January is over. New month, new proper beginning. Days are brighter. And it is leap year this year.
We write our own autobiography each day by deciding what to focus on. If there’s things you have always wanted to do, but you never seem to find the time because there’s never any space in your calendar, well here’s an idea for you: Consider eliminating some of the things that make you feel too busy. Just because you’ve been using your time in a particular way for a long time doesn’t mean you need to keep doing that. You might start with the typical time-wasting stuff and see what can be delegated. Either to other people or to AI*.
However, what I mean by eliminating things is the proper time consuming things you do, things that might or might not be of less joy or use as time has moved on. You see, in order to add some new things to your days, some stuff just gotta go!
There’s 168 hours in every single week. The more clearly you know how you want to spend your days, the easier it becomes to say no to the requests that steal your hours.
So if you’re in 2024 strategy revising mode still (there’s another 11 months left after all) have a go. Because if you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything. And we all know this world is distracting enough at the moment, as it is...
Happy planning. And enjoy your bonus day on February 29th.
*): Letting Artificial Intelligence do your meaningless tasks will make you do less, but better work. I read in the paper the other day that more than a quarter of the UK and US population could benefit form productivity gains provided by AI and see their workweek reduce from 40 hours to 32 hours. While maintaining their pay.
I arrived in Ireland on this very day, 25 years ago, and what was meant to be a ‘gap year’ for a very ambitious art director ended up being so much more than that, and not actually a gap year at all.
Arriving at the start of the ‘silly season’; it’s safe to say I got a culture shock. Us Norwegians are quite orderly, we’re punctual and we’re efficient. I’m not saying that the Irish aren’t (?!?) but come December and all sense is gone. Especially if you work in an advertising agency with access to all things involving booze for free!
But it didn’t take me long to fall head over heels in love with this country. The generosity, the warmth, the fun! I couldn’t have picked a better place. So here we are, me and Ireland, celebrating our silver anniversary! With as much gusto as ever, because it’s safe to say that I have adapted the Irish ability to celebrate;-)
I am mature enough now to confess to how I ended up in Ireland.
It was all because of this drawing made by Terry Pattison, one of the founders of QMP Publics. I had already accepted a job offer from Italy and was just off the phone to Terry explaining as much, when I got this drawing sent to me on a telefax.
It charmed me and chuffed me so much that it made me change my mind.
I call it my ‘sliding door’ moment, inspired by that film with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah. Do you have a ‘sliding door’ story to share?
The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot!
Here’s a few selected photographs of my kids, from tiny tots to teenagers. They’re all taken in my home town Mandal, our little peace of heaven. Okay, so I’ve made Ireland my home but here’s to tons more summers in Norway. And just to say; whenever there’s a game or contest on, there’s no doubt; I want Norway to win;-)
I’m a mother of two human beings but I also feel like a mother of quite a few brand identity designs! One such ‘baby’ of mine is the Norwegian loyalty card 'trumf', which was launched in 1996. It’s hugely successful, with over 2 million members. In a small country with less than 5.5 million people, that is quite something. But as for the branding, well as you can see here, it has evolved since I left for Ireland... (My original design is the one to the left.)
Times change, consumer interests change, culture changes, businesses change, and your brand will at some stage have to change too. Perhaps your business is looking to attract a new group of people? Expanding internationally? Or maybe your business has merged or acquired? Could it be that after many years of being in business, your brand has become too complicated? Does your branding accurately tell your brand story?
A successful rebranding involves overhauling a company’s goals, message and culture. Sometimes it involves changing a name. And most often it involves changing a logo.
The world’s largest operating system, Android, updated its visual identity this month to better connect the brand with Google. What Jason Fournier (director of Android Consumer Brand Management) wrote about it resonated with me: “Each time we overhaul our branding, we evaluate not only changing needs, but also future goals.”
However, if you want to rebrand just because your brand identity looks old and outdated, then a subtle tweak to refresh it might be all you need. One such example is this recent work I did for the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. (My evolved design is the one to the right.)
Whatever your business may need, why don’t you get in touch with me to discuss?
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.
When designing a brand identity I recommend choosing two dominant colours (one main colour and one complimenting colour), along with another 2 or 3 accent colours, one of which should be a contrasting colour.
So what colour suits your business the best?
A very simple exercise that might help you find an answer to this is to write down the words that best represent your brand’s personality. What colours represent those words?
You could also check your competitors to see what colours they use in their bradning, but this is more to see what not to do. In the same way as your logo and business name must represent you, your colours must be relevant, tailored to your audience and easily identified with your industry. But, as for everything regarding branding: Brands that break the rules are most often the ones that people remember.
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. Or you could contact me. I love the psychology of colours and I would be more than happy to help you!
I hope you’ve had a lovely summer, despite crazy weather wherever you were.... Here’s to re-newed energy for us all this autumn!
