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Brand Vision Board

Why it’s so important to create a brand vision board.

Certainly, you have a vision for your business – who you are, who you serve, where you want to be. But how does that translate into your brand?

Having a clear and concise vision for your brand is key, especially for a designer! I always find it to be the most helpful when our clients and team have a clear direction of what they want their brand to represent and emulate. We like to get down to the root of things and ask some key question before beginning. What colors are you drawn toward for your brand? What’s the look and feel you’re aiming for? Are you targeting a certain age group or gender? What message are you trying to convey? We take all of this information and start off our branding process with a brand vision board. Creating these boards can make you think about your ideal client and what will resonate with them and yourself.

I find it useful to peruse images, searching for keywords that are important to the brand. For instance, we have a client who was looking for help with her brand. She’s a contractor of sorts and was looking for help setting herself apart in a male-dominated industry. Although our team wanted to introduce femininity to differentiate her branding from others, we didn’t want it to be an obvious or over the top part of the design. We created imagery that revolved around interior renovations and the process, hand drawn elements with a lighter feel, and simple but bold colors. Through this process we were able to hone down a general look and feel for her, and from there begin design work on her logo and branding.

What makes this process so great is being able to check in with our clients and ourselves as a team. How do we feel about this general direction? Is this representing our client well and with intention? If all of our boxes are checked, then we move onto creating a beautiful and dynamic brand around our approved brand vision board.

By creating a brand vision board at the onset of a project gives us direction before we begin to design a logo can help create a cohesive brand image. In the end, your brand will reflect your business and your vision.

 

Riddy Hosser
Art Director
DARCI Creative

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Social Media Cheat Sheet

We hear it all the time, I don’t have time to be on Social Media. I don’t see the benefit in it for my businesses. We get it – business owners are a busy breed, and time is our biggest asset. We hear you, and we respect your value of time. But you know who does have time for Social Media? Your target market – those potential clients your business is craving!

It’s a great place to extend your brand and start meaningful dialogue with your community. We all want connection, and sometimes with a busy lifestyle and a serious time crunch, social media is the place to feel that connection. By having a business page on these channels, you can develop that relationship between your brand and the world at large.

One more thing: simply having these channels on social media helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in a big way. When users search for your business, your pages will appear in the results, which makes a good impression to Google and its indexing bots that run behind the scenes. Not to mention, today’s generation will expect to find you online and will trust your brand more when they do, adding a bit of credibility to your business.

So, whether you’re responding to comments, nurturing prospects, sharing fresh content, or just letting the world know what time you close shop on a Friday, Social Media is a crucial piece of online presence to have – and we would say a necessary tool for businesses operating in this digital age.

Below we have laid out a guide on all sizes social media so you can look your best on all these channels. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, size does matter so if you’re in the ratio of these sizes you should be good, these are just the optimal sizes that are guaranteed to make your pages looking fresh. And for best practice as you upload your images, always be sure to test out on mobile because some dimensions will cut off unbeknownst to the user.

Need help resizing imagery – we suggest apps like PicMonkey or pixlr.com. Still need assistance call us up, we’d be happy to discuss a social media management kit for you

Facebook

Coverphoto:
Desktop
851px x 315px

Mobile
640px x 360px

Profile Picture:
170px x 170px
crops square and round

Posts:
504px x 504px

Event Cover Photo:
1200px x 675px

Twitter

Header size:
1500px x 500px

Profile Pic:
400px x 400px

Image
1200px x 675px

YouTube

Channel Banner:
2560px x 1440px

Channel Icon
800px x 800px

Instagram

Profile Picture
180px x 180px
crops round

Picture size
1080px x 1080px

LinkedIn

Profile Banner
1584px x 396px

Profile Picture Size
400px x 400px

Company Coverphoto
1536px x 768px

Company Logo
300px x 300px

Regan Bowlen
DARCI Creative
Art Department

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3 Tips for A Better Work – Life Balance

Urban Dictionary defines Work-Life Balance as “a slogan that has generated tons of literature on the subject on how to organize our stressful lives, as if life and job could be separated.”

These days with smartphones and all the technology that constantly keeps us connected, it’s hard to separate work life from personal life. But finding a healthy work-life balance is really important to maintain sanity and not lose yourself completely to the everyday grind of work. Experts agree, that the stress from a never-ending workday can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness. Of course, work-life balance means something different to every person but here are a few tips on how I achieve a balance when it comes to managing my work and personal life.

