Pink is back! The Influence of Pink in Brand and Design

Well tickle us pink (yeah, we know), because today we’re talking about one of our favourite colours that’s taken the throne once again – pink! It’s bold, it’s vibrant, and it’s unapologetically back in the spotlight.  

So, let’s take a closer look at why this powerhouse hue is back in fashion and how it’s shaking up the design and branding world. 

The power and meaning of pink 

Pink has always been a colour loaded with meaning. Traditionally, it’s been associated with femininity, sweetness, and romance. However, modern interpretations have pushed these boundaries, giving pink a more exciting and versatile role. It’s a colour that can be both playful and sophisticated, soft and powerful.  

In branding, pink is used to convey a range of messages and emotions too. It can be warm and inviting or daring and rebellious. The key is in the shade and context! For example, soft pinks might suggest care and nurturing, ideal for wellness or beauty brands. On the other hand, bright, hot pinks scream energy and fun, perfect for products aimed at a younger, more typically adventurous audience. 

Barbie’s big influence 

Let’s talk about the elephant—or rather, the doll—in the room. Barbie. Yes, that Barbie. The Barbie movie (we love you, Margot Robbie!) has not only reintroduced us to this timeless toy but also reignited our love for all things pink. Barbie’s world is a pink paradise (when can we move in?), and this aesthetic has spilled over into the fashion and design realms in a big way. It seems that “think pink” is the new motto for brands. 

The film’s marketing was a masterclass in branding too. Every poster, product tie-in, and social media post was awash with vibrant shades of pink, creating an unmistakable and clear identity. This rebranding of Barbie has shown that pink is not just another colour; it’s a statement. It’s all about embracing a bold, unapologetic style and rejecting the notion that pink is “too girly” or “not serious”. 

Brands have picked up on this cultural shift too. Suddenly we’re seeing a lot more pink in the palettes. The impact is clear: pink is no longer seen as frivolous or niche. It’s powerful, versatile, and here to stay – and we are thrilled about it! 

Pink’s past prejudices 

Sadly, pink hasn’t always had it easy. For a long time, it was pigeonholed into a corner—deemed too feminine, too frivolous, or simply not professional enough. Fortunately, those days now appear to be a thing of the past. The rise of gender-neutral fashion and the breaking down of colour stereotypes have paved the way for pink to be appreciated for what it truly is: a versatile and exciting colour that can transform brands and captivate audiences. 

Take a moment to really think about it. Why shouldn’t pink be used in serious contexts? Why can’t it be the face of a powerful brand? The past few years have seen a cultural shift towards inclusivity and breaking norms. Pink is riding this wave, moving beyond its outdated prejudices and becoming a colour that represents strength, innovation, and inclusivity. 

Brands that nail their pink branding 

T-Mobile 

T-Mobile’s magenta is iconic. In an industry that has a whole lot of blue, black and grey, choosing such a standout colour was a smart move. This telecom giant has taken pink—a colour traditionally seen as soft—and made it synonymous with speed, reliability, and innovation. Their branding is a masterclass in consistency. From their stores to their promotional materials, the bold pink stands out, making them easily recognisable and reinforcing their brand identity.   

Victoria’s Secret 

When you think of pink in branding, Victoria’s Secret probably springs to mind. The brand has expertly used pink to define its identity, especially through its sub-brand PINK. Targeting a younger demographic, PINK uses a vibrant palette to create an image that’s both youthful and sophisticated. This clever use of colour has helped Victoria’s Secret remain a dominant force in the lingerie market, appealing to women of ages with a mix of fun and glamour. 

Glossier 

Glossier, the beauty brand that’s taken the world by storm, uses pink to communicate simplicity, elegance, and modernity. Their soft, millennial pink packaging is instantly recognisable and has become a symbol of their minimalist, user-friendly approach to beauty. Glossier’s branding proves that pink can be chic and sophisticated, appealing to a broad audience with its fresh and contemporary vibe. 

Pink in pop culture: Legally Blonde 2, Mean Girls, and the new Barbie 

Pink’s influence extends far beyond branding and into the realm of pop culture. Let’s rewind a bit and revisit some iconic moments where pink stole the show. 

Legally Blonde  

As if we could talk about pink in pop culture without mentioning Legally Blonde! Elle Woods, with her bubbly personality and pink outfits, taught us that pink can be powerful and professional. In “Legally Blonde” Elle’s pink wardrobe is more than a fashion statement; she redefines what it means to be a professional woman in pink, making it clear that competence and colour can go hand in hand. 

Mean Girls 

“On Wednesdays, we wear pink.” This line from “Mean Girls” became a cultural phenomenon, cementing pink as a symbol of popularity and power in high school hierarchies. The film used pink to represent both the exclusivity and the camaraderie of the Plastics, showing how colour can be a critical part of group identity and social dynamics. 

