Brand Building vs. Product Selling

Brand Building vs. Product Selling

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

Most businesses start up for the purpose of providing a product, service, or opportunity. So, when businesses begin to market their offerings, how does branding fit into the equation?

While a quality product is the cornerstone of a successful business, a brand is the framework that supports and showcases that product to the world. The inner mechanics of your business may be where the actual selling happens, but branding is essential to attracting the clients you need to make those sales. 

Together, a great product, a plan to sell it, and a distinguished brand to market it make the perfect combination. It’s possible to sell products without a brand backing them, but, when you think about the most successful businesses, those that come to mind probably have built a powerful brand that makes them stand out. 

A Brand Helps You Find Your Audience

Ideas for businesses usually come from a desire to solve a specific problem for a certain group of people. Most successful businesses have a narrowly defined target audience and are not trying to appeal to everyone. But sometimes, it can be difficult to define who you most want to reach with what you’re selling.

That’s where branding comes in and works its magic. A brand is a way to tell your business’s story, both visually and with words. Branding gives you the opportunity to share the personality and values behind your business, and this helps people with those same values find you. This is important not only for gaining an audience but also for keeping it in the long run – 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.

brand loyalty quote

If you’re focused on simply selling a product and not building a brand along with it, your messaging is likely very sales-heavy. Consumers are constantly being sold to. Instead of focusing on what you can get from them, brand-building allows you to focus on what you can give, and after you’ve built a foundation of trust with your audience, they will be more likely to hit “Buy Now” on your next offer.

Avoid Being Price-Shopped

Most products on the market are not without competition. When you think about your own shopping behavior, what factors determine which company you end up purchasing from? If there is nothing differentiating the large number of products you have to consider, you’ll probably end up deferring to price. 

Your brand is an opportunity to stand out from the pack. Aside from catching the viewer’s eye, a brand gives you the tools to create a reputation over time. As your business grows, consumers eventually get to know what it stands for and what they can expect from it in terms of quality, customer service, and standards. All of these elements tie into your brand’s identity, and they make it easier for people to choose you over competitors when the time comes to make a purchase decision, even if your prices are higher.

Branding Sets You Up For Long-Term Success

Selling products in the short-term may be a necessary goal to launch your business, but branding has the ability to set up your business for success in the long term. 

Brands tend to shift and change over time, just like people do. If you strictly focus on selling products and neglect your brand, you’ll likely have less flexibility when you want to pivot. Businesses that have built brands with loyal followings have an easier time shifting gears or heading in a new direction. 

For example, MVMT Watches was founded in 2013. The company quickly gained a reputation for its chic wristwatches as a result of both a quality product and modern lifestyle branding. After a few years of success, MVMT started selling fashion eyewear. Because their brand had already gained a reputation for superior innovation and trend-setting style, they had the freedom to expand their offerings to other accessories without needing to start from scratch    

The importance of a great product for your business cannot be overstated, and outsourcing the work of creative branding allows you to focus on the business of selling. Deal Design specializes in building brands that get noticed.

 

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Interview: Erica Carnohan on Content Creation for Brands

Interview: Erica Carnohan on Content Creation for Brands

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

When you visit a business’s website or receive an email from them, have you ever wondered who actually wrote the words you see onscreen? 

Written content is heavily involved in building a brand’s identity, and here at Deal Design, most of the writing we provide our clients comes from the mind of our Content Creator, Erica Carnohan. In this interview, Erica discusses her contribution to a brand’s marketing strategy, the writing process, the evolution of her relationship with creativity, and more.

The “Content Creator” title is relatively new to the industry. What is a Content Creator from your perspective?

From my experience as a Content Creator, we are people who produce content of any form, ranging from the written word to video, typically (although not always) for marketing purposes. The majority of my work is creating written content for brands that tells their stories, but it could also mean producing visual content for the internet – things like videos or social media graphics. There’s a really wide range of media that the Content Creator umbrella encompasses. But, at the heart of it, we’re storytellers.

Every brand is so unique and different. How do you come up with a strategy for telling a brand’s story?

I think it starts with really getting to know the client and their unique perspective on their business – why they created it and their vision for where it’s going in the future. It’s also really important to gain an understanding of the audience they want to market to. Once I have a better, big-picture grasp on that, I like for them to explain to me why and how they started, and then we can get into the details of what their offerings are. 

Sometimes, when people come to us, they just have ideas for a business. When they talk to us, it’s the first time they’re actually putting verbiage behind those ideas or saying them out loud to someone. So, after I understand where a client is coming from and what they’re trying to accomplish with their brand, then it’s my job to put words to that idea in a way that resonates with their target customers. That’s my process.

