My predictions and hopes for 2018

Ok, I know you really don’t want to hear anything else about Brexit, but hopefully I can approach it from a different angle than the things you hear on the news. I’m replacing ‘Brussels’ with ‘Branding’; ‘May’ with ‘Messages’; ‘Conservatives’ with ‘Consistency’.

Brexit has left the public feeling a general sense of uncertainty and confusion about what the future holds. The more ‘savvy’ businesses have noticed that people want to be reassured that actually everything they hold dear is actually fine. Everything will be ok. If our politicians can’t always make us feel secure, many businesses know that the solidity of their brand identity, and the clear and consistent messages they bring, help people on a deeper, human level.

I guess, along these lines, some of my predictions for 2018 have already started, as can be seen in some of our TV adverts. For instance, one high street bank shows everyday ‘poets’ talking about topics such as daily life, love, comfort and, security – expressing on a subliminal level: ‘It’s ok, we understand you. You can trust us.’

I want to see companies maintaining their brand identities in their uncertain Brexit future, guarding them closely as they are their consistent message to the world that their business is secure and solid in the face of change.

On a different note, I’m totally loving colour in design at the moment. Eye-catching, vibrant colours that quite literally ‘speak’ your identity. On a very basic level, colour touches every one of us in different ways and we all have our favourite shades, or our ‘go to’ colours – take a look in your wardrobe to see what I mean. Colour encourages the visual learners of the world to remember us, colours that define our brand identity and embed it in the publics’ psyche.

I love the use of white space…allowing a really good design to ‘breathe’ can be so effective.

Colours have their symbolic ‘meanings’, too. For instance, we all know that red can mean ‘danger’, and green is used for ‘nature’. White can mean ‘purity, simplicity, cleanliness, light’. But did you know, that if your name is in red in China, it means you are dead? Use of colour and understanding of it’s meaning is very important.

To finish, I just need to touch on the importance of good typography. Ignore it at your peril. You need to consider your target audience – the correct choice of colour, font and text size is vital to attract them and to keep them interested so they return to you time and time again. Just like colour, or the shape of your logo, people will remember the font, too. It will become an integral part of your public brand recognition.

Brand identity doesn’t need to be complicated; keep your message clear and consistent in 2018.

The Importance of Planning Ahead…

…with event season coming up time to plan exhibition graphics and ‘giveaways.’

I know, you’ve just dragged the Christmas tree down from the attic (unless it’s a real one, of course), and carefully arranged all your twinkling lights – but believe me, you need to keep the exhibition season still sizzling away in your mind.

Why? Because ideally, you should be planning your exhibition a few months before it happens. “Seems a bit much!” I hear you cry. Well, let me explain:

Like anything in life, the more you ‘put in’, the more you ‘get out’. Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but you know what, it’s true!

Firstly, start to think about setting yourself a realistic goal, or objective, for the exhibition. It could be, for instance, raising brand awareness or finding new leads. You can do that one sitting on the sofa after your Christmas lunch.

Don’t give yourself too many goals, as you should measure them during and after the exhibition, to see how successful the event has been, and whether it was worth the amount of money you invested in it. It is easier to do when the objectives are ‘small steps’, as they will give you a clearer picture, and something you can build on.

Next, you need to be contacting existing customers and potential prospects, whether that’s by email, phone, social media, or direct mailing, and so on. Do all of the platforms you use (and your letterheads, etc.) carry a consistent logo, colour schemes and fonts? What are you going to send them? Aha! You need flyers or brochures…and you may as well have more designed and printed ready for the exhibition stand, as you will need lots of them!

Now, you’re starting to plan ahead, aren’t you?

Your design for the stand will also need to be consistent with your company branding – note to self: all branding needs to be absolutely ‘correct’.

First things first – how much is your budget? How much do you ‘want’ to spend?

There are many types of stands out there, from pop-ups & pull-up banners to bespoke stands, choose something that suits your company vision, values and ethos, as well as your budget.

Make it as eye-catching as you can to ensure you stand out from your competitors.

We once had people queuing to get on a client’s stand that we had designed, it didn’t cost them a fortune either. Ask yourself: what would make a potential client stop and talk to me?

So, while you’re munching another mince pie this Christmas, planning ahead may sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s more than worth doing as your exhibition will run like a dream.