The New Barbie 

As mentioned earlier, the new Barbie movie has redefined pink for a new generation. The film’s visual feast of pink shades, from bubblegum to fuchsia, has captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide. It’s a reminder that pink can be playful, nostalgic, and forward-thinking all at once. The movie’s success has inspired brands to embrace pink in their marketing strategies, proving its enduring appeal and versatility. 

Final thoughts 

It’s pretty obvious at BeSmart that we love ourselves a bit of pink; our branding is magenta after all. Our use of magenta isn’t just about aesthetics though, we also use it to show what our brand is all about. This includes, uniqueness, creativity, friendliness, and even spirituality through magenta’s link to the crown chakra. This symbolises higher thinking, reflecting our approach to meaningful design. We always knew pink was powerful! 

 

Get in touch today to discuss your brand colours and how we can help you to create branding that really resonates with *your* audience!  

Colour psychology and the King’s portrait: the furore

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which just can’t be comfortable), you’ll definitely have heard about the uproar caused by the King’s portrait. It’s certainly kept the newspapers busy! The portrait, now famously depicted in a blood-red hue is reminiscent of the haunting portrait from Ghostbusters; not the most flattering of comparisons, is it? Red, known for its associations with passion, aggression, and power, has stirred strong emotions and more than a handful of intense opinions. While red can symbolise strength and authority, its excessive use in the painting has many conjuring images of violence and turmoil instead. 

The emotions that this painting has managed to evoke shows just how important colour choice is in art and design, and therefore in branding too. So, why do we react this way to certain colours? Grab your pens and notebooks folks, we’re going to be talking all things colour psychology today!  

 

What is colour psychology? 

Before we get too deep in the details, let’s have a quick colour psychology 101. Colour psychology is all about how different hues can influence our feelings and actions. The way we see colours can spark certain responses, shaping our moods and the way we interact with the world.  

For example, the colour red might make us feel excited or even a bit angry (case and point with the King’s portrait!), while blue tends to bring out feelings of calmness or sometimes sadness. By understanding these connections, artists and designers can use colours to send the right message and encourage specific emotions in their audience. Pretty nifty, isn’t it? 

 

What colours would we suggest for the King’s portrait? 

Whilst there are reasons why the King’s portrait was done in red – he’s wearing the red coat of the Welsh Guards, the regiment he became regimental colonel of in 1975 – the excessive use of the colour has got plenty of people’s backs up.  

In fact, words used to describe it have included, bloodbath, angry, hellish, and fire; not exactly words you want to spring to mind when thinking of the King! What do you feel when you look at the red image? We can definitely understand why many people feel uneasy about it. 

“What colours would we have suggested instead?” we hear you cry! Well, we might have gone for: 

Purple

Purple has long been associated with royalty, luxury, and sophisticationwe’d say that’s fit for a King! Historically, it was a colour that was very much reserved for the elite, symbolising wealth and power. A portrait featuring shades of purple can communicate a sense of dignity and grandeur, fitting for a royal figure. This colour conveys opulence and respect, creating an aura of authority without the overly aggressive overtones of red. 

Blue

Blue is another excellent choice for a royal portrait. This colour is often associated with trust, loyalty, and stability. It provides a sense of calm and dependability, essential qualities for a unifying leader. Plus, in this instance, blue cleverly connects well with national symbols like the Union Jack, reinforcing a sense of patriotism and unity. A portrait in blue can communicate a serene, wise, and steadfast image. 

Case Studies: Brands who have nailed their colours  

 

McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC 

Fast food giants like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC cleverly use red to stimulate appetite and create a sense of urgency. Red’s association with energy and excitement makes it perfect for enticing customers to indulge quickly… we’re getting hungry just thinking about it! 

 

Starbucks and Cadbury 

Starbucks’ use of green symbolises growth and relaxation, enhancing its brand image as a place for unwinding. Perfect considering many of us opt for a coffee or a hot drink in general to relax and treat ourselves. On the other hand, Cadbury’s iconic purple packaging conveys luxury and indulgence, aligning with its premium chocolate offerings. It’s one of the most well-known chocolate brands, and many of us will happily pay a little extra to choose it over its competitors thanks to that well known packaging we love so much. 

 

Hallmark 

Hallmark uses purple to appeal to its predominantly female audience and convey a sense of sophistication and emotional depth, very fitting for a brand that is focused on heartfelt moments. 

 

Why different colours are used in different sectors? 

Now we’ve looked at brands who have absolutely smashed their branding colour choices, let’s take a closer look at why certain colours are typically used within different sectors. 

 

Healthcare 

Healthcare brands often use blue and green. This is because blue evokes a sense of trust, reliability, and calm, essential for healthcare providers. Green represents health, tranquillity, and nature, reinforcing the idea of well-being and care. 

