When I moved to Dublin twenty years ago I had a pretty good understanding of the English language. Or so I thought. I hadn’t a clue about the different meanings between American English and British English and this has caused quite a few misunderstandings over the years...
The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute are celebrating 60 years this year and I have designed their anniversary logo and various material for the event, including these 3 timelines. The facts make for a good read. If you click on the image below you'll get a more legible file opening as a PDF in a new window.
Based on the branding work I did recently for nu, I also did the branding for Nuala's other business, the Serenity Day Spa. The brief was to match nu.
Every brand, from the smallest startup to a corporate giant, need a set of branding guidelines to maintain their identity.
May did a terrific job for us. She was great to work with. She got the brief immediately and produced a stunning logo and supporting materials that clearly identify the brand we are creating. I look forward to working with her in the future.
Feargal Duignan, CEO PacSana
Develop a name and visual identity for a Medical Aesthetic ‘clinic’ to replace the current Nuala Woulfe Beauty Salon on Glasthule Road in Sandycove.
A new word, a new meaning; 'nu' are the first two letters in Nuala Woulfe's name. It also sounds like the word NEW which works well for this clinic as that's how you will feel after a treatment in this wonderful clinic.
I requested May to come up with some ideas re name, branding & logo for my clinic Nu Aesthetics in Glasthule. I found May very professional to deal with. She listened to the brief and designed a logo to match. I can happily recommend May.
Nuala Woulfe, Nu Aesthetics
Here's a 'before and after' photograph of the building. It's October but am hoping for a sunny day soon, so I can take a brighter picture...
And here's the front of an appointment card.
The best business applications on the planet, by YES Dynamic/Microsoft Dynamics 365.
May designed an excellent logo for the Yes Dynamic. May grasped the brief quickly and was able to translate the logo into a number of design options which I had no problem choosing from. I recommend May without any hesitation.
Gerry Power, Managing Director, The Yes Dynamic
Here's some icon designs to illustrate the various services YES Dynamic can offer:
Colours have the power to convey and communicate meanings and messages without words. It is the most important component of a logo design and by far what people remember the most, much more so than the shape or word of the logo itself.
In branding and design the use of colour is hugely important as they are signifiers for emotions which we are often unaware of. In fact, most of us, weather we are conscious of it or not, would make a snap judgment about a product, based on its colour alone.
Choosing the colour (or colours) that best represents your brand is no easy task as different colours can provoke very different reactions in people. However, there’s a few things I think we can all agree on. Warm colours are associated with energy and cold colours bring calmness. Black is total absorption in complete contrast to white, which is total reflection.
Red is a passionate colour as it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate. Green is the colour of balance. Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing. But then there’s light blue and dark blue and..... Not to mention the use of more than just one colour.
In this blog I have created an infographic which illustrates 12 different colours and my (researched) definition of what these colours communicate.
So what colour suits your business the best?
Here's a very simple exercise that might help you find an answer to this.
Write down the words that best represent your brand’s personality.
What colours represent those words?
My infographic is very simplistic and chances are you didn’t find a colour match for your words. If this is the case there’s plenty of knowledge to be found online that goes more in depth. You could also check your competitors to see what colours they use... Or you could contact me. I love the psychology of colours and I would be more than happy to help you.
Trumpet provided a highly professional and personal approach to designing the perfect logo for our company which illustrates the various aspects of the environment in which we provide consultancy on. We would have no hesitation in recommending them for future work.
Niall Mitchell Director, BlueRock Environmental Limited
Just do it. Think different. My goodness, my...
Do you know the brands these taglines represent? If so, it proves my point that great taglines can work on its own, without a mention of the brand name.
While logos are visual representations of a brand, taglines are audible representations of a brand. If your business name is not already descriptive of what you do, well then your tagline should be.
This blog will list a few tips on how to go about writing a great tagline for your business. However, before beginning, let's agree on what a tagline is supposed to do.
