Archive for February, 2013

Four Questions to Ask Before Overhauling Your Company Logo

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 13, 2013 at 8:27pm

Re-branding your company’s logo should be one of the most carefully thought-out decisions you ever make for your business. Hastily adopting a new logo design can backfire for your image and may literally cost you customers. On the other hand, using re-branding properly can generate new revenue for you and open markets you’d struggled to break into with your old brand.

Are You Simplifying or Complicating your Brand?

Remember that golden rule with logo design –  “Less is More”. You want iconic and memorable, while being easily replicable for whatever purpose you might need. It must look good on screen, print, and large scale. If you’ve been using a one-color design for two decades, don’t hustle your way into a multi-color design.

What are the most memorable logos you can think of? Nike comes quickly to mind and is always in the global top 10. The ‘ nike swoosh’ is easily modified by color and placement but remains constant in its simple form. Nike knows better than to risk that, and you should too.

On the other hand you can see that Apple has steadily progressed from a complicated illustration of Isaac Newton to a rainbow colored apple to today’s very simple mono-tone fruit. It’s bold, striking, and I would be very surprised if they ever changed it again.

Do You Have Something to Lose?

If you’re a brand new company that hasn’t managed to build a base then maybe a new logo is the right choice, especially if you didn’t love your first iteration. But that’s also where you went wrong — don’t launch until you’re 100 percent ready and happy with your brand. By the time you’re thinking about changing your logo, a good business should have something to lose.

People will recognize your logo, especially in an age of online marketing and social media. Completely changing your look can confuse customers and you risk loosing them.

Has Your Company Shifted Its Focus?

If your firm has changed its focus from one solution to another, then perhaps a logo that better describes what you do would be better. These are just a few reasons why you may change your logo.

Are You Passionate About Your New Design?

Your logo is the face of your firm. Get it right the first time and dont settle. Use a good Ottawa design firm that has a reputation for designing high end logo designs.



Tips for Designing a Great Business Card

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 8, 2013 at 8:51pm

Business cards are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to promote your small business. They are an initial contact for you and your business. So it is very crucial to make the right impression on it.

If you want your card to work for you it needs to be well thought out and designed to be appropriate and effective. It needs to stand out from your competition without being over the top.

Below are some tips on how to best design your business card:

  • Go for quality of stock. Don’t use staples print at home packages or vista print. The stock is cheap and its apparent when you feel the card.
  • Accentuate your name – Make it easy to read and bolder than the font around it
  • Give yourself a title no matter how small your business is.
  • Include all the necessary information.  Contact details are mandatory, whether it is a phone, number, fax number or email address.
  • Including your mailing address depends on the style of business you operate, but be warned that a lack of address reduces credibility to some people.
  • Make the info accurate. Ensure all details are correct before printing and update the cards when details change.
  • If it is not obvious what your firm does, include a line to describe it.
  • Keep it appropriate. Think of who your audience is and keep the card in tone with them.
  • Be creative. You want your card to stand out – but don’t go crazy. Get a professional designer to come up with a concept for you.
  • Keep it clear. Information on the card must be easily read, so don’t add more than necessary.
  • Stick to a standard size print. Making your card bigger than standard cards will make it harder for people to put them in their wallet or pocket.
  • Include the url of your web site – for many firms the lack of a web site on the card could lose some leads.
  • Use your original logo on your cards, as well as on your stationary, web site and brochures. Keep it consistent.
  • Consider different cards for different purposes, if appropriate and even in different languages if you intend expanding overseas.

It takes time to design the perfect business card for your business, but the effort will be worth it when it brings in more customers! If you need help there are many local Ottawa business card designers to help you!


ForceFive Media is a Technology Business of the Year Finalist for Kanata

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 7, 2013 at 2:04am

We are proud to be announced today as a finalist for Technology Business of the Year in Kanata. Thank you to all of our clients, friends and family from the Kanata area who voted for us.

Pinterest and Your Business

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 7, 2013 at 1:40am

What is Pinterest and how can you use it in your business and marketing mix? Pinterest let’s you virtually pin pictures associated with hyperlinks to the best ideas and products from the internet. You can find great new items, organize them on your pin boards, and then share your own products across the platform driven by a female audience. Sounds pretty great, right? Now, you just have to learn how to use this tool and the audience it owns, to benefit your business.

This blog post is Pinterest for dummies for you and your business

Find interesting people and companies to follow. Then link your account to Facebook or Twitter, and Pinterest will give you some suggestions for who you should follow based on your other social-media and surfing habits. After that find other pinners who have similar interests to you – and browse for great ideas. At the top of your homepage, check out the categories under “Everything” to find a mishmash of ideas and links floating around. In your feed if a contact repins a link to a site with a great idea, you can trail the person or brand that initially pinned it. From there you can find cool people or brands to follow, or even individual boards so you don’t clog your stream with too much information.