 

Technology 

Tech companies frequently use blue, black, and white. As we now know, blue conveys trust and dependability, vital for brands handling sensitive information. Black signifies sophistication and modernity, while white represents simplicity and innovation, aligning with the tech industry’s forward-thinking and clean aesthetic. 

 

Finance 

Financial institutions also favour blue for its connotations of trust and stability. Green is another popular choice, symbolising growth, prosperity, and wealth, making it ideal for financial services and investment firms. 

 

Beauty and fashion 

The beauty and fashion industries tend to use a wide range of colours depending on their target market. Black is often used to convey luxury and sophistication, while pink and purple are used to attract a predominantly female audience with their associations of femininity and creativity. 

 

Retail 

Retail brands love to use colours like red, orange, and yellow to grab attention and create a sense of urgency and excitement. These colours are energetic and can encourage impulse buying, making them effective in a retail environment where you want customers to spend, spend, spend! 

 

Why do we use magenta in our branding? 

At BeSmart, our use of magenta isn’t just about aesthetics (although, we can’t lie that magenta is super pretty!), it’s also a strategic decision we use to convey what our brand is all about. 

 

Here’s why magenta has been put front and centre in our brand: 

Emotional harmony and balance 

Magenta promotes emotional clarity and balance, aligning with our goal to create cohesive and resonant branding for our clients. 

 

Creativity and innovation 

Known for its association with creativity and imagination, magenta signals our commitment to cutting-edge, innovative design solutions. 

 

Spiritual and intuitive connections 

Linked to the crown chakra, magenta symbolises higher thinking and intuition, reflecting our approach to insightful and meaningful design. 

 

Uniqueness and non-conformity 

Magenta sets us apart in a sea of traditional colours, highlighting our dedication to originality and thinking outside the box. 

 

Friendliness and welcoming nature 

Magenta is perceived as friendly and welcoming, promoting happiness and compassion, which is how we wish to handle all of our client interactions.  

Who knew colours could communicate so much and be so interesting? Well, us… and now you too! 

Next time you bump into the King, let him know from us that we reckon he’d look lovely with a pink Be Smart magenta background, won’t you?! 

 

Get in touch today to discuss your brand colours and how we can help you to create branding that really resonates with *your* audience! 

A Guide for Design Clients: How prepping your brief better could save you time, money and a headache!

A Guide for Design Clients

Are you a design client looking to streamline your collaboration with a design agency? Do you want to ensure your projects stay on budget and are delivered promptly? Or have you come to pay the bill and didn’t expect such a large sum on project management?

In this blog, we’ll explore how investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can ultimately save you both time and money.

The Power of Preparation

They say that proper preparation prevents poor performance, and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of design projects. By investing time upfront to prepare a comprehensive design brief, you set the stage for success and avoid costly delays down the road.

Approving Copy and Collecting Content

Before engaging with a design agency, ensure that your copy is finalised and approved internally. Providing the agency with approved copy saves time and reduces the risk of costly author’s corrections later on. Additionally, gather all relevant images, logos (in different formats), and other content assets beforehand to speed up the design process.

*Brownie points if you are a new client to the agency send over your brand guidelines so that the agency can understand your identity, rules and layouts.

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Provide Examples and Preferences

Communication is key when working with a design agency. Spend time gathering examples of designs you like (and dislike) to provide the agency with a clear understanding of your preferences. This helps minimise revisions and ensures the final product aligns with your vision.

Setting Clear Deadlines

Time is money, and missed deadlines can result in costly delays. Clearly communicate your project timeline and set realistic deadlines for each stage of the design process. This helps keep the project on track and prevents rushed, last-minute revisions that can drive up costs.

Internal Sign-off and Timely Responses

Involve all relevant stakeholders in the design process from the outset. Ensure that your internal sign-off committee is aware of project timelines and deliverables to avoid delays caused by indecision or unexpected revisions. Additionally, commit to providing timely responses to emails and feedback from the design agency to keep the project moving forward smoothly.

Feedback and Revisions

Clear and timely feedback is crucial for ensuring that the design agency understands your vision and can make necessary revisions efficiently. Provide constructive feedback and be specific about any changes or adjustments you’d like to see. This helps prevent misunderstandings and minimises the need for extensive revisions.

In conclusion, investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can lead to significant time and cost savings throughout the design process. By approving copy, collecting content, providing examples and preferences, setting clear deadlines, involving internal stakeholders, and providing timely feedback, you can streamline your collaboration with a design agency and ensure successful project outcomes.

Remember, preparation is the key to success!

Now you’ve prepped your brief, want to send it to us? Get in touch today!

Calling all Comms people in Social Housing! Feeling overwhelmed about annual reports?

At Be Smart Design, we understand the pressures that come with annual report season for social housing providers. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce our latest campaign, ‘Be Smart Stress Less’, designed specifically to support social housing providers in creating stunning annual reports without the hassle.

