Frequently Asked Questions
The simple answer is both. We help businesses define their branding strategy and design the individual components that express the brand. Key messages, tone of voice, the brand logo, and the look and feel of customer communications are all defined by the brand strategy. It’s a blueprint for how a brand presents itself to the world. Design, on the other hand, is the crafting of specific brand communications such as web pages, marketing literature, social media advertising, product packaging, and visual images in a way that is consistent with the brand strategy. To us, it’s all branding.
A brand is the sum total of impressions left in the minds of all people who engage with the business. That engagement can occur at any number of touchpoints. It might happen when someone visits the company website, sees an advertisement, a Facebook page, or a product package on a store shelf. While brands can’t be created, they can be controlled and managed. Branding coordinates the way a brand is presented, so a similar impression is left with all who come in contact with it. This kind of consistency instills a sense of familiarity and trust.
A logo is not a brand, but it is a crucial component. An effective logo embodies the inherent personality and character of the brand it represents.
A good brand strategy is the foundation on which the brand will be built over time. It must be done correctly because it will need to last for a long time. An effective brand strategy can make a business more visible, memorable, and valuable. It can clearly define the character of the company and create separation from competitors. Conversely, a poor strategy can confuse customers and undermine trust. When choosing a branding agency, look for deep experience, high-quality design, and a strong commitment to doing the hard work required to truly understand your business.
We’re small and responsive in a way that larger agencies can’t be. We have decades of experience and proven track record, but provide an intimate partner relationship with our clients. Our business model allows us to scale up or down as needed through our team of carefully chosen partners, but you will always have direct access to Lauren Smith, the principal. Because we choose to remain small, we are responsive in a way that larger agencies can’t be. We take on fewer clients but are passionately committed to their success.
Our services fall into two broad categories. For our larger clients, we act as an extension of their brand communications and marketing teams providing design services that fold seamlessly into their existing branding guidelines. For our smaller clients, we take a more strategic role, ensuring that the expression of their brand and all of their visual communications are consistent in message and tone and of the highest quality. We have many years of experience designing for both digital and print applications including, identity, publications, sales tools and literature, packaging, advertising, and online media.
As you can imagine, it varies quite a bit, depending on the scope of the project. Our fees are based on the value provided. We don’t usually charge by the hour because we don’t feel it’s fair to anyone. It’s not fair to us because we work fast, and the quicker we work, the less money we make. It’s not fair to you because when you agree to an hourly rate, you have no idea what the final cost will be. We prefer to provide an estimate for the work upfront and, should the scope of work change along the way, we’ll provide budget addendums as needed. That way, you’ll always know what it will cost and can budget accordingly.
We provide a lot of value, so we don’t negotiate our fees. However, if you’re working with a restricted budget, we’re happy to provide a proposal outlining what we’re able to deliver within those constraints.
It varies widely depending on the scope and complexity of the project. We’re always happy to propose a schedule including key milestones and commitments for us as well as for you.
Once a strategy is adopted, we typically develop an implementation plan based on your objectives and budget. From there, we’ll design and produce all brand communication materials on a project-by-project basis. We’ll engage copywriters, photographers, programmers, media planners, printers, and manufacturers as required.
We love working with small businesses. Working with new companies gives us an opportunity to play a more significant role in their development and ultimate success. We love being along for that ride! We aren’t a good fit for all small businesses, but we can be an invaluable resource to properly funded startups, helping them get off on the right foot with their branding.