You get what you pay for.

balance between time, quality and money in a project development - rough white chalk drawing on blackboard

Can anyone buy a Ferrari for the same price as a Toyota? Well, graphic design is the same way.  Both cars will take you from point A to point B, as any graphic designer will take the project from point A to point B.

The question is: Do you want a Ferrari or a Toyota? Do you want the best graphic designer or the cheap graphic designer?  If everyone can do graphic design, then why even consider to hire a graphic designer.

You are paying for their creativity, this is the most important aspect of what they do, because there is not an art tool, computer or software that comes with a feature called: “Idea”.  A graphic designer’s “type of creativity” can set them apart from others. You are paying for their knowledge of typography, layout, colour theory, branding, the printing process, their years practicing the art of design, mind mapping and concepts, their skill of drawing, painting, photography, their ability to use the relevant design software.

It’s like asking a professional singer: Why you charge so much? “It’s so easy to sing”. .  Graphic design is the same way. Sure, people can buy the computer and the programmes, but they don’t understand the process and are not trained.

Consider this: McDonald’s offers very cheap burgers, but what is the quality of the meat?

Tips for a good logo

Dollarphotoclub_46751268.jpgYour logo is an investment in your company’s future, it’s how the world recognises you.  So it is important to get it right, here are a few things to consider:

A logo has to be designed to work well across all media  i.e. Business stationery, office signage, car signage, billboards, ads, web site, social media.   Will your logo work well for all theses different applications?

Appropriate use of typography for your business model, not too fancy, not too modern, not too classic.

Appropriate colours which will relate well to your business – for example if you had a dental surgery red would not be a good choice of colour.

Ensure your logo has impact and works well in colour as well as black & white. After all your logo will not always be shown in colour.

Try to ensure your logo only has one focal point for the eye to focus on, otherwise the eye is distracted and you lose the impact of the design.

A logo that fits well into an imaginary square can hold more impact and be more effective than one that doesn’t. A boxier shape doesn’t limit you quite as much and can work better on different applications.

The logo should be well balanced and simple.

Your tagline should work in harmony with your logo and not look like an added extra at that last minute.  Have your logo designed by a professional who does invest the time, energy and research to get it right and give you a good result.

What are the successful components of business card design?

A business card is the most basic marketing tool every person in business must have. It provides a convenient, relatively inexpensive method to promote your business to everyone you meet, everywhere you go. However, too often the business card is under-appreciated and little thought or time is devoted to designing this essential communication tool. Your business card is an extension of your business. Not only does it pass on your contact details, it allows people a glimpse into the personality of your business.

A professionally designed business card should be clearly laid out, use an easy-to-read font and be designed to match your corporate brand.

It should include:Stack of business cards in the box

  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Business Name
  • Individual Name(s)
  • Job Title(s)
  • Address
  • Land line and mobile
  • E-mail Address
  • Website Address
  • Social media icons


The stock used for business cards should be thick and of high quality. Thin, poor quality business cards could reflect negatively on your business and do more harm than good.

I would recomend card stock that is 350gsm or heavier with a choice of laminated finishes, either gloss or matt. Print it on on both sides of the card to ensure you are making the most of the available space. Think about die cut corners or having a die cut made specifically for your card into a unique shape which translates well with the look and feel of your brand. Die cutting is an added cost but is money well spent, it gives your business card a distinctive point of difference from the rest. At networking events you want to be remembered and stand out from your competition, your business card is the perfect vehicle to achieve this.

The process of how to achieve a good logo


In an earlier blog about designing an effective business logo, I touched on the creative process I follow to arrive at options for your brand identity.

Creating a visual identity for a business or product doesn’t just happen in the blink of an eye; it’s something that produces an outcome at the end of a deliberate process, even if I have no idea where it’s going to end up!

Let me walk you through my process


Step 1: checking out the competition

Why do this? I want to look at the visible profile of your business competition with the aim of creating a brand personality that is totally different in your marketplace.

We want you to be noticed afterall!


Step 2: mind mapping

Mind mapping helps me to consider as many different design directions as possible.

It involves word association – I branch out from the word that’s central to the design brief, writing down other words that spring to mind.

From this, I form a large thought cloud that gives me a strong reference point for the next stage of the process.


Step 3: words become sketches

My mind mapping words generate ideas and I start to associate these words with images.

I highlight the words which adapt well to sketching and begin to draw things. This helps me to focus on the stronger ideas.

I then relate the words to shapes.


Step 4: from pencil sketches to a digital reality

The concepts I’ve drawn in the previous step are now turned into digital imagery.

This involves the most time to achieve a good overall balance between images and fonts.


