About Me

My photo

I will guide you through my process of research and development necessary to establish the master plan for all of your visual materials printed or posted on the web. Your communication strategy will be reflected in logo design, corporate and personal identity and branding, collateral promotional materials, web design and social media design.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Recent Interview by Michael Hughes of All About Business

Why I chose this business. I have been an artist since childhood and have enjoyed adapting my highly skilled fine art, calligraphic and typographic training for business purposes.

What is unique about my business compared to my competitors. I am not a cheap, or over-priced, high-volume turnaround, cookie cutter, graphics business looking to take advantage of clients.

I take time to get to know each client, their target audience and their competitors. A visual communication strategy going from present to 
future projects is created for each client using proven creative problem solving techniques.

I have been “classically trained” in the hands-on traditional methods of my trade as well as the intricate, up-to-date technological methods. A unique focus is taken on effective, high-quality, boutique firm level design that delivers an individual, well researched and communicated creative strategy for all marketing pieces — producing results.

My success comes from established client and personal relationships, having top notch mentors in my field, and sticking to my emphasis on custom, high-quality, boutique firm level design, from the copy writing, 
to the imagery, to the typography.

I attract new clients by networking, attending chamber events,  communicating with graphic design trade organizations and soliciting recruiting services.

I continue to grow my business by constantly reading, undergoing training, connecting with other boutique level designers and mentors.

Ideas for projects come from long walks, trips to the local art museums, reviewing design annuals and lots of research.

If I was not in this line of work, I would be a scientist.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Professional Designers Helping Businesses Plan for Visual Communications

4 guidelines for maintaining a corporate identity

  1. differentiation
  2. relevance
  3. coherence
  4. esteem

7 ways to distribute effective content that gets noticed

  1. website
  2. discovery platforms
  3. email
  4. social networks
  5. content sharing websites
  6. native advertising
  7. get media and bloggers to share content

6 website tips

  1. 3 seconds to grab attention
  2. white space
  3. original photography
  4. connection between user and brand
  5. coherent theme
  6. consistency

4 ways that a designer can help you automate your business

  1. statement of purpose
  2. marketing budget with a timeline
  3. find prospective audience
  4. consistent campaign

How can a marketing plan reduce content noise?

  • funnel information
  • pinpoint message 
  • differentiate from competitors
  • eliminate brand confusion
  • build trust

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Design, Connect, Clarify, Get Recognized and Increase Profits

I have submitted this blog article to www.bayweekly.com:

Use Consistency and Industry Relevance in 
All Corporate Branding and Visual Communications
A wonderful logo is only part of your communications effort. All interactions with clients and the public are included in your communications effort and range from how the phone is answered to the branding, packaging, printed collateral, advertisements, website, social media banners and posts, environmental graphics and signage.

A designer can help you create a statement of purpose with objectives and priorities, establish a budget with a timeline and find your prospective audience. Instead of working on communication items piece by piece, a designer can help put together a strategic plan for a consistent campaign.

Designers are great problem solvers, analyzing information details and relating them to the entire project as a whole in relation to the client’s business.

Quote from Joanne Stone and Lana Rigsby, AIGA “A Client’s Guide to Design:  How to Get the Most Out of the Process:”
Design is about the whole, not the parts. If you wear your $2,500 Armani suit with the wrong pair of shoes, you are apt to be remembered for the shoes and not the suit. Inconsistency raises doubt, and doubt makes people wary. This might not matter much if customers didn’t have alternatives, but they do. And they know it.”

This video from “The Office” demonstrates consistent font usage in business in a comedic way:

Utilize Professionals for Professional Services and Gain Business
Utilizing the services of a mentor, business coach or professional designer can be beneficial for putting together a business plan, establishing a budget and discovering your visions. A mentor can offer connection, support, advice and encouragement to stay on target. 

Business owners are reluctant to allow other people to take over their responsibilities or become involved in details of the business. Suggestions and constructive criticism from other business leaders can be positive for increasing productivity and delivering results.

Tools available to a business owner to assist in automation are:  

  • professional bookkeeping services
  • software to collect, generate and recall passwords
  • delivery services for orders
  • virtual receptionist for messages and managing calls
  • software to track contact information, relationships, meetings, calls, tickets, invoices, bill payments, expenses and billable hours
  • social media automation to store and schedule posts in advance
  • professional design services

Quote from Abraham Moles, “Information Theory and Esthetic Perception:”
“The function of the designer is to increase the legibility of the world. The world is a labyrinth that must be unravelled, a text that must be deciphered. Each individual scrutinizes it as his life unfolds.”

