adobe max 2019

Adobe MAX 2019: Future Trends in Design

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design

Last week, the Deal Design team descended upon Los Angeles for Adobe’s annual three-day conference, Adobe MAX. By the end of it, each of us walked away with new creative inspiration and advancement in some technical skills within Adobe’s products. 

What is Adobe MAX?

Adobe MAX is the world’s largest design conference. This year, it drew about 14,000 attendees from 62 countries. Creative professionals and educators from all fields of design gathered to listen to creative thought leaders, learn about Adobe’s latest releases, and discover new techniques to accelerate creativity within their roles. 

Who goes to Adobe MAX?

Adobe MAX brings together top creative professionals from across the globe. Almost universally, attendees are people who use Adobe products to support their professional and/or personal creative endeavors. This includes:

  • Graphic, web, UX, and multidisciplinary designers
  • Video, film, motion graphics professionals
  • Photographers
  • Tech or business strategists
  • Illustrators
  • Art and creative directors

Adobe MAX 2019 brought together leaders interested in exploring new creative frontiers and bringing innovative ideas to their industries. As a team committed to staying on top of the evolution of design and creativity, Deal Design was there to learn about new technologies, tools, and trends to better serve our clients.

Highlights of Adobe MAX 2019

From an agency perspective, one of the things that made Adobe MAX an awesome experience was that our team members were able to attend classes and sessions that were most relevant to their individual roles. Even so, our collective takeaways were similar. 

Adobe MAX’s keynote speakers were creatives who work in a variety of different mediums, from hand-drawn illustrations to big-screen films. Among them were visual artist Shantell Martin, screenwriter and producer M. Night Shyamalan, and singer-songwriter Billie Eilish. It was inspiring to hear of these artists’ perseverance in the face of failure and to listen to stories about the development of their unique relationships with creativity.

On a more technical note, a major theme at Adobe MAX this year was the expanded use of… 

AR – (Augmented Reality)

AR translates movie screen makebelieve to powerful marketing tools in the real world. New tools including Adobe Aero are making AR accessible and affordable for brands and agencies to use in multichannel marketing. Check out Adobe’s demo here.

3D Technologies

Adobe presenters showed attendees how to leverage Adobe Dimensions, Photoshop, and Illustrator to create more 3D experiences in their design work, regardless of their field. Used in conjunction with Adobe Aero, 3D environments can be deployed to create amazing experiences for brands. See what we mean here.

We’re grateful to Adobe for providing us with opportunities to grow in the service of our clients. The Deal Design team is excited to continue delivering fresh perspective and creativity in everything we do.

Learn more about how Deal Design can accelerate your brand. 

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team collaborating on a brand style guide

A Guide to Brand Style Guides

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Your coworker, Karen, always comes to the office looking ultra-professional, stylish, and put together. She always keeps her finger on the latest trends, and her wardrobe is enviable.

One day, someone walks by your desk, and you do a double-take. You almost didn’t recognize that person as Karen! She’s wearing sweatpants and sneakers, her hair is disheveled, and you could have sworn that was a coffee stain on the front of her T-shirt. 

If this were to actually happen, you’d probably be concerned for Karen. You might think something is seriously going on with her, and you might reach out to ask if she’s ok. 

The same situation can occur in the world of branding. Brands that deviate from their established brand identity, or those who have trouble establishing an identity in the first place, run the risk of confusing their followers and damaging their reputation. That’s why it’s important to have a clear protocol in place for the written and visual elements that represent your brand. Enter the brand style guide.

What Is a Brand Style Guide?

A brand style guide is a document that establishes rules and best practices for the presentation of your brand in visual communication mediums. In essence, it shows how to use a brand’s logo, tag lines, typography, colors, and other related design elements in a way that is consistent with the brand’s identity.

After you’ve worked to establish a clear message, mission, and voice behind your brand, the next step is to make sure your brand communicates those elements with clarity and consistency. 

brand style guide example

Binding the Brand

Lack of a brand style guide may cause your content to be incorrect or inconsistent. Just as Karen’s unkempt appearance deviates from her usual, polished self, a mixed marketing message confuses and alienates customers and followers. 

In many cases, several different entities touch your brand’s content before the public sees it. The unifying principles that exist within a brand style guide make sure each individual or department adheres to the same standards when creating or revising content. The result is a brand that looks, feels, and sounds the same all the time, regardless of who created the communications.

Your brand identity is your organization’s personality, and even the smallest branding details, like an email signature, play a part in translating it. A brand style guide brings all the details together to form one harmonious system.

