BoyDog Design
Design and more…

Social Media iconsI came across a great article by Hootsuite today, 5 Reasons Why A Social Media Content Calendar is Important For Your Business. I’ve been immersed in social media since it started trending. So much so that I felt completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities involved in posting in a timely manner and where I intended the content to appear. It seemed like I was spending so much time on social media that I was neglecting some of my other responsibilities. As time went on I just gave up. Enough already!

So I’m back! I decided to get busy.

Today while browsing my Twitter feed I came across the above-mentioned article. It got me to thinking how similar the job of a traffic manager in an advertising agency is to managing social media. Honestly, I had never put the two together before. Lightbulb went off today… I’ve worked as a marketing manager and I always had a good six months schedule planned out for all of my media resources. Print, trade shows, promo items – it was all on a spreadsheet that made my life easier. I had a spreadsheet of all of my advertising – magazine, date, product, etc. So why is it I never put social media into the mix?

I’m guessing in the beginning I was so wrapped up on learning the ins and outs of social media. Finding all of the available social media apps. Organizing what goes where. Too make it even more difficult I was posting for multiple accounts. Time has passed. It’s not longer a new thing for me, or anyone else for that matter. It’s time to settle down, get organized, and start posting again.

If you have a minute or two in your day you should check out the article I came across. Very helpful.

 

orchid-226x300 Radiant Orchid has been chosen as the IT color for 2014. As stated in Pantone’s press release, this shade of purple has “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

I couldn’t be happier as this is one of my favorite colors! Let’s see how this choice influences design in the coming year.

 

While I’ve know about Pinterest for some time now I never really took the time to get into it and see if it was for me. On the suggestion of a friend I spent some time on there and I have to admit it – I’m hooked.

Unlike Delicious and StumbleUpon, which I use daily, Pinterest allows me to collect information in a more visual form. And isn’t visual what graphic design is all about? It’s really amazing how your boards start to take shape. At first you aren’t quite sure what type of things to post, but you pick it up quickly. I will always be looking for anything that relates to design or that I find inspiring in some way. But… Pinterest also lets me put a bit of myself on my boards. I get to save recipes, craft projects, and whatever else hits me at the moment.

I have decided to share my Pinterest boards with you all. Take them at face value, literally. They are all pinned because something about them interested me. Me. If you see something that connects with you, repin it or leave a comment.

One last suggestion. If you are already using Pinterest or decide to finally check it out, I recommend that you click on different user’s boards and view their profile as a whole. It’s amazing how you get a feel for the person based solely on the visual impact of their pins. Some people are drawn to design and color. Others have a very muted take on what they like. From a visual standpoint, I find this fascinating.

So go check out Pinterest! See if it’s something that interests you. You can check out my boards at http://pinterest.com/gretboyd/.

As they say on the site… Happy Pinning!

photo from Soulsight/Projects page

Have you noticed the recent updates and new package designs lately? Seems like crisp, cropped and to the point design is trending. I just came across this article, Less Calories, More Crop/via Brand New, and it is a perfect example of the “less is more” concept.

As you can see, the new design continues to promote the brand’s identity, but in a more modern way. If you’ve been a fan of Miller beer prior to this redesign you surely will continue to recognize your favorite beer. For those who have not been introduced to Miller beer, this new design is a refreshing alternative to the old logo and package design.

Give both six-packs a quick glance. Which one was the easier read? The new design will easily stand out in the beer aisle. Its bold use of a cropped logo is sure to catch your eye. In a world of some very creative beer labels, I know that a giant red “Miller 64” will get your attention.

If this new branding can gain some traction with an established audience and bring in a new dimension to their target market , I would say they’ve met a goal or two. It will be interesting to see how future ad campaigns help develop this new image.

 

2011 is over – history. You know without a doubt exactly what you accomplished and where your business came up short. Now is the time to examine every aspect of your 2011 marketing plan and see how you can revise it for a more profitable 2012. Please tell me you do indeed have a marketing plan. Without a plan you are relegated to shooting from the hip as your year progresses. Always reacting to circumstances instead of acting to create a response. The winning business is the one that has a plan.

Look back at 2011. What products or services offered were a hit? Which were not received well? Did you reach your target market? What media did you employ to reach your market? Were you able to measure your success? Did your particular field encounter a major change during 2011? Is the field of competitors filled with the same players or are there some new ones on the field? Were you able to achieve your goals working within your budget? Does it look like your business is stagnant? Once you’ve answered these questions you can move forward with a 2012 marketing plan.

I will agree that the process of putting together a marketing plan may seem daunting. It does take a lot of work. It forces you to be honest with yourself about your past success. It makes you face and confront areas that need improvement, a complete overhaul, or require new ideas using new media options. That’s why it can be beneficial to utilize the talents of a professional. Work with someone who knows the process and can guide you through each and every consideration as you formulate your plan. Some of you may only require a few meetings of consultation to refresh your approach and let you know what’s trending in business communication outlets. Think social media. Think mobile advertising. Others may need more in-depth assistance as you formulate target markets, demographics, media usage, budget constraints, and your particular timeline. Some of you already have marketing departments that keep your business focused toward a specific goal. That’s a wonderful advantage. Even in this circumstance it may be necessary to consult with a design professional to be sure you understand the best way to use new media and to create that media. A partnership between marketing and design should produce the most effective advertising placed in the best venue for your product or service.