Letting Go of the “DIY” Thought Process in Business
Reasons to outsource business duties include:

  • a business owner does not have the time to do everything
  • it is less expensive to hire a contractor that offers quality results by utilizing the latest technology with a trained, specialized skill set appropriate to the task
  • relieve stress with the knowledge that the job is being completed in a timely, professional, qualified, accessible and cost effective manner
  • projects completed offsite do not require the business owner to pay for and supply extra office space
  • concentrate on the essential elements of business that bring in revenue
  • the cost of the service is less than the hourly man power for overhead and non-productive hours
  • start and focus on new projects
  • equal the playing field with competitors and reduce risk to the business

Get to know the contractors used for outsourcing. Ask questions about their business, work habits and ethics. Stay away from the pitfalls of spec work which can damage professional relationships on both ends.

This video from Zulu Alpha Kilo shows a humorous example of the dangers of businesses requesting spec work: 

Benefits in Utilizing Professional Design Services
A professional designer can institute a plan for using consistency and industry relevance in all corporate branding and visual communications.

Quote from Joe Sparano, Oxide Design Co., member AIGA:
“Design is content with intent. Intent without content is decoration. Content without intent is noise.”

A marketing plan developed by a professional designer can reduce content noise by funneling the information and pinpointing the message to a specific audience. This will differentiate your business from competitors, eliminate brand confusion and build trust between your business and the market audience.

Content can include elements of a business’ branding and identity demonstrated by design concepts, photography, illustration, copywriting and the industry appropriate print or web usage. 

A professional designer will use creative problem solving to establish a visual communication strategy. This is done through research, analysis and by getting to know your business and your visions. 

The visual communication strategy lays out future marketing projects so that all of the pieces have a consistent look throughout and do not look as if they were produced individually as separate jobs.

Call, visit, email or meet with a professional designer today to get to know their design work and production styles. Include design in your business plan and budget for your visual communication strategy. Then get started on the best investment for your business. 

Connect with your target audience, clarify your message and content, become easily recognized in your market and increase your profits.

Suzanne Marshall
Owner and Art Director of Whale Works Design and Illustration

Articles sited in this blog:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Design Services and Identity

This week I spoke with a small group of business people over breakfast about my design services. I listed my print and web services as:

  • logo design
  • identity
  • branding
  • promotional materials
  • web design
We discussed the importance of a communication strategy when used as a master plan for all of a company's visual materials. This strategy and plan should include the company's mission and vision statements. The resulting outline must have ways of creating consumer awareness, recognizability and familiarity, pinpointing specific target audiences and differentiating their company from competitors.

Establishing the company's identity is crucial to these goals. To be successful, an identity must flow over into areas of customer support, distribution, development and production. The identity can encompass elements such as images, colors and music to provide a form of identification for consumers.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Outsourcing Graphic Design

Outsourcing graphic design duties can be beneficial to business owners. A degreed and trained designer can bring experience, knowledge, quality, management skills and shortened turnarounds to projects that employees on staff may not be able to accomplish.

A graphic designer can take on many jobs including things like:
  • Writing and managing content between marketing materials and campaigns
  • Creating a consistent look, style and voice for social media postings
  • Creating marketing strategies and schedules
  • Promoting your content and brand
  • Designing, updating and testing your website
  • Making and managing social media banners, images and photography
  • Assisting with preparation of reports and analytics

Concepts of Design Work

I was asked to speak to a small networking group for my Chamber of Commerce about the design business. I reviewed basic concepts of design work in relation to social media and web design.

I reviewed blogs from www.hubspot.com for research.

Some points which I stressed for design related social media marketing for business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus:
  • Make content creative, relevant and aesthetically pleasing
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Use hashtags
  • Link to other sites
  • Have a content strategy
  • Schedule time to dedicate to social media
  • Track performance
  • Have clear goals, do not waste your time and money
  • Be consistent with current marketing campaigns
  • Make sure results coming in are relevant to your business

These are tips which I discussed for website design for business:
  • 3 second rule, you have 3 seconds to get the user's attention
  • Your web design has to be responsive to all screens
  • Have white space around and within your design for easier reading and focus
  • Use easy to understand action words
  • Link to other sites
  • Track performance
  • Bulleted copy is good for delivering specific information
  • Content should show how you can solve problems
  • Content should include features of your products and services
  • Use original professional photography, overviewed stock can degrade your brand
  • Make a connection with the user and your brand
  • Headings should be relevant to searchable items by the customer
  • Consider that headings are picked up more than content by search engines
  • Use consistency in heading sizes, font choices, color schemes, spacing, design elements, illustration and photography styles for a coherent theme throughout you website and all of your marketing pieces

Good Design is Important for Businesses of All Sizes

I recently had a disagreement with a colleague regarding whether a small, family-owned business requires the same level of design quality that a large national company requires.

He believes the small, family-owned business can get by with a branding strategy that has had not as much time spent on it by the designer as well as less of an effort for research on the target audience and the competitors. He also believes that a presentation that is not highly professional is acceptable for this business since all customers are generated currently by personal references.

This colleague thinks that a large, national company should be dealt with differently by the designer in the design approach and strategy.

I feel that all businesses deserve the same treatment by designers creating work for their marketing campaigns for time, quality, research, personal attention and customer service.