Essential Elements of Every Guide

Brand style guides vary in scope and content depending on the business they represent. That being said, there are a few components that are essential for every brand to be clear on.

essential elements of every brand style guide

Brand Story

Your brand story is exactly what it sounds like. It is a story that introduces your brand and communicates the vision behind it to customers. This is an opportunity to give people insight into what your brand stands for. Also, a clear brand story allows people who work for you to better represent your brand when they go to work on a project.

Logo

A brand style guide will provide specifications such as size, space, and color for the use of your logo in different settings, from print to online. It should include examples of appropriate logo use in various formats with explanations of use cases for each version.

It’s also important to detail rules around the placement and appearance of taglines in relation to the logo.

Color Palette

You never want to leave anyone working on your brand guessing about which colors to use. As one of the most noticeable characteristics of your brand identity, color needs to be precise and consistent. 

Brand style guides provide color details using PANTONE name and number for color matching, CMYK codes for print color, as well as RGB and HEX codes for digital color. It might also present recommended color combinations along with primary and secondary color palettes to differentiate between main and accent colors.

Typography

Typography is another visual element that is crucial to get right. While a typeface may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about communicating your brand’s message, it actually heavily contributes to setting the tone of a brand’s personality. Type comes into play in headings, sub-headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, citations, labels, form headers, or any other formatted text. A brand style guide creates a protocol for them all. 

A comprehensive style guide brings together font families, font sizes, line spacing, kerning, and colors for different types of content. That way, no one is left to their own devices when creating any written material associated with your brand.

Imagery

What types of images will you use to support your brand identity? Are the people in your images representative of your target demographic? Are they doing something your audience can identify with? Sometimes a certain style of image is preferred. For example, 2D illustrations may be preferable over realistic photography. Or, minimalism with lots of white space around simple black and white photos may be your identity. 

A brand style guide includes examples of images that positively contribute to your brand’s overall aesthetic. It also provides details about how images should be edited or filtered so every image accurately represents the look and feel of your brand.

Messaging

Finally, your brand needs a clearly defined voice. The style with which you communicate your brand’s message affects public perception and helps to define your brand’s personality. Your style guide might include adjectives to describe the writing style people should use when publishing content for your brand. It may also include examples of messaging that works along with others that miss the mark.

A ton of work goes into the creation of every element of your brand. A style guide acts as protection for your brand as it grows and begins to house more content. 

At Deal Design, not only are we capable of helping communicate your brand’s message, but we are also able to help you set up a cohesive brand identity that will stand the test of time. We understand the difficulty of juggling all the aspects of your brand, and we’re here to help manage the details.

 

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what's in a name: the importance of brand naming

What’s in a Name: The Importance of Brand Naming

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

When you call to mind the name of a friend, you probably start to feel something. Perhaps you remember the last conversation you had with that person, or you experience certain emotions. Your brain has created associations between this name and particular memories or feelings.

The same phenomenon happens when you hear or see a brand name. Whatever positive or negative associations that brand has formed inside your head bubble to the surface. 

So many different components go into the creation of a brand: use of color, a website, a social media presence, packaging design, company values, and effective communication of those values. At a certain point, all of these facets gather under a single umbrella, and that umbrella has to be called something. It has to have a name.

In grade school, some librarian probably told you not to judge a book by its cover. The problem is, we are now bombarded with so much data every day that heeding this advice is next to impossible. Our minds need a way to filter out information that is irrelevant to us. 

Catching and keeping people’s attention is difficult. Would you rather have an interesting, cool name that helps tell your brand’s story? Or will it blend in with the rest and just be another piece of information people ignore?

Just like with actual story titles, brand naming involves striking a careful balance between describing what you represent without oversharing. You (hopefully!) wouldn’t spill the details of your entire life story on a first date. Similarly, your brand name’s job is to pique people’s interest without overwhelming them with specifics. It needs to intrigue people and give them a reason to care. 

You may land on what seems to be the perfect name, but there are some technical considerations that follow: is your brand name available within your product category? Will you be able to trademark the name? Is a matching URL available for your website? After investing time, effort, and money into building your brand, you’ll need to protect your ownership of its assets. 

Putting a name on your business idea may seem like a daunting step. At Deal Design, we’re here to break through the hesitations and help you tell your story. The importance of your brand name cannot be understated, but we can help you get it just right. 

In a short time, your brand name could be on the lips of many satisfied customers. 

From brand naming to digital marketing, find out more about how Deal Design can accelerate your brand.

Contact us.

