How to create the best color scheme for your brand
When you set out to pick the best brand colors for your business, one thing that you will hear me say about EVERYTHING is avoid the trends! Nothing is worse than investing time, energy, and money into something that is going to grow stale.
What YOU like VS What everyone else likes
There is a fine line in branding between doing what you like and doing what your consumers will like. I think both are equally important, but I will always be in favor of YOU. And here is why:
People’s “likes” change
The thing about other people, is they are easily swayed by what is trendy. What they like changes week by week, so gauging what your consumers would like will end up causing you to follow trends. Feel free to use their opinions as inspiration, but ultimately do what you think is best for your business.
Your business is about you and your services
As much as you want to reflect your consumers, in the end people are attracted to your business because of you and your services. Your uniqueness and talent is one of a kind, and your branding colors should reflect you, not others.
You don’t want to be stuck with colors you hate
Let’s say you do wedding photography, and all your clients love blush. Because of this you think you should have blush in your brand colors, but the problem is you HATE pink. If this scenario sounds familiar, whatever you do, just don’t do it. Although pink is a great feminine color and is flirty, sexy, or romantic – if you don’t like it just don’t do it. You’ll be staring at your brand more than anyone else, so don’t pick something you hate. Look to other similar colors that you do like. lavender for example, or maybe a peach? Both of these still have a feminine aspect to them if you love your brand you’ll feel more confident when you share it with the world.
Timeless over trendy
It is so easy to get swept into the current trends of design and business. And while it is good to stay ahead of the trends, when it comes to your own brand it is more important to remain timeless. Your brand is ultimately your face, and you want it to be recognized. Creating a timeless brand allows for that recognition to continue to grow without sacrificing the loss that occurs when you change your brand style frequently.
As always we hope you found this post to be helpful! If you have any questions about our branding process or if you are ready to take your business to the next level, don’t hesitate to reach out!
When you set out to pick the best brand colors for your business, one thing that you will hear me say about EVERYTHING is avoid the trends! Nothing is worse than investing time, energy, and money into something that is going to grow stale. What YOU like VS What everyone else likes There is a […]
How Copywriting is an Intricate Part of Your Brand
Did you know that copywriting is an intricate part to your brand? I imagine not since you are reading this post, and that’s totally okay! Branding is not just the visual identity of your business, but also involves the written word.
While we are a branding studio and focus on creating organic & beautiful brands, we didn’t want to try and speak to the importance of copywriting alone. So, we have invited Bianca of Next Edition Copywriting to join us in a little Q&A session to discuss words and how important they are for your brand presence.
First things first, tell us a little bit about you!
Thanks for having me, Hannah! As you mentioned, my name is Bianca Foti and I am from a small suburb just north of Toronto, Canada. I currently run my own communications agency called Next Edition, where I work with all types of businesses to develop and review content. I have a background in marketing communications and worked in the financial services industry for three years. Just last June, I decided to leave my corporate job and pursued my copyediting side-hustle full time. I wanted to escape that 9 to 5 lifestyle so I could indulge in things like travel, while doing what I loved at the same time. Being self-employed has opened me to a world of new and exciting projects across so many different industries all over the world. Not to mention, I’ve met so many incredible people along the way (like yourself!) I am also the Copy Editor for a women’s wellness and self-care publication based in Los Angeles, CA called Thoughtfully. All work things aside, I am the ultimate bookworm, love to travel and enjoy spending time outdoors!
After all those essays in school, a lot of us feel like we can write pretty well. But there is so much more behind professional copywriting! Can you talk a little bit about the importance of hiring a professional ‘writer’ versus trying to DIY it?
There is so much more to copywriting than meets the eye. While being grammatically correct is imperative to a business’ credibility, content also needs to be engaging and relevant to your intended audience. There is much more strategy behind developing content and being authentic is a huge part of it. By hiring a professional copywriter, you get the added value of someone’s unique style of writing and creativity, which helps to get your point across in a way that makes your audiences feel something. Copywriting is also key component in developing your brand identity and personality online. As a business owner, you’re responsible for so many things already and by transferring this responsibility to a hired professional saves you time to focus on your craft.
