I’m excited to share Sarah Ainsworth Photography’s rebrand and Squarespace website launch! Sarah is not only a sweet (and extremely detail-oriented person), she is also an experienced wedding photographer who provides timeless, true to color images to couples in love. After being in business for 10 years, she knew she had outgrown her original branding, website, and blog, but didn’t have the time to do an overhaul herself.Read More
Before we dive into HOW and WHEN to brand your business, it’s imperative we ask ourselves :: What, exactly, is branding?
Branding is, in one word, your reputation. It’s the unspoken introduction to your product or service. You won’t always be around to pitch to potential customers, so it’s important your branding makes the BEST first impression possible.
Seth Godin writes, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Yep. Highlight that part about accounting for a “consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” THIS is why you need to care about branding. Without effective branding, people won’t know what you’re selling or why it’s worth their time or money.
Denise Lee Yohn gives us a simple equation that we’ll explore below…Read More
I’d like to offer some free advice based on 10 years of experience as a graphic designer/business owner. I want to teach you how to find the RIGHT designer to brand your business. (And no, it may not be me!)Read More
2019 MINIs are now open! This is your opportunity to get professional, custom logo design for less than half of the cost of our signature Branding Packages. To reiterate :: this is NOT a “discount package.” The price is this low because the branding process is expedited. Development is short and sweet but the result is the same: thoughtful, creative designs made just for you.Read More
Hello, friends! Today, I am incredibly excited to introduce you to a talented LOCAL client of mine :: Nikki Tripp of Tripp Films! This past fall, I had the pleasure of working with Nikki to rebrand her film business.
In her initial inquiry, she wrote:
Tripp Films produces creative films that showcase stories. I specialize in small businesses and creative brands, and I love getting to know each of my clients on a personal level to better understand their passion, style, and needs. From there, we create a customized plan for the film that tells their unique story in a visually engaging and artful way.
I really get excited when businesses have an idea of the content they want, but trust in my creative talents to bring it to life. These are the people and brands I love working with. I also get excited when I get to shoot other creatives in their element and finding unique ways to showcase what they do.
(When I read, “trust in my creative talents to bring it to life” I nodded furiously and knew we had to work together.)
I like my current brand, but think it could be more polished and amped up… [I need it to be ] cohesive and more consistent. I think a branding facelift would really take my biz to the next level!
Convinced we were an excellent match, I reached out to get the ball rolling. I shipped Nikki a Branding Workbook, she organized her brand inspiration, and I got to work. After her project wrapped up, we decided to “interview” each other with some Q&A about our respective fields. Scroll down if you’re considering a professional film for your business! Nikki is the real deal and, despite my fear of talking in front of a camera, she’s actually someone I’d feel comfortable fumbling over my words with… plus, she has some GREAT branding advice for you!
PHOTO OF NIKKI TRIPP BY SWISH AND CLICK PHOTOGRAPHY
1. When did you decide you wanted to be a videographer? Did you have a different career before starting Tripp Films? What was it that made you start your own business?
When I started college, I had no idea that filmmaking/videography could be a career! Luckily I was required to take a class unrelated to my major, and I chose a class called The World History of Film. It introduced me to that whole world and I immediately fell in love with all aspects of film! Looking back even before then, I was always making videos for class projects so it kinda makes sense now. During college, I interned and worked for people who owned their own business, so I was familiar with that environment and knew I would likely end up doing that, mostly because I wanted autonomy and freedom with my schedule. But I didn't know what that would look like until I moved to Houston. I was introduced to the creative community here, which got me thinking more about starting my own videography business. I ended up going on this epic road trip along the west coast that completely blew my mind and changed my perspective: I didn't want to waste any more time doing things I didn't care about. I came back from the trip and started Tripp Films shortly after.
2. Who is your ideal client, and what type(s) of project(s) do you dream about?
My ideal client is a small business owner who understands their brand and client, knows what they want to convey and appreciates a collaborative creative process. I like working with people who want to be a part of the process of creating their Branded Film but who are also comfortable with taking suggestions and input. As far as dream projects... Part of the reason I love my job is that it never gets boring, every client is different and takes a different approach. With that said, I do keep a Wishlist of types brands I hope to work with each year.
3. How would you describe your film style? Do you adapt to the look/feel of various businesses, or do you prefer to work with brands that mesh with yours?
That's a really good question. My film style is cinematic, personal, warm and authentic. Most brands that want to work with me are already drawn to my particular style, so I don't necessarily need to change it to fit them. However, I do ensure that their film fits their own brand as well by using color, branding, fonts and music. My style is also somewhat adaptable. It's not pigeonholed into one particular tone, it can fit many styles from light and airy to bright and colorful.