It starts with the values and truths that make your business what it is. What do you do? How do you do it? Why do you do it?
Descriptive, inspirational or humorous, the best taglines are both a mission and an outcome. It should stand for something. A great tagline makes your business’ benefits clear to the target audience.
Start by doing your research.
What do people say about your business, product or service? List everything, being it positive or negative.
In one session, do the following:
1. List all your business features and describe every single benefit in great detail.
2. Write down any random words that comes to mind, including the negative ones. Let Thesaurus help you if you get a bit stuck. The more words, the better, even if they don’t sound right at all.
The next step is to create short phrases from all these random words.
Try not to be too clever. The best taglines use very simple words combined in a way that makes you remember them. A great example is Ronseal’s tagline: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Think clear communication and remember to be truthful.
Here’s a selection of memorable taglines, to inspire you.
The National Lottery: It could be you.
Volkswagen: Think small.
L’Oréal: “Because you’re worth it”
Tesco: “Every little helps”
Nokia: Connecting people.
De Beers: “A diamond is forever” KFC: Finger lickin’ good.
Mastercard: There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.
Kit Kat: Have a break. Have a Kit Kat.
Airbnb: Belong anywhere.
Orange: The future’s bright. The future’s Orange.
Wonderbra: Hello boys.
Pringles: Once you pop, you can’t stop.
Carlsberg: Probably the best lager in the world.
Esso: Put a tiger in your tank.
Interflora : Say it with flowers.
Gillette (razors): The best a man can get.
Audi: “Vorsprung durch technik” (“Advancement Through Technology”)
Avis: We try harder.
Ebay: Buy it. Sell it. Love it.
Now, which brands are these?
Just do it.
My goodness, my...
Would be great to hear your answers at email@example.com
Graphic design of the Battle of the Boyne 2018 event booklet. 40 pages with a print run of 20,000.
Battle of the Boyne is well worth a visit. A lot of the military sayings from the 17th century are still in use today. Here's a few of them:
Lock Stock and Barrel A musket was made up of three separate parts: the lock, the stock and the barrel. And so a person moving all their possessions from one place to another was said to be moving lock, stock and barrel.
Square Meal Derives from the square wooden platters on which soldiers and sailors were given their meals. They were much easier for storing on ships.
Hold Your Horses Control of the horses was vitally important on the battlefield as a horse out of control was a danger to its own side as well as to the enemy. The battlefield instruction came to be generally used as an injunction to exercise restraint.
Chance Your Arm After firing, a cannon had to be cleaned out. If any residue of gunpowder remained smouldering it was liable to blow up when fresh gunpowder was loaded on top. The Gunner loading the cannon could lose his arm, so consequently every time he loaded he was said to ‘chance his arm.’
There's plenty more sayings like these. I am in the middle of designing a book for The Battle of the Boyne that will be for sale in their gift shop. All the 17th century sayings will be included in this book.
Thinking hard and learning new things is good for your brain health. It enhances your creativity and problem-solving capabilities.
The two important ingredients to nurture your brain are novelty (you should be learning something new) and challenge (activities should command your full and close attention).
If you think you’re too busy to be learning something new, think again. It could be simple, like doing an old activity in a new way. Find a different route from A to B, cook a brand new recipe or engage in a discussion on a topic you might not know too much about.
Or you could get serious about it.
There’s plenty of leisure activities you can do, time allowing. Games like playing chess, scrabble or bridge, doing crosswords or solving puzzles like sudoku, learning how to play a musical instrument or learning a language are just a few ideas.
The brain is a learning machine. To focus on keeping it strong, you must continually develop new skills. It doesn’t have to be a struggle, though. Find something you enjoy doing.
I love playing cards but I am open to new suggestions and would love to hear from you!
You want to build a strong connection with your customers through telling them your brand story and you need to communicate clearly, confidently and positively. It is absolutely vital that your logo represents your core values.