What does it mean to have a unique voice in your brand copywriting? What steps do you take to develop that for clients?
Getting to know my clients and what inspired them to start their businesses is extremely important when developing a unique brand voice. For me, a unique brand voice is a consistent tone that you carry in all of your marketing content. It is also serves as an important step in building the “personality” of your business—whether it’s on social media, on your website or in your marketing collateral. At the start of every project, I will send clients a questionnaire to get a sense of who they are, their history, what inspired them to start their business and what they enjoy (interests, hobbies, causes, etc.). This really gets me to the “heart” of what clients are doing, which helps me establish that “connection” with their intended audience when I write.
Let’s talk about connection and speaking to your audience. It’s a huge part of a successful brand. Can you elaborate on that concerning copywriting?
As I mentioned earlier, when developing any form of content, it’s always important to understand who you’re speaking to, the objective of what you’re sharing and developing the content with all of that in mind. All copywriting is strategic and should connect to the values of your brand and audience in a straightforward way. At the end of the day, engaging your audience is the goal and being thoughtful, authentic and concise are key pillars when it comes to achieving that.
What areas would someone best benefit from investing in professional copywriting?
Investing in professional copywriting enhances a company’s credibility and establishes their purpose in a clear, concise and immediate way. It also contributes to a business’ overall brand identity in communicating who they are and what they stand for. Given how fast-paced our world is and how inundated with are with content, it’s important to stand out.
How can well-written, great copy, change the way a business is viewed?
The way a business communicates is an integral part of their overall success and longevity. How a business writes ultimately determines how it is perceived by the public. From tone and use of emotional appeal to the style of writing and diction—each are instrumental in communicating a business’ mission, values, brand message and overall identity. In my opinion, if the content is authentic, clear and to the point, it will resonate more positively, with more people.
When should copy be written in 1st person versus 3rd person?
This is an interesting one because I feel like the use of first person versus third person is entirely dependent on the business and/or the platform they’re communicating on. I strongly believe that anything personal like a blog or in some cases, the “About/Our Story” section of a website should be written in the first person. It’s an easy way to create a more personal connection with readers and its great a tactic of emotional appeal, which I’m an advocate for. However, the same argument can be made for using the third person in the “About/Our Story” section of website. In contrast, the use of third person establishes a more objective and professional tone, which is a great way to reinforce a business’ credibility, especially when it comes to discussing historical achievement and successes. That being said, this is definitely not black and white and something I determine on a case-by-case basis.
If someone with a smaller budget could only invest in one outlet for copy, which would you advise is the most important?
I always recommend investing in website content because once that copy is written, it can be leveraged to develop marketing materials, one-pagers, brochures, social media content and even client presentations. It’s a great starting point.
Can you give us a small look behind the scenes? What does the process of working with you look like?
Every client that I work with always becomes a dear friend. I am a business owner myself, so I find that I can relate to most of my clients almost immediately. My process is extremely simple. To get started, I often schedule a phone consultation with the client to understand the scope of the project, as well as determine the deadline for completion. This is followed by a client questionnaire to get a better understanding of the business/business professional that I’m working with – this serves as a foundational starting point to inspire the content. Once I’m finished, the client will review the content and share any feedback. If the content is being uploaded online, I will also conduct a digital review to ensure there are no transposing errors for a polished final product.
With so many creatives out there offering copywriting, do you have any tips for finding the perfect person to work with?
I think finding someone that you can trust and depend on is paramount. I also place high importance on flexibility. As many creatives know, sometimes deadlines are unforeseen and being able to have someone that you can call to push something out the door in a short period of time is crucial. This can be anything from a client pitch presentation, or marketing collateral for a last-minute trade show! Finding someone who specializes in your specific niche of business or finding a creative with a style of writing that speaks your language is also important.
|Bianca Foti is the Founder of Next Edition, a boutique communications agency based in Toronto, ON. She is also the Copy Editor at Thoughtfully Magazine, a women’s wellness and self-care publication. Her go-to’s for creative inspiration include motivational reads, podcasts and curated travel experiences.