4. Did anything about the branding process surprise you?
My own pickiness haha! I think I got caught up in the details too much sometimes and you were great at keeping things on track and empowering me to make decisions with the big picture in mind.
5. What was your favorite part of the branding process? Which part was the hardest?
I loved the initial concept phase. When you sent over the first round of concepts, I literally started tearing up seeing my brand come to life in these designs. The hardest part was narrowing down what I wanted from there and getting down to the nitty gritty details.
Here’s a peek at the designs we played around with before settling on the final concept:
6. Do you have any advice for creatives thinking about a rebrand?
Yes! I would echo the advice that you gave to my readers. Do not jump into professional branding too early. I created a simple brand to start my business with and then waited two years into my business to get professional branding. I'm so glad I waited, because I know my business and clients so much better now than when I first started, and this new branding is able to speak to that.
Yesss! This is great advice, so I’m going to highlight it.
Do not jump into professional branding too early.
7. For any readers who've been thinking about a brand film, where should they start?
I would definitely start with the big picture in mind, thinking about tone and style and go from there. Look at examples of other Branded Films and make notes about what you like and dislike. You don't have to know exactly what you want from the beginning, but it does help to have some sort of starting point before reaching out to a videographer. I also have a ton of helpful resources on my blog that cover the Branded Film process.
8. What can a film do that photographs and web copy cannot?
The most obvious is that your audience can literally see you in action. If you're a photographer, they can see the way you interact with your clients. If you're a maker, they can see your process and the care you put into your products. There is also this special kind of emotion and connection that film provides for you and your audience. You can speak directly to your audience in your own voice with all its inflections and emotions, something that web copy cannot do. There are also so many elements to a film that it make it a more robust representation of your brand: from the music and text to the narration and footage of your business in action. I could go on and on, but the last thing I'll say is that not only does film represent your brand in a way that no other medium can, but it also elevates you above the rest. One thing I hear over and over from clients is that their clients chose to hire them because they had a video. A video on your website tells your audience we are experienced, qualified, and know exactly how to serve you.
9. I'm an introvert and I'm terrible at remembering lines (especially if there's a camera in my face or some sort of audience). How do you work with people like me? Haha. But seriously... I've seen people talking in your films and the dialogue feels so natural. How do you accomplish that while still getting them to say what they need to?!
Well thank you, that's a huge compliment! It is definitely something that is super important to me. And I'm an introvert too and super awkward, so I totally get it! I want to make people feel comfortable, so that they can share their story with confidence. Scripts don't work for everyone, so a lot of times I will come up with a list of questions that lead to important talking points. I love this method, because it's more conversational and there isn't as much pressure if you're just talking about your amazing business with a friend! I know for clients, shooting day can be stressful, so I make it my goal to be a calming presence for them. Deep breaths and shaking it out are also some tricks I use :)
10. Are you excited to hand out your business card now? :)
Umm yes!! I've already started passing them out to anyone and everyone!
Photo and Styling by Nikki Tripp of Tripp Films
This spring, I had the absolute pleasure of working with Nikki Tripp of Tripp Films to rebrand her Houston-based creative film business. Today, she is sharing a Q&A session she did with me, and I couldn’t be more grateful! While I wish I had more time to post about recent projects like this, it means even more to me when clients share their experiences on their own.
Get your reading on here:
After you’re done, hire Tripp Films to make you a branded film. I guarantee you will not regret it.
More to come on this amazing project, I promise!
When Hurricane Harvey hit this past fall, Houston came together in a remarkable way. As soon as the water receded, neighbors began cooking food for first responders, organizing donations at churches, and tearing down drywall in the homes of strangers to mitigate flood damage. I, however, remained holed up at home with an infant. As I scrolled through Facebook, I searched for a way to help. Eventually, I came across a thread on Tuesdays Together in which fellow creatives expressed concern about booking clients in the coming months: "Now that so many people have lost everything, will they have any disposable income left to spend on us?" "How will this affect local business?" "What can we do?"
I promised that I would give back by offering a discount to the small business community when I returned from maternity leave. Well, friends, guess what...I've decided to take it one step further and give away a FULL BRANDING PACKAGE to an inspiring creative. I have never, EVER done this before and I really hope it works out.
First, let me be clear that this giveaway will not be awarded to just anyone. It will not be a random drawing, and applicants will have to meet certain criteria. (In that sense, I guess it's more of a contest than a giveaway.) Our goal is to find someone who is not only a great fit for Akula Kreative, but also someone whose work will inspire the community.
HERE'S WHAT WE'RE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR IN A BRANDING SOULMATE:
- You're a creativepreneur who is serious about taking her business to the next level.
- You have a signature style or unique product to share with the world.
- You've familiarized yourself with our style and want to work with us.
- You live in the Houston area. (This is a requirement for the Full Branding Package, not the Promo.)
