Saturday, 1 October 2016

My Useful Guide: Professional Typography

Whether it’s serif, sans serif, script or display. Modern, traditional or somewhere in between, typography is key for great design and impact. 

With thousands of fonts to pick from, what do you need to consider to get the most out of the typography you choose?

The basics
What is typography? Essentially it is the arrangement, style and appearance of letters and numbers known as type. Typography can set the theme or tone of a particular message and can help to enhance the overall layout and design. Using the correct size, colour, leading, tracking and hierarchy can make the difference between good design and bad. 

All fonts communicate
Each font has a visual personality. Strong, dramatic, edgy, traditional, playful. Whatever it might be, choosing the right font is crucial. Pretty script fonts generally come across as soft and flowery, great for wedding invites. For a sheet metal fabricator, using a script font might not be achieving the highest impact. Big, bold fonts are maybe better suited. Decide on your main message and find a font that emphasizes it.

Create a hierarchy
Hierarchy helps guide the viewers’ eye to the most important elements. It adds interest and creates focus. If the text is all the same, not only is it boring and uninspiring but also it’s easily ignored. Break up chunks of text into main titles, subtitles and body copy. 

Size isn’t the only way of creating prominence. Find two fonts that pair up nicely and use one for titles and use the other for the bulk of the text. Pull out quotes and create features or add a splash of colour.

Leading, kerning and tracking are great tools and separate the good from the bad in the typography world. For those who don’t know: Leading is the space between lines of text. Kerning is the space between individual characters and tracking deals with the spacing between whole groups of characters. If text is too close together it becomes difficult to read and unsightly. Good leading provides enough white space between lines without becoming disjointed. The same can be said for tracking. Too tight or spaced out and it’s impossible to read. 

Kerning can be the difference between reading the right words and the wrong words. Although funny there have been some unfortunate mistakes when it comes to kerning. Google ‘bad kerning examples’ and you will see what we mean! Letters can begin to merge and words change meaning. A good example would be the ‘r’ and the ‘n’ of kerning, too close and it looks like ‘keming’.

Implementing all three correctly can create balance and enhance the viewers reading experience.

Size is often overlooked, but should be carefully considered. Too small and it becomes too hard to read. Too big and it’s overbearing and unnecessary. 10pt is a great starting point for brochure and flyer body copy. Don’t be afraid to go big and bold and make a statement with titles or key words. Using text as a design element can get some interesting results and make for eye-catching marketing material.

If using colour make sure there is good contrast. For example, yellow on white is not a great choice and can make text very hard to read. At the other end of the scale is too much contrast; a tint of dark grey can often sit better than pure black on white. 

Implementing clean and clear text is vital if you are to get your message across. Think about your target audience and how easy it will be for them to read. Less is always more.

Web fonts
Something else to consider are the fonts you use on your website. Ensure all of your visitors get the same experience by using a web safe font. If the font you use isn’t installed on the visitors’ computer then it will be substituted with a common one. This can effect the style and layout of your site.

Beautiful typography makes all the difference to any piece of design. If you would like help to create impact with your brand fonts then our team of professional designers are more than happy to help. Alternatively make the most of this months offer and receive £100 off a DL leaflet, or look at our portfolio and case study for inspiration.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

My Useful Guide: Professional Advertising

Advertising is everywhere. Whether it’s social media, glossy mags, billboards or bus shelters we are bombarded everyday with punchy imagery and catchy straplines, so not surprising many go unnoticed.

Adverts come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Covered by two categories, print and digital. Some go for shock tactics, others go for humour, some just state the facts and get straight to the point. 

But what makes a great advert great? 

Connect with your audience
Firstly your advert needs to connect with the right audience. It has to spark and intrigue and give them reason to stop and look. With just seconds to make an impression, a strong and engaging concept is a must.

Coherent text and bold headlines
The wording is important if you are going to successfully get your point across but a catchy headline is what’s going to draw in the audience and keep them interested. In a glance the audience needs to know what the advert is about and why they should be interested. Keep it short and sweet and stick to the important details. 