So, you’re a busy communications manager, juggling multiple tasks, and the looming deadline for your annual report is causing stress levels to rise. And here comes our secret pink package – a delightful surprise filled with branded pink goodies carefully curated to take the stress out of your annual report preparations.

But that’s not all – along with our charming pink package, we’re offering our expertise in annual report design. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, including extensive work with social housing providers, we’ve mastered the art of crafting compelling annual reports that captivate stakeholders and convey your organisation’s message with clarity and impact.

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Why choose Be Smart Design for your annual report needs?
Here’s what sets us apart:

The Experience
With three decades of experience under our belt, we’ve honed our skills in designing annual reports that exceed expectations. We understand the unique needs and challenges of social housing providers and tailor our approach accordingly.

The Know-how
From financial statements to complex data visualisation, we have the knowledge and expertise to handle all aspects of annual report design. You can trust us to deliver professional results that showcase your organisations achievements and impact.

The Creativity
Annual reports don’t have to be dull and uninspiring. Our team of creative professionals brings fresh ideas and innovative design concepts to the table, ensuring your annual report stands out from the crowd and leaves a lasting impression.

So, why stress when you can ‘Be Smart Stress Less’ with Be Smart Design? Take the first step towards a stress-free annual report season by sending your annual report project our way. Let us handle the design, so you can focus on what you do best – making a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Not convinced yet? Feel free to check out our portfolio to view our work, or take a gander at our home page to read some testimonials from other happy clients.

Get in touch today – and let’s make this annual report season your best one yet!

The art of visual storytelling: how to use design to tell your story

In a world that’s chock-a-block with content, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that counts. The art of visual storytelling is the secret weapon to make your brand not just stand out, but pop like a fireworks display in a pitch-black sky. Dive into this useful guide and discover how to use design to tell your story in the most eye-catching way possible.

Unravel the plot

First things first – you need to know your story. Gone are the days of just pushing products. We’re all about creating narratives that make people feel something, that make them want to be besties with your brand. But before you unleash your creativity, take a moment to jot down what gets your brand’s heart racing. What makes it tick? What’s its story? What makes you different from the rest?

Create captivating characters

Now that you’ve got the essence of your brand, it’s time to put a face to it. When it comes to your brand’s characters, whether it’s a lovable mascot, a charismatic spokesperson, or even unique typography, it’s important to capture your brand’s personality. Be true to yourself and your brand, and above all, make it unforgettable!

Set the scene

Your brand’s visual identity is the captivating stage where your story unfolds. Choose colours, shapes, and patterns that truly reflect your brand’s vibe and core values. Consider how these captivating elements can blend harmoniously, creating a sense of movement and depth. Oh, and consistency is key! You don’t want your audience to feel like they stumbled upon a completely different story with unexpected plot twists. Keep it cohesive and ensure your brand’s visual identity remains true throughout.

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Make them laugh, make them cry
A good story has emotional ups and downs. So, don’t be afraid to play with emotions in your design. Use contrast and surprise to keep your audience engaged and eager for more. Be bold and take risks, but don’t go overboard. After all, you want your brand to stand out, not stick out like a sore thumb.

The power of the picture

There’s a reason why they say “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Visuals have the power to convey your brand’s story in an instant. So go ahead and unleash your creativity! Embrace striking images, whimsical doodles, or even playful GIFs if they align with your brand’s personality. However, make sure they stay in harmony with your brand’s overall aesthetic and, most importantly, remain faithful to your story’s narrative. Let your visuals be a compelling reinforcement of your brand’s message.

Put it all together

Now that you have all the ingredients at your disposal, it’s time to create your visual storytelling masterpiece. Use hierarchy and composition strategically to guide your audience through the narrative, ensuring that they’re engaged and informed at every step. And don’t forget to conclude with a compelling call to action that leaves a lasting impact. It’s the final touch that will truly make your story shine.

So, there you have it – the art of visual storytelling in six simple steps. Go forth and weave your brand’s tale in a way that’ll leave your audience craving more. And if you need a helping hand, don’t be shy – reach out to a distinguished and top-rated design agency like ours. We’re all about taking risks, being assertive, and helping brands tell their stories in the most irresistible way possible.

7 hot branding topics of the year

We’re coming to the end of 2023, so we wanted to share the hottest branding topics that are currently setting the industry ablaze.

At Be Smart, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of what’s in, what’s out, and maintaining a playful and light-hearted  approach to not scare people off. So, get ready to explore the cutting-edge branding strategies that are captivating audiences right now in the ever-evolving landscape of creativity.

Engaging audiences through sensory branding

Sensory branding takes engagement to a whole new level by creating immersive multi-sensory experiences. Can you recall the chirp of Skype’s incoming call, the swoosh of an email being sent from an iPhone, or the percussive theme of Netflix’s start-up? These are all examples of sound branding.

Sound branding can have a powerful psychological effect and can be used to trigger specific emotions or actions. A distinctive and consistent sound can also increase brand recognition, making your brand easily identifiable amidst the noise of the market.