 

an interview with terra deal, graphic designer and photographer

An Interview with Terra Deal

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Deal Design is a family-owned agency. Our principals, David and Nancy Deal, welcomed their daughter, Terra, to the business as a Graphic Designer. Since then, she has grown into her role and developed a deeper understanding of what it takes to help the agency thrive. In this interview, Terra discusses the power of creativity in her life and the role her parents have played in shaping her career.


What attracted you to the world of graphic design?

I had an interesting relationship with creativity growing up because I was surrounded by creative people. Both of my parents are creatives, my uncles are creative, and I was very much encouraged to pursue something that stimulated me creatively. I grew up as a ballet dancer and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts from UC Irvine. While doing that, I also was pursuing photography on the side, and I think all roads led me to pursue something creative as a career. 

What is it like working alongside your parents?

Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined a better scenario for my relationship with them. I’ve always looked up to them. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for what they do from working together. 

Even as a child, going into the office and watching David paint on his breaks or seeing both of them on business calls, debating the direction of a new brand design — that was normal to me. We’re very close. We have a deep relationship, and I feel like they’ve always accepted me for the kind of creative person I am. There is a mutual respect there. Now that I’m a working professional, I do feel like I’m treated as someone who can bring something new to the table. Even just my age brings a new light to Deal Design and the vision of the brand.

What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on at Deal Design?

I think my biggest project right out the gate was learning the ins and outs of Reef, one of the most recognizable brands in sandals, and work with them to create their seasonal catalogs. With that came a lot of project management. I learned to coordinate between our agency, the photography studio, Reef Marketing and Product Management. Many people don’t realize how much project management time goes into the creative process. Sometimes, project management takes as much time as design.

One of my favorite things to do, though, is to work on logo development for startups. I have the opportunity to create wildly different logos to present to a company and waiting to see which route they want to take. I like being able to do that for startups. 

One of my first logo projects was for Spawn Fitness, and this was one of the first entry-level graphic designer jobs I was given. They ended up loving my first draft of a specific logo, and that was really cool because now they use the work that I got to produce. Being able to create something that other people like is really validating. 

Along with graphic design, you also do a lot of product photography for our clients. How did you get started taking photos professionally?

If it weren’t for David’s DSLR that he passed off to me when I was 15 or 16, I feel like I would’ve eventually found my way to photography, but that was really my kickstart. 

In high school, I took my first photography class, but I honestly didn’t learn much in it. I was watching lots of videos online and was very much self-taught. I loved taking photos of friends, and that turned into me taking people’s senior photos in high school. That carried into college — freshman year I was taking senior grad photos and headshots for people in the dance department. Now I’m our agency’s chief photographer, working with models, product stylists, and emerging brands. It is very fulfilling.

Where do you tend to draw creative inspiration from?

I actually draw a lot of creative inspiration from fashion and music. 

I spend a lot of time listening to music, which I feel like a lot of creative people do. This probably comes from my dance background — I have time that I put aside to intentionally listen to music with my eyes closed. I see music in color and movement, and I think that’s something that benefits me when it comes to working on a creative project. I’m able to visualize how instruments would work together — it’s like making ideas flow and work together. 

With fashion, I really love being able to pick up on trends that are coming back from different decades. Like right now, a lot of 90s style is coming back, and you can see that in graphic design as well. I like to see the parallel between fashion statements that are in trend and how graphic design mimics that in a way.

Who are your greatest role models?

Well, to be frank, David and Nancy Deal. I’m genuinely not just saying that because they have given me so much opportunity and taught me so much.

When I was pursuing dance professionally, I felt like I didn’t really have any role models. I had some teachers that had an impact on my life, but no one has really believed in me as much as my parents have, and that’s something I do not take for granted. I love them and cherish their guidance deeply. 

quote no one has really believed in me as much as my parents have, and that is something I do not take for granted.

What is the most exciting or fulfilling aspect of your role at Deal Design?

I would say it’s being able to feel like I’m carrying on a vision that my parents set for themselves — wanting to create a full-service branding agency. They wanted to be able to art-direct and to make an impact on the area they were living in. I feel like I have seen where they started and I’ve seen the business flourish and grow. Now, being a part of it, it’s very humbling for me. 

I have memories of coming into the design studio as a young girl and seeing all the interns that were my age now or younger. Now, in the position of being a full-time employee, I’m kind of in that role. Recently, we had an old employee come to visit, and we all sat down and were talking to him. Deal Design launched his career in the direction it’s currently in, and he has a family. It’s so sweet because everyone who’s thankful for my parents’ guidance always references where it all started, which was Deal Design at its very beginning. 

