Downloadable #workingon Graphics For Your Business

Downloadable #workingon Graphics For Your Business

Downloadable #workingon Graphics For Your Business

I know graphic design can’t save the world… but hopefully it can help someone out a little bit!

So I have added a few free #workingon graphics to my online store! Just download and print or stick ‘em on your socials to let your customers know that you are still trading and how. There’s Facebook, Instagram and A4 poster bundles, each with slogans like “Now delivering”, “Online appointments available”, “Business as usual” and more. Feel free to download and use them as much as you like, and please do share the link around to any small businesses who might be able to use them.

The social media graphics are sized perfectly for each platform. The A4 posters are designed so they can be printed easily on the office printer, but still look great if you decide to have them professionally printed (and support a local printshop!)

I also have a few other small business graphics bundles that I am offering for chump change. My focus has been on things relevant to the current situation like “Sanitiser station” and “Full takeaway menu”. I plan to keep adding more each day and will also include some with editable fields so users can add their own info. So please – I would love any feedback or ideas about what you could use.

Love, Demelza

#freebies #graphicdesign #designneversleeps #covid19 #keepcalmandcarryon #smallbusiness #entrepreneur #microbusinesslegends #creativeforthepeople #powdermonkeydesign

Do I Need to Trademark My Brand?

Do I Need to Trademark My Brand?

Do I Need to Trademark My Brand?

It’s a question many people ask themselves when they are starting a new business – “do I need to trade mark my business name or logo?”

The short answer is no; you don’t.

But SHOULD you trade mark your logo or business name? The answer to that one is a bit trickier.


Trademarking vs. Registering a Business Name

Before we take a deep dive into that, I’m going to clear up one aspect of the whole trade marking thing that sometimes comes up when I’m working with start ups. Registering your business name isn’t the same as trade marking your business name. In order to do business in Australia you need to first apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number). Then register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. You don’t need to register your business name if you want to trade under your own name, but you still need an ABN.

This registration with ASIC is really just a case of registering to trade – letting them know you’re there and you’re legit. It doesn’t provide you with any ownership or protection of your name (or your logo). And it doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s trade marked business name.

When you trade mark your business name or logo (or another aspect of your business) you obtain the exclusive legal right to use it. Registration of trade marks is done through IP Australia and involves an application process. There is also a fee for each business class you wish to register your trade mark in. Their website is full of great info and also has a search feature so you can check whether the thing you want to trade mark has already been trade marked.


To Trademark or Not To Trademark?

Which brings us right on back to the question of whether or not a small business should trademark their name or logo.

There are a few things to consider. Top of the list when starting a business is usually money. According to ASIC, it costs roughly $250 to apply for a trade mark. And that fee applies for each class of business you wish to register your trade mark in. Plus if your application is rejected for any reason, these fees are not refundable. So there’s a very real chance you could be laying out some serious dosh to make your trade mark happen. Especially if you need to go through the process more than once.

For most new small businesses every dollar counts and every spend needs to be on something essential. And whether or not a trade mark is essential is going to depend on your circumstances.

Give some thought to what the chances are of someone ripping off the IP you wish to trademark, and what the impact to your business would be if they did. Are you trading under your own name? It’s probably unlikely someone else in your industry will copy your logotype. Does your business only operate in a small local area? Perhaps this means your competition is limited and a clash of interests is unlikely? Do you feel that if someone was to start using the same name or a similar logo that it would be a deal breaker for your business? Or do you think you could recover from a re-badge pretty easily?

 

Think Timing…

Trade marking might also be something you want to do but that you decide can wait until you reach other business goals or milestones. Perhaps this can be worked into your business plan as something you do when cash flow allows. Or when you feel your brand has started to gain some traction and become valuable enough to trade mark.

Whether or not you decide to trade mark your business name, it is well worth checking before you start your business to see if the name you want is already trade marked. Just in case you are inadvertently treading on someone else’s toes! It’s also a great idea to check up on any domain names you might be after at the same time. Although bear in mind registering a domain name doesn’t give you any rights to use a certain business name either. That way you know you have a clear path to the identity you want for your new business, and won’t have to spend time or money repairing any branding mistakes down the road.

#microbusinesslegend #entrepreneur #businessstartup #smallbusiness  #trademark #creativeforthepeople #powdermonkeydesign

4 Rules For Small Business Branding

4 Rules For Small Business Branding

4 Rules For Small Business Branding

Starting and running a small business is daunting. No doubt about it. The number of things that need to be weighed up and decided upon is endless, and varies so much from industry to industry that even seasoned business people can find themselves on a very steep learning curve.