Did you know that copywriting is an intricate part to your brand? I imagine not since you are reading this post, and that’s totally okay! Branding is not just the visual identity of your business, but also involves the written word. While we are a branding studio and focus on creating organic & beautiful brands, […]
Brand Film Mentorship with Alé Vidal
“Why do you want to do video?”
I was asked this during a Mentorship call. It caused me to pause, flounder in my speech, but ultimately stay silent. It was something I hadn’t really explored. I was just passionate about it, I had never put my finger on why.
In March I attended my Mentorship with the amazing, inspiring, kind soul (I could go on) that is Alé Vidal. If you don’t know about her – tie your socks down then click here.
It was one of exploration, beauty, and depth. An experience that I will never forget, and one that I wish I could relive.
I discovered clarity on many things that I struggled with. The main one was listening to others instead of tuning into myself. My own voice had been drowned by others that inspired me. I no longer saw things with my own vision, but through the lens of “successful” individuals in my field.
Alé encouraged me to discover my voice, how I see things, and to experiment to find the real Hannah and her values. The scales fell from my eyes that day.
Besides the deep reflection that occurred before, during, and after the Mentorship, I also learned hands-on filming with Alé in her studio. We filmed a brand narrative for a skin care specialist who selects the best ingredients of oils, florals, and powders to create soothing remedies. Crafting intentional, beautiful products by connecting with nature through the products she creates. She being the beautiful and talented Liz (the gorgeous blonde you’ll see in the video later on).
I didn’t know what to expect upon arriving to the Mentorship. To meet people I had followed online in person. To share time, space, heartfelt conversations and skills with each other. People are such beautiful creations. Sometimes I think we forget to really see that in one another. But it wasn’t difficult to see it here.
We filmed for a few hours after outlining the film’s narrative. It was challenging for me to take the lead, to direct, and feel confident in doing so. After all, I was the ameature. But Alé and Liz both encouraged me and assisted me in my growth as a videographer.
I really have so much to thank them for.
If I could go back, you bet I would do things differently. I would be more bold to follow my gut, and would have brought better gear (^_^). But the exploration would have been the same. The awe at the depth and wisdom of Alé, and the kindness and beauty to Liz.
I had to push away a lot of fear and anxiety to attend, but I knew deep down that it would alter my future. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Shout out to Alé for also secretly filming me as I did the same. Below is a compilation video of my experience there. I hope you enjoy.
“Why do you want to do video?” I was asked this during a Mentorship call. It caused me to pause, flounder in my speech, but ultimately stay silent. It was something I hadn’t really explored. I was just passionate about it, I had never put my finger on why. In March I attended my Mentorship […]
Best Apps for Your Business
Running your own business isn’t easy, and when you’re first starting out we know you’ll be looking for as many ways as you can find to ease the load of that to-do list. We’ve worked together a list of some of the best apps for your business so you can start out on top and skip the scrambling phase.
Gsuite is by far one of our most useful apps and programs in our business. Pay a small $5 a month and you have all the perks of gmail with your own domain specific email. Along with a professional looking email address, you also have access to all the other apps: Google Docs (the equivalent to Microsoft Word) Google Sheets (the equivalent to Microsoft Excel) Google Slides (the equivalent to Microsoft Powerpoint), Google Forms (forms you can create and send to collect data and information) and Google Calendar. All of which you can use and organize within your Google Drive– which we will cover in more detail later.
Oh, Dubsado. We could write a love poem about this online application. When we first started out, we used Freshbooks for invoicing and bookkeeping. While it got the job done, we were finding ourselves needing other tools like contracts and project task management. Dubsado is an all in one client management system. Not only can you send invoices, contracts, and forms, but you can create and manage tasks, time track projects, and send proposals or galleries for approval. The options are endless, and the team is constantly adding updates as they listen to their user’s feedback and ideas.