You need to exercise organizational skills and clearly label your boards. Short to the point, but descriptive titles are key to a loyal following.

How to Make Money from Your Boards

You want to get repins and get followers. To start out put a button on your blog to show your website visitors that you’re on Pinterest. Repin your favorite links. Seasonal items are always very hot. Pin hot topics: the ones with lots of likes and comments are a good place to start as they are on everyones radars. Try to think about what other people would find relevant at the time and repin them.

Pinterest and Search Engine Optimization

Use targeted keywords in the names of your boards and pins to make your content SEO-rich and pick up more followers organically. Pinning a red pair of nike shoes look to your “Shoes” board? Make sure to add a caption to the pin with words like “nike,” “shoes,” “red,” and “ginger shoes” so Pinterest will pick your pin up in the search results.

Keep it Simple Stupid

Simplify. Use original and great photography. Easy-to-understand pins, titles and captions. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward, and don’t get too fancy. The best pins are eye-catching and easily recognizable. Pin images and links that your followers don’t have to wonder about. The best Pinterest users make the process fun by making it simple.

Add Pricing

If you’re selling products add a price banner to the corner of the photo. Simply type out the value within the caption, like “Red Nike Shoes, $89.” Great prices will entice buyers to check it out, and also allow for potential shoppers to budget your item onto their wish list boards.

See who’s pinning you. Want to know how many people are pinning content from your boards? Use this trick to keep track of your progress: **change to your website URL

Get Pinning!

If you use these simple yet effective tips, your Pinterest boards will be flooding traffic to your site in no time. Sales and leads will follow 😉


2013 – The Year of Responsive Web Designs

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 4, 2013 at 2:53pm

With more than 6000 different competing types of mobile devices in the world today, the need to understand designing for the mobile environment has become an increasingly difficult task for marketers. Creating websites for mobile has traditionally been to choose one of two paths – create a single website and acknowledge that your content will be scaled to a small format or create a separate mobile site which will have limited content/functionality for the mobile user.

Responsive Design could be the answer and an “easier” approach to mobile for organizations. This article tries to explain what it is and how it could be used.

Responsive Web Design is an approach to a flexible website foundation — the ability for content to adjust (or respond) to hardware and resolutions. To understand the full responsive approach, it is important to understand the following terms and how they fit into the complete marketing solution.

Continue reading →

Logo Design and Brand Creation

by Ryan Grassie - Feb. 4, 2013 at 2:10pm

Nothing is more important to the success of a new firm than it’s branding. Without a great logo to catch the attention of potential customers, you run the risk of continuing to be invisible on the local Ottawa and international market. It doesn’t take a lot of money to secure a great logo and branding for your new venture, just a bit of inspiration, creativity, and simplicity. Consider the following ideas when selecting a new logo to represent your business:

The Simplicity of Your Message

Coming up with a new logo and brand for your business might seem like a daunting task, especially the first time that you design a concept representation of your firm. This can lead people down the wrong road, trying to communicate too many flashy and intensive ideas in too small of a visual spot. Instead approach the design of your logo from a place of simplicity . You can always make a logo more complex in the future, but during the first few months and years of a business endeavor, a simple design should be clear enough for the viewer to read and understand.

Logo Design Symbolism and Memorability

Though having a clean logo design is critical for a business’ success, it’s also important to have something memorable that  potential customers can latch onto and remember. In certain cases, you may wish to incorporate some kind of symbolism within the text or visual design of your company’s logo. Before setting down to draft a logo design, take a look at the established symbolism within the logos in your company’s industry, especially your closest competitors. Memorability is the goal: think about the most common logos you’ve seen companies like Nike or Starbucks – though the style of their logo may have changed slightly over the years, they remain as internationally-recognized symbols. That being said, don’t have the same color text or similar look as your biggest rival company, because people need to be able to differentiate between your firm and the others in the industry.

Setting a Professional Tone with Design

If you want to send a clear, strong, and professional image to your audience consider reflecting this in the overall look of your logo. A logo is the face of your company, so it should be attractive and inviting. During the initial period when you establish your firm, you will want to focus on a simple logo design such as the name of your company in a legible font and sophisticated color. You could draw inspiration by searching the Pantone website for particular shades that you feel capture the underlaying goal of your company’s mission. Ask a few of your trusted customers to look at the markups of your logo and discuss if the message that they get is clear and professional.

Designing a more complicated logo can be very difficult on your own, especially when your expertise is in running a business and not in the creative arts. This is where a good Ottawa logo design firm can help you.