Memorable and recognisable
Gone but not forgotten is the aim. Not everybody will be in a position to act upon the advert immediately, so having a memorable advert which mirrors your brand style is important if it’s going to turn into sales. Some people may not even think twice at the time of seeing the advert, but make it memorable enough and they could be coming back to you when the time is right. 

Creative campaigns
An advert should be creative, appealing and original to hold the attention of the audience. Boost your brand awareness by designing a full campaign with a series of adverts that coincide and compliment each other. Make the most of printed and online adverts, depending on your audience.

A call to action
Give your audience something to act on. Provide a source of further information such as a web address, social media or phone number. This means that you can keep your content to a minimum on the ad but still offer the information they need online or by phone. Including your logo helps with association and acts as a visual aid.

Less is always more
Don’t clutter the ad, keep it clean and simple. Focused on the task in-hand. Think of it like the tea tray game we all played as a kid at parties. The more objects on the tray the harder it was to remember the trinket once it had gone. Adverts are similar, the fewer elements on the ad the easier it will be to remember the important details.

With a print ad you can afford finer details but with a digital ad it’s more important then ever to keep it minimal.  

Digital adverts are sneaking their way into our social media feeds and appearing at the side of websites, more and more. Printed adverts are as popular as always with magazines full of them. So what are the advantages of advertising?

It strengthens your brand
Establishing a recognisable and trustworthy brand can be achieved through advertising - using the same adverts can amplify this effect. How often do you see the same advert from the same brand but in a different location. Repeating an ad can reiterate its value and show that you have real faith in the product or service.

It spreads the word
Adding reputability and creating recognition. Whilst establishing awareness for a particular product or service you are also achieving awareness for everything else you do. Spreading the word far and wide - creating the potential for attracting new customers.

Target customers directly
By investing in advertising space in a magazine, catalogue or brochure within your industry means you can target you clients directly. Also using specific content within your ad can attract your target audience and help to establish a connection. Targeted ads are becoming more apparent online. Ever noticed how adverts appear related to your latest Google search? 

Advertising is a great tool for any business and can prove effective in more ways then one.

If your interested in advertising and need some design help - make the most of this months offer and save £100 of an ad perfect for print. Needs some inspiration? Have a look at our advertising or campaign portfolio, alternatively get in touch for more information.

Monday, 1 August 2016

My Useful Guide: Professional Stationery

As simple as it is, business stationery is an effective marketing tool with great efficiency when implemented properly. 

Reinforcing branding and business mentality, the modest business card and letterhead has the potential to open doors.

The basic stationery essentials are covered by three main elements, the business card, the letterhead and the compliment slip. This stationery trio are a triple threat in your marketing arsenal. Providing an upfront view of your professionalism and defining a business ethos of quality and integrity.

Things to consider
Distributing smart business cards when networking, corresponding on letterheaded paper and adding notes to compliment slips all provide a lasting impression. Keep your stationery clean, concise and on brand. Stick to the important details; phone numbers, office, email and web addresses. Social media platforms and USPs could also prove valuable. Add your name and job title to your business card. Make sure your logo is in pride of place and that all components are consistent across all elements of stationery. 

Quality shouts professionalism
Choosing the right paper stock is crucial. Too thin and flimsy and your business potentially comes across as lacking in professionalism. A good paper stock for a business card would be a laminated 400gsm or 350gsm for a more natural stock. For a letterhead and compliment slip 115gsm. We love to be tactile, and being able to feel the quality of the stock will make all the difference and add that sense of confidence and credibility.

There is also the option to add effects such as coloured foils, embossing or die cuts to enhance your business cards - these come at a price but really stand out from the crowd. When it comes to a pile of business cards, eyes are attracted to the unusual, the bright, the bold…even the SHINEY! Just like magpies. Investing that little bit extra proves that you have confidence in the business and it might just give you the edge over the competition.

Your business stationery, especially your business card, is often the first insight into your brand a client will experience, so getting it right is important.