Whether  it’s a catchy jingle, an engaging podcast, or an immersive VR experience, sound branding can create an additional touchpoint that engages your audience in a unique and memorable way.

Minimalist branding: the power of simplicity and elegance

Sometimes, less is more. We’re noticing a clear trend in the branding world – minimalist design is proving that simplicity can have a significant impact. Brands are increasingly leaning towards straightforward designs, clean typography, and uncluttered aesthetics.

The idea here is to eliminate unnecessary fluff, allowing a brand to shape an identity that is sleek, refined, and instils a sense of confidence. Subdued colour palettes, generous use of white space, and the principles of minimalist aesthetics combine to create a bold yet understated statement. In a world where simplicity speaks volumes, minimalist branding is truly finding its footing.

Storyliving; the rise of immersive narratives

Step into the realm of “story living”, where storytelling transcends the boundaries of traditional marketing. Instead of simply telling a story, immerse your audience in a narrative that transports them to another world. Through interactive experiences, virtual reality, or augmented reality, you can engage your audience on a deeper level and make them active participants in your brand’s story. Prepare to leave a lasting impression by creating unforgettable adventures that blur the lines between fiction and reality.

Celebrating diversity through inclusive branding
The modern landscape of branding demands inclusivity. It’s all about appreciating the diverse facets of society, dismantling stereotypes, and fostering a universal sense of belonging. It’s crucial to include diversity in your visuals, communicate inclusive messages, and weave this ethos into your brand narrative.

By nurturing an environment that reflects a variety of experiences, your brand can connect with an expanded audience pool. Your commitment to equality and inclusivity won’t just make a significant social impact, it will also allow your brand to make a positive impact and resonate with a wider scope of customers. The message is clear – inclusivity isn’t just beneficial, it’s an absolute necessity in today’s world.

Interactive packaging: engaging consumers with interactive design

Gone are the days when packaging was just a container to carry a product. Now, it’s a unique opportunity to entertain and charm your customers. Interactive packaging brings together design, tech, and a dose of playfulness to craft an unforgettable unboxing journey.

Think of QR codes revealing exclusive digital content or tactile elements that appeal to more than just the eyes. Cutting-edge packaging designs hold the potential to enthrall  your audience, making the interaction memorable even after the purchase is made. So, let’s break the mould and make packaging an exciting part of the customer experience!

Sustainable branding: saving the planet, one bold brand at a time

Now’s the time to roll out your green ethos and show the world that sustainability is more than a buzzword for your brand. Sustainable branding is no longer optional; it’s an expression of your mission.

Let’s put the spotlight on your dedication to a more sustainable future, showcasing your eco-friendly practices, and enthusiastically broadcasting your green initiatives.

Brace yourself to appeal to an ever-growing cohort of eco-aware consumers who aren’t just looking for brands that talk a good game, but actually play one. Embrace sustainability, and watch your brand resonate on a whole new level.

If you’re eager to unleash our design prowess and work some branding magic, reach out to us! Let’s collaborate and create something extraordinary together.

How involved should you as a client get in the design process?

As a branding and design agency, we’re all about injecting a sense of playfulness, exhilaration, and a dash of daring into our work. We’re self-assured in our skills and delight in working with clients who are ready to push the boundaries and take a chance on something new.

While we value our clients’ unique creative visions, it’s not uncommon for us to meet clients with a rather precise concept, leaving little wiggle room for input. We acknowledge that clients possess diverse views on their brand identity, but here’s the thing – design is a collaborative process! We need to work together to create something that meets your goals while maintaining the overall quality of the design. Have faith in us; we’re the professionals, and we’ve got this down to a fine art.

We take the time to listen to our clients’ ideas and provide them with our professional opinion, it’s important for clients to know that their intentions are well-meaning, and our ultimate goal is to help our clients achieve their vision while creating a design that resonates with their audience.

Change is scary

Switching things up can be a bit nerve-wracking, and many clients prefer to play it safe. They think that if their look has always been a certain way, it should stay that way. However, we’re here to tell you that sticking to the tried-and-true isn’t always the best plan. Just take a look at Apple, a brand that’s transformed over time while staying true to its core values. Recognised worldwide, its logo even morphed into a trendy status symbol. We cheer on our clients to be daring and let their creative juices flow when it comes to their brand identity.

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Working with the client

When clients bring their ideas to the table, we handpick the finest ones and mix them with our own imaginative flair. Our mission is to craft a design that embodies the client’s desires and the essence of their branding. And, let’s face it, we’re head over heels for clients who want to shake things up, ditch the old look, and embrace something zesty, thrilling, and attention-grabbing. But, here’s the catch, clients sometimes get cold feet and veer towards safer, run-of-the-mill designs because they’re hesitant to push the boat out.  Or they have an executive board who are more conservative in their views, despite the client avatar.

