Logo Design That Your Target Audience Will Love

David Airey is having a contest on his Logo Design Love blog. Since so many of my clients are in the health and self help fields I took interest in his nominations for that category.

David is asking his readers to “vote” on the “best” logo… however, because of my Niche Marketing mindset…. I can’t help but add this note to my clients who read my blog…

blog logoRemember that your “favorite”  design will be influenced by who you are.

For example,  one of my favorite logos on the page is the one for Fatfighters.  I scrolled right by some other lovely designs which got more votes in the comments section.  Since it’s no secret that I am currently embroiled in a battle of the bulge, it’s natural that I would zip right by other great logo designs such as  the ones for Dumb Little Man, Emergiblog and Lift magazine.

Now, this is really important:  As you’re working with a logo developer and you begin to “shop” your designer’s preliminary work around to family and friends… ask yourself “Are these people a part of my target audience?”

Your target audience is the only opinion that counts when it comes to your logo design.

If Aunt Sally and Uncle Dave are in their late 60’s and are NOT members of your target audience…. don’t ask their opinion!!!  It doesn’t MATTER which logo they like unless they are part of your target audience!!!

I once had a client who was “shopping” a business idea around to her family and friends.  Because none of these people were part of the target market for the product, their responses to her were very discouraging.  However, when she began shopping that same idea to her anticipated target audience, instead of responding with a yawn…. members of her target audience replied with an enthusiastic, “How much will it cost and when can I sign up?”

With that in mind… I’m sure that if Janet Simpson of Nourish Your Life were to review the logos featured, her attention would immediately be drawn to the Organic Passion logo because of her passion for organic foods.  Meanwhile, Simeon Pollock of the Wholistic Blog would be drawn to the Fingertips logo.

Logos are the toughest decision any business owner will make because it takes a talented graphic artist to create a compact two dimensional element that effectively speaks volumes about the multi-dimensional business  which it represents.  David Airey is doing a wonderful job of showcasing this ability… and I’d be willing to bet he answers his email as well.

Cost effective way to fastrack your design success

The vast majority of my clients are of the "bootstrapping entrepreneurial" variety, which means cost effective is one of their TOP priorities.

For that reason, when I launch a new blog for a client (and blogs are a boot strapping entrepreneur’s best friend) I always offer the option of using a Template Monster Templates for their self hosted Word Press blog.  For less than $60, we can "dress" their blog in an attractive and stylish "theme" which can easily be changed in the future.

I usually don’t recommend they use a "free" template for their blog just because the quality of those free template blogs tend to vary widely.  One client fell in love with just such a "free" template, only to discover that any pages created in Word Press won’t display properly (i.e. AT ALL).  That created a problem.  My client was in LOVE with certain elements in this blog theme which she can’t find duplicated at Template Monster.  For her, we had to move to plan B.

Plan B involves:

  1. Hiring a Graphic Artists/Designer

    This client spent three months posting her design requests to various web sites which offer to connect clients with designers.   Her hope was to find a "rising star" who would create a design for her.  Unfortunately, that never happened.  When she told me she was going to raise her listed "budget" for the project to more than I paid for the cover design for my book, I offered to introduce her to the graphic artist who designed the cover of my book, Richard Leach.

    Richard is an incredibly gifted graphic artist and he designed a SUPERB graphical concept for the theme.  Step 1 is completed… and now we’re moving to Step 2.

  2. Hiring  someone to code the design.

    Unfortunately, this client was directed to a source that claimed to "code your design" for a low, low cost of $150.   I had been telling her that a custom coding job would run in the $750 range….  so she was THRILLED to find this resource via a business coach with whom she works.  Unfortunately, inquiries to this designer yielded a response along the lines of  "I’m swamped and I can’t take on any more projects" type of a reply.  (His web site is down now which I assume means he”s going to raise his rates.) 

    I’ll admit, I was concerned when she first approached me about this "low cost alternative".  My figure was based upon using a word press theme developer I know personally to code the design.  Other sources range in the $650-$750 range for custom coding of a design as well. One site, recommended by Tech Crunch is  XHTMLized Turns Your Design into Code. When you choose "WP Theme" at XHTMLized the price automatically jumps to $649. 

