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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Trade Show Prep :: Plan On It

Maybe it is your first or maybe this one of many but that doesn’t change the importance of organizing your trade show to result in a successful outcome. Here are some tips and things to think about as you begin to plan for your trade show.

trade show prep

  • Is your branding on target? Give your brand a pulse check and find out if it is working as hard for you as you think it is. It needs to be consistent, strong and talk to your market. Here is a link to a handy worksheet to help you discover where to improve your brand.
  • Little fish in the big sea? Don’t let that stop you from putting together a beautiful display booth. When you set up that day you want to feel confident of your space so that it will translate in your body language as you engage with those eager to meet you.
  • Thinking of a brand refresh? Do it before your expo and make sure your new brand is reflected in every piece you have so that you get the most impact out of your new roll out and continue to build upon your brand recognition value. (Don’t use your old business cards if you have a brand new booth reflective of other design.
  • Don’t forget your follow up. A large focus of an expo is gathering contacts. This is how you can increase your ROI on participating. What is the best way to get back in touch with your contacts post show? Email list, direct mail, promotional offers, open house invitation? Plan on a post show campaign to keep those contacts close for conversion.

With so many things to think about, don’t push it off too long. Trade show prep can be a lenghty process when you have to pull so many pieces together like content, design, production schedules, shipping, travel. Lets work together on creating a plan to get your pieces completed and ready without added stress of a time crunch. Email me to chat about your needs for your upcoming tradeshow.


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How To Speak Visually

MOOD BOARD DESIGN

I often hear from clients that they are having a hard time telling me what it is that they have in their head for their expectations on visual outcome. It can quickly become frustrating when you are trying to tell your designer in words and have it come out off target when translated visually. So what do you do?

Mood boards are magic, I promise. Take a look at this post in the archives to learn more about what a mood board is.

When you are having a hard time putting your thoughts into words to tell anyone, even your business partner then you need to take a different approach. Spend time gathering images off the internet that you’ve loved. Save those postcards you’ve gotten in the mail that made sense, take note of copy you enjoyed because it sounded great, pull those color swatches in the paint store because it is the perfect coral for your logo. Do all these things and compile them into a single image that you can look at and really see how all of these things you love visually work together once they are living in the same space together.

Once you have it all together, you may find that your love for glitter doesn’t belong in your brand, or you’ll find that it absolutely does. Visual clarity and focus will start to form. Take the time to do this and if you don’t have the interest to do this yourself, I can do it for you! Email me and we’ll start to pull it together.

Once you have a visual mood board it will be helpful for any designer that you choose to move forward with. A lot of things with design can’t be translated with words and so compiling a bunch of images together to do so proves very helpful on both sides with getting you up and running quicker and easier.


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Client Experience :: Secrets of Print Shops

With my recent move (more here), we’ve had to fill out countless warranty registration cards and mail them in. I filled them all out and let me tell you how frustrating it is to have to fill in the model number or other product specific information on those postcards when I know in my mind they could have done it for me. I’m talking about variable printing. A magical solution to printing a wide range of information within the same exact template. For example, those warranty cards could have been pre-filled in for me and only a couple were. These are the things that challenge my mind with my clients now to find ways I can make their lives easier by the use of print technology that isn’t widely known with small business owners.

In simple terms, it is magic, variable printing lets you control content that prints in one print run with several variances. Imagine having a product line that needs warranty cards returned and having them all come back legible for you and allows you to speed up processing time.

If you have 3 models, traditionally you’ll need to supply 3 print files if you are pre-filling data for each one.  That is 3 projects to manage. 3 email strings. 3 everything. Variable printing allows you to set fields within the design file to supply 1 file. You’ll accompany that file with a date file that holds the key on what to print where. That likely sounds more intimidating than it actually is so don’t let that fool you. You now have 1 project to manage, 1 email string, 1 everything. Your printer will even shrink wrap, pack and label the different versions for you. Even though it will take a bit more time upfront prepping a data file, it will save you so much time overall.

Give me a shout with questions about a project you have interest in for applying variable data and tips on how to make it work for you. Most commonly this process is best paired with direct mail, invitations, fundraiser marketing and sales presentations.

Here is a handy visual to break it down:

variable printing-01-01


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Logo Design Spotlight

logo design therapy I Heart Connection is a business with a big heart behind it! Suzanne is growing her business to help others better connect within themselves and how our brain relates to our feelings and our needs of others. She wanted a logo that could appeal to multiple audiences, in her case adults and children. It is always extremely helpful to know this before design ever takes off because knowing who you are designing for in terms of the audience will secure better results. Within this logo there are a couple of things going on. You’ll notice the heart within the shape of the “I” and in the girl’s ponytail but we completely avoided having a heart take over the logo. This was intentional to avoid market assumptions regarding her services. She’ll also be able to really have those cute characters take off within her brand and support her. In the end, logos are a piece of a business’s story.

It is up to the marketing support to carry the logo. Focus your attention and remain consistent to start seeing results faster. Have a great logo that you don’t know what to do with? I’m happy to review your logo and provide suggestions for improvement or ways to make your logo stronger. Drop me an email to get started! amie@amiebakercreative.com


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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!