This can be disappointing, but what’s more upsetting is when they ask for one thing but mean something different. This usually happens when the client doesn’t have a clear idea of what they want or who their target audience is. We understand that design is just like writing; it needs a clear plan, a purpose, and a lot of expertise. But that is where we come in with the right questioning technique and sometimes moodboards.

Leave it to the experts

We understand that clients have their own creative vision, but sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. We have the expertise to identify design elements that only work in a particular design. Believing in the design journey is the secret sauce for success, and trust us, we don’t want you to end up with a lacklustre look.

A dud design can leave a substantial dent on a business. It’s akin to rocking a dodgy haircut; it messes with your mojo and overall aura. Loads of folks tolerate subpar designs and are gobsmacked by the traffic boost when we spruce things up. But, some clients struggle to envision the long-term oomph of the design. That’s why it’s vital to let us unveil the magic that could unfold once you take that daring plunge.

Put your trust in the design adventure and believe in our know-how. We get that you have your own vision, but come on, let us work our magic! Together, we’ll whip up a design that captures your brand’s spirit and gives your business a brilliant boost.

So, if you’re ready to take that leap and create a design that resonates with your audience, get in touch with us. We’re here to help, and we promise it’ll be a fun and exciting ride.

How to successfully onboard a design client

Customer onboarding is like the second date of business relationships – you’ve impressed them on the first date, now it’s time to get a bit more serious! It requires a little persuasive charm, a lot of honest communication, and will be a critical part of sealing the deal with your potential client.    

What’s client onboarding?

Client onboarding is the nitty gritty of turning a potential client into a paying one. You want them to sign on the dotted line for what will hopefully be a long-lasting creative collaboration. But first, you’ll need to address their concerns  and make sure they fully understand your design services and how you operate.

Think of it like a journey from your first ‘hello’ to the day you start working on their project. Onboarding is your chance to discuss with the new client:

  • What kind of service you’ll provide
  • What their role is in the partnership
  • How you’ll keep in touch with each other
  • When and how you’ll invoice
  • And of course, all the juicy details about how it’ll all come together

Why is client onboarding important?

Let’s look at this from two angles.

From the client’s point of view:

It can be nerve-wracking to choose a new supplier, who is, let’s face it, a relative stranger. And clients may not know  how partnering with a design agency works. But proper onboarding is like a sneak peek into the magical world of design. Show them the ropes and help them understand what it’s like to work with you, and they’ll feel a lot more confident about their decision.

From the supplier’s point of view:

Onboarding is not just a chance to get to know your clients (although that’s a big part of it). It’s also an opportunity to wrap your heads around the design project and get a feel for their communication style too. At this stage you can also share your ‘plan of attack’ with the client, letting them know what they can expect of you and vice versa.

Filter out ‘bad’ clients

There will be some clients that just   And let’s be honest, some that would just be a nightmare to deal with! The onboarding process is a great way to weed out these ‘bad’ clients before either of you makes a commitment. And it’s a two-way street; a chance for both parties to suss each other out and decide if you want to work together.  

Show them what you’re made of!

Finally, the onboarding process is a great opportunity to show off your skills and prove that you’re the design gurus they’ve been searching for. By doing this you’re putting their minds at ease, sealing the deal, and getting the relationship off to a great start.

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What happens without a good onboarding process?

Without a top-notch onboarding process, you’re likely to either deluge a potential client with info overload or leave them feeling a bit, well…meh. It’s all about serving up just the right amount of detail to reassure them that you’re the bee’s knees, but without launching an all-out info blitz.

Remember the real nitty-gritty of onboarding – it’s about sharing what a potential client needs to know, and importantly, lending an ear to their questions and worries. The end goal is to make the journey of hiring a designer as smooth as a very smooth thing.

A dodgy onboarding process will leave the client with a sour taste, and the chances of them bringing your design agency on board will be slim. But, do it well, and they’ll be convinced there’s no one else they’d rather tango with than you!

If you’re racking up enquiries from potential clients faster than a magpie collects shiny things, but very few are converting into paying clients, then it’s definitely time for a good ol’ rethink.

Client onboarding gives you direction

Kicking off a fresh creative project with a client is always a bit like opening a box of fireworks. Ideas are buzzing around like sparklers, and everyone’s buzzing about the potential. But, without a compass, you’ll soon find yourselves wandering aimlessly in the creative wilderness.

Enter stage left: Bangin’ client onboarding. With a well-mapped plan and timetable for the project, you can delegate roles, share out responsibilities, and set expectations for all those involved. This framework makes the whole shindig a lot smoother, sidestepping any unexpected curveballs or crossed wires.

Once you’ve cracked the art of onboarding clients, it’ll be as breezy as a Sunday afternoon stroll. You’ll be strutting with confidence, comfy as a well-worn pair of trainers in your process, and clients will be well impressed with your orderly and top-notch approach.