Just a word of wisdom to any one new to business and/or life:  When you get four quotes for something and three of those quotes are within 20% of each other… and ONE of those quotes is a full 80% LESS than the other three… throw out the rock bottom quote.  (This is why you should get multiple quotes on any project, web or otherwise.) 

In the case of Template Monster Word Press Themes, you’re getting a theme at a 90% discount FOR A REASON (two to be exact): 

  • Because they can sell that same theme over and over again! 
  • Many of the themes offered there are variations of a select group of theme codes… so while two themes have markedly different graphics, code wise they are almost identical in nature.  In economics class your professor called that "economies of scale".  It costs $750 to code the first design, but it only costs $50 to swap the graphics and change the color values for the second theme offered for sale. 

This works in reverse as well.  If you have four real estate agents and THREE of them tell you they will list your house in the $300L-$350K range and ONE agent assures you he/she will list your house at $650K…. disregard that final figure.  No matter how BADLY you want to believe it, most of the time it’s not the three agents who are "wrong" about the value of your home.  Instead, you have ONE agent who is trying to "buy" your listing.

My client is going to have a LOT of money invested in the development of her new theme.  (Unfortunately, it looks like she’ll be spending $500 more on the coding than she originally estimated.) However, she’s going to end up with a blog like no other, and one which powerfully communicates what she does before you read a single word of copy.   Because she’s a seasoned business professional, she understands better than most of my "boot strapping" clients that you have to spend money to make money.

In the end, it’s rare to find someone who is great at what they do offering their services at a fraction of cost.  What always happens is the provider becomes deluged and as a result, raises his/her rates.  If you find you’re swamped, then it’s time to raise your rates.  Trust me…. the clients you lose aren’t nearly as good as the clients you’ll gain.  

 

Is 800 X 600 really dead?

When a blog (Daily Blog Tips) that has an Alexa rating in the 15,000 range tells you that the 800 X 600 screen display setting is dying, I have to take notice.

It’s times like these that I feel like a REAL dinosaur as I reflect back on the days when 800 was "wide screen"…. and now those 800 pixel wide displays have grown into 1024 x 768.  Sniff!!!  Get out the photo album Pa and we’ll remember the old Compaq computer with it’s 1 gig hard drive that we were SURE would last forever! 

OK, nostalgia rantings aside…. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has a poll on his zdnet blog on screen resolutions where he asks what your screen resolution is.  I went to vote and realized… I don’t even KNOW what my current settings are for this computer. 

I’m running Windows XP so I begin by Start > Control Panel> Display >Settings.  Ah, there…. 1440 X 900

Out of 581 votes on his blog, 6% are running 1440X900.  1 out of three visitors is using display settings of 1280×1024.

Ah, but here’s the rub…. Adrian’s blog is targeted towards web savvy users.  Hardware 2.0 readers are probably VERY different than readers for other blogs.

Is 800X600 "dead"…. well, maybe in some circles.  One of my clients just laid to rest three Windows 98 machines in her office.  Until last week, she was DEFINITELY running a business where 800X600 was the rule of thumb. 

Again, it boils down to YOUR audience.  Is your audience the tech savvy kind…. then by all means, assume the 800X600 screen resolution is dead for them.  However,  recognize that 4% of Adrian’s tech savvy audience is still using that screen resolution. 

More than one of my clients are targeting less than tech savvy audiences and while I feel it’s safe to assume the 640×480 users are used to side scrolling, for now I’m just not comfortable assuming the 800X600 is dead and gone.  Besides… what’s the harm in targeting the lowest common denominator?

Blog Design: How Important Is It?

I have to admit, since I converted my web site to a blog, I’ve been feeling more than a bit sheepish about  the first impression my blog makes.  

See, I’m really, really, really BUSY creating pretty blogs for my clients. 

BUSTED!!!

As I write that line of BS, I see what I must REALLY think of the design issue.  That design is an also ran.  I MUST if I’d allow my blog to appear looking like this. 

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