Here’s my design principles and some of my logo designs.
Your logo must have the ability to stand out against the crowd and it should be easily recalled after just a glance. Keep it simple for easy recognition. Less is more.
A few seconds is all it takes to make a first impression, but you need to make sure your logo makes a lasting impression as well.
Your logo must represent you. It must be relevant, tailored to your audience and easily identified with your industry. However, it must not become a “me too” version of any other similar business to yours.
Your logo will be used in a number of ways and in multiple contexts and it has to be effective at any size.
Focus on your brand rather than what the latest trends are. You want your logo to be able to stand the test of time. I designed the logo for Berg Hansen (1) in 1996. Twenty years later this re-design (2) still has links to the original logo.
Talk with one voice. Show one face.
You have done your market research. You know who your customers are and you know what your competitors are doing. You have defined what makes your business truly unique and you have found a gap in the market. You know what you stand for. (If you do not have a name yet, read my blog post called ‘Name your business ’.)
Now you want to tell your story.
You want to build a strong connection with your customers through telling them your brand story and I can help you with this by designing a clear and unique brand identity.
Brand identity are communication components related to your business, product or service. I will design your logo along with brand identity guidelines that will allow your brand to be recognised for its attitude to imagery, fonts, colours, choice of photography, tone of voice, personality and writing style.
In order for me to start designing your brand identity we need to establish a clear objective and I will need all relevant information about your business. This is called a creative brief.
A creative brief is a communication tool that outlines a project’s requirements, expectations and resources. It helps ensure that everyone involved in a project are on the same page. I spent several years working as a freelance designer for various design studios and advertising agencies. They all had different ways of writing a creative brief. There is no absolute ‘right way’ to go about this but key elements to be included for a brand identity project are:
Be very clear about what you want from this brand identity work. Why do you need it? What are you hoping to achieve with it? What are your goals? How will you measure success?
Who are you?
Information about your business, service or product. How would you describe your business? What background info is relevant? What are the benefits and features of your product or service?
Who are you here for?
Mindset that unites the complete target audience. If possible, try to describe a person you know. What is the most relevant desire, need, hope or fear held by target audience that your business can address?
Competitors and obstacles.
Understanding what the competition can offer will provide a clearer picture of where your product or service stands in the market. List main business challenges.
What is your brand ambition?
Where do you want your product or service to be in the mind of the target audience?
What tone of voice will the target audience best react to?
What are the key points that need to be communicated?
List all elements that need to be included. Are there restrictions of any kind, like certain colours that can’t be used etc?
A ballpark idea of budget sets the parameters for how much time I have to work with. Are other resources required?
We need a realistic time frame to keep the project on track. This schedule should include design presentations, client feedback, content delivery and approval dates.
It is vital to list all the work to do and to be clear on who are responsible for what.
I appreciate any guidance as to what inspire you so please include a few examples of designs you like or don’t like. Not for the intention of copying, though. I know Picasso said that ‘good artists copy, great artists steal ’ but if you want to copy someone else’s design you are better off asking another graphic designer to do it...
Click here to download the Trumpet Creative Brief template.
Before I end this blog post I’d like to talk about managing expectations. I develop brand identities and the foundation of your brand is your logo, your website, packaging and promotional materials. However, I do not build brands. Branding extends to every aspect of your business, whether it is with your staff, product, the price you charge, how and where you advertise, social media (etc, etc, etc). As concluded in my January blog post: ‘A brand is your business reputation’.
“Before beginning, plan carefully”.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The company BackRub was established in 1996 as a cutting edge search engine. BackRub checked the number of back-links to a website in order to rank its importance. However, with such a strange name and a rather horrible looking logo the company didn’t last long. What happened? The founders of BackRub changed the name to Google, and the rest is history.
Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University, in California and it was originally run under Stanford University’s website, with the domain google.stanford.edu.