Consider a Welcome Pack

How about rolling out the red carpet with a top-notch Welcome Pack? This is your golden chance to set the vibe for your design agency and give clients a crystal-clear picture of what they’re in for when they team up with you.

A Welcome Pack doesn’t just dish out the need-to-knows about your services, but it also helps sift out clients who might not quite fit the bill. Think of it as a trusty satnav, guiding both you and your client down the road to a triumphant project finish line.

Your Welcome Pack won’t be spilling the beans on all the individual  details (keep that tucked away for proposals and contracts), but it’ll cover the essentials like:

  • Your payment policies
  • Time frames
  • How you work
  • What you expect from your clients
  • How communication typically works

The results of good client onboarding

Strap in for the magic ride that good client onboarding can take you on. You’ll not only watch your potential clients turn into proud, paying customers, but you’ll see them:

  • Stick around for the long haul
  • Turn into loyal brand advocates
  • Snap up more of your products and services

The cherry on top? They’ll become your own little squad of brand cheerleaders, boosting your company’s growth through the timeless power of word-of-mouth. There’s no marketing tool that packs a punch quite like it!

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn’t easy, so pop us a message and we’ll see what we can do to help.

What the HEX? Why you need to maintain colour consistency in your branding

RGB, CMYK… what the HEX is it all about? A lot of businesses tune out when their designers start talking about colour, but it plays a vital role in keeping your brand looking consistent i.e., professional. If you’re confused by all the different colour models, and why they’re important, then we’re here to help.

In this blog we’re going on a joyous technicolour journey to talk about the difference between RGB, CMYK and HEX colour models, and the whys and hows of maintaining colour consistency in your branding.

RGB, CMYK and HEX colour models

Let’s start at the beginning with the three most common colour models used in digital and print design: RGB, CMYK AND HEX. Here’s a brief overview of each of them:

RGB

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue, and it’s used for digital design. Different intensities of red, green, and blue combine to create a range of colours. Every colour on a computer screen, tablet and phone is made up of different combinations of RGB values.

CMYK

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black). Yeah, we know it’s weird that it’s not just B for Black! This is the colour model used in print design and combines different levels of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink to create a range of colours.

HEX

HEX is short for hexadecimal, and it’s a six-digit code that represents colours in RGB values. It is commonly used for web design – these are the ones that start with a # (before that had a whole other meaning).

So now we know a bit about the different colour models, let’s talk about why it’s so important to keep a tight rein on the colours in your branding.

 

Why maintain colour consistency in branding?

Colour consistency is crucial in branding for several reasons:

Brand recognition

Let’s shoot for brand recognition, because, who doesn’t want to be remembered? Consistent colour use is the golden ticket to brand recall. Picture this, Tiffany puts out an ad and their iconic blue box suddenly looks purple… Blimey, that’s a branding nightmare! You need that colour consistency splashed across every platform, be it online or offline – website, social media pages, business cards, flyers, the works.

Professionalism

If you want your business to scream “pros at work” rather than “a motley crew’s first rodeo”, you’ve got to get your colour game spot on! Making sure the colours are consistent across all your branding pulls your look together and sets you apart from any Tom, Dick or Harry playing around on Canva.

Efficiency

Running a business is hectic enough without fretting about whether your website logo is playing colour match-up with your Twitter page logo. Kick-off with best practices when it comes to your branding, and you’ll save yourself loads of time and dodging those double-checking duties down the line.

Now that we’ve established why colour consistency is essential in branding, let’s talk about how we make that happen!

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HOW do you maintain colour consistency in your branding?

Maintaining colour consistency can be challenging, especially if you have several designers and marketers working on different projects! Here’s a few tips to help you stay in control:

Use brand guidelines

Think of brand guidelines as your brand’s rulebook, laying down the law on your visual identity. It’s not just about the logo, fonts, and colours – it could also stretch to include how photography should be used, the framework for the style of photography,  and even layouts for snazzy presentations or social media posts. Typically, they’re packed up neatly into a PDF, ready to guide your marketing materials down the path of consistency. It’s like a cheat sheet for your employees and collaborators, helping everyone stay on brand and looking sharp.

Use the correct colour models

Here’s the 101 on colour models: RGB is your go-to for digital design, CMYK’s got your back on print, and HEX is your web design superstar. So, say you need to get that logo up on Twitter – make sure you’re armed with the RGB version. That’s because the CMYK one will lose its punch on screen, looking less vibrant than your 3 am cup of coffee. Any logo designer worth their beans will have you kitted out with all the versions you need. Seriously, they’re the salt of the Earth.

Test colours before finalising

Remember that game, “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”? Think of your colours as that tail. You want to test them  out before sticking them for good on your marketing materials, both in the digital realm and the physical one. Different print finishes can mess with your colour results. For instance, colours can throw a tantrum on glossy or matt paper, and lamination might put a slight damper on their spirit. Don’t go printing a thousand brochures without asking for a print sample first! And remember, just like snowflakes, no two computer monitors or mobile phones show colour in exactly the same way. Keep that in mind, and you’ll save yourself a whole load of headaches.

