Design What Matters
Everyone wants their company/organization/product to look nice. Having branding that’s in sync with your organization’s vision, mission, and messaging is critical to reaching your target audience. Spending time up front to ensure you’re portraying who you are, and who you want to be, pays off dividends short and long-term by showing credibility and professionalism. Humans are visual by nature and respond to branding as a form of stimulus, so make efforts to put something good out there!
Design What Works
In the world of startups and small businesses, not many of us have the luxury of an in-house designer, nor the budget for outside help, so what do we do? We focus on designing on only what matters. We utilize royalty-free assets. We do the bare minimum -and that’s good. We force ourselves to narrow in on things that matter and leave the rest behind.
Colors, Fonts, & Logo
The things that matter the most are the things your customers will see the most often. Without question, the most common things are colors, fonts, and a logo, and while that sounds overly simplistic, it’s really a reduction of more complex later-stage needs like brochures, business cards, posters, etc. If you cannot nail down at least (2) colors, (2) fonts, and (1) logo/mark then you’re not done.
Teyashim by El Lissitzky
If you don’t yet have colors, I highly recommend you use a tool like the Material Design Color Tool for finding striking, readable, and complimentary colors. I’m betting that you are not versed in color theory, nor have much design experience, so take heart in reading that this tool will help remove those needs -and help you find solid colors.
Now it’s time to put some attention to help you continue your branding into the text your audience reads. Yes, that’s right, the fonts you use evoke different emotions. Heavy & Light (Each feels like it should!) You should strive to make your font feel like your brand -but be readable. Try using Canva’s Font Combinations tool to find some good pairings, and when you find them, try them with your colors.
Finding the right logo to represent your organization is one of the most challenging and impactful choices you will have to make. Choosing the ‘right’ logo will define your business, signaling who you are and what you do and it will continue to do so after it has been seen. Please take time considering it.
In fact, like 99 Designs, I highly recommend, that if you are a new company, you do not design a ‘logo’. Instead, focus your efforts on an effective wordmark using your new font and color efforts utilizing a tool like Wordmark.it.
-Remember, design only what matters.
The LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network catalyzes the creation of companies to create high-wage jobs and attract greater private investment in the coal-impacted and opioid-impacted regions of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, uniquely matching the complex problems and opportunities facing our corporations, communities, and individuals to a network of strategically-placed Innovation Gateways. From this, new marketable products grow from these challenges through our work with locally partnered Innovation Gateways’ business incubators and makerspaces, across a tri-state 28-county area.