How does your process change based on the medium you’re operating in?

The medium I’m creating in is typically dependent on the audience the content is for. So, I think that’s actually the piece of the puzzle that changes what I do most – who the content is for. There are certain demographics that are more likely to view content on the internet versus in a catalog, for example. 

My initial approach stays pretty constant across mediums. But for certain types of content, I have to do a little more digging into what the protocols and standards are for that channel because there are differences. Content tends to have a different tone depending on where it’s being shared. I try to familiarize myself as much as possible with content across mediums – pieces written for magazines, podcasts, videos, news outlets, and blog articles. 

After I get to know a brand, I think it’s important to establish and assume the voice of that brand. That definitely adjusts my process a little depending on who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to.

In an agency environment, there are Content Creators, Art and Creative Directors, Graphic Designers, and more. What is it like working with other creative professionals? 

I love working in an agency environment. I’m blessed to work with really adept and smart creative people. It’s taken me a while to view myself as a Creative for some reason, probably because my background is more technical. Working amongst people who have been steeped in creativity for a long time and who have accepted that as part of their identity has really helped me assume the role of a Creative. 

I feel inspired by the creativity that surrounds me every day. Everyone offers unique and different perspectives, and those aren’t always the perspectives my mind would originally produce. 

Sometimes clients come to us with their ideas written out really thoroughly, they have a great grasp on their brand’s message, and they’re only missing the visual elements. Other times, it’s vice versa, or it’s somewhere in the middle. Almost every situation gives us an opportunity to collaborate with one another because we need both the written and visual components to make a brand stand out and succeed. I really enjoy the collaboration necessary to make that happen. 

I’m learning that the creative process is rarely linear; it’s evolutionary. We each work on different edges of a project, and when it all comes together, we sometimes need to make adjustments to our own contributions in order to make everything fit together. It’s all about the end result. 

What is the biggest challenge you face as a Content Creator?

It’s been a challenge for me to work with a huge variety of clients who offer completely different products and services. It’s a bit of a learning curve. I’ve learned about so many different industries and businesses; for every new client, I typically need to get familiar with new terminology or jargon. I have to adapt very quickly to brands that are so vastly different in style, voice, messaging – everything. But it’s fun, and it’s a good challenge.

Also, people often come to us with really great ideas for brands, but there’s a flushing-out process that has to happen initially to define their offerings more concretely. I think the best results happen when clients have a solid idea from the beginning about what they’re trying to do. Then, it’s just a matter of translating that idea in a way that appeals to people.

If you couldn’t be a Content Creator, what would you be?

I would still be writing I think, either screenwriting for films or authoring books. 

It’s funny because when I first went to college, I was a Computer Science major, and I really thought I was going to end up an engineer. But looking back, writing has very much been a common thread throughout my whole life. I love that it’s kind of an amalgam of creativity and technicality – because there are rules when it comes to writing, but you also have creative freedom to break those rules and express yourself. I think stories have the power to change the world, and I couldn’t imagine myself working in a career that didn’t allow me to tell stories in some way. 

Looking for help in telling your brand’s unique story? 

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Deal Design Named Global Leader in Packaging Design by Clutch

Deal Design Named Global Leader in Packaging Design by Clutch

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

Deal Design is a full-service branding agency located in San Diego, California. We specialize in packaging and label design, brand development, catalog design, product photography, graphic design, website design, and digital marketing. Deal Design was first named a Top Designer by Clutch in 2018 and was named a Global Top B2B Company later that year. We are happy to announce that Clutch has awarded Deal Design as a Global Top B2B Company again in 2019! 

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform based in Washington, DC. They evaluate technology service and solutions companies based on the quality of work, thought leadership, and client reviews. A rapidly expanding startup, Clutch has become the go-to resource in the agency space. Their review process is reliable and transparent, and we’re grateful to those of our clients who have taken the time to provide feedback. 

Deal Design's reviews on Clutch"We are honored to be featured as a 2019 Global Leader. We're looking forward to another strong year of collaborating with our exceptional clients and helping them build world-class brands!" David Deal

We are grateful to have received this award and to be recognized for our commitment to providing excellent service to our clients. We value our ongoing partnership with Clutch because it allows businesses to make an informed decision to work with us. Deal Design is grateful for the recognition Clutch gives us for serving our clients well!

Check out our reviews on Clutch to learn about how Deal Design can accelerate your brand.

Or, explore our packaging design protfilio.