Use colour management software

There are some tools that can help you in your fight to keep colour consistent. Consider colour management software your new BFF in the battle for consistency across all your marketing materials. This tech wizardry can help you tune up your monitors and printers, ensuring that your colours play nicely across all mediums. You should also become besties with your printing company; they can be the Gandalf to your Frodo in getting the colour right for every job. If they’re local, even better – you can pop in and give a thumbs up in person.

Well, that was a whistle stop tour of colour wasn’t it! Now that we’ve looked at why colour consistency in your branding is essential, you can ensure that your business looks the business. And with an understanding of the difference between RGB, HEX, and CMYK colour models, you can make sure that your brand is looking on-brand across all platforms.

Get going today and start implementing these tips to maintain colour consistency in your branding. Your customers will appreciate the attention to detail and professionalism, and your brand recognition will improve as a result. Need support? Send us a message and we can help.

Unifying Your Brand As A Quality Social Housing Provider

Unifying social housing brand

The social housing provider: the unsung hero of society, the champion of affordable housing, and the master of community-building. But with so many providers out there, how on Earth do you make your brand stand out? Even with multiple companies under one umbrella, it’s crucial to create cohesive brand identity that resonates with your audience. Are you ready to unify your brand? Good! We’re going to help you achieve it.

Why should you give a hoot about standing out?

Well, let’s face it: social housing providers are a bit of a fairy godmother of the modern world, transforming lives by providing people with a place they can call home. But with all the competition out there, it’s essential to make your brand as eye-catching as a peacock in a flock of pigeons.

A distinctive and memorable brand is like a magnet for new customers, a comforting hug for existing ones, and a sure-fire way to build an enviable reputation. Plus, it’ll boost trust and loyalty, making it easier for you to smash those goals of yours.

Enter Be Smart, your branding saviours

At Be Smart we’re  all about crafting a brand identity that’ll make your social housing provider shine like the brightest star in the sky.  will work with you to whip up a brand strategy that’s in tune with your values and aspirations, creating a brand that’ll resonate with both your customers and employees.

The secret sauce: engaging copy

While a stunning design is the cherry on top of a unified brand, engaging copy is the delicious cake beneath it. It’s well-written, easy to digest, and hooks the reader like a literary angler. It should be informative, persuasive, and crystal clear.

When curating copy for your social housing brand, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want to know? What are their problems? How can you solve them and provide value? By tackling these questions head-on, you’ll create copy that’s as human as it gets and will help you nail your objectives. If you’re struggling for inspiration, talk to the people that use your services! They’ll be the experts as they’re your audience.

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Picture perfect: photography and visual branding

Visual branding is like the air guitar of the branding world – it’s all about nailing the right look. And photography is a crucial part of that. By using consistent styles, tones, and filters across all your communication channels, you’ll create a cohesive vibe that’ll have people recognising your brand from a mile away.

Colour us impressed

Don’t forget about colour – it’s like the secret handshake of the branding world. Your organisation might have multiple logos or brands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t streamline your colour palette. Use colour to bridge the gap between brands and create a sense of unity. Stick to the same colours for borders and text for a subtle touch of cohesion without ditching individual branding.

The grand plan

To introduce your fabulous new brand elements, you’ll need a strategy. Internally, get your ducks in a row and decide when everything will fall into place. For external customers and stakeholders, ease them into the changes gently. Be transparent about what you’re doing and why. Show them the value of branding and why it’s worth investing in.

Real-life rebranding

Still sceptical? Feast your eyes on some successful social housing rebrands. Take Abri, for example, born from the union of Yarlington and Radian in 2021. They unveiled new branding, a swanky website, and a sales site that effortlessly united the two organisations.

Then there’s Harbour, created after the merger of Port of Leith Housing Association and its subsidiaries. They completed a rebrand in November 2022 that perfectly encapsulated their combined heritage.

And who could forget Citizen, the rebranded WM Housing Group from 2019? They splashed out a cool £870m on a swish new look that oozed modernity and showcased their commitment to providing top-notch social housing for those in need.

The bottom line: Unify or die (okay, maybe not die, but you get the point)

To build recognition and trust with your clients, stakeholders, and audience, you need to unify your brand as a quality social housing provider. Sure, it might be tough to justify shelling out for a complete rebrand, but there are plenty of ways to work with what you’ve got and create a harmonious look across all your communication channels.

Focus on engaging copy, powerful internal messaging, photography, colour, and a plan for rolling out your brand elements, and you’ll end up with a solid and recognisable brand that embodies your organisation’s values and ambitions.

Ready to rock and roll?
Give us a shout today, and let’s start unifying your like the branding wizards we are!