It’s really cool to see how much the business has grown, and it makes me excited for the future.

 

Partnering with qualified leaders and creative minds could be the next step in transforming your idea into a reality. Contact us to find out how Deal Design can help create and market your unique brand.

If you’re interested in following Deal Design’s journey, connect with us on Facebook.

chatbots: the new ai in digital marketing

Chatbots: The New AI In Digital Marketing

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

While the term “artificial intelligence” may seem like it belongs in engineering circles, AI is increasingly permeating the lives of all kinds of people — especially those who use online messaging services. You may have come across one such instance of this technology while shopping for shoes online or checking out a business’s Facebook page. 

It’s automated. It’s conversational. It’s a Chatbot.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are programs that automatically engage with received messages. They can live in any major chat product, such as SMS text, website chat windows, or social messaging services like Facebook or Twitter. 

The purpose of a Chatbot is to identify a user’s intent, then provide relevant information or perform a certain follow-up action in real time. 

Chatbots for Marketing

Utilizing Chatbots for marketing purposes makes a lot of sense. Facebook recently released data that shows why:

ChatBot Statistics

People are now using messaging apps more than they are using social media networks. When you’re building a business, it makes the most sense to build it where your customers are. And because the Chatbot trend is still relatively young, utilizing it for marketing is a great way to make your business stand out. 

Well-constructed Chatbots can be a form of behavior-based marketing. This means your Chatbot can provide product recommendations or pertinent information for users based on the data it gathers from them. In a sense, they can act like retail assistants, mirroring the types of interactions you would have in a physical store.

The Value of Chatbots

It’s easy to see why Chatbots are growing in popularity, but what are the potential benefits for your specific business? 

bar graph showing predicted use cases for chatbots

Drift’s State of Chatbots Report illustrates the most common reasons customers interact with a Chatbot. In these scenarios, your business benefits, and so does your customer. Each task your Chatbot automates is a task taken off an employee’s to-do list, and users are met with immediate solutions to their problems.

Increase Customer Engagement

There are several different points at which customers interact with and get to know your brand. Messaging platforms are one of these points of interaction. A well-designed Chatbot engages your clients and allows you to get to know more about them — how they found you, what they are looking for, and how you can be of service.

chatbot conversation with customer

Interaction with our Deal Design Chatbot

Provide Support Outside of Business Hours

With today’s messaging services, people can contact your business at any hour of the day or night. You can’t realistically expect to respond to every inquiry immediately, especially as your business grows. 

Chatbots reply instantly to users, giving them the information they need right when they ask for it. Meeting the communication standards of today’s customers creates a positive impression of your brand. A fast response time demonstrates you care about your clients’ needs, and Chatbots make it easy. 

Generate New Leads

Users navigate to your site or social page for a variety of reasons. Some of those users have a real interest in purchasing your products or requesting your services. Chatbots can provide them with information and incentives for pulling the trigger on a purchase decision. 

Certain bots even have functionality that allows people to subscribe to your bot in the same way they subscribe to your emails. You can then follow up with chat blasts or targeted messaging that speaks directly to their desires.

Chatbots streamline interactions with your business. Every brand is unique and requires different types of messaging. Chatbots are a versatile solution that speaks to the current generation of consumers and makes your message stand out. 

Deal Design has the experience and expertise to design a Chatbot for your brand that engages consumers at the right time and helps convert prospects into customers. 

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Two women sitting and working on website on laptop in front of window

7 Things to Consider When Designing Your Website

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Websites are referred to as “interfaces” for a reason. They are points at which you meet and interact with others, and in today’s digital age, your website is the first impression you make on a prospect. Your website offers visitors an initial experience with your brand, and for that reason, it is vital to your brand’s success. 

There are a number of factors to consider when designing a website for the purpose of showcasing an individual, business, product, or service. When executed with creative design and skill, these elements have the potential to take your website and brand to the next level.

1. Consistency

Your website is one of several encounters people have with your brand. In addition to an online presence, you may also have social media accounts, physical products, and advertisements. 

Building and maintaining brand recognition involves keeping your style and messaging consistent across all of these platforms. 

When consumers are conflicted during purchase decisions, they often fall back on the option that is most familiar to them because it seems less risky. Ensure that visitors to your website will be met with recognizable characteristics of your brand. 

2. Message

When someone visits your website, what do you want them to know before they click away? If you could only communicate one thing to them about your brand, what would it be? Make sure this comes across loud and clear, right away.

Establishing your brand’s message is the first step; figuring out how to transmit it comes second. All of the copy on your website should be focused on hitting this target message. 