Grow your business with Digital Marketing Automation

Grow Your Business with Digital Marketing Automation

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

When you hear the phrase “marketing automation,” you may picture a computer replacing the need for a marketing team, automatically performing the tasks marketing professionals get paid to do every day. While that might be a cool idea (as long as you’re not a marketing professional), it’s not actually what happens when you start implementing this tool.

So, what does effective marketing automation look like? If you’re searching for a way to streamline your marketing efforts and respond instantly to customer interactions with your brand online, utilizing marketing automation may be just the right solution.

What is Marketing Automation?

In a nutshell, marketing automation is a tool that identifies where your prospects are in the sales funnel so you can provide them with relevant content at just the right time. A sales funnel is a process that allows businesses to get one step closer to making a sale with their customers, and this could prove to be essential in how many sales you make. These free sales funnel templates will allow you to make the right decision for the needs of the business, in the hopes of increasing your revenue over the year. And it’s extremely useful for nurturing quality leads to become paying customers. It’s not a tool for spamming people, and it’s not about sending out unsolicited, generic email blasts. Good marketing automation is centered on the needs and desires of your customers and prospects, and it takes their evolving needs into account every step of the way.

Marketing automation life of the lead

Source: SharpSpring

Email is a popular platform for marketing automation, but it certainly isn’t your only option. Automation software makes it possible for you to implement this genius strategy across multiple digital marketing channels, including social media. Having multiple points of reference about a lead’s online behavior can give you a better idea of their needs and interests. Then, you can provide them with content that relates to those topics.

Automation in Action

Good marketing automation does more than just send a delayed email when someone clicks on a link you sent them — it uses context about who leads are and what they care about to provide prospects with a good experience.

An example email workflow might look like this:

  1. You send an email invitation to download a free PDF guide to a targeted list of contacts.
  2. You send a thank-you note to everyone who downloaded the offer.
  3. A few days later, you send a follow-up email to the list of people who downloaded the guide, offering them a blog post on the same topic.
  4. Finally, when someone clicks the email link to your blog post, your sales team gets notified so they can follow up with them, since this person is now much more qualified and are more likely to buy.

marketing automation workflow in action

Source: SharpSpring

Putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects, wouldn’t you much rather receive communication like this over generic email blasts you know have been sent to thousands of people? Even though the emails are automated, they are much more personal and catered to the readiness of the recipient. Personalization helps build trust, and people are more likely to buy from companies they feel are trustworthy.

How Can Marketing Automation Benefit Your Business?

The reason many marketers are turning to automation is simple: those who use marketing automation tend to outperform those who don’t. According to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, Best-in-Class marketers are 67% more likely to use a marketing automation platform, and 87% of top-performing marketing firms use this technology.

87% of top-performing marketing firms use marketing automation.

When used wisely, marketing automation has the potential to transform your marketing process and results. The goal of automation is to streamline workflows, make them more efficient, and measure their results. These benefits are not just for marketing teams but are for sales teams, too. Automation identifies leads more effectively, making for a smoother transition between marketing and sales.

While marketing automation is a great tool for generating new leads, it is also just as beneficial for nurturing the leads and customers that have already begun making their way through the sales funnel. Setting up automated engagement campaigns is a great way to continue generating interest from those who have already demonstrated curiosity or enthusiasm about your business.

Automation allows you to focus your sales efforts on leads that show the most engagement e.g. interest in your brand. Using lead scoring, a valuable tool within any quality marketing automation system, enables your sales team to sort leads by a scoring system that ranks the most engaged leads by numerical score. They can spend more time pursuing warm leads while allowing cold leads to warm up over time.

Lead scoring graph; differentiate between hot and cold leads.

How to Know if Marketing Automation is Right for You

With growth, sometimes it becomes difficult to maintain the same level of one-to-one connection with customers manually. In situations like these, marketing automation is useful for cultivating relationships with large numbers of people already in the sales funnel.

While the potential results of marketing automation are enticing, it’s important to identify what goals you hope to achieve before you get started. This involves first identifying where your leads and prospects are in the buying process. At its core, marketing automation should be viewed as a personalization tool that guides people through the sales journey you create for them.

Marketing automation does not replace the need for steady top-of-the-funnel content that consistently draws in new leads. Instead, it complements your inbound marketing strategy, giving you more information about your customers’ needs and interests so that you can continue providing content that engages them. Marketing automation is most successful when you already have a large database of people to market to, so it’s important to have a strategy for generating new leads.

If you’re unsure of how to get started using marketing automation, or if you’re looking to accelerate your digital marketing strategy, consider reaching out to the pros. Deal Design is dedicated to providing our clients with the best custom digital marketing solutions.

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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. 

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.