 

The main focus during the start up phase nearly always ends up being money. The whole, “do I need to spend money on this?” thing, as well as that other old chestnut; “how do I keep the money coming in?”

 

For business with a customer focus (that’s most of us) who are looking to create and maintain a reputation, strong branding is a key part of the process. How you brand your business can have an impact on several aspects of your sales cycle, from grabbing the attention of potential customers, to reassuring current ones, to generating repeat business.

 

Large corporates, of course, have the luxury of spending big bucks on agencies or even employing their own teams dedicated to making sure their branding is always on point. For the small- or micro-business, though, branding can seem like a sidebar. Something you shove on the backburner until the business takes off. Or – you know – “I’m a plumber and I’m good at plumbing and people will realise that when they hire me so why would I need to worry about my brand??”

 

Now obviously, as a graphic designer my first piece of advice is always gonna be “invest in a great logo”. But branding doesn’t end once that’s sorted. with a healthy respect for the image you are projecting and a little bit of diligence you can create a strong brand with even the beeriest of beer budgets!

 

Here are my 4 essential rules for managing your own small business brand to perfection:

 

1. Keep it consistent

This is the name of the game, my friends. If you can maintain a consistent look and feel across all the visual aspects of your business, you’ve got a brand! You can hire marketing professionals who can drill down into every little thing for you and style it, but for the cash-strapped startup, consistency can be achieved just by paying attention to the little things.
 
If your designer has provided you with a style guide, make sure you use your corporate fonts and colours for any documents you generate in-house. Check your social media profiles are all using the same logo, and that any header images team with the theme. Think about your social media posts and keep them consistent in tone and in look – if you’re creating images for your posts get those corporate typefaces and colours in there wherever possible. When outsourcing design work for things like promotional flyers or a website, use the same designer for everything – or choose one who has a good understanding of the importance of branding (some designers like to play a little fast and loose with your established style).
 

2. Consider your target market

If you’ve written a business or marketing plan, you will already be familiar with who your target market is and what they are into. But if you haven’t yet gone down this road, now’s a great time to give it some thought. Once you know who your customer is you can begin to tailor your branding towards this demographic.
 
The most obvious way to tailor your brand to your target market is to choose a visual style that is likely to appeal to this group, but you should also consider the content you generate and the language you use to write it. If the people you need can relate, you are part way there!
 

3. Mind your spelling and grammar

This stuff is so important to the image a business projects. And we aren’t paying enough attention to it any more.
 
Proof read and correct any spelling and grammatical errors on everything your business puts out into the world. It is cheap, it’s easy – and it can make a huge difference to the way potential and existing customers view your brand.
 
Don’t limit your proof-reading to printed matter like brochures and reports – be sure to give all your email correspondence and social media posts a good checking as well. The rise of social media and the DIY-ness of it all means that many businesses are cranking out content that’s barely intelligible – which doesn’t inspire confidence.
 
Don’t get me wrong – the odd typo happens to us all, and they can elude even the most fastidious proof reader. But nothing should go out without a few read-throughs and tweaks to make sure it makes sense and sets your brand in the best possible light.
 

4. Resolution, baby!

I know it comes under the banner of boring designspeak, but image resolution is important.
 
Nothing looks dodgier than a pixellated logo or graphic. Like bad spelling or grammar, it can really effect the image your business is putting out there.
 
Choose a designer who will provide you with your logo files in various file formats and sizes, and then file them away (regardless of whether you can open the files on your computer). Web logos and graphics need to be low-resolution to optimise page loading times, so don’t assume that you can download your logo from your webpage (or images from someone else’s page – yikes!) and use them for printing.
 
Another hot tip is to never squash or stretch your logo when scaling it – always preserve the ratio. If your designer has provided a style guide you might also find she has created a series of ‘do’s and don’ts’ around using your logo, and these should always be followed. If not, just use your common sense (don’t place it on a crazy background so you can’t read it… things like that).


And for bonus points…

Remember that your business branding is closely tied to your marketing and overall business goals, so to really nail that branding it is important to spend time on preparing formal marketing and business plans. I know that sounds daunting and time-consuming, but there are a number of fantastic planning templates out there that make the process a breeze. Whether you are taking the DIY route, or overseeing a graphic designer or branding professional, a solid knowledge of what your goals are and who your market is will make all the difference to your end result.
At the end of the day, your brand is one of the most valuable assets your business owns. When your business is in the start-up stage, every day can feel like a slog – but by keeping one sneaky eye on your image, you can make sure your brand is working as hard as you are to bring customers through the door.
 
Go to it small and micro business legends!