While text is an important, obvious way of communicating this message, the overall aesthetic of your website speaks volumes about your brand and what defines it. Try not to overload potential customers with a sea of text they have to paddle through. Instead, make it easy on them through the use of concise messaging that gets straight to the point. 

3. Color

The colors you use on your website are intimately related to the feelings and emotions your brand conveys to your site’s visitors. People are more likely to remember the feeling they get when they visit your website than they are to recall actual content, so it’s important to use tools that make a positive impression. And this has everything to do with color.

Do some research on the emotions associated with certain colors to advise your decision-making, and implement them accordingly.

4. Personality

If your brand was a person, what personality traits would you use to describe it? Would it be fun and wild? Or sleek and sophisticated? 

Personality is an important consideration when you are first crafting your brand identity, but it is important to revisit when designing something as vital as your website. Just as we are attracted to people because of their personalities, we are drawn to brands for the same reason. Your website’s personality has the power to identify and refine your target niche based on the types of people it most resonates with.

5. Tone

Setting the tone of your website is similar to designing your home’s interior. The different elements of a website are like furniture, and different arrangements of this furniture can drastically alter the room’s vibe. A website’s tone relates more to how elements are arranged rather than what those elements are.

When viewed as a whole, what mood does your website give off? What kind of voice is the text written in, and how does it relate to the other visual elements of the site? 

6. Value Proposition

While a beautifully designed website may be enough to draw people in, focus on the end game: a call to action that prompts the sale, contact request, opt-in to receive more information, or at least an action to learn more.

Underneath the bells and whistles, you have a valuable product or service to share, and whatever this is should be readily apparent to anyone who visits your site. The stylized elements of your website should all serve to highlight your value proposition, not distract from it.  

7. Uniqueness

Market research can be helpful for getting an idea of how your competitors are successfully marketing themselves online. Other brands’ websites can be a great source of inspiration, but in order to stand out from the crowd, it is important to approach your site’s design with originality and creativity. 

Think about what differentiates your brand from others in the same space. Why should your target market choose your brand over your competitors’? Going back to the roots of your business and getting clear on your brand identity will help pinpoint what makes your brand stand out, and your website is an ideal place to promote these differences.

 

If you find yourself struggling with any of these concepts, it’s always helpful to have the support of trusted branding and digital marketing professionals. Explore our web design page to see some of the work we’ve done for past clients and to learn more about our services. 

Would you like to learn more about how Deal Design can help market your brand?

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overseas vs domestic packaging - airplane flying away into the clouds

Overseas vs. Domestic Packaging

By | Packaging Design Blogs | No Comments

When a long-awaited product arrives at your doorstep, do you ever stop and wonder about everything that had to happen in order for it to end up in your hands? Usually, online product information or a label on the package will clue you in about where the product was manufactured, but what about the packaging? 

More often than not, the eye-catching packaging that prompts you to buy a product was sourced from manufacturers overseas. The idea of sourcing packaging from another country might evoke unease in some people. But doing so actually has more benefits and fewer complications than one might anticipate. 

Time and Money

Lead time is a common concern for people who consider sourcing packaging from overseas. When starting a project, time is an important consideration. If you’re not on a tight deadline, getting packaging from overseas suppliers is usually worth the extra time it takes.

The cost of internationally-sourced packaging is typically around half of what it would cost to produce the same result domestically. So, while a longer lead time may seem like a downside, it is typically worth the tradeoff of reduced costs for the same quality. 

Hidden Advantages

Fewer expenses and higher quality both sound great, but what about your brand’s emphasis on manufacturing products locally? The good news is, sourcing packaging materials from another country doesn’t mean you have to lose the “Made in USA” declaration. You can still market products as locally or domestically manufactured, even if the packaging is not.

Another advantage we have found through working with overseas factories is that most of the time, they are used to providing a high-quality, printed sample for just a  low cost plus shipping (and sometimes for free, depending on the type of job). Most manufacturers in the United States do not make samples for free. Instead, they require approval of the packaging based on a digital PDF and sample of the raw material being used. 

Overall, foreign manufacturers are a worthwhile option for producing high-quality packaging. 

The Value of an Agency Partnership

Understandably, working with an overseas packaging manufacturer can seem difficult if you have never done it before. There are language barriers, time zone challenges and issues of trust. That’s why it can be extremely helpful to partner with production professionals who have years of experience and existing relationships with a variety of printers.

At Deal Design, we often manufacture the packaging we design for our clients with one of our overseas partners. Because we have over 25 years of printing experience, we are able to ensure our clients get the physical result that matches exactly what they expect from our designs. 