Most likely you will need to make appointments with… someone during your reign as freelancer/entrepreneur. Our go-to app is Calendly. You can set up appointment times, specify meeting length and contact methods, as well as add specific questions to pick the best method and time to contact. There are more features you can unlock by paying their membership fee, like sending reminder emails and having multiple appointment options. If your business is heavily appointment based, it may be worth the investment. Definitely check them out and give the free version a go at minimum. If you create your account by connecting it with your Google Account, it will automatically add new appointments to your google Calendar as well as set reminders. If you block days or times on your Google Calendar, this will also reflect on Calendly.
Very similar to Calendly, Acuity has more features that help seamlessly connect your current on-boarding route. With the ability to embed the scheduling calendar you can place it on your website or within your Dubsado/CMS forms. There is a free version, but it doesn’t sync up to your calendar programs. This means that you will have to manually block your availability within Acuity, instead of everything connecting like Calendly. Note, if you do decided to upgrade and pay it will then allow you to sync them together.
When tax season rolls around, you’ll be wishing you had Quickbooks. Connect your business bank account and organize the purchases that roll in by their tax category. You can also take pictures of receipts or track your car mileage with their phone app. When that dreaded season rolls up, you can import all of this information into TurboTax and save yourself one major migraine.
Asana has become our all-in-one task application. Their free version is killer, and if you upgrade you get a slew more features. Make task lists or task boards that allow you to add all the specific information to each entry including due dates and files. Add users to projects and send messages within the app. We use it for personal project tasking and management, as well as drafting blog and newsletter ideas and content.
Asana is our favorite ever since it included the task board feature (heavily inspired by Trello). But, there is still a cult following for Trello, another great task app. We have also used Wunderlist and Evernote, which are similar task list oriented applications.
Photo & Video Editing Apps
Not everyone has the budget, skill set, or time needed to learn and use Adobe Creative Cloud. Their photo and video editing applications are the best in our humble opinion, but there are a lot of other great options on desktop and mobile for these tasks.
If you have a Mac, iMovie is a great alternative to Adobe Premier for your video editing projects. In fact, we will use it for small scale video editing over Premier… despite having both on our computers.
A phone version of Photoshop, Snapseed is easily our favorite picture editing app on our mobile phones. Retouch image color, lighting, orientation, size, and more. You can brush away blemishes (pesky zit be-gone!) and enhance or desaturate areas of the image specifically. So many options right at your fingertips. They also include some great basic filters for easy enhancement.
Another great mobile photo editing app, the filters on VSCO are killer. With tons of free options and a huge library, you can create tonal image transformations to generate that consistent look you want on social media.
Ever get tired of the constant stopping and starting while recording on Instagram stories? Yea, us too. Instead, try recording straight from your phones recording option then throw it into Story Split to break it into the exact length you need. For Instagram, that’s 10 second clips. Then, upload the new individual trimmed clips to your stories, and rewatch to see the seamless transition between.
AZ Screen Recorder
With your IOS device there is a screen recording option already included, for Android users we have to go get something (come on Android!). Nonetheless, there are plenty of apps out there to choose from. We currently use AZ Screen Recorder that gets the job done well. It also has a snazzy “shake your phone to stop recording” feature that comes in handy.
A new obsession, Unfold is a pretty story maker for photos and videos. Lay out multiple images and video into a single story to export and upload to Instagram or other social apps. The user interface is also gorgeous, and looks like something we would design. Hah! A similar app we are still looking into is In Shot.
If you are into planning your Instagram feed, our favorite is Preview. It’s simple, basic, and gets the job done. Add your images and videos, rearrange to the layout desired and prompt post reminders. You can also draft your captions inside the app to populate when you push the post.
If you are looking for something more robust:
Planoly is comprehensive and definitely a crowd pleasure. They have a browser version allowing you to upload and plan from your computer. (Yes please!) There is an uploading limit and a upgrade plan to unlock more features. If social media management is on your plate, definitely think about upgrading to Planoly. They have also been granted access by the oh-so-strict Instagram, to auto-post. Huge!
If you need just basic layout planning, then try Preview or even Plann.