I am going to share the Google Manifesto with you in this blog but before I do so, let me introduce another search engine that I have just started using. It is called Ecosia and when you search the web with this browser, 80% of the profits from the search ad revenue goes to support tree planting programs. Nearly 22 million trees are planted so far and these trees help restore landscapes, nourish communities, protect wildlife and neutralize CO2. Here’s a link to it: https://www.ecosia.org
Now, some of you might be frigtened by Google at this stage, the way they are “taking over the world”. But as entrepreneuring goes, I am in awe of them, hence sharing their manifesto on my blog:
Ten things we know to be true
We first wrote these “10 things” when Google was just a few years old. From time to time we revisit this list to see if it still holds true. We hope it does - and you can hold us to that.
1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
Since the beginning, we’ve focused on providing the best user experience possible. Whether we’re designing a new Internet browser or a new tweak to the look of the homepage, we take great care to ensure that they will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.
2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
We do search. With one of the world’s largest research groups focused exclusively on solving search problems, we know what we do well, and how we could do it better. Through continued iteration on difficult problems, we’ve been able to solve complex issues and provide continuous improvements to a service that already makes finding information a fast and seamless experience for millions of people.
3. Fast is better than slow.
We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away - and we aim to please. We may be the only people in the world who can say our goal is to have people leave our website as quickly as possible.
4. Democracy on the web works.
Google search works because it relies on the millions of individuals posting links on websites to help determine which other sites offer content of value. We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web.
5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
The world is increasingly mobile: people want access to information wherever they are, whenever they need it. We’re pioneering new technologies and offering new solutions for mobile services that help people all over the globe to do any number of tasks on their phone, from checking email and calendar events to watching videos, not to mention the several different ways to access Google search on a phone.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
Google is a business. The revenue we generate is derived from offering search technology to companies and from the sale of advertising displayed on our site and on other sites across the web. Hundreds of thousands of advertisers worldwide use AdWords to promote their products; hundreds of thousands of publishers take advantage of our AdSense program to deliver ads relevant to their site content.
7. There’s always more information out there.
Once we’d indexed more of the HTML pages on the Internet than any other search service, our engineers turned their attention to information that was not as readily accessible. Sometimes it was just a matter of integrating new databases into search, such as adding a phone number and address lookup and a business directory. Other efforts required a bit more creativity, like adding the ability to search news archives, patents, academic journals, billions of images and millions of books. And our researchers continue looking into ways to bring all the world’s information to people seeking answers.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in more than 60 countries, maintain more than 180 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 130 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages and accessible formats as possible.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
Our founders built Google around the idea that work should be challenging, and the challenge should be fun. We believe that great, creative things are more likely to happen with the right company culture - and that doesn’t just mean lava lamps and rubber balls. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to our overall success.
10. Great just isn’t good enough.
We see being great at something as a starting point, not an endpoint. We set ourselves goals we know we can’t reach yet, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can get further than we expected. Through innovation and iteration, we aim to take things that work well and improve upon them in unexpected ways. For example, when one of our engineers saw that search worked well for properly spelled words, he wondered about how it handled typos. That led him to create an intuitive and more helpful spell checker.
Our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are becomes the driving force behind everything we do.
This is a short version of their manifesto. If you’d like to read the full version, click on this link: https://www.google.com/about/philosophy.html
Both Larry and Sergey have found their ‘why’ by “developing services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible.”
Christian Kroll from Germany, the founder of the search engine that plants trees, Ecosia, has found his ‘why’ too and although I don’t love the look of the brand identity(!) I wish him and his team all the very best.
Trees are vital for our planet. Here’s the link again in case you’d like to give it a try: https://www.ecosia.org
My name is May but it is pronounced ‘My’. It’s pronounced this way because I am Norwegian. My surname, Sivertsen, is even trickier to pronounce. Hence my name breaks the first rule of naming a business, namely that it is easy to pronounce!
