graphic designer looking away from camera

An interview with…our Graphic Designer, Alex

As we continue to power through 2019, we wanted to introduce each of our specialists that are part of the Marketing Clinic. From our Copy and Content Writing Specialist, Claire, our Marketing Specialist, Louise and our Graphic Designer, Alex, we can provide a range of marketing support and guidance to help you grow your business.

Alex, as the Graphic Designer that helps in the Marketing clinic, how did you get into it?

Having completed a degree in Film Studies in 2006, I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to be the next Stanley Kubrick. I took a job as Website Manager and Content Creator at a golf tech start up. I had video editing skills and the design fundamentals from my degree, and I was able to plug my gaps through training and experimentation. This allowed me to get a lot of experience very quickly on a wide range of creative disciplines, from print and digital design to animation, motion graphics and photography.

You moved away from general marketing and content creation to freelancing in Graphic Design, why?

I was always more interested in the visual stuff and I found it easier to design than write; I enjoyed the act of writing content but it was just harder with my dyslexia. I was being pushed more towards a Marketing Manager role in my former company after they went through a merger and restructure, which didn’t interest me, so I decided it was the right time to leave and set up as a freelance Graphic Designer. Turns out I could have picked a better time as two months later my wife announced she was pregnant! However, I have no regrets, as freelancing offered much more variety than working in the golf industry and much more freedom to spend time with my daughter.
I do miss the structure of corporate life sometimes, as I tend to procrastinate and pressure from a manager tends to focus the mind, but I certainly don’t miss the deadline pressure!

Why do you enjoy Graphic Design?

It straddles two disciplines; problem solving and being creative. It’s basically ‘creativity with purpose’. I enjoy helping people who need guidance in what they’re doing to help their businesses grow.

Why did you get involved in the Marketing Clinic?

As a new small business owner myself, I know the struggles people have and continue to have when they’re just starting out. I know that services like I provide can be quite expensive so it’s nice being able to help people gain a good foundation to start, so that when they are ready, they know the value of hiring a graphic designer to help grow their business.
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and giving people the confidence they need to be able to do what they need for their business. It’s also good to actually be around and talk to other people as I’m often staring at a screen/piece of paper in my day job.

If you could give other small businesses one piece of advice or one thing to get right in their business, what would it be?

You need to understand what the image you portray really says about you or your business. Consider how your choices reflect your brand, whether this is the logo, your brand colours, any imagery etc. There is a subconscious language that everyone understands but doesn’t always get right. It’s vital that you get the brand story right for your business. It’s useful to show brand elements to someone else to get their reaction. People associates specific colours or fonts with different brands and it might be you’ve created something someone might associated with a brand that already exist.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an expert?

It’s probably the same as everyone has; finding your feet when you start working for yourself and applying all the things that I know and tell everyone else to do and actually using that on my own business.
For the first year or so I redesigned my logo several times, simply because I could. This process helped me refine exactly what I wanted my logo to say about me but it also showed a lack of confidence in what I do and it’s easy to pin problems and failures on small things like ‘my logo isn’t right’. Deep down you know what you should be doing so have the confidence to do it.
That’s why the Marketing Clinic is good as it gives you a fresh pair of eyes, someone to bounce ideas off, something that isn’t always available when you work for yourself.

What’s your next business challenge?

Probably having the confidence to start specialising in exactly what I want to do. It’s easy to generalise as you believe you won’t get any work with specialising but that’s actually counter intuitive; refining you offering can actually bring in more work. Being the guy who does that one thing really well is the best marketing pitch you can have.
I’d ideally like to move away from website design to more illustrative design, packaging or logo design as your distilling down the essence of the brand into one thing. It’s more fun and interesting than web design!

 

Book your surgery now!

If you would like to discuss a project with Alex or one of our other specialists, Claire or Louise, then please join us at our next Marketing Clinic on 7th May (or the 1st Tuesday of a month) at Forest Farm, York, YO19 4RH.

poster advertising the marketing clinic

Back to Work Marketing Brunch – May

In January, our first Back to Work Marketing Brunch of the year gave local business owners the chance to receive help in marketing their own business. With many of the questions leaning towards the customer journey – the way you guide your prospective customers from information gathering to purchasing – with help being given on the different strategies that can be used to communicate with your customers. Not all of your customers will be at the same place in their buying journey; you’ll need to guide some customers towards your brand or products more than others, until they’re ready to buy from you. It is essential that you use different messages and different ways of providing information to your audience, depending on where they are in their journey until they are ready to purchase from you.

The need for different marketing strategies for selling to your end customer or for selling to retail outlets was also discussed, with an importance placed on targeting your audience based on the specific information they require. But your marketing or business performance will never improve if you don’t take action on the things you have learnt! You can consume all the free content and advice but if you don’t put into action what you are learning then you don’t get the benefit. Simples.