You may feel like Snapchat is past it’s glory days, but it’s video capturing features are perfect for Instagram stories. Not only do their filters look way better than Instagram’s, you can also export the video into 10 second segments after recording. This allows you to upload to Instagram stories and have seamless transitions between each story.
If you like to share other users images on Instagram, the Regram app allows you to copy the image and save it to your phone. Always remember, GIVE CREDIT. Not only on the image tag, but in the caption itself. No one likes taking credit for someone else’s work, or seeing others do it. Things can get lost in the regram loop, so if you plan to do so always plan to give credit.
This little app can be used in countless ways. We personally like using it for pushing our Instagram posts to Pinterest. To summarize IFTTT: if this “action” happens then that “action” should happen. Apply that algorithm to anything and everything.
Combin is a desktop app that assists you in your Instagram growth ventures. Search hashtags, comment, like, and follow users from your Desktop. It’s non-spammy and simply allows you to socialize like you would on your phone… on your desktop. If you are like us, tiny screens and pecking phone keyboards can be a nuisance. We love being able to type out our responses and find endless new accounts to follow and interact with all from our computer screen.
We run a company that includes a LOT of files for a lot of different people. Organization and storage is key for us. We use Dropbox and sync it to both of our computers. We are able to add, edit, and work from our Dropbox folders just like we would saving directly to our desktop and it translates to both locations AND stores it online. A little extra reassurance!
Google drive is free for those with google accounts, and as we mentioned at the top of this post a feature of Gsuite. We use this to share files with clients, as well as create folders and content for them to edit and add to. It’s a great storage and sharing method, and has plenty of space for you to start out with.
Oh look, it’s a Google app again! Google Hangouts (aka Gtalk) is a great app for chatting, video & voice calls. It is directly integrated into your gmail, or you can bring it up in a new window if you don’t want to be reminded of all those emails you haven’t responded to yet.
Another great chat and video app is Skype. You can place voice or video calls with users from around the globe. We’ve had calls with clients in Dubai, Barbados, and London without any connection issues.
If you have the pleasure of working with people from around the world like we do, WhatsApp is a great thing to know about. It connects with your phone number, and allows you to place calls with others outside of your residential country without having to pay the insane long-distance fees most providers have.
Zoom is a video app with lots of bells and whistles. You can chat with multiple users and share the screen between all, or have it showcase the person talking with the others smaller. There is a chat section as well for asking questions or making conversation while one person takes the mic.
Time Management Apps
Before Dubsado integrated their time tracking app, we used Toggl. It has a great tracking method for all of your hourly tasks. Categorize them by client or project, and color code to your heart’s content. There is a free version that works great, and also an upgrade if you need more features for your studio or team.
Quality Time monitors your time use on your phone. Get a daily breakdown of the apps you used and for how long, as well as the total time you spent on your mobile device. Take back your hours and get some accountability for those subconscious scrolling moments.
We hope this post will save you the countless hours of research or trial and error that we participated in when first starting our business. In today’s age, we have so much readily available at our fingertips. Starting your own venture is easier than ever. With the help of these tools and other professionals, there is no doubt you can take your business to the next level.
If you are at a stage in your business where you find yourself in need of branding, web design, photography and more, we hope you reach out! We would love to be of some assistance in your new venture and help you grow by creating a visual identity online that is unmatched by competitors.
Running your own business isn’t easy, and when you’re first starting out we know you’ll be looking for as many ways as you can find to ease the load of that to-do list. We’ve worked together a list of some of the best apps for your business so you can start out on top and […]
Importance of Brand Photography
The creation of your brand does not start or stop at a logo design. If you’ve been going through the process of (re)branding your business, you’ve probably already learned that there are many other aspects to it. Not only are the logos important, but the color scheme you pick speaks of emotion and implies feelings upon your users, your fonts can also give off an impression so they should be chosen accordingly. You also will have elements, icons, patterns and more branded with your business. Logos will be crafted to reflect your trade and passion, and a website will also be built to reflect it all and guide viewers through your process.
Even with all these things i just listed, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s talk Brand Photography.