Naming your business is the most challenging process of branding. Millions of names have already been registered by hundreds of thousands of businesses across the globe so finding, generating, choosing and purchasing the ‘right’ name is difficult. Very difficult. But it is critical.
The sound and feel of your business name should suggest what your business is all about. It should reflect the character of your business. How do you want people to feel when they read or hear this name for the first time?
Your business name needs to be unique and memorable and it should be easy to say. The shorter, the better. You should also make sure that the name doesn’t translate into something inappropriate in a different language.
There’s plenty of ways to go about developing a name for your business. Here’s 10 ideas and some successful examples.
Use the founder’s name
Hewlett-Packard (David Packard and William Redington Hewlett), Marks & Spencer (Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer), Boots (John Boot) and IKEA are a few examples. Ikea is named after the initials of its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, the farm where he grew up called Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the nearby village.
Describe what it does
Create a name that describes what the business does. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is a perfect example of a descriptive name. Consumers use it to explore the Internet.
Describe what it is
Mark Zuckerberg originally wrote Facebook as a social network for the student community in Harvard where he himself was studying at the time. A face book is a printed or online directory found at American universities consisting of individuals’ photographs and names, helping students get to know each other.
Make up a word
The name Google came about by accident. Whilst trying to think up a good name, something that related to the indexing of an immense amount of data the words “googolplex,” and “googol” were suggested. Both words refer to specific large numbers. When they did a search of the domain name registry to see if Googol.com was still available they made the mistake of searching for the name spelled as “google.com ” instead.
Pick a geographic origin
Jeff Preston Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, picked up a dictionary and scanned word after word until he discovered the word “Amazon”. He liked this name for two reasons. In the past, websites were listed alphabetically, which meant Amazon would always be higher on the page, giving a slight competitive advantage. And secondly, he picked the largest river in the world to communicate Amazon’s vast selection of books.
Add a Prefix or Suffix
You can turn a common word into a product name simply by adding a prefix or suffix to it. An example is Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iMac. BMW 2, 5, 7 series and Audi 2, 3, 4 and 6 series are examples of similar ‘naming systems’.
Flickr and Liquid-Plumr use real words that are misspelled. It’s creative and helps when the name you want is already trademarked or the related domain names are already taken.
Take a word out of context
The name Matrix Electronics didn’t cut it. Apple Computer was named so after Steve Jobs’ visit to a commune he called an ‘apple orchard: “Partly because I like apples a lot and partially because Apple is ahead of Atari in the phone book and I used to work at Atari.” Siri was also named by an Apple employee. Dag Kittalaus, the Norwegian co-creator of the voice-activated assistant had actually planned to name his daughter Siri, which means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” in Norwegian. Until he had a son.
Use a Verb
You can use a verb as your product name, like Bounce dryer sheets or Apple’s iPod Shuffle. Some examples of brand names that have turned in to generic verbs are Skype, Hoover, Photoshop, Tipp-Ex and Google.
Make an acronym
Richard Saul Wurman created TED to inspire greater communication between emerging industries. “It occurred to me during frequent airplane flights in 1982 that the only interesting conversations I was having were with people in the technology business, the entertainment industry and the design professions.” Two years later, he planned the first TED conference in California and invited leaders of the technology, entertainment, and design (TED) industries to attend.
I hope some of these ideas has inspired you to come up with a name for your business.
My business is called Trumpet, as in “blow your own trumpet”, and that is exactly what you have to do if you want your business to succeed.
The name for this business was not set in stone at the start of this branding project. The black and white sketches below show several options for different looks and names. However, I only presented 3 of these to the client. Once we agreed on the illustration I fine-tuned it by fixing the cat's tale etc. Several typefaces and colour combinations were discussed before we found the right ones.
May did a great job designing a logo for our new veterinary practice. May gave us a fabulous recommendation on the colours in particular; and we love the modern twist and fresh, friendly, and yet professional end result.
Fionnuala Rogers, Park Pets
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