Brand Design

How to Find a Logo Designer

So you’re thinking of getting a professional logo designed!

Your old logo just isn’t cutting it any more.

Your business is doing well and you’re starting to realize that the logo that you designed (or your sister, or your brother in law) is no longer really putting your company’s best face forward. You always meant to update it but never had time. Let’s leave DIY behind and get serious about your branding. But how do you even start to find a designer who can produce an attractive logo that represents your company’s mission and values?

Google google google.

If you Google “logo designer”, you’re going to be faced with a series of top hits advertising seemingly impossibly inexpensive logo design with unlimited revisions, etc. These places are usually unwholesome sweatshops employing people so desperate for work that they’re willing to work on “spec”; i.e. doing the work before they even get paid. As you can imagine, no designer worth their salt is going to waste their time working for free, so don’t you waste your time and money! Don’t give up searching after Page 1 of Google. Keep going and I guarantee you’ll find some wonderful designers; each with their own unique style and approach.

Don’t give up searching after the first page of Google results. Keep going and you’ll find some wonderful designers.

Ask around.

As with many products and services, often the best way to find what you’re looking for is through word of mouth. Get a recommendation from someone you trust; or look around at other businesses, choose the ones whose branding you really connect with, and find out who created it for them.

Budget.

A good logo isn’t going to be super cheap. Many designers offer more than one level of development to accommodate different budget tiers. I know I do. It’s just good business. If you’re worried about your pocketbook, let’s put this into perspective: if that new logo that cost you a nice chunk of change is going to win you several more clients, isn’t it more than worth it?

Many designers offer more than one level of logo development.

Look at portfolios.

Once you’ve found a couple of prospective graphic designers who you feel good about, have a look through their website at their logo and branding portfolio. You’ll want to find someone whose work resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of a designer, after all, you are paying the money, makes sense that you choose someone you are happy with.

In conclusion.

There are a lot of great logo designers out there; poor Google rankings and placement is by no means a reflection on the creativity, skill, and reputation of a logo designer. Please look past that first page and find the right designer for you.

Do you feel a bit better informed about how to find a logo designer? Maybe you even want to work with me! Let’s get in touch! I’d love to talk about how we can work together to make your company look better and win more business.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Brand Design

Is It Time to Rethink Your Tired Old Logo?

Why on earth would you ever want to revisit your company brand?

I think I may have mentioned to you before, people — logos are a critical aspect of your business’ communications strategy.

And guess what… if your logo was designed several years ago it’s very possible that it’s starting to appear a bit… well — Old? Stale? Gasp… Dated! It was probably a good deal of work and stress to get that logo put together in the first place, and the thought of going back there is like, NOPE! But then you look around at your competition and they look so gosh darn good!

Keeping things fresh.

Updating your corporate logo every few years is a great way to keep your brand fresh and relevant. When you see a website designed a decade ago, or a kitchen put together in the 1980s — it’s easy to see things are dated. If people see your logo and it looks passé or old-fashioned, cluttered or obscure, they’re very likely to think your company doesn’t bother keeping up with the times. Believe me, that is not a message you want to convey!

When people see a logo that looks outdated, they perceive an organization as behind the times.

Time to talk to your trusted designer!

Refreshing your brand doesn’t mean you have to start off in a whole new direction; in fact, quite the opposite. When refreshing a company logo, I recommend working with your existing identity and refreshing its elements – evolution, not revolution. Your customer may not even notice the difference without the old one to compare it to, but the basic tone of the logo will be updated and will have the right intuitive effect. It can be a simple process that doesn’t take long, and can also be done very cost effectively!

Refreshing your brand can be a simple and inexpensive process.

Here is an article about some 2015 logo updates for some notable companies. The refreshed identities generally look cleaner and more modern, and you’ll see that for most of them, the basic elements of the logo remain.

What about timing?

When a new marketing effort is undertaken this can be a great opportunity to refresh your visual brand. Rolling out a new brochure, new business cards, or updating your website offers a perfect time to freshen up your visual identity. It’s a great way to add a visual punch to your new promotion!

Do you have a company logo that’s starting to look its age? Let’s get in touch! I’d love to talk about how we can work together to make your company look better and win more business.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Brand Design

Designing a “Temporary” Logo for Canada’s 150th Birthday

Mississippi Mills celebrates Canada 150

Many cities and towns in Canada this year have produced temporary logos to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, and our own community of Mississippi Mills is no exception. Sumack Loft was approached in January to produce a logo for use on all town event promotional materials during 2017.