Our Back to Work Marketing Brunch can help as it enables you to pick the brains of local experts, connect with like mined local business owners. This helps you feel motivated to take control of marketing your business following the Easter break, where chocolate-induced sugar rushes tend to distract us from tackling anything but the business-critical tasks!

Back to Work Marketing Brunch
Tuesday 7th May 2019
10am – 12pm

Whether you have experience of marketing your business, or you’re lost in the world of marketing acronyms, the Back to Work Marketing Brunch can help. With industry experts on hand to offer advice and inspiration and local business owners to connect with, the Marketing Brunch can help you find the motivation to start or improve the way you market your business. The event runs for 2 hours with everyone having the opportunity to ask their specific questions, join in open discussions, share their experience and learn from others across a wide range of marketing, copy writing and design topics.

If you’d like to get inspired and take control of your marketing, our next Back to Work Marketing Brunch will be on 7th May 2019 from 10am-12pm.

Book now to avoid disappointment – plus take advantage of our Early Bird pricing to save £10 when you book before the end of March.

Who will be answering your questions?
• Alex Dyett, Graphic Designer from Flickering Light Studio will be taking all your design related questions from branding to printed graphics to website design.

• Claire Davies, Business Writer from The Greedy Wordsmith will be answering all your copy related questions from writing press releases to crafting core messages and unlocking the stories in your business.

• Louise Mason, Marketing Specialist from Your Marketing Specialist will be on hand to talk marketing strategy, tactics and technology when it comes to implementing your marketing activity.

Pick Brand Colours with Adobe Color

At a recent Back To Work Brunch, we had a question from an attendee about how to pick and use colours for their brand and if there where any tools that could help with that.

Using brand colours helps to build brand recognition and consistency when producing content and marketing materials, and is a key part of building a brand.

There is a whole other post to be written about what colours you should choose , and plenty of content out there already to advice on how colour works and what it says about a company. The best place to start is with colour theory, which will give you an overview of what certain colours subliminally say about a company that uses them. This diagram from the Logo Company is a good starting point to give you an idea of what it is all about.

From look at that, you will start to realise that there are certain colours that won’t go well with certain types of company, and there are some colours that work as an industry go to. Colour theory is not hard and fast rules, but more guide lines, and can be broken to great effect, but act as useful starting point.

Adobe Color (No 'U')

A very useful tool for helping to find a colour palette for your business is Adobe Color. They are the guys who make Photoshop, but this is free to use. It has extra features if you have an adobe account, like saving the colours for use in other Adobe products. It’s a simple web app What it does is help you find colours that work well together. If you have decided a core colour for you branding, then you can pick it out on Adobe Color and it will then give you some options for finding other colours in that palette.

It works around a colour wheel, something you probably came across in school art classes. The basics are the same, the colours (hue) go around the circumference of the wheel, and the closer into the middle the lighter the colour gets (saturation). There is also a brightness slider to play with, which effectively adds black to the colour, and isn’t represented on the wheel, as you would need to make it a cylinder for that. The easiest way to look at it is this, brightness is like mixing the hue with black paint, and the saturation is like mixing it with white.

The idea is simple, you grab the white circle, and place it on the colour you want as your base. The app will then pick 4 other colours based on this and the ‘Colour Harmony’ you choose. These are just the relationships between the colours.

The different colour harmonies are:

Analogous – Uses colours that are found next to each other on the colour wheel, creating a calm and harmonious colour scheme

Monochromatic – Uses different saturations of the same hue, gradually getting lighter

Triad- 3 colours evenly spaced around the colour wheel.

Complementary- uses colours that are opposite each other on the wheel for a high contrast palette.

Compound- Combines the complementary and Analogous rules, giving you 2 complimentary colours, with a few close matching similar colours for accents.

Shades- Uses the same hue but varies the brightness value to make darker shades.

Custom- enter your own custom values

Once you have done that, and your happy with it, that is essentially it. You get 5 suggested colours to use in your marketing and branding materials. You can save the colours and come back to the later to change, and then download a ASE file, which you can send to anyone who is working on materials for you so they know what colours to use. If you use Photoshop of Illustrator you can save the colours to a library and access them directly in your software. Your can also publish the palette to allow others to have access to it if needs be.

If you need to use the colours yourself, then its useful to know what the different codes are to replicate them in what ever software you are using. Adobe colour will give you 5 different codes for each colour to help you recreate them accurately.

CMYK – (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key) this is for reproducing the colour in print.

RGB – (Red, Green, Blue) for reproducing colour on screens, e,g for websites, social media and so on.

LAB- a more colour accurate colour system that a professional designer or printer may ask you for, as it is meant to better represent the colour a human eye sees.