If you go straight to a manufacturer, they will likely try to sell you on the packaging method in which they specialize. Our clients benefit from our access to hundreds of specialist manufacturers to obtain the perfect match and the best prices. Our long-standing relationships with overseas manufacturers allow for the ease of working with a U.S. agency. The end result? High-quality end results for a low cost.

 

Find out more about our packaging manufacturing solutions.

Ready to explore your options and make your brand come to life? 

Contact us

An interview with Nancy Deal, designer woman sitting and smiling intently at camera

An Interview with Nancy Deal

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Since we interviewed one of our principals, David, last month, it only seems right that we spotlight Deal Design’s other principal, Nancy Deal. In this exclusive interview, we chat about her path to graphic design, the simultaneous beauty and struggle of being a woman and running a business alongside her husband, and how she stays inspired.


What first led you to explore graphic design as a career?

For me, it was a path of creativity. Before I was in design, I was in dance, and that wasn’t going anywhere for me. I had a back injury, so I was searching for creative outlets, and I went to Laguna Pageant of the Masters. There were all these beautiful exhibits and artists, and one of them happened to be an art school.

For some reason, I just decided to take a leap. I’m going, “I’m not a painter, I’m not a drawer, but let’s see what they do.” And that’s really how it all started. I just kept finding my way, kept trying things. “Maybe I can paint. Nope, can’t paint.” “Maybe I can draw. Nope can’t draw.” “Oh, I can do photography, not bad at that. Oh, I’m really pretty good at design.” Those meshed together with choreography and music and everything I’ve done. So it was a good match.

What inspires your creativity?

Actually, everything inspires my creativity. I can go to the grocery store, I can be driving and just [get inspired by] the landscape. Pinterest is great for creativity, not for finding answers but, it’s like flipping through a magazine for me. I love going to the bookstore with a coffee and going to the Design section or the magazines and not buying anything, just flipping through [them]. I’m constantly kind of keeping a diary of images and things in my head. And when they repeat, I know I’m supposed to do something with them, and that’s going to be my next design project.

What is the most memorable project you have worked on at Deal Design?

There have been many of them. My best design projects were my kids. *Laughs* To tell you the truth, that was a big consideration for me when I was trying to pick out a career path — how could I be a mom and have a career? I kind of stepped in and out of the role of designer depending on what was going on in our home life, but it was a really good match to allow me to be the kind of mom that I wanted to be, which was to inspire these little spirits that were brought into my life. So for me, that was probably my biggest design project, or how I looked at it, was raising these little souls. 

But, here at the agency, there have been some really satisfying [projects], then there have been artistic [ones], and then there have been [some in which] the client just grew. So they kind of have different categories for me because it’s not all about money and success. It’s about the place we were in as we were designing it, if that makes sense. 

One of my most memorable [projects] was Yamaha guitars — we set up a tent in the agency and the kids slept there and played while David and I worked crazy hours to try to turn it. It’s a happy, fun memory because we all participated together. 

Some of my most satisfying [projects] have been skincare lines. [They were] not necessarily super visible, though some are extremely successful now; back in the day, they weren’t when we were working on them. It’s really satisfying. 

Other than that, it’s more about getting to know the client and how appreciative they are for your work. Relationships are really important to me. We have a client we’ve worked with for going on 15 years now, and we still comment on each other’s social. That’s always fun, to have those kinds of relationships.

Do you have any business, career, or design role models?

For some reason, Twitter’s turned into my [way of] following design, and [I follow] a lot of women. So [my role models are] more social groups. I love the social media aspect because they don’t have to be famous to be interesting, and that’s what’s so fun. It doesn’t have to be on the cover of a famous magazine or a book — I just love seeing people’s work. 

If I were to name somebody that I’m just in awe of still, which is why I was so excited that Adobe Max has her, it’s Annie Leibovitz, a famous photographer [who] has done amazing work. I’ve loved her work — black and white especially. All her images are just gorgeous. Which is why I kind of have to go to Adobe Max now! I’ve been following her forever! 

And then artist-wise, it’s so funny, David and I have the same [role model] — Rauschenburg is probably our number one, which is why we still love going to MoMA in LA and seeing his work. We’ve seen it over and over and over, but it’s just really cool work.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role, and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is being a woman, and really taking on my role as a mother — that has meant as much to me and [has been] as big of an honor as being a working woman. When the kids were young, it was extremely stressful — working and volunteering for the local elementary school Arts Attack program, homework, church marketing and outreach meetings, facilitating and designing women’s retreats. The extra challenge has been working with David — keeping a healthy marriage and working together. We’ve learned a lot over the years.