Almonte Logo Design - Canada 150

Mississippi Mills – Canada 150 Logo

The Town requested that the design be based on their existing identity and reflect Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. There needed to be a maple leaf reference of some kind, and the overall look should be fun and dynamic, and promote diversity.

The new logo contains the original Town logo’s M, which doubles as a bridge and waterfall, with a new containing graphic of a maple leaf that brings to mind a fireworks display, as well as suggesting diversity in its use of form and colour.

The temporary logo has been a great success, with many people telling the Community Economic & Cultural Coordinator at the Town that they like the “new” logo better than the old one, and that we should just keep it! Of course this wouldn’t work as a permanent logo, but it sure was nice to hear 🙂

Do you need a logo for your own business? Let’s get in touch! I’d love to talk about how we can work together to make your company look better and win more business.

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Brand Design

6 Elements That Make A Logo Design Great

Here are the 6 logo design principles that make all the difference.

Ottawa Logo Design - 6 Principles

The 6 Principles of Logo Design

Have you ever wondered why some logos stand out? Why some designs stick in your brain and others fade away when you look away? There are some very good reasons why this happens.

Designing a logo doesn’t just require an artistic eye, there’s science to it too. There are some fundamental principles of logo design which any designer worth their salt is going to follow religiously. In no particular order, here they are.

Ottawa Logo Design - CCFC1. Unique.

This one should be pretty obvious. A logo is a company’s way of identifying their goods and services and differentiating themselves from other similar businesses. You need a logo that tells potential and existing customers that your goods and/or services are exceptional; so you need to stand out, not look generic. You want people to remember you.

Ottawa Logo Design - Black Bear Healing Home2. Simple.

Believe it or not, this is arguably the most important aspect of logo design. Gradients and drop shadows, multiple colours and outlines, those are usually the sign of an amateur designer. Don’t believe me? Go look at some of the most successful big brands’ logos out there. You will discover that each one is highly individual as well as clean and simple.

Ottawa Logo Design - Kingfish Pumping & Septic3. Memorable.

An effective logo should be highly memorable of course. This is achieved by simplicity (see previous point) as well as by using some kind of visual effect or device to create a lasting impression in the viewer. Often this is a visual double entendre (such as the letter “f” being the fish in the example to the left), or it can simply be the beauty and harmony of the design.

Ottawa Logo Design - Kealey & Tackaberry4. Timeless.

When designing a logo, one wants to produce something that will endure. Trends come and go, but a great logo will stand the test of time. Some big brands’ logos haven’t changed in decades. An effective logo uses good design fundamentals and steers clear of the current flavour of the month. It’s okay to update to stay fresh, but your original design should hold true.

Ottawa Logo Design - Harshell Farm5. Versatile.

An effective logo should work across a variety of mediums and applications. The logo should be functional, which means it should be designed in vector format so that it can be scaled to any size. It should also be able to work in horizontal, vertical, and square formats. Most designers start off in black and white to get the visual harmony just right before proceeding to full colour.

Ottawa Logo Design - Gedawin Novo6. Suitable.

A good logo should be suitable for its brand. For example, if you’re branding a company that produces hydro electric controls, it would be appropriate to use electricity symbolism. This would not be suitable for a children’s clothing store. It doesn’t necessarily have to show the product or service of the business — this can be conveyed through other means.

Whether you’re a designer yourself or someone interested in the ins and outs of design, I hope you’ll look at logo design a bit differently after reading this. There is a lot of strategic thinking and hard work behind logo design.

Do you need a logo for your own business? Let’s get in touch! I’d love to talk about how we can work together to make your company look better and win more business.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Brand Design

Need graphic design services in Ottawa?

Samples of graphic design and illustration produced for some of my Ottawa clients.

One of the things I love about being a graphic designer is the extraordinary diversity of clients and projects that come my way. From website design to brochures to illustration to social media graphics, my clients need it all, and they need to be able to get it all in one place. Who wants to run around talking to several people about business promotion and marketing?

Ottawa Graphic Design - Naked Composer IllustrationIllustration:
The Naked Composer

A very talented musician and friend came to me last year to collaborate on producing album art for his new project. The artwork depicts the Naked Composer himself lying in the grass surrounded by manifestations of the music inside his head. Once a month one of those elements is being released as cover art to a single until all 12 songs have been published, at which point, any patron who has purchased the complete set receives an electronic copy of the full illustration which they can print out. Click on the drawing to open up the full size version, check out the website we collaborated on here, and be sure to listen to the music. I’m telling you, this guy is good!