HSB- use the Hue, Saturation and Brightness values of the colour.

HEX- is the closest colour to the chosen one that has been assigned a 6 digit hex number. Used a lot in web design as the are supported by all browsers.

For the most part the RGB code will probably be enough for things like email signatures, letters, and social graphics, but it is good that know what the other things are in case you need them.

A picture worth a thousand colours

There is, however, another nifty feature that is worth knowing about. In the top left-hand corner, there is the option to upload an image. This will take any image and tell you what the 5 key colours are in it. This is useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you have a photo that you like the look of you can take the colours directly from that. Secondly, if you already have materials like a logo or flyers, but don’t know the proper colours, then this with give you them. You can also use a neat trick, if you pick up some of the colour guides you get for paint at DIY stores, then you can select your favorite colour from them, take a photo on your phone and use this tool to build your colour palette around it.

Adobe makes a whole raft of supporting apps and tools for pcs and mac and mobile. We will be talking more about these in the future. If you have any specific questions about marketing tools or branding your business, why not come along to one of our Marketing Clinics or Back to Work Brunches and grill our experts for tips and tricks to grow your business.

January Marketing Brunch

Last month we held out first Back to Work Marketing Brunch after the summer holidays to help business owners get back into their business and get motivated for heading into the final quarter of the year. We’ve had such great feedback that we’ve decided to host another Back to Work Marketing Brunch after the Christmas break to help you get back into the swing of things.

Whatever business you are in, you are in the business of marketing. You know that you need marketing to reach new customers; raise your visibility and become known for the goods and services you provide. But it can be difficult to summon up the inspiration and motivation to get back into the swing of marketing your business after taking time out over the Christmas break. Especially if you are procrastinating over a task like updating your website because you don’t know how to do it, or what to say or how to make it look good.

Let us help you get back to business with the opportunity to pick the brains of local experts, connect with like mined local business owners and feel motivated when it comes to marketing your business in 2019. Join us on Tuesday 8th January at 10am and pick our brains over brunch at the Marketing Clinic Back to Work Brunch.

Back to Work Marketing Brunch

Tuesday 8th January 2019
10am - 12pm

Whether you are preparing for the start of a new business year, or don’t know where to start, then the Back to Work Marketing Brunch is a great place to connect with other local business owners and industry experts for inspiration and motivation as we head into the final year of the decade! The Marketing Brunch takes place in a relaxed and friendly group setting with up to 10 local business owners. The event runs for 2 hours and everyone will have the opportunity to ask their questions and join in open discussions, share their experience and learn from others in the room across a wide range of marketing, copy writing and design topics.

Last time we talked about getting published in print media, the benefits of creating marketing campaigns and how to choose complimentary colours for your brand palette. We also shared some of our favourite tools and resources when it comes to writing, designing and marketing.

Places are limited to ensure that we are able to answer your questions fully and have some time for in depth discussions around problems that business owners are encountering when it comes to increasing visibility and generating sales.

Book early to avoid disappointment – plus take advantage of our Early Bird pricing to save £10 when you book before the end of October.

[product category="marketing-brunch"]

Who will be answering your questions?

Alex Dyett, Grahic Desinger from Flickering Light Studio will be taking all your design related questions from branding to printed graphics to website design.

Claire Davies, Business Writer from The Greedy Wordsmith will be answering all your copy related questions from writing press releases to crafting core messages and unlocking the stories in your business.

Louise Mason, Marketing Specialist from Your Marketing Specialist will be on hand to talk marketing strategy, tactics and technology when it comes to implementing your marketing activity.

marketing update 13 aug

Monday Marketing Update – 13 August 2018

Every Monday Louise, Your Marketing Specialist broadcasts Live on Facebook with the latest marketing updates and how they impact your Marketing Strategy.

This week we are following up on the Google Core Update to the search engine ranking algorithm from last week and discussing how to check if your site has been affected by the update. Plus there's the usual social media updates as technology never stands still!

Claire Davies Copywriter The Greedy Wordsmith

How to write copy that sells to the needs of other business owners

Author: Claire Davies. Narrative Consultant, Copywriter, Freelance Writer

The principles behind good copy apply whatever your audience. People are just people after all, with a number of emotional and illogical impulses that influence their buying habits. However. If your client is a business owner, there are practical questions that will need answering before they make a purchase. Here are a few pointers to help you write copy that sells.

Marketing Update 6 Aug

Monday Marketing Update – 6 Aug 2018

Every Monday Louise, Your Marketing Specialist broadcasts Live on Facebook with the latest marketing updates and how they impact your Marketing Strategy.

Today there are some exciting updates to discuss as Google rolls out a core update to its search engine ranking algorithm. Plus we are talking about what's new with Google Analytics and the latest Social Media Updates and how they impact your Marketing Strategy.