If you fancy a new set of business stationery make the most of our August offer and receive £100 off our stationary package. Update your business card, letterhead and compliment slip and make a lasting impression. For inspiration visit our portfolio or read our latest case study on Chrysalis and their stationery rebrand.

Friday, 1 July 2016

My Useful Guide: Going Responsive

In the last couple of years smartphones and tablets have become more and more a part of everyday life.

With mobile devices now tipping the scale and coming out on top for internet users, how should you utilise this growing trend?

The answer, go responsive
The way in which people view online information has been changing quickly and your website needs to keep up. Loading a full website on a small phone screen is impractical and not very user friendly. 

Responsive websites however, adjust their layout to suit the dimensions of the screen. Re-flowing content into columns and even allowing non-vital content to be switched off. Not only that but they utilise the touch screen gestures such as swipe, pinch and tap.

Advantages of going responsive
These days it’s all about having a positive user experience. So many of us spend our lunch breaks, train and bus journeys, just about any free time we have on our smartphone scrolling through social media outlets, internet shopping or just browsing sites. The more user friendly, the more time we spend on the site and the more likely we are to revisit, make a purchase or enquire.

Consider that 15 seconds is all we have to capture somebodies interest online, it’s important to make sure that all the vital information is easy to find. You should treat your website like a shop window, grab the viewers attention by showing appropriate information and the best of what you have to offer. Unlike a normal website, responsive sites know how to handle content on mobile devices, ultimately improving your brand image and keeping surfers happy.

Something else to bear in mind is the power of social media. Over half of social media browsing happens on mobile devices. Links and shares direct people to your website via phones or tablets. Responsive is a must, if you are going to make the most of those potential leads.

Invest a bit of time and effort into SEO (search engine optimisation). Not only are responsive websites better for users but they are also preferred and recommended by Google for online rankings. Use key words and content rich text to help boost your position in the search results. Google loves responsive sites and rewards you for it. Previously a mobile friendly website would have been entirely separate to the main site, meaning the online rankings would be effected. Links are consolidated to just one site with the new style of responsive websites, boosting your position on the results page.

With internet shopping on the increase, growing numbers of on-the-go internet surfers and mobile phones overtaking desktops as the preferred choice of browsing - why pass up the opportunity of all that marketing and sales potential. Investing a bit of time and money into going responsive and improving user experience could significantly improve your online presence and client leads.

Make the most of all the mobile surfers with our latest package, Just £1,397 +VAT for a 5 page responsive website. To view our portfolio or to find out more about our offer visit our website.

Alternatively have a look at some of the websites we have designed by clicking on the links below:

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

My Useful Guide: Understanding Large Format

When is comes to making a BIG impression large format graphics are a great way of drawing attention to your brand. Available in so many different guises, big really is beautiful!

Pop-ups, pull-ups, poster and signage, modular stands or bespoke exhibitions. What is the difference and what should you be considering when planning an exhibition?

Not to be confused with pop-ups, pull-ups are affordable and portable banners, most commonly 800mm wide x 2000mm high in size. Often printed onto a vinyl like material. These are the perfect choice for exhibitions, trade shows and smaller events. 

These are mid-sized portable display systems where graphic panels attach to a “pop up” frame. Often spanning 3 or more metres wide, these are ideal for creating a backdrop to your exhibition. Easy to set-up these come in a wheeled drum that converts easily into a freestanding counter. Pop-up stands are professional and great for bringing impact for a mid-size exhibition space.

Modular exhibition stands
Modular stands are made up of components that lock together creating a high impact stand but without the need of stand builders and power tools. This type of stand can be reconfigured to fit different exhibition spaces, giving you maximum flexibility. Graphic panels are attached with Velcro or magnets, tension fabric options are also available. Packing up is a two-man job and depending on the size of your configuration you can transport them in a car or small van.

Full custom stand build
Built to any specification or size, with unique design, technical elements such as audio and visual inputs, lighting and touch points, custom builds are by far the most professional looking and impressive type of stand available. Graphics will be made to measure and can be printed onto a range of materials such as, glass, fabric, Foamex, PVC and adhesive vinyl. A stand like this will require a professional stand builder to construct and dismantle. Standing out in a sea of stands within an exhibition is important. 