Ottawa Graphic Design - EkoBuiltBranding: EkoBuilt

I’ve written about these splendid builders more than once but I can’t say enough about how great they are to work with, both as my clients, and me as theirs (they built my house/studio!). We’ve collaborated together over the years to create a truly striking brand, including their new website. EkoBuilt builds super energy efficient house plans and material kits, and specializes in building to the Passive House standard. Please see the the full branding suite here.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Tapastree FundraiserPrint Design:
Tapastree Fundraiser

I was approached last year to help create comprehensive branding for a fundraising initiative to raise awareness for Mills Community Support. Tapastree, the (hopefully) annual event, was created to raise awareness and appreciation for their services and the benefits they offer to the community. The various deliverables included a logo, numerous print pieces, and Facebook graphics. The event was well described as a wonderful weave of local food, drink, music, theatre, art and community.

Ottawa Graphic Design - CWA CanadaSocial Media:
CWA Canada

CWA Canada is the oldest and only all-media union in Canada, as well as one of the largest, representing workers in the communications industry: news services, digital media, radio, television, newspapers, etc. After helping CWA Canada update their logo to keep it fresh and relevant, we proceeded to create new social media graphics for Twitter and Facebook, and to design and produce their new website, launching soon, which enables staff to easily update and maintain all aspects of the site through a content management system.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Travel In StyleLogo Design:
Travel in Style

An enthusiastic entrepreneur with a small budget and a big heart needed a logo created for her new travel agency. As a passionate traveler, she finds herself always looking for another island escape, country, or new experience to add to her profile. Combined with her love of event planning, she is able to offer unique romantic or girls’ weekend getaways. An exotic flower was chosen to represent the notion of faraway lands, with a captivating script type to ensure the brand is sophisticated yet approachable.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Dandelion Foods WebsiteWebsite:
Dandelion Foods

One of my most loyal and cherished clients, Dandelion Foods, came to the recent realization that their existing website, designed by Sumack Loft several years ago, was no longer doing the things that they needed it to do. My partners and I quickly put together a proposal for a new WordPress-based site with a brand update as requested by our client. The new site is fresh and fun with a farmstead feeling with its barnboard background and array of delicious produce, while making it easy for our friends at the store to share store specials, instore events, etc. Check it out!

So much graphic design, so little time.

These six projects are just a small sampling of the work produced out here at Sumack Loft in recent months. It was so hard to only pick six! Do you have a favourite? Leave me a comment and let me know. I’d be very interested to know your thoughts.

Does your business need a new logo or website? Do you need new print materials to win new business? Give me a call! I’d love to chat.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Brand Design

Do you need a “Dreamy” New Logo?

Designing groovy… it’s a thing.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to design two different logos and two separate websites for the same client in just two years. A little unusual, right? So… Am I lucky or is my client just crazy?

Okay, they had a pretty good reason. They launched a new company called EkoBuilt Home Building Solutions two years ago focusing on more modern and state of the art house construction (you might remember my blog post about it), while keeping their old log home building company intact.

Once the dust had settled on the new company’s branding, website, and promotion, they realized they needed to up their game for the old company, Kealey & Tackaberry Log Homes. I’m going to bet you already know this, but that’s where I come in.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Home Builders Business Cards

Kealey & Tackaberry Log Homes – Business Cards

A company logo needs to communicate a simple, calculated, powerful message to existing and potential customers.

During the development process, I ask very targeted questions, the answers to which outline the strategic direction for creative development. It’s really not art so much as it is science. One of things I ask is that you describe to me exactly what kind of feeling you want your logo to convey. I might even ask you to describe your future logo as if it was a person — someone you know.

What adjectives should best describe your logo?

When my builder client provided the answers to that particular question for his log home building company, he said he wanted his logo to be dreamy. Sure, he gave me a few other words too, but that one stood out. It’s certainly the first time anyone has provided dreamy as a strategic word, lol.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Home Builders Website

Kealey & Tackaberry Log Homes – Website

A dream house lit up by a summer sky.

