Category Archives: Branding

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SharpFutures Brand Refresh

So Google isn’t the only one updating their brand identity

Over the past couple of months, our Marketing and Design team have been busy working on a new, refreshed look for SharpFutures, building a new brand identity with all of our services.

We have rolled out some of our new brand identity across our social channels including Facebook and Twitter giving you a hint to how things will look soon once we fully launch.

Another big project that has come as a natural progression from the new brand development is a new website. The team are currently in the Beta stage of building a brand new website for people to get a real feel and understanding of everything we do here at SharpFutures. It will also give a simple navigation to the services we provide and an accessibility to our broad range of clients and affiliates.

Keep watching this space as it is all coming soon.

 

Learning SketchUp

Here at SharpFutures we’ve begun using SketchUp to mock-up the stages and studios at The Space Project & The Sharp Project.

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It always takes a bit of trial and error when using a new piece of software , but we believe it will be an effective tool for potential clients to able to view a 3D digital scale model of the stages or studios they are looking to hire.

We will post back soon with some of our ideas and developments.

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Branding – Business Cards

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I was tasked with project a month ago, where I was to create one business card for both sites.

However according to the branding guidelines; the two logo’s cannot appear next to each other, which presented a slight challenge.

I created a version for five members of the management team, across biz-card-photothe two sites. Some of these members work solely at one site or other or both which dictated the two sides of the business cards.

I had slight challenge at one point with colour formatting in one of the logo’s, the studio at the printers had a problem with the PMS colour formats used in the PDF logo’s which I’d not come across before. The fix for this was to simply save out the PDF’s as CMYK colour images ready for print. I’m pleased with the outcome and hope they are used effectively for networking and marketing the two sites.

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Z-Card Production for The Space Project

The Space Project is Manchesters newly-built flagship drama & production facility, located in West Gorton 5 minutes from Central Manchester – it is the site of the old Fujitsu & ICL  computer housings. The Space Project was built in response to meet the growing demand for high quality, flexible production space in the North West.

I was recently briefed on a design project for a combined marketing, technical specification and business card functioning print device for The Space Project.

We chose a Z-Card format, as we thought this would be the most suitable and effective for our needs. The Z-Card is useful as it functions like a business card whilst folded up but as a double-sided sheet when unfolded (much like the classic Ordnance Survey map layout). The target audience are production teams so we thought this format would be easy to distribute , and are pocket/wallet-sized rather than having a large A4 folder like The Sharp Project brochure.

The Z-Card needed to be graphic guide to the site for productions and visitors, and also display all the features of the site and the technical specifications of the production facilities. At times this proved to be a challenge as we don’t have any photographs of the site, and we had no customer-facing footprints of the space except for the stylised logo.

On the first side I produced a simplified footprint of all customer-facing rooms and areas that will be used on the Ground Floor and First Floor with detailed dimensions and power specs for each sound stage.

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On the reverse side I used stills from the CGI animated marketing fly-through (produced by The Drawing Room) to annotate and visually demonstrate the spaces without using too much text which wouldn’t be read.

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We tried to leave empty space on both sides so that the diagrams could be annotated and people could make notes on them to enhance the card to their needs. The card will also serve as a preliminary basic marketing tool until we produce a proper brochure, like we did for The Sharp Project.

I designed the Z-Card with supervision from Tom Clarke (SharpFutures) and brand consultation from Malcolm Garrett (images.co.uk).

I’m pleased with the outcome of the printed Z-Card and I hope it proves useful to staff and customers.

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What is the Creative Digital sector?

#Creative:- : originality of thought or imagination

#Digital:- : involving or relating to the use of computer technology

Creative Digital companies make, move or manipulate Digital Content around the world. The European Commission considers the digital and creative industries the most dynamic emerging sector in Europe to work in and the most important driver of innovation in other sectors. Official statistics published January 14th, 2014 reveal that the UK’s creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy. With a growth of almost 10% in 2012, outperforming all other sectors of UK industry, the sector also accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6 per cent of UK jobs.