Creating a unique stand with eye-catching promotions, graphic elements and useful information can prove very worthwhile. Although expensive to install the results can prove to be incredibly beneficial. 

Why exhibit?
Exhibitions are a brilliant chance to showcase your business, your products, skills and services. Attended by people pursuing services within your industry, exhibitions and tradeshows are the perfect place to achieve face-to-face leads. Being able to demonstrate your products and services to a vast amount of people first hand has huge potential, allowing customers to involve themselves with your product, to see, hear and feel.

When it comes to preparing for an exhibition or tradeshow it is important to plan your stand with plenty of time. Read your exhibitor pack carefully early on, as it may include important deadlines especially for larger exhibits. Get a graphic designer/exhibition designer involved in the early stages and they will be able to help you with design and production of the stand.

Understand the size of your stand and the budget you have for the whole event. You don’t want to turn up with a couple of pull-up banners if you have the space for a high impact stand.

Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve at your tradeshow or exhibition:
• What message are you trying to get across about your company?
• Do you have a new product to launch?
• Who do you want to meet/attract to your stand?
• How are you going to capture and follow up those important leads?

Preparing for an exhibition doesn’t have to be complicated but it is important to think it through. To give you a helping hand this month we are offering £200 off a 3x3 Pop-up stand. With lots of experience in stand design and construction our professional team at The New Fat can help you through every stage of the planning and design of a professional exhibition. Have a look at our online portfolio or contact us for more information.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

My Useful Guide: Understanding Imagery

It is said that a picture’s worth a thousand words and when it comes to imagery, quality is everything.

There are two main types of imagery used in design: vectors and Raster graphics. But what is the difference and how do you get the best out of your images?

Vector graphics
A vector graphic is made up of a series of paths, with points and curves. These paths make any shape, whether it’s a straight, hard-edged or curvy.

Vectors are made using design software such as Adobe Illustrator and are most commonly used for logos and illustrations. Vectors can be scaled up to any size with no loss of quality as the edges stay clean, smooth and most importantly, don’t pixelate. 

Raster graphics
Raster graphics, also known as bitmaps are images made out of a series of blocks called pixels. For example, images imported from your digital camera or photos found online will be raster graphics. The more pixels an image has the bigger the file size and the higher the quality. Popular file formats include Jpeg, GIF, Tiff and PNG.

Raster images can be scaled down in size with no adverse effects to the quality. The issue comes when scaling up. Enlarging a bitmap can cause the image to lose quality and become blocky and ‘pixelated’, making the image look blurry. Commonly referred to as a low resolution image.

Raster images provide a detail and depth of colour that can’t be achieved by vectors, which are generally made up of solid colours or gradients.

Your Logo
All logos should ideally be vector based as it can then be reduced to fit on a business card or enlarged for billboards and the logo will still be the same high quality. If however your logo is a jpeg, the quality will be heavily compromised when scaled above its original size.

In most cases a business will require both photography and vector graphics across their marketing material.


Stock versus personal photography – Which is best for your business?
Is it best to use stock imagery sites and download an image from an online catalogue? Or do you employ a professional photographer and build up your own in-house photo library?

Stock photography
Time is the biggest advantage as images are available to download immediately, all you need is to sign up and buy credits and you’re away. Not only is it quick it is relatively cheap and there is a huge variety of images from a vast number of contributors.

One factor to consider when using stock imagery is that the images can be downloaded by anyone, any number of times. Meaning there is a chance that your customers and clients could see the same image elsewhere. The images also come with licensing restrictions that could include usage limitations and caps to print runs. Always make sure you are clear on the terms and purchase an extended licence if required. Stock websites such as Istock, Getty and Shutterstock are a great starting point.

Professional photography
If you want creative control and characteristic images then a professional photographer is for you. This is a more expensive way of starting an image library but it is well worth it.