WHAT IS BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY
Brand Photography is taking what you discovered in your branding process and reflecting it into the photos of your products or services.
If you are a florist, it will most likely include photographs of you arranging, working, and also photographs of your beautiful flowers out in the world or in your own studio.
If you are a Photographer, Brand Photography becomes more about you. Obviously your photography is the main component of your Brand Photography, but don’t forget about YOU. Pictures of yourself shooting, or even just posed are an essential part.
A more obvious representation would be if you sell products. Maybe you are a jewelry maker. Your Brand Photography would be creating an emotional attachment to the gorgeous jewelry you make through styled and well lit settings.
Your Brand Photography style should evolve from the brand adjectives you discovered during the initial discovery phase. Some examples of these might be: romantic, ethereal, expensive (or) boho, organic, approachable.
Use these adjectives to brainstorm and research your photography style. Should all things be very crystal clear in your photos? Should you have a very soft blur to most of the objects around the main attraction? The coloring of your photos is another important piece of the puzzle. Soft pinks, or stark oranges, neutrals and so forth, can cause an emotional response from your viewers.
Go out and collect examples of photos that would go well with your style. Make a moodboard digitally or in the real world. Keep them there for a source of inspiration and a reminder.
GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY VS AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY
There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful logo on amateur (or plain ugly) photography. Every piece of your brand matters, as I mentioned above. The photography that you pair with your brand needs to compliment and elevate it even more.
If you are going to invest in a new brand, you need to invest in good photography too.
Whether your consumers see the photo first, or the logo, both should reflect and represent the other perfectly. It creates cohesion which is an essential part of a professional & memorable brand.
Good Photography further compels users to research or buy. Amateur photography can deter or distract the audience from looking into your business any further.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Now that we’ve discussed how important photography is for your brand and business, it might be in your best interest to find a photographer that can do the job. Whenever you are looking for a Photographer you need to make sure they have a similar style, or can mimic the style you need easily.
Tuesday’s Together through The Rising Tide Society, as well as their online community through HoneyBooks, is an amazing place to start.
Have a budget in mind, but be open to people’s pricing. It’s easy to get wound up in the numbers and not realize the beautiful ART that will be the outcome. These types of things take talent, a creative eye, and years of practice. Amazing photography doesn’t come cheap.
Don’t be discouraged, everyone is at a different stage in their business and if you stay open minded and honest about what your needs are I’m sure you’ll find someone who will be able to assist you.
EXAMPLES OF BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY
A great place to get examples of good (and bad) brand photography is on Instagram. Go look up some of your favorite brands/businesses and pay attention to the overall aesthetic of their photography. You should be able to think of a few adjectives that describe it, and if they did a good job those adjectives would by synonymous with their brand.
Tono & Co : Adjectives that I think of when looking at their feed are luxury, handmade, romantic, soft.
White Flag : Adjectives I think of are hand-made, honest, simplistic, homey.
Cuyana : Adjectives I think of are quality, expensive, high-fashion, celebrity style.
Anthropologie: Adjectives I think of are bohemian, earthy, organic, natural, unique.
Examples always help! So now that you understand the importance and process of Brand Photography, it’s time for you to focus on your own. Head out to Pinterest or some of your favorite brands and collect photos that inspire you for your own business. Create a mood board and take note of the things in each photo that you like. Is it the metallic details? Is it the wind swept hair or movement? Is it the way they focus on the subject? Write all these notes down and pin them next to your pictures. Use this as your source as you photograph your own work, or work with a photographer.
And don’t forget, we are always here to help! We offer Product Photographer where we create the perfect setting in our studio that compliments your brand, and photograph your products in a meaningful and beautiful way, editing them and delivering them digitally to you after. If you don’t need photos of products, we can help you find and select the perfect curated collection of stock images.
Any questions? Feel free to leave them below or email us.
The creation of your brand does not start or stop at a logo design. If you’ve been going through the process of (re)branding your business, you’ve probably already learned that there are many other aspects to it. Not only are the logos important, but the color scheme you pick speaks of emotion and implies feelings […]