Sunday, January 8, 2017

Color and a Products Emotional Presence

Your Product

We all want to bring confidence to our customers. Color and a product's emotional presence can help customers feel that your product is in line with the emotion it evokes. When building a business plan, or writing a mission statement, the look and feel should be on the top of your list. After all, first impressions are everything.

Logo Color Decisions

When we design a new logo here at Annette Frei Graphics and Illustration, we start the process in black and white. This is because color is such a strong emotional presence in the final design. It can overpower the shapes before it is time to put emotion into the icon or font. We make design shape decisions based upon the product and customer – rounded or geometric, thin lines or thick. Color choice is equally important. Some companies know right away what colors they want for their logo and website. Others need to be educated and dig deep into their mission statement to find the message they want to send.

Interpretation of Color

comfort, healthy living, trustworthy...
These are some words or phrases that color may evoke. Even before we realize what is happening, what we see makes us feel something. We may even make purchase decisions based upon how a companies colors make us feel. If we are looking for a dependable company that we can trust, the color blue in a logo may tell us just that. This is another part of branding identity that I talk so much about. The Logo Company has created a helpful visual guide of famous logos, and their related emotions.

color emotion guide
Credit: The Logo Company

Website Color Balance

Once you have a balanced logo that represents your company "emotion", it is time to extend the brand identity. If you have a yellow logo, you may think that you should have a yellow website. Website colors should not compete with your logo, but compliment it. So strong use of yellow in your site may turn off users in most situations. Use colors that bring attention to the logo, and pay homage to the product you are selling. Yellow makes a great highlight color for buttons and sub header text. Complimentary colors, such as blue and gray work well with yellow, and can be used in your images, page layout design and text. Current trends lean toward a minimalist view, which translates to simplicity in design; flat logos, minimal color palettes.

Watch for more blogs related to color from Annette  and 360 WEB DESIGNS, including color blind issues, color theory, and website design color examples.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Learning a New Skill While on the Job

Learning a new skill can be daunting when it is connected with learning while on the job. There are times when one needs to bullshit their way through a client's question until you have time to go and research the issue. But the rewards can be great, including the following points.
  • You get paid to learn instead of the other way around
  • You may end up with a skill that earns a higher wage
  • Your boss will see that you are growing and may consider you quite valuable. 

Here are 10 tips to Learning a new skill while on the job:

  1. Never let a client see you sweat. If you don't know the answer, make an excuse to get back to them on the question. Always find out the answer and get back to the client. Most of the time they don't expect you to know everything, but they do expect that you can find out and report back to them in a timely manner. 
  2. Make affirmations. Seek out good things to say to yourself, and say them often. This will keep you moving forward when your lack of experience gets you down. I say to myself "I learn and improve from my mistakes." or "I may not be there yet, but I am closer than I was yesterday."
  3. Find a mentor. Whether it is your cubicle mate, or an outsider, find a mentor that is knowledgeable on the subject. Unless they feel threatened, they usually like to share their smarts. Find someone that is not a direct competitor, and ask if they would mind if you called them once in a while. If they are not able to help, don't hesitate to see if they know someone who can help you. 
  4. Research. Spend time outside of work researching. Go to the library. Believe it or not, the library still has information that is not on the internet. Even just skimming books can give you lots of info. 
  5. Organize. If you have a meeting with a client or a manager coming up, take the time to organize your notes, new vocabulary, or concepts. This will empower you with confidence and help with recall during tense moments.
  6. Breathe. Don't give in to those feelings of doubt when you have a frustrating day in the learning curve. Getting paid while you learn is a fantastic opportunity. Your boss knows that you are learning, and while they will expect you to get educated and start using the knowledge in a timely manner, they will be blown away if you can stay calm and sound confident.
  7. Learn how to run a meeting effectively. This will come in handy when you need to get others to work with you to get the job done. For example, when I was starting out in the web design business, I had to learn about search engine optimization. Much of the team was out of the country, and I didn't have the luxury of getting information on a daily basis from them. About once a month, we would have a conference call. It became imperative to run a tight meeting to get all answers and to make sure everyone knew their duties. Running Effective Meetings by Keith Jackson Effective Meetings by Keith Jackson is an easy to read, yet informative article about leading meetings.
  8. Always make sure to be on top of your other duties. It is expected that you stumble a bit on this new skill, but not at the expense of your job. We all have a list of responsibilities, and managing them well will keep your confidence up while the new skill drags on you. 
  9. Build in study and practice into your work day. If you can, set up specific time each day to work on the skill; time enough to see forward progress, but not so much you become overwhelmed or that the rest of your job suffers.  
  10. Enjoy yourself. If it is not something you truly enjoy learning, then at least give yourself rewards for attaining goals. A break, time with friends after work, or a stop at the mall for a new accessory can make the hard work a bit more fun.
At the end of every day, when you look back, ask yourself what you learned. Every piece of knowledge is a building block to the next level. And when you have the opportunity to learn a new skill while on the job, take the challenge and prove yourself competent. You will see the rewards as you achieve each goal.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Mother's Gift of Confidence

Back then I thought that my mother was taking the easy route by telling me, "You can do anything you decide to do, Annette".  I realize now the impact that it has had on my life. We all go through low times, heavy with chaos, fear or loss, but what makes us come out on the other side intact is the confidence that our parents instilled. Parents can always push harder, watch closer, stand over shoulders and make us practice more, but the courage they inspire is what makes us have the confidence to take the first step. Take the time to pour a cup of spirit for your child, and thank the one who fed your confidence.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fishy Friends Character Exploration

The sea, or my imagination of it, is quite the exciting place. Everyone is looking for a friend. A fun frenzy adds up to a wave of happy fish until a mysterious evening shadow looms. Scattering, the sea group divides and heads home leaving the new guy to start a new party.


Here are a few new character sketches for Fishy Friends

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentines! 
click on the link below to see your valentine e-card

Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Work, Fewer Clients: Create Lasting Business Relationships

Repeat customers is the key my dad used to say is the way to build your business. If your customer knows he will be treated with respect and honesty, they will usually come back. That was in the grocery store, but the same applies to the Illustration business. Long time business relationships become that way by the following:

1. Be real. And real nice. Clients have hired you to be the expert. If you feel that there is a flaw in the document layout or a better way to get the message across, it is your job to relay that message. I love emails for this. It gives me a chance to word the idea so that no feelings are damaged. Take every opportunity to compliment your clients on their good taste. It reminds them that they have made the right decision hiring you, and will be more likely to allow you to do your job.

2. Work quickly while retaining quality. Deadlines are crucial to most clients. One of the quickest ways to lose a client is to be late on a project or over budget. It usually takes more time at the beginning of a project, so be ready to put a bit extra in to assure quality doesn't suffer.

3. Be a part of the team. Even if you work remote and never see your clients. There is a lot of pressure in some companies, and good team skills will reflect a happy and productive group.

Being a team player means:

Sharing: Don't be stingy with ideas. The more the better.
Be on time for meetings.
Research ahead.
Show confidence, not arrogance.
Be helpful.