Inspired by this clever marketing for the Barbie movie that is coming to our cinemas soon, I‘d like to share with you some other examples of brands that have taken ownership of colours.
What they all have in common is this, the marketing managers are all very patient. Well, they obviously have big budgets too, but a big budget does not a successful brand make. Patience does.
Most of the logos I design are for businesses with a modest budget. But regardless of how much you spend on marketing, the principle of branding is exactly the same. No matter how bored you get of your logo, colours etc, you have to stay true to your brand identity if you want others to take notice. Remember, nobody will ever see your branding as much as you do.
The way these brands have taken ownership of a colour did not happen overnight. See? It's all about patience.
Should you happen to work with a brand identity that simply doesn’t work, well that’s another story. No matter how patient you are, if it is not working, let’s discuss rebranding! But let’s enjoy a break this summer before we do so?
I went to see a Graduate Show last week, for students who have spent 3 years studying Visual Communication. It’s the same course that I did many moons ago. Well, the concept for the course is the same. It’s about visual communication. But the work looks totally different. What I learnt about logo designs way back then.... well it’s safe to say things have evolved.
The number of media platforms consumed by people has increased so dramatically, it’s hard to imagine a life when marketing could only reach you via press ads, a couple of TV channels and outdoor posters. These days you’re bombarded with marketing from search to social media, streaming channels, influencers, blogs, gaming, e-commerce, on top of all the existing ‘traditional media’. We see ads everywhere we go, even at the beach. Here's hoping only skin cancer awareness campaigns will be allowed this...
Not only is the media far more complex, our attention span is less than it was back then too if you believe the researchers at the Technical University of Denmark. Their study suggests the collective global attention span is narrowing due to the amount of information that is presented to the public. People now have more things to focus on, but often focus on things for short periods of time.
Hence the importance of simplified logo designs.
One reason for simplifying a logo is to make it more timeless and versatile. A logo that is too complex or trendy can quickly become dated and need to be redesigned. By making the logo more simple and clean, it ensures that it will remain relevant and recognisable for years to come.
Another reason for simplifying a logo is to make it more memorable and recognisable.
A simple logo is easier to reproduce and can be more easily scaled to different sizes and used across different mediums. This is especially important for global brands who operates in many countries and markets, such as Apple, Ryanair, Ikea. Their logos are great examples of logos that have evolved to stay relevant.
And they will continue to do so, I'm sure, in response to new trends and new technologies. There might also be a greater emphasis on sustainability and ethical branding going forward. And perhaps empathy? With the excitement but also slight fear of AI, who knows what will happen. Empathy seems to be one of the few qualities that AI can not master...
That little icon next to a website’s name in your browser tab is called a favicon. It’s short for “favorite icon” and was introduced by Internet Explorer in the late 1990s.
Its purpose was, and still is, to help internet users distinguish between websites and find them quickly in their browser tabs. From a branding perspective they can also help strengthen your brand’s identity as it makes your site more memorable. I think it makes your website look more professional and more credible too.
Favicons might increase the likelihood that your visitors will save your page as a bookmark. This has tons of benefits in search because Google boosts your site and improves your SEO ranking if users bookmark your page. The more user-friendly it is, the more likely it is that they will.
I’m a lover of keeping things simple so usually the favicon icons I design take the form of a stripped-down version of the logo, usually by using just a symbol, as shown in these examples of favicons I have designed here.
If you don't have a favicon yet, you can easily do this yourself, but if you’d like a hand with it I’m here and happy to help!
The importance of describing properly what your business is all about, in just a few words, goes without saying. I hope! Even though users can change this description themselves (as I sometimes do), I think we all prefer not to...
A number of well-known leaders such as Elon Musk (Tesla and Twitter) and Steve Wozniak (Apple) have signed an open letter published by the nonprofit Future of Life Institute, calling on AI labs around the world to pause development of large-scale AI systems, citing fears over the "profound risks to society and humanity" they claim this software poses.
The beautiful photograph is by German artist Boris Eldagsen and he won a Sony world photography award for it. However he is declining the award and says the photograph was designed to provoke debate.
Well he got my vote. About the debate. What are your thoughts on this?
Have you ever wondered why some people are more persuasive than others? Why some people can get others to do what they want, while others struggle to get their message across?
I think it is because they know the secret to persuasive communication. They know the power of the word “because.”
When we hear the word “because,” our brains expect to hear a reason, and we are more likely to comply with the request or a directive as a result. This is because our brains are wired to seek out justifications for actions.
So whether you’re asking for a favor, making a request, or trying to persuade someone to see things your way, use the word “because”. It can make a big difference! Here’s some old research from Harvard (conducted by Ellen Langer in 1978) to back me up: www.psychologytoday.com