This month there have been A LOT of people needing banners. Here are some of them:
Two of these are for Highlights PR, a brilliant PR company headed by Keith Newman. If you need PR, then Keith is your man! Excellent success rate, and he’s great at finding a good angle and linking his clients together. Others (including the third one along) are for Northumbria NHS Care Trust, promoting You’re Welcome, making health services more young people friendly, and also promoting the Teenage Health Trust (THS) and another banner for the West End Youth Enquiry Service (WEYES), part of Children North East. These (the NHS, THS and WEYES) were all designed by young people in the same way as the NHS Health Booklets, before I took them further.
Many businesses have needed banners or exhibition materials this year, if you need a banner or exhibition stand then make sure you remember to get it arranged in plenty of time before the event. If you have a specific use for it, such as exhibiting at a trade show, then you will need to think of ways to make your stand, well, stand out, ways to attract people to your stand so you can talk to them and hopefully keep them there soaking up your brand and your business for a while so you can collect their contact information and make sure that they know just how good you are. If you want to look the business, please don’t leave it ’til last minute.
Last night I blitzed my patio with weed killer. It’s a war against the weeds. We’ve lived here for about three years and I’ve only just got excited about the garden – this is due to our daughter, who obviously has a great time running about. I’ve already tackled the patio and won before – it was looking great, and I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it. We were about to get a table and chairs so we could actually sit out there while I tackled the borders (I hadn’t quite got that far) and then it started raining and it felt like every time I had the time to go and do some gardening it was too wet.
Now, a few weeks later, the weeds are back. How dare they?! Ok, so they aren’t as bad as they were before, but they are sticking up through the gaps taunting me. “Ner ner ne ner ner, we’ve won this round!”, so last night, while it was looking drier and with a hope that it wouldn’t rain today (there can’t be any more rain left up there surely?) I grabbed the weed killer and had my revenge. Fingers crossed.
Your business image is a bit like a garden. I’m no gardener, this weed removal thing is a whole new thing on me, I haven’t got round to nice things like planting lavender and getting pots to put herbs in. That will come – but branding I can do.
According to Alan Titchmarsh, the aim of a garden is to create a “variety show that lasts a long time, offers year-round interest and alleviates boredom”. Ideally your branding should last a long time – you don’t want to have a rebrand every few months, your brand is something that should hang around for a while so that people see it and immediately associate it with your business. You need to be using your brand all the time in order to enforce it and so that people will come to recognise it. You need your brand to stand out so that you are noticed. Be interesting, attract people, and don’t be boring.
Where are you going to use your newly created materials? Do you need to plant leaflets in a visitor centre or just give people a business card when you see them? (a cutting perhaps) Are you attending a tradeshow so you need to order something with impact? Do you use social media? It’s important to choose the right places to promote your business.
Caring for your plants
Plants need water, food and pruning. What does your business image need? You need to give it some attention. People talk to plants to help them grow don’t they? It’s always a good idea to chat to your graphic designer about your plans and about any changes in the business that may affect your communication materials. It might be that you need to feed your brochure with a new section, or that you can prune your website by getting rid of an irrelevant page. Review your materials from time to time to make sure that they are up to date.
Weeds aren’t very popular. They appear randomly just where you don’t want them, almost without you noticing, and they spoil the view from your window. Sometimes things happen that can spoil the business image. In an emergency a new leaflet is rushed off and photocopies are handed to people, you move offices and just place a sticker over the contact information on your leaflets, or there’s an unfortunate incident involving a banner and some PVA glue. It’s important to weed out the things that don’t look quite right and make sure that your image remains professional, communicates your values well and is consistent across all applications.
Fantastic! You get to eat your runner beans, pick some flowers to put in a vase, or admire the violets that are smiling at you from the flowerbed. If you’ve made sure that your business image is attention grabbing and communicates effectively, you’ve planted it in relevant places and you’ve looked after it, then you should see a return on it. The Design Council states that for every £100 a design alert business spends on design, turnover increases by £225, so make sure that you put in the effort to look after that investment and you should find that it will be well worth it.
If you live in the North East then it has probably come to your attention that the Antiques Roadshow is at Seaton Deleval Hall today. I thought this would be a great opportunity to have a look at some graphic design related “old things” that I have.
First up, here’s a pencil case that used to belong to my Great Grandmother. I love this because it’s obviously been well used, it’s a right mess actually, my Great Grandmother – Bessie Walton – has written her name all over it! Also a ruler that belonged to my Grandad Freddy. He was a joiner, so I imagine he used this to measure out bits of wood. Look at the numbers – aren’t they beautiful?
Next, here are some sketches by John Ryan of Captain Pugwash fame. I think that these are from a talk by John Ryan at a library sometime before I was born. Aren’t these fantastic?
A while ago I was given a box of postcards, these belonged to the owner of the pencil case above, and led to me collecting postcards. There were around 400 in this box, some more interesting than others.
This postcard has a fold out album of photographs:
One of the best things about these postcards is the writing on the backs. These provide a snapshot into the lives of my family. There are two postcards the same here which were both addressed to my Great Grandpa who was a dairy farmer and milkman, you can see why. From January 1909 a card reads “If it’s fine Saturday morning, will have a ton of hay ready for afternoon”, another from 1914 reads “we’ve been busy working for the soldiers making shorts, socks and mits” while in 1916 Lizzie tells Miss E. Smith “Don’t romp about too much or your nose will bleed” – new one on me! Birthday cards, new year cards, cards for no reason, cards sent in the post but with no message. Some cards are so filled with writing that they overflow onto the front, some are completely impossible to work out. I find them fascinating. I could have spent all of yesterday looking at postcards while I was taking photographs for this post.
Are you going to Seaton Deleval Hall today? Do you have any interesting antiques?