After a thorough development process, the logo we produced conveys the idea of a dream home with the log house set off by a gorgeous summer sky, a bird soaring above, a lone pine tree (from whence the house came?), and a river rolling past. The house itself is dropped out as negative space, representing its seamless integration into the environment, the sense of living lightly, with a small carbon footprint.

Ottawa Graphic Design - Log Home Builders Logo

Kealey & Tackaberry Logo

Do you think the logo is dreamy? What about their new website?

Are you looking for an effective, business-winning logo and website for your own company? Give me a call! Let’s talk! I can make it as dreamy as you like!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Anecdote, Brand Design

Big Brand Logo Redesign Examples

Even big brands update their logos from time to time!

logos6I came across this story on one of my favourite design sites today, and thought some of you might be interested. I often talk about logo redesign on this blog and here’s a chance to show how some of the big boys and girls play that game. Enjoy!

http://www.fubiz.net/en/2017/01/05/2016-year-best-brand-logo-redesigns/

illustration

Launch of New “Solar Engine” Illustration for Ottawa Passive House Builders

Introducing the Eko Solar Engine!

A new illustration produced at Sumack Loft for EkoBuilt, showing the component parts of their passive house building solution.

Ottawa Illustration - Eko Solar Engine

EkoBuilt Solar Engine

We recently completed a fairly major website overhaul for our admirable and most excellent clients at EkoBuilt, helping them showcase new service offerings in a big, bold way.

My wonderful partners at Foil Media and the EkoBuilt team came up with the concept of developing a new illustration to show how a passive house system works, which we call the Eko Solar Engine. Once we’d figured out what components needed to be in there, I was put to work producing a lushly detailed illustration, which you can see above.

A great deal of thought and planning went into deciding what elements went where, how to keep the illustration simple to look at while providing maximum information, and of course ensuring that the finished piece was engaging and inviting to look over.

Do you need a professional illustration for your own business? I’d love to sit down and chat with you about it. Drop me a line!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Graphic Design

How To Hire A Good Graphic Designer

Where to look, who to ask, what to look for!

 
You know how when you look around — whether you’re out and about or simply looking at the TV or the internet — you’re bombarded with visuals from the myriad different companies out there? If you want to stand out, you know you need more than just a good logo — you need to have a great brand. An eye-catching, message-sending, innovative brand. Here’s where professional help comes in: to make your company’s services and product more relevant, memorable, and appealing to your audience, you need to hire a good graphic designer, but how do you go about finding one?

1. Word of mouth.

As with many products and services, often the best way to find what you’re looking for is through word of mouth. Get a recommendation from someone you trust; or look around at other businesses, choose the ones whose branding you really connect with, and find out who created it for them.

2. Appropriate experience.

It’s a good idea to make sure your new graphic designer has experience with the design services you’re looking for. If you need a logo along with a website, you need a designer who works regularly in both those fields. The designer you’re looking for is one that understands your message and knows how to maximize your content in the medium you require.

3. Trust your gut.

Do you feel that you get along? Do you feel that the communication runs freely between the two of you? If your gut is telling you that this isn’t the right person to work with, you’re probably right. If you have to work too hard to make them understand what you’re trying to accomplish, don’t hire them. The best designers are good at listening and incorporating their client’s needs into each and every design they present.

4. Look for testimonials.

Any designer worth their salt is going to include client testimonials on their portfolio website. How else are they going to convince absolute strangers who just happen on their site that they know what they’re doing? Most experts in the field recommend that designers collect testimonials from as many clients as they can; after all, it helps connect those of you looking for expertise with those who have it. It can often be the final clincher for you to read the recommendations from other happy clients.

5. Respect the work.

Graphic designers — with a possible few exceptions, because hey, there’s a bad apple in every bunch! — are not going to try to take advantage of you. Their costs are based on a host of factors, including experience, creativity, research and development of ideas, the ability to produce innovative designs, as well as knowing why the design concepts they present to you are right for you.

ottawa_graphic_design_8

 
Do you feel a bit better informed about how to find a graphic designer? Maybe you even want to work with me! Let’s get in touch! I’d love to talk about how we can work together to make your company look better and win more business.

Anecdote

The Studio at Sumack Loft

Clean, organized, and ready for the new year!

I know, I know, I already posted once today, but I’m so excited because I just finished cleaning, organizing, and tidying my studio space. Here’s how it looks today… let’s hope it stays that way!

Ottawa Graphic Design Studio

Sumack Loft Studio (click on image to see full size)

Cheers, everybody!

*:) Auni