an independent designer who works on a project-by-project basis. Because freelancers are self-employed, they set their own rates and schedule. For logo design, rates typically range from several hundred to many thousands of dollars, and can be charged on either an hourly or per-project basis. In terms of skill level and talent, freelancers can vary tremendously. If you’re looking to hire a freelancer, you’ll do so by vetting their portfolio of past work, analyzing their style and trusting that they’ll be able to give you a similar quality and style of work for your project.

How to work with a freelance designer

Freelancers can come from anywhere. Many people like to find them through word-of-mouth referrals and personal connections. These are often your best option because the designer will have been vetted by a friend or colleague, and you’ll be able to ask honest questions about skill, quality, schedule and cost. If you don’t have connections, you can find a local freelancer through Google and Yelp, or through an online freelance design platform.

To find a freelancer for my logo project, I’ve chosen—you guessed it—99designs. Besides working with multiple designers in a design contest scenario, you can also contact individual designers and work with them directly using 99designs’ Designer Search feature. Here’s how it works:

How to find designers in Designer Search
  1. Select your parameters (the designer’s specialty, industry experience, activeness on the site and much more)
  2. Browse the list that populates. This includes a preview of each designer’s profile and average client ratings
  3. Click on designers you are interested in to view their full portfolio. Here, you can check out their bio, client reviews in detail and other important stats (responsiveness score, number of contests won, number of repeat clients, etc).
  4. When you’ve found the one, click the “Invite to work” button
  5. Follow the instructions to describe what you need, upload your references and specify your budget
  6. Wait for the designer to accept or reject the offer. The project will either begin or you’ll go back to step one
How to start a project with a freelance designer

Because I got a lot of great, vintage-looking designs in my contest, I decided to go in a different stylistic direction for this project. This led me to Lucadia and their colorful, modern illustrations. Once I had sent the brief, Lucadia and I..

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