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Monday, November 12, 2012

Business Bits - Logos & Websites

The alternate title to this post could have been "Business is Hard" or "Who Knew There Were So Many Choices Out There?"

If any of you have started a business with an online presence you know that there is a LOT to consider.  I've been working on getting a new business up and running and didn't realize how many layers there are to graphic design/web design.  I thought I'd share 'cause I'm kind hearted like that.

BRANDING vs LOGO DESIGN
This is a big decision and forces you to take a look at your business goals.  Are you looking for a logo and some business cards so that you can get up and running?  Are there numerous places that your business name will appear (packaging, advertising, etc) in the future?  The answer to these kinds of questions will help decide how much time and money to spend on this element of the business.

My interior design company needs only a website and business cards so I hired a graphic/web designer to do both and I was very happy with the results.

This time round I hired a branding company to create my brand.  My name will be on packaging, business documents and various types of advertising so it's important for me to have a cohesive and highly defined look so that I don't go off track down the road.  With this type of service you will receive the logo but more than that it includes your colour palette, font palette and photography or illustrative palette.  

WEB DESIGN vs E-COMMERCE WEB DESIGN

This has been the biggest lesson learned through this process.  When I had my website built for my interior design business I hired a web designer.  I got a functioning site with a few pages and a portfolio.  That was exactly what I needed.  My needs are a bit more advanced as this time round I need an e-commerce site.  All the same, right?  Not so much.

I hired an e-commerce designer and found that they have very different expectations and outcomes from web designers.  While they are certainly able to make your site pretty and visually appealing, they are most concerned with the functionality and business aspect of the site.  Here's a quote from my designer that shed some light on the topic for me.
"Too many people spend thousands on websites that sit there and look pretty, but don't sell anything."
Hiring an e-commerce designer will give you a transactional site that runs exactly the way you want it to.  This is about the sales of the business.  My biggest lesson here---Be prepared to have the design elements available for the e-commerce designer to use.  They don't design them for you.  

INVEST THE TIME

I spent weeks looking at websites, portfolios and client testimonials before deciding on the people I ultimately decided to work with.  This stuff is so important because it's what the world will judge you, your product or your service on.  

Along the way I hired and then fired one designer who was not responsive enough for me. Don't be afraid to walk away from someone whose business practices don't jive with yours.  

I pinkie swear I'll start sharing some of the actual details of the new business as soon as they start to unfold.  

23 comments:

  1. such a tease! but those are really good lessons for anyone thinking of expanding their business to online...good luck with yours!

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  2. This is pretty great advice, your on-line web presence must financially pay off and build your business up in financial terms as well as building up your brand identity. In the projects I have worked on the designing of a brand logo and identity is better left to someone creative and with a marketing background but the website itself must function to profitability and function in a fitting way. The two must come together to perform to maximum effect. There are situations where it doesn't make financial sense to start with the design and logo and a simplistic website would best suit your needs and budget but eventually every successful business will want a properly design logo for brand and a highly functional and marketed website.

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  3. I like the look. I'd never be good with my own business brand. I'd want to change it all of the time...which is obviously not the point. Good luck!!

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  4. Good for you! Your instincts were right, and you are miles ahead as a result. In business, time is money - so impressed that you moved on from your first designer, and kept your process moving. I can't wait to see this all come together - sitting on the edge of my seat, I am so!!! ;-)

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  5. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm dying to know what you're up to.

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  6. I am so proud of you. Yes, you're right, it's a lot of hard work but so worth it. I can't commit to one design or the other ...... that's my problem. I still want return address stickers/envelopes etc. It's almost never ending. I can't wait to see you soon and hear all about this.

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  7. Oh can't wait to hear more! Looks like doing your homework definitely pays off. ;)

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  8. Proud of you as well! Can't wait to see it up and running!

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  9. Wow, all looks fantastic! I know! You're going to sell your fabulous e-bay buys painted and lovingly restored?

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  10. Great article on your journey Carol. What is so powerful for me in your message is that you do nothing great alone. Having the support of professionals in any area of business is a critical success factor if you have any dreams of success at all. Congratulations on a great start! I hope you will find the time to share more of your journey!

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  11. So interested in reading about the business aspects of what we do. I can't WAIT to see your new venture! So happy for you for trying new things!

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  12. Branding, websites, etc. take so much time, and it's so hard to find a good match to work with. I can't wait to see more and wish you luck in your journey!

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  20. Your line of business is all about interior design, right Carol? Maybe the graphic designer should have added an element of interior decorating in the design so that people won’t get confused about what type of business you actually have. Maybe a chair or a single sofa - probably even a can of paint and some paintbrushes would do the trick.

    Matthew Reeves

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  21. Good luck on your business, Carol! If you remain consistently dedicated, I’m sure you’ll find success through all the challenges. The edge I’m seeing you’ve got is the passion. Not every business owner would want to study and analyze marketing details such as branding and logos, which can be quite confusing, when they can hire people to do the job. Don’t lose it! ;]

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