Is there an achievement or contribution you are most proud of?

I think there are multiple. Before I stepped into agency work, it probably would’ve been choreography — having the chance to do commercial work and do a couple of commercials. I worked with music programs and was a judge for 12 years. 

Agency-wise, again I go to the skincare — SkinMedica, Glymed Plus, Dr. Michelle Copeland — all of them are doing really well. SkinMedica is an international brand now. And I’ve been really proud of the work we’ve been doing for REEF and Pearson Farm with their catalogs. 

We’ve also done promotions and marketing for San Elijo Dance and Music Academy’s Annual Nutcracker. We designed the logo and website for the production, and we did all the marketing for the promotional side event, the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea. We all loved working on this event.

What are your hopes for the future of Deal Design?

I see us being a full-service brand agency, which we’ve always said because we’ve always had the capabilities. But for some reason, we just didn’t put it all together. I think we’re hitting this stage in our life where we have some free brainpower. I don’t have an expectation, but I do envision growth, and I’m excited to see where this takes all of us. I’m really excited about what’s coming. 

 

Partnering with qualified leaders and creative minds could be the next step in transforming your idea into a reality. Contact us to find out how Deal Design can help create and market your unique brand.

If you’re interested in following Deal Design’s journey, connect with us on Facebook.

 

line of people sitting on their smartphones, the ins and outs of social media marketing

The Ins and Outs of Social Media Marketing

By | Graphic Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

Social media marketing has become a necessity for any business hoping to attract customers. Human beings are attracted to stories, and social media gives brands the opportunity to tell theirs in a way that is authentic and engaging.

While it’s true that social media is now quite saturated with advertisements, marketing on social networks is one of the most effective ways to identify and reach your business’s target demographic. So, how does it all work?

Social Media Marketing Defined

Most of us have at least a surface-level understanding of what constitutes a social media network. But what exactly does it mean to market a product or service on these platforms?

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of online marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve marketing and branding goals.

This includes posting text or image updates, blogs, videos, and other content with the intention of driving audience engagement. SMM also involves paid social media advertising, or paying for advertisements to be placed on users’ social media feeds.

Channels Worth the Investment

Social media has grown to be a key component in many businesses’ marketing arsenals, and it’s easy to see why: if you’re attempting to reach people, you need to have an active presence where those people are. And, for better or worse, people are on social media.

With an average of 1.59 billion daily active users on Facebook, it would be unwise for anyone attempting to grow and market a business to ignore such a huge opportunity to reach potential customers.

Social media platforms allow you to target users based on factors like age, location, and user behavior (such as the pages someone has liked or followed), meaning your content and promotions land more easily in front of the right people. On top of this, the ROI on social media ads is more cost-effective than Google AdWords.

90% of marketers say social media has increased their business exposure quote

Social media marketing is tied to a variety of real results that benefit your business. Ninety percent of marketers say social media has increased their business exposure. Other reasons businesses of all kinds use SMM include:

  • Increasing traffic to their website
  • Creating and developing a positive brand identity
  • Building conversions
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Easily monitoring the effectiveness of different campaigns and strategies

Reach Your Business Goals

Every successful marketing campaign starts with clarity of intention. That’s why it’s important to get clear from the start about which goals you hope to accomplish with SMM. As you’re considering these goals, it may be helpful to ask yourself some questions:

  • Who am I attempting to reach with this social media campaign?
  • What measurable results am I hoping to achieve through SMM?
  • On which channels would my target audience most likely hang out?
  • What message am I attempting to convey through SMM?

When it comes to formulating a social media strategy for your business, remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Chances are, lots of other businesses in your industry are already marketing on social media. You can learn from their successes and failures through observation, and this will give you insight into the interests of your target audience.

Good use of social media tends to be one very important piece of overall successful marketing. When you pair it with quality content and beautiful branding, your business is sure to make an impact.

We at Deal Design are here to help you navigate the ins and outs of social media marketing so you can stand apart from the competition at every level. Find out how our team can help you formulate the right strategy to achieve your business goals.

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people working in modern full-service office at computers

Full-Service Agencies vs. Specialists in Branding and Marketing

By | Catalog Design Blogs, Graphic Design Blogs, Packaging Design Blogs, Product Photography Blogs, Web Site Design | No Comments

As your business grows and changes, so do your marketing needs. You will need to find a more suitable and effective way of psychologically targeting your consumers, as discussed by universities similar to University of Southern California. But when deciding to partner with a marketing agency, how can you find the best fit?