- Your brand is upscale but you don't have the funds to develop (or re-develop) the branding required to attract the right clients. You have, however, set aside a minimum of $500 for this part of your biz. (Why? Keep reading.)
HERE'S WHAT YOU GET IF YOU'RE CHOSEN:
Basic Branding Promo valued at $1000:
- $1000 worth of design for $500 (50% off)
- Discovery Session
- Branding Workbook
- Full Logo
- Abbreviated Logo
- Pantone-Based Color Palette
- Style Guide
- Source Files
- Transfer of Copyright
Full Branding Package valued at $2500:
- $2000 worth of FREE design
- Discovery Session
- Branding Workbook
- Full Logo
- Abbreviated Logo
- Pantone-Based Color Palette
- Signature Pattern
- Style Guide
- Business Card Design
- Print + Product Assist
- Source Files
- Transfer of Copyright
- $500 Print + Production Credit
Branding Promo: Limit 1 per quarter. Open to everyone.
$250 deposit required. Balance due at project completion.
Full Branding: Limit 1. Open to Houston area residents only.
$500 deposit required to go towards print work. *
* WAIT. Why are you requiring a $500 deposit for a giveaway?! I designed this project so you can walk away with not only a beautiful brand, but stunning, show-stopping business cards as well. (Think: luxe letterpress, painted edges, the whole nine yards.) If you're tight on cash, then printing a business card that will do your work justice can be tough. Soooo, now you can put all of that hard-earned money towards printing the card of your dreams!!! Plus, requiring a deposit tells me you're SERIOUS about this process and you have some skin in the game. If you reeeally want to apply but only have, let's say, a $300 print budget, we encourage you to apply anyway and leave a note about budget concerns in the comments section. :)
Want to learn more about our Branding Packages? Click here.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUBMISSIONS + CONGRATS TO TRIPP FILMS!
THE FINE PRINT
- The Full Branding Package is open to residents of Houston, Texas and its surrounding suburbs only. (We may have to meet in person up to 3 times over the course of 2-3 months, so be sure you're within driving distance to 77433.) The Basic Branding Promo is open to anyone. You CAN apply for both, but you have to fill out an application for each.
- 1 winner will be chosen for the Full Branding Package (starting in February or March) and 1 winner will be chosen for the Basic Branding Promo (starting in March or April). If everything goes well, we will open the Basic Branding Promo again and accept another applicant for next quarter.
- We will choose winners based on the visions they have for their prospective brands (as well as their enthusiasm, commitment to community, and general awesomeness). Our goal is to find the best possible fit for us both.
- The winner of the Full Branding Package will be required to sign a contract and put down a $500 deposit. This money will be put towards print and production expenses only. Design hours included in the package will be FREE. The winner of the Basic Branding Promo will be required to sign a contract and put down a $250 deposit. This money will be put towards design.
- Akula Kreative reserves the right to change or cancel this giveaway at any time, for any reason.
- This giveaway has no sponsors.
- Application process closes on February 11, 2018.
- Winners will be contacted via email. If a response is not received within 48 hours, we will choose another winner.
- By submitting an application, you accept the rules above.
- If you have any questions, feel free to email us or comment below!
It's been MONTHS in the making, but v. 2.0 of the Branding Workbook launches today! To celebrate, we're giving away an amaaazing prize pack:
What is the Branding Workbook? The NEW Branding Workbook combines our two most popular formats—booklet and wire-o binding—in a refined, portable package. Thanks to feedback from actual workbook owners, the content has been updated with new graphics, more examples, and access to extra downloads.
Designed for creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, this interactive workbook contains over 40 full-color pages of info, exercises, and tips for crafting a unique, thoughtful, and relevant brand identity.
HOW TO WIN:
- For 1 entry (required) :: fill out the form below.
- For 5 additional entries :: post the image above on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Tag @akulakreative so we know you've done this. (Note: we will not be able to give you points on this one if you have a private IG account.)
- For 2 additional entries :: leave a comment on Instagram or Facebook telling us what you sell (product or service) and how the Branding Workbook might help your small biz.
- For 5 additional entries :: purchase any workbook between October 5-9, 2015. Keep this copy for yourself or give it to a friend! Use coupon code LAUNCH20 for 20% OFF the v. 2.0 workbook.
If you've already purchased the workbook, simply leave a comment on social media and we'll give you 5 entries!
- Giveaway starts October 5, 2015 and ends October 9, 2015 at 11:59pm CST.
- To enter, fill out the form below. No purchase necessary.
- For additional entries, see "How to Win" above. Max. of 18 entry points per person.
- One winner will be selected by random drawing the week of October 12th and notified via email. Assuming we have a valid mailing address, we will ship the prize pack within 5 business days of the announcement.
