Show Notes


First of all, HAPPY 2011 We’ve planned for it, set goals for it, dreamed of and feared it – and now it’s HERE! What are you going to make happen this year? ‘Round here, we’re making babies happen, brands happen, two new stationery collections happen and Team ELP/ELC (is growing!) happen! More on that last one later… :)

Today, I was reading an article on Mashable about visual branding/ web design trends for 2011. One of which, I cannot agree more with… “Less is more.” Period.

When it comes to the aesthetic of your brand – the first two pieces a potential client sees are 1) your color palette and 2) your logo (be it in print or on the web). In those first few introductory-moments, a valuable first impression is made. What do your color palette and logo say (about you AND your business) to “potential client”?

  • I’m cohesive, collected and put-together. My style is distinct and polished. (feelings of TRUST)
  • I’m professional, full of energy and very personable. (feelings of WARMTH)
  • I go ninety-miles an hour, like a lot of different styles and am slightly unfocused. I’m a little all-over-the-place. (feelings of DISCONNECTION)
  • I’m unsure of my specific style, am a follower of the hottest trends and allow an abundance of mismatched flourishes, graphics and colors to define me. I will not look/act like the “style” of my brand when we meet. (feelings of CONFUSION)

Those first few moments are so valuable. Money is immediately made and lost there. When designing a logo for a client, I work the way I dress myself. Together, we

  1. Define your personal style
  2. Then begin designing – starting with the basics (typestyle)
  3. Choose color (palette)
  4. Then add any necessary accessories (keyword: necessary, not every logo needs an icon, frame or graphic element)

Remember, you want to “wear your clothes” not have them “wear you.” The final logo has a clean, polished look that carries the personal brand but allows the brand’s deliverables to speak for themselves (photographs, products, etc). The logo is a compliment to the deliverables rather than a graphic piece that overcrowds them (this especially applies to watermarks for photographers). The logo, the aesthetic and the deliverables are then married with the voice of the brand owner to create a cohesive, focused, personal brand.

This why “personal branding” is so much different than “branding.” Personal branding begins with the person behind the brand – defining their personality, their personal style and their story – and builds out from there. The end result? An aesthetic that is

  • STRONG because it is directly connected to you
  • POLISHED because it is void of unnecessary (and often confusing) graphic clutter and misrepresented colors
  • INVITING because it is a authentic look and feel that immediately connects with your ideal clients

So looking forward to 2011, my design predictions are this: more neutral colors, understated design (less is MORE), more white space, the power of the right typestyle, dropped tag-lines, simple patterns (including clean damask used the right way – damask has been used the wrong way for far too long), palettes including varied hues based in the same color family, the power of a simplified web presence over excessive print collateral (yep, I said it) and the return of brand owners OWNING their brands by naming them after themselves.

A few drool-worthy “less-is-more” logos to swoon over:

Is your brand visually ready for 2011? Upon first glance, is it simple and polished while speaking volumes about who you are? If not, you have four days left to enter the MAKING BRANDS HAPPEN contest to win a new start (including brand consultation AND visual brand design) with Lara Casey Reps & Emily Ley Creative.

ELC is taking a limited number of clients per month – details here.

Cheers, with my sparkling grape juice, to all of you for a successful – but most importantly – joyful 2011!

Logos: Jenni Bailey Florals (designed by MM Ink Studio and ELC), Root for Kids (designed by HiDesign), Paperwhites (designed by ELC), Palomas Nest

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