A good place to start when choosing a marketing solution is deciding between two main types of agencies: full-service and specialists.

What’s the Difference?

Not all marketing agencies are the same. It’s important to be aware of what differentiates them before deciding on one for your business.

Full-service agencies operate exactly as they sound — they offer a full range of marketing services. Specific offerings may vary between full-service agencies, but most provide some combination if not all of the following services:

  • Brand development and design
  • Formulating a marketing strategy
  • Website design and coding
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and seo audit
  • Marketing automation and digital promotion via email and social media
  • Content creation
  • Print Advertising
  • Sales collateral development
  • Packaging design and manufacturing

On the flip side of the coin, specialist marketing agencies provide single or a select few services. They might focus on providing just one of the services listed above, and they concentrate on a particular group of marketing channels. They may even direct their business towards specific industries; for example, law firms may seek out a marketing agency specializing in lawyers.

The Case for Full-Service

Specialized agencies may be a good fit for businesses with a very specific, single need. Full-service agencies, however, are highly preferred for the comprehensive objectives of most people searching for marketing help.

Knowledge

One clear advantage of an integrated agency is the breadth of expertise it brings to marketing campaigns. Most full-service agencies have extensive experience in a range of fields.

This is especially useful for smaller companies and startups that are just getting off the ground. Agency professionals are able to assist at every stage of branding and marketing. From naming and tagline creation to social media promotions, a full-service agency has the capabilities to advise and implement expert strategies that deliver measurable results.

In contrast, the narrow focus of a specialized agency allows for skills and expertise in one certain area. The marketing landscape, especially when it comes to digital marketing, is ever-changing, and specialists stay up-to-date with changes and advancements in their field.

That being said, most companies face a wide distribution of marketing challenges, many of which full-service agencies can help tackle.

bar graph showing companies' top marketing needs

Source: HubSpot

Ease

It is likely that your company will have more than just a single marketing need in its lifetime. Each addition of a new specialist adds more complexity to the equation. Employing multiple specialist agencies means more work for you, as you will need to act as the middleman to manage them all.

Full-service agencies take on this responsibility and simplify the process so you can focus on managing, scaling, and building your business.

The more third parties are involved, the more complicated communication becomes. It is much easier to only have to communicate with a single agency that possesses all the capabilities you need under one roof, with a team that works together.

Coherence and Consistency

When a single entity oversees your branding and marketing strategy, you can be sure your brand’s messaging will be consistent across all channels.

If you go the specialist route, you may achieve consistency within a single platform. As soon as you begin bringing on more specialists to handle different channels, though, you run the risk of confusing your brand’s message.

Furthermore, full-service agencies work on different layers of marketing simultaneously. This collaboration allows for a broader perspective of your overall brand and business, while the viewpoints of specialist agencies tend to be more myopic.

jay conrad levinson quote - marketing is not an event, but a process. you improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.

Trust

Specialists naturally favor the platforms they specialize in and will therefore push for driving more resources and energy toward those specific channels. Due to diverse offerings, full-service agencies are likely to be more objective when recommending which avenues are right for you.

When multiple specialists are involved, it can become difficult to decide where to focus resources. They all may advocate for a level of creative direction, and it is ultimately easier to entrust this to a single company rather than splitting ownership between several.

Cost

The cost of marketing services can vary greatly depending on need.

If you only require a single marketing service, such as packaging design for your product, a specialist agency may fit the bill. Going to a specialist can cut out middleman costs and ensure you only pay for the service you need. In doing so, however, you sacrifice the wide range of expertise and options that are available from full-service agencies.

Keep in mind that your needs may expand or contract. When they do, it would certainly be more cost-effective to have a full-service agency that can add or remove services as your own internal capabilities evolve. This way, you don’t have to stop everything you had with one specialist. You can adjust with one broad entity that knows where you’re going and can anticipate changes along the way.

Making the Choice

There are pros and cons to both full-service and specialist marketing agencies.

If your company already has a functioning marketing team with a wide range of capabilities, it might make sense to bring in a specialist to plug a specific hole of expertise. For most companies, however, full-service agencies are the way to go. They benefit from the simplicity of having one point of contact, along with their breadth of expertise and holistic perspective.

At Deal Design, we understand that the needs of every brand and business are unique and dynamic. As a full-service agency, we offer a large spectrum of expertise in various industries and have showcased this diversity for our clients over a period of two decades.

We are happy to work with businesses at every stage of the creative process. Whether you are in need of a single service or are searching for help in building your brand from the ground up, Deal Design is here to help.

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