You may have an idea of content but a professional will know how to achieve the most impact and will be able to direct and suggest ideas you may not have thought of. Take advantage of a half or full day shoot and work on achieving a series of shots rather than just one.

Creating an image library this way adds to the feeling of professionalism and quality that businesses should wish to instil. Most importantly giving you the resources to create impactful and targeted marketing material, enhancing your brand identity.

Professional photographers are a great investment for product photography. Achieving clean detailed shots with correct colour representation should be paramount when promoting products. With the aid of studio lighting, light boxes and props, a professional will show your products at their best.

If lifestyle images are what you need then a photographer will have access to all the supporting people you may need. Models, make up artists and artistic directors, with the knowledge of locations and backdrops all to suit your brand style. As an alternative to sourcing a location, why not use your own premises and staff and add a personal feel.

Professional photography has the best of both worlds. You can achieve the high quality, bright, well-styled shot of a stock image with the creative control and personalised representation you need to maintain your brand. Stock imagery will always be somebody else’s interpretation of the idea and not a true representation of your business and ethos. Working with a photographer will keep your marketing material true to character, helping to create a connection with your clients.

This months offer is a four page brochure, perfect for showing off those beautiful high quality images, save £100 this May, have a look at our portfolio for inspiration. Alternatively, if you need advice planning a photo shoot, The New Fat can help pull together everything you need.

Friday, 1 April 2016

My Useful Guide: Understanding Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Love it or hate it, social media is becoming increasingly commonplace for businesses globally.

With Facebook achieving 1 billion users online in a single day just last year and approximately half of the worlds internet users utilising a whole host of social media platforms, how important could social media be to you and your brand?

What are the benefits?
Social media platforms are a great way to increase traffic to your website. Without it you are relying on people who know your brand or those who stumble upon your website after searching keywords. A social media presence with consistent branding and interesting content can very quickly get you known and recognised with retweets, shares and likes alone. Not only that but social media can help to increase search engine rankings as you become recognised as a source of relevant information and accomplished in your field.

In a way social media acts as the biggest and best endorsement to your brand and its ethos. The more followers, likes and shares you have the more confident people will feel about your brand. The beauty of social media for marketing is that word spreads far, wide and fast. With every person that follows you, there is opportunity for more followers and more brand awareness.

Instead of you finding the clients, how about letting the clients come to you?
Social media is a great way to interact with an audience and offers the opportunity for followers to approach you. Talking to existing or potential clients on a friendly, helpful level removes a sense of mass marketing that can quite often be the feeling when using traditional adverts and flyers. Social media adds a human element to business, adding to that feeling of loyalty and trust amongst your audience. Support you show to customers can also be seen by a much wider audience, acting as a testament to your customer service and reliability.

With around 30 million UK users and new accounts becoming active each day, take full advantage of the free marketing available at your finger tips. All it requires is a bit of time and careful consideration but the results could be tenfold.
Here are a few cheeky pointers for improving a profile:

It is important to make sure that your logo not only represents you (have a read of our February blog post about logos) but is identifiable and is suited to sitting in a square. Don’t try and fit too much into a small profile picture, you need to be recognised at a distance in a long list of tweets, posts and shares. Use a symbol or an element of your logo to represent your brand and expand on this with the rest of your profile page.

This is a great way to make you stand out but it is also important that your customer base recognises you. There is no point in having an orange Facebook or Twitter profile if the rest of your branding is blue.

It’s easy to let Facebook or Twitter adjust your profile images and banners but you should take control of how your profile looks! Make sure that your images sit in your profile banner correctly and are clear and concise. Upload an image that fits the dimensions of the space and ensure that anything vital isn’t stuck behind the profile picture or profile name. Now that more and more of us use our mobiles to access social media it is vital that you profile banner works on both a computer screen and the mobile version. Remember that Facebook crops into you profile banner on the mobile site.

Which social media platform is for you?
There are a number of social media platforms available online and through mobile apps. Have a look at our useful download to see which social media could be best suited to you and pick up some more top tips.