Be Brightly Branded

Amie Baker Creative is a boutique graphic design studio focused on helping businesses and their brands through visual identities, print design and web design.

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Brand Audit

brand audit

If you can’t identify and articulate the problem you face, it is a good sign that you need additional help. One of my favorite things to do for businesses is to do a brand audit. Hang in here with me, you’ll see the value once I explain.
Think of how many things you put out there for your business. On a simple level you might have a combination of your logo, business card, website and a direct mail piece. When is the last time you put all those things directly in front of your nose to critique? Have you ever taken a step back to look at the entire picture instead of the piece that you’ve got to get out and get off your list? If this is you constantly, know that you aren’t alone. Many of my clients have this struggle. This can be a great pat on the back experience for some businesses and for others it can be quite sobering.

When you lay everything you’ve got together, on the table in front of you to review at once, things are going to jump out. You might notice that you sporadically use your logo the same, that your fonts are all over the board, that your images all have a different look and feel. This is when you start seeing opportunity! Create a plan to start tackling and pull in the ropes.

Streamline, be consistent, make things cohesive. You’ll be rewarded in your brand.

If you find yourself proud and happy with how things are all on the same page then you’ve got a chance to brainstorm on how to take things to the next level. Sorry if you thought I was going to say you could kick back! You can take the time to decide what has worked and what isn’t working. Look for your next branding opportunity.

Branding is constant work and it pays you back by setting you apart from your competition when you continue to be top of mind for continuously caring for the brand you have made.

If you are interested in a brand audit, give me a shout. I’d love to provide you some great feedback on where to go and how to do it!


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Spring Cleaning For Your Brand

Tacoma graphic designer
One of my favorite things to do is evaluate brands. It is always tricky when I enter into a situation with a brand that was developed by an uncle’s, friend’s wife who is known for her talent to craft cards. Usually, this situation takes a few directions:

• The business took off their blinders and finally gave it a critical look and has determined it isn’t something they are proud of or working for them and we get started.

• The brand is working and headed in a good direction but the creative muscle needed to grow it isn’t available.

• The business stands by their design and really wants help making it work.

To the business that has placed their brand in the hands of someone who does this as a hobby or even an employee who has this role added to a very full plate just make it happen, I’ve got some tips for you. I acknowledge that businesses can be limited on their budget and by doing so they use their resources to the best of their ability. I like the mindset of not chasing perfection but getting things out there. If you are striving for perfection, you’ll never pass go and you’ll keep finding something to get hung up on.

Don’t let your brand plateau. This is where a professional’s dose of honesty will help. I will tell you if your designs look dated, filtered, unfinished, slapped together or templated. It might be hard to hear but you’ll be thankful for this knowledge later.

If you are not ready for that, here are few things you can do to check the pulse of your brand:

  1. Print out all items representing your brand currently. This includes the web related items, screen shots of your website, your social media presence, any email blasts you send out in additional to your printed collateral. Gather it all and then get it up in front of you on a wall to review.
  2. Pay attention to fonts. This is usually something that is hard to spot for those who aren’t looking at fonts all the time. I like to think that everyone knows using comic sans isn’t the best choice due to over saturation, accessibility or poor usage overall giving it a bad reputation in the design community. If you use a font like this, take note. If you use too many fonts, take note.
  3. Look at your colors. What colors jump out? Are they consistent? Are they all warm colors, cool colors or do you have a rainbow on your wall now?
  4. As you take this all in visually, take it in verbally too. Note the tone of your copy that you use. Do you swap from corporate to casual tones?
  5. How do your photographs look? Do they communicate the same message or do you notice differences in the lighting style, the model appeal or scenery?

By doing this, you should have a good feel for how your are representing your business to your market. You should notice your strengths but also notice where you can improve your branding efforts.

Spring is a great time to take a time out with your brand.