Step 5: survival of the fittest designs

I generate quite a lot of digital designs, but only three are selected. Selection involves a range of factors, including feedback from creative people whose opinion I value.

Only the strongest graphic concepts survive, because my clients deserve the best.


Step 6: colouring your opinion

I then work some colour into the surviving concepts. It’s important that each concept is presented to the client in the same colours.

This ensures their final logo selection is not influenced by their preference of colour – I want them to focus on the logo concept.


So there you have it, the recipe to arriving at a great design.

A lot of effort goes into every successful identity project.

When you next see logo design being offered at a cheap price, it’s highly unlikely the designer has put themselves through a rigorous process like the one I’ve just described.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for at the end of the day.


Designing a great business logo

A logo is a graphic mark, image or design used to identify a company, individual or product. It allows instant recognition of a brand and is crucial for any company or business.

Your logo is your business fingerprint. It’s what makes you unique in your marketplace.

It must:

  • • tell people a lot about your brand, at a glance;
  • • be easily recognised;
  • • be a simple design; and
  • • be memorable – it needs to turn heads!

Of course, the simpler the form, the less special it tends to be.

So the challenge of designing an iconic logo becomes: How memorable can a design be, while remaining simple?

Form meets function

A great business logo is not about what you like or don’t like – it’s about what works.

This isn’t always understood by clients; a lot of people focus purely on aesthetics and forget that we have to create a design that functions well.

What do I mean by functioning well?

For starters, a logo is best designed using a limited palette, with maybe 2 or 3 colours maximum. It should work well in both colour and what’s called ‘greyscale’. And it should easily convert to black and white (which is not the same as greyscale) if needed.

A logo must also be created as a ‘vector’ to ensure it doesn’t lose its quality when resized. Different file formats, such as .psd, .eps, .pdf, .jpeg, etc., can then be created from the initial vector.

Designing your logo

The first step in the process is for you to complete a logo development brief.
This is a really important exercise that will get you thinking about your business and your brand just as much as it will get me thinking about design concepts.
Once you’ve completed the brief, I’ll walk you through the creative process.

Upon completion of your logo design, I’ll supply your logo in a variety of file formats on a CD, ensuring it can be consistently used across a diverse range of mediums.

Don’t try this at home

Designing a great business logo is one of the most difficult tasks I undertake for clients.

It takes a solid education as well as a great amount of experience to start building a logo from the ground up.

You can’t knock up a logo design in half an hour!

Having said that, it’s also one of the most satisfying things I do.
See examples of my logo designs

Why Would You Need a Copywriter?

  • Can you generate ideas or creative concepts for marketing your business?
  • Can you communicate the benefits offered by your products or services in a clear and compelling way?
  • Can you create marketing material that makes you stand out from your competitors?
  • Can you communicate your brand values to a target audience?
  • Can you find the time to do all this, and more, without going crazy?

If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, you don’t need a copywriter.

But if you had a “No” or three in there, you might want to talk about what we can do to help your business. It may include things like:

advertising copy, business or product names, web pages, brochures, press releases & advertorials, newsletters, sales letters, event invitations, speeches, award submissions, corporate video scripts


Michael Parish – Copywriter for Pink Piranha.

Why is a Design Brief so Important?

Graphic Design is a problem solving discipline. Great design needs to start with a thorough understanding of the problem to be solved – this is best found in a design brief.

The Design Brief is known by many names:

•  A Creative brief

•  A Marketing brief

•  A Project brief

•  A Job ticket

•  An Innovation brief

Please note that a verbal brief does not feature in the list. Why? Because they almost always lead to misunderstandings, hard feelings, angry confrontations, major frustration and design solutions that are not as great as they could have been.

There’s actually no set format for a design brief. They will vary depending upon the company’s standards, practices and culture, as well as the design project itself – signage design, packaging design, communication design, etc.

They can be totally narrative, written paragraph form, bullet list format, or blank spaces which are filled in by the client requesting design after a list of key questions. A common issue for me is that fields are often left blank or the information is incomplete.

An example of this would be a field headlined ‘audience’ and a typical answer would be ‘customers’ – it’s not suitable and certainly not enough information to work with.

I cannot stress enough the importance of a potential client filling out a brief in as much detail as possible. It’s better to give too much information rather than too little. The end result hinges heavily upon how well you have communicated your requirements to the designer through the brief.

The process starts with a review of your design brief to determine what the designer actually has to work with. While creativity doesn’t require a massive budget it does depend on knowing what the budget is before the process actually starts, as there may be other factors to consider e.g. a Photographer, a Copywriter, a Stylist, a Printer, etc……………

The format of the brief is of course critical. It needs to be easy to read and track through, and it must contain all the information and be available online.

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