Welcoming 2012 is fresh in our minds. Now is the time to work toward a profitable new year. If you’re a veteran to this marketing task then let this serve as a reminder that there’s work to be done. If you’re new to this or feel that you could use some expert advice, now is the time to pick up the phone or send out that email to a professional. The time and expense you put into this task now should prove profitable as your year progresses. Establish goals now and work to realize success. BoyDog Design can assist you with your marketing plan and the media you need produced to reach your goals.

I wish everyone a year filled with opportunity and success!

By now most everyone has been introduced to the world of social media. You know the players – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc – and most likely you’ve either done some research or signed up. Social media is an ever-changing playing field that continually offers new, revised, and expanded options. If you are paying close attention you soon realize that it can be a daunting task keeping up with what’s new and what works best. There is one thing that is a constant throughout all of social media, especially if you are a business, and that is your website.

It doesn’t matter how often or sporadically you post, your objective should be to direct viewers back to your website. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you say, you should be encouraging viewers to visit your site for more information. Under those circumstances your website is home base. Contained within its pages should be all the information needed to understand what your business or service offers, how to contact you, specific product info and photos, an option to purchase if that applies, and whatever other information is pertinent to allow a viewer to form an opinion, an interest, a need to contact you, and best of all the decision to purchase your product or service.

Now I know many of you already have a website up and running. You’ve had it for years and as far as you’re concerned it works just fine, thank you. But, does it?

When was the last time you reviewed your site?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is all of the information accurate? Have you revised a product and not changed the info on your site? Did you add a product or service but did not add it to your site?
  • Are all of the photos current? Sure you offer the same item, but is that a photo of the current item? Maybe you changed your packaging, logo, or colors.
  • Are all of your links active? If you refer viewers to outside sites, are you sure those links still work? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a site, click a link and… nothing.
  • And don’t forget about email addresses. Are you sure that all of the email addresses you have posted are current (and not for a former employee). I know of some sites that to this day have an email address posted that is for me at an old employer. I know I’m not receiving those messages and I doubt the company is either.
  • Has your content undermined your navigation? If you’ve had a site up for a while most likely you’ve added to it. A page here, a photo there. A new sub-category with more pages. I bet you didn’t realize how much you’ve added to your site. Sit down with the eyes of a fresh viewer to your site and experience how well or how poorly your site navigates.
    • Are your pages crowded with bits and pieces of information? Too many bits and pieces.
    • Are your links intuitive? Meaning – are the placement of your links easy to find or do you have to hunt for what you’re looking for?
    • Did you remember to cross-reference information?
    • Are your pages very very long? Have you been adding and adding to your pages until they require scrolling and scrolling?
    • Was your site created with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind? If the answer is yes, does it need a little tweaking? If the answer is no, what are you waiting for?
    • Site analytics. What tools are you using to measure your website traffic?

I hope I’ve got you thinking about your website by now. How well is it performing? Can I make it better? And I hope your next step is to contact a design professional. BoyDog Design can assist you in a review of your current website. Let’s explore ways to update and improve your site. One of the benefits of web-based communication is that you don’t have to be local to BoyDog Design. Utilizing current technology it is easier than ever to work on projects together – even if you live across town, in another state, even another country. Think about it – is now the time to review, revise and reap the rewards?

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my www.delicious.com bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give delicious.com a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

 

I’ve always found it fascinating how effective it can be to simply repackage a product and generate a new response to the same item. Take a generic cereal for example and put it in a new brightly colored and illustrated box and watch it jump off the shelf as you walk down the aisle in a supermarket. I love to check out the various labels for wines and beer. Some are beautiful and inspiring. Mostly I walk away wondering who came up with the design. I always wonder if I could do work like that.

A new “Legacy” bottle is being rolled out across the country for Dr. Pepper Snapple products. What do you think – Hit? or Miss? It will be interesting to hear the feedback as the design hits the shelves.

To learn more about the bottle redesign you can check out this article in Media Bistro or read the press release introducing the design.

 

I just discovered thumbtack.com and added BoyDog Design to their directory of businesses. Unlike some other online directories,  managing the information you want to post was a snap. If you’re interested in spreading the word about your product or service, list your business on www.thumbtack.com.

If you’d like, you can View BoyDog Design’s listing.

 

The economy appears to be clawing its way out of the abyss. Good news on so many levels. A recent forecast explains that some of the smallest of businesses (with 4 or fewer employees) plan to increase advertising this year (via Ad-ology Marketing Forecast, http://bit.ly/dF6Z62). A smart move and one that deserves a deliberate plan, preparation, and implementation.

Working with a design professional can save you money by optimizing the chance for a successful advertising campaign. Your budget may be smaller than a Fortune 500 company, but your desired outcome from your efforts are the same. Increase brand recognition, build a relationship with your market, position your product or service amongst your competitors, and open a line of direct communication.

Regardless of how you’ve advertised in the past, you can always benefit by researching new channels to reach your market. Consult with a design professional to see if there are new media outlets or a different approach. You might be surprised at how you can expand on your advertising plan. Social media, as an example, does not always require a large sum of money to be successful. Once your have an established presence in social media you most likely will be able to administer it yourself. Websites can be designed to allow a business owner to manage its content. Email campaigns can be created and implemented via reasonably priced email marketing sites.

Bottomline: You can only benefit by consulting with a design professional. Rely on their experience and expertise. It’s okay to ask for help. In the long run the money you spend working with a professional is an investment in your brand’s future success.

Update: (via ad-ology Marketing Forecast) SMBs to Shift Resources to Social Media and Video, http://bit.ly/etOHkm