- By entering this giveaway, you hereby grant Akula Kreative permission to publish your name, business name (if applicable), and any other business-related details you include in your submission. We will NOT publish your email, mailing address, or any other private contact info.
- Akula Kreative has the right to change the rules or cancel this giveaway at any time. (We have no intention of doing this, but we have to protect ourselves.)
UPDATE :: The winner has been selected and notified via email. Thank you for your participation! Follow us on Instagram for the chance to win another giveaway very, very soon.
If you've fiiinally decided to take the plunge and start a small business, you may be wondering how to go about getting a logo designed. The downside is, you're on a super tight budget. The upside is, you've discovered some amazing online resources that will help you make it yourself. Yes! This is the best idea ever! I'm reeeally good at DIY!
I would have thought the same exact thing...before I became a graphic designer. My first job out of design school was to create ads for clients of a luxury magazine. The businesses ran the gamut from local sole proprietors to international, multi-million-dollar chains. The branding files I received from said clients were just as varied. Some clients were in tip-top shape, handing over files that made my job a breeze. Other clients provided Microsoft Word docs and teeny tiny images on white blocky backgrounds. Some people couldn't even provide a logo file. "Can't you [the designer] just find one somewhere online? We can't wait to see our faaaaabulous ad!" You'd surmise the big chains would have it together, but I was shocked to discover that there was no correlation between the size of the company and the quality of their branding.
Where am I going with this? Well, if you've done some research, you may have come across some websites that sell stock graphics—even pre-designed logos and identities. All you have to do is type in your business name, and voilà! A beautiful, professional logo for under $20! There are even some apps that allow you to create your own layout, change colors, choose fonts, and move around graphic elements. As a fellow creative, I completely understand how satisfying—even exhilarating—this could feel.
Everything is awesome...until one of two things happens:
- You try to order something with your logo on it (think: t-shirts, bags, banners, etc.) and the logo file you have doesn't fit the technical requirements. BTW // this is very, VERY common. We run into this quite frequently when making custom stamps.
- One of your competitors is using the SAME design.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Stock graphics are GREAT for personal projects. If you want to make stuff for a party or design your own wedding invites, go for it. Designers are putting out some gorgeous work, and I don't blame them for selling in this format. (Custom work is extremely time-consuming and you can make more money in less time selling one design to many people.)
- Stock graphics are also fitting for small-scale "hobby" businesses. If you're selling crocheted scarves in your free time and don't plan on quitting your day job, there's no point in making a huge investment in branding. Just find something that works for you (and your budget) and roll with it.
On the other hand...
- If you have quit your day job and you're serious about starting a business, my advice is to get a professional to help you. This does NOT mean you have to spend more than you can afford. If you want to save money, do as much prep work as possible. This may mean using some stock graphics to make a mock-up you like, then handing it to a designer to make some changes. In the end, you should have a logo that is UNIQUE to your business. This way, you can trademark your logo and protect your identity.
- By hiring a pro, you'll be getting the RIGHT kinds of files. Every small business should have a logo in either .ai or .eps format. These are vector files that can be scaled to any size without losing detail. (You can also easily change the colors.)
- When "interviewing" a designer, make sure they don't use stock graphics for logo work...otherwise you're back to square one.
Branding can be expensive (and time-consuming), but if you build a solid foundation you'll be SO glad in the long run. Designers will be able to create what you need in less time...which will save you money, speed things up, and strengthen your brand. Plus, if you take the time to develop something you reeeeeeally love, you won't feel the need to rebrand every year.
It's been MONTHS in the making, but my Branding Workbook is finally on press!
WHAT IS IT?
44 pages of exercises, tips, and guidelines for crafting a unique, thoughtful, and relevant brand identity.
Topics include: Branding 101, Typography, Logo Development, Finding Inspiration, Color, Style Guides, Pattern, and Choosing a Designer.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Creative professionals and entrepreneurs who...
- want to get the most out of their branding investment (i.e., SAVE $$$)
- are ready to dig deep to develop a lasting brand identity
- don't know how, when, or where to start the design process
- love to color, sketch, and doodle!
WHY DID I MAKE THIS?
First and foremost, I want to share my creative process with small business owners. I also want to prove to them how, with the right information, preparation, and hard work, they can HAVE FUN building a powerful brand without a "big business" budget.
This is not a book about getting anything for free; however, I provide lots of tips about how to work with a small budget! It's all about organizing your thoughts and understanding your business so you can communicate quickly and efficiently with your designer. My goal is to give you the confidence and know-how to invest wisely and create something meaningful.
This first run is VERY limited, so if you're interested in getting your hands on one, you can reserve a workbook during our PRE-SALE. Workbooks will be ready to ship by mid November (if not sooner).
P.S. Our shop is brand new, so please contact us if you have any technical difficulties. We did our best to iron out the kinks!