With a sector showing so much growth, here at SharpFutures our aim is to empower and equip young people with all the creative and digital tools vital for success in this sector – and to advise of the realities and pitfalls. Creative work is often project-based and can come in ebbs and flows. To succeed in this industry takes determination, imagination and flexibility.

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Creative Approach of Presenting a CV

The SharpFutures team and myself love this creative approach of presenting a CV. A Curriculum Vitae is traditionally a piece of paper with the mind numbing name, date, age, experience etc. If you are applying for a position in the creative digital sector then there is a high chance the Managing Director or whoever is handed your CV will have a creative flare themselves, therefore it wont hurt for you show your creativity from step one. We recently came across a blog post mentioning a great example of someone using creativity to give themselves the unique selling point and competitive edge.

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Leah (the woman who created the creative CV), was given the brief to ‘create a piece of persuasive advertising with you as the product’. She then did exactly this in such a creative way it has taken the attention of people across the world, not only the business applied for. Since this creative CV she has had numerous interviews and job offers as a result of adding an interesting twist to the traditional Curriculum Vitae. If you want to see the full blog post you can view it here.

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Also, take a look at some more of Erin Gloria Ryan’s blogs here.

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Graphic Design & Branding in Social Media

With every company now setting up a business presence online whether it be Twitter, Facebook or Google+ it is important that they are consistent with their brands across their chosen platforms. This is so your audience can be sure its you and that it seems as if it is an extension of your existing forms of communication.

Setting up social media accounts for business is fairly straight forward, the most popular problem people encounter is that Social Media channels are all different and all require different sized graphics. This can cause a lot time being wasted searching for the correct specification that an image needs to fit as some will ask for different pixel size, some different resolution, some different format all together. You then have to go through the stress of finding relevant images for your profile pictures, avatars, backgrounds, cover photos (the list is endless)…

Through these issues myself and our Graphic Designer – Dan Walsh have created an infographic to help anyone else struggling to find the correct size graphic for the most popular social media platforms. We hope the infographic is of use as it has become a vital tool to our own social media branding tasks.

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Colour Psychology in Branding

Today we’ve been looking at colour and its use in branding.

We are subconsciously subjected to the effects of colour psychology by brands on a day-to-day basis, and although we are unaware of it they will invoke certain emotions within us – encouraging us to feel a certain way towards a brand or product; making assumptions regarding what they stand for.

As you can see from this infographic it can be applied to any brand, and although some may be unintentional; the majority will have been designed using colour psychology to translate a message  which projects the brand in certain ‘favourable’ light. Colour psychology is a powerful tool. Although there are people that believe that there are too many variables such as, personal taste, cultural background, upbringing etc. which can affect peoples attitudes and perceptions. However I think although the latter will factor and possibly override or compete with naturally occurring human reactions, there is definitely a common shared response to brands and colours – even if it’s as simple and basic as red = warm & blue = cold…

brand-colours-psychologyFor example, in Manchester there are many famous brands which are synonymous with the city and region. Such as, Manchester United – Red is a very primal colour associated with power and victory. Red is also the colour of Lancashire, and studies have shown that historically teams and sportsmen who wear red – perform far better than those wearing blue for example. This believed to be a psychological reaction from the opposing team/sportsmen and also the referee to assume that the Red wearing team is dominant and superior.

The Manchester Metrolink utilises the colour yellow in their MUFC-logobranding (offset by a neutral grey) – personally I think this a mistake, aside from the fact that it means that the trams are bright and visible; the connotations of the colour yellow aren’t what you’d imagine Metrolink would want to convey e.g. “Yellow is an unstable and spontaneous color, so avoid using yellow if you want to suggest stability and safety.” – although others say it invokes warmth and happiness, which are positive associations but maybe not necessarily suitable for a public service.

 

metolink-logoAs you can see from this infographic it goes alot deeper than that and this is where cultural and environmental factors may affect peoples opinions on colours – however there is nothing stopping a company altering their marketing (and use of colour within that) for different audiences. The most obvious example of this would be for foreign markets, where languages would have to be altered regardless – meaning it wouldn’t be a huge effort to alter the colour.

Next time you see a brand or logo, have a think about how it makes you feel and why; but also think about what messages you feel are being re-enforced by the colours used…