Work When You’re at Work – You’re getting paid to work for a specific time frame each day, so when you’re logged in or at your desk, you should actually be tackling work associated tasks. Not surfing the web or scrolling on your Instagram feed. You’ll be amazed how much you can get accomplished when you sit down and map out the hours of your day and assign certain goals to each hour. And, you’ll feel great knowing at the end of the day you were productive and you can go back to your personal life with a clean conscious not worrying about all the tasks you still have to finish after hours or the next day.

Turn Off Your Work E-Mail – Some people might disagree with this, but I highly recommend turning off your work e-mail or refraining from checking it during non – work hours. When I first started in Account Management I would check my e-mail when I woke up, on the way to work, at work, on my way home from work and before I went to bed thinking I couldn’t miss anything and how professional it was of me to respond promptly to emails! I was wrong. All this did was cause anxiety and a feeling that I could never disconnect, and there goes that balance. The average person checks their phone nearly 50 times a day, which isn’t good for anyone. So I made a new rule for myself. I would refrain from opening my work email before and after work and on the weekends. It’s a game changer. Of course there will be circumstances when you need to log in and check something or put out a fire, but if you can regularly disconnect when you aren’t required to be working, I highly recommend it.

Find a Company That You Vibe With – I think the greatest tip to achieve work/life balance is finding a company that lives and breathes the same core values that you do. Take the time to learn about the company’s culture, who they are, what they stand for. If you can’t get behind it, then I can tell you right now your work/life balance will never be Zen. If you totally vibe with the culture there’s more room for you to have open communication with your managers or boss to talk openly about what kind of work environment you thrive best in. If they are supportive of your requests, you can create the ultimate work environment which makes everyone happy. In the right environment, you’ll feel productive but don’t feel chained to a desk and in turn that is reflective in your personal life which makes your loved ones, friends, and partners happy too.

These are just a few tips and tricks that work for me. What do you find works for you?
We’d love to hear!

Daniele Hosser
DARCI Creative
Senior Account Executive

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Making Illustrations Through Illustrator

Sometimes a brand needs a more personal feel. Perhaps it’s the handwritten signature of a key person in your organization. Or maybe it’s a free-hand drawing that will best represent your brand and help you stand out from the rest.

Graduating from college with a Studio Art major has sort of paved the way for my creative process and set me apart when comes to graphic design. Although I love to think in organized, technical ways, I also really enjoy getting to use my more free and creative side of my skillset from my fine art background. Having been trained in subjects like drawing, painting, and ceramics has allowed me to think outside the box in terms of branding and graphics and has allowed me to be a creative and critical thinker. With that said, incorporating drawings has been one of my favorite things to do! If you have the right tools and a willingness to learn, then you too can create!

Every client has different branding and creative needs, but it’s always fun to work on projects for clients that require handmade sketches, or digital sketches. Sometimes it’s nice to add hand sketch things, digitize them, and use them that way. Other times we need to be a little quicker and using a design program like Adobe Illustrator can help greatly!

Using illustrator to draw can create great look-a-like sketches. It’s a bit of a learning curve to draw with a mouse, and you will need a subscription or free trial for Adobe to start. You can choose to free hand sketch, find a photo to use to go off of for inspiration, or even trace a photo. You’ll want to start with your “Paintbrush Tool” (located in the left-hand sidebar). In your top bar you can select the “Brush Definition” you’d like, but I typically always start with the “Basic” line. This basically mimics a pencil and creates easy to see lines. In the left toolbar, you can select the color you would like to work with. It’s okay to leave this set to black if you’re working with a white background and just change the color after.

Once you have your tool, brush type, and color selected it’s time to get drawing! Allocate some extra time for getting used to the mouse’s movements. Press down on your mouse and hold while you move it to create a line. Once you get the hang of it and finish your drawing, click and drag your mouse selection over the entire drawing. Once you have it all selected, you can then play with the stroke you’d like! I love using Illustrator’s “ChalkCharcoalPencil” function. You can adjust the stoke of the line, making it thicker or thinner, by going to the top toolbar and using the “Stroke” element. You can use a predetermined size, or input your own width, such as .15. Once you have that all set, you can then select the color you’d like. Use what works best with the application and background.

And there you have it! It may take some extra work, but it’s worth it in the end to have original, hand drawn elements in your library of branded graphics.

 

Riddy Hosser
DARCI Creative
Art Director

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To Schedule or Not to Schedule

How Hootsuite & Other Content Schedulers Can Help Your Social Media Strategy

Love it or hate it, there’s no avoiding social media these days. Whether you’re a brand, an individual, or like us, an agency who manages social accounts for other businesses – social media needs to be part of your marketing strategy. It’s a fantastic place to showcase your brand and keep a meaningful conversation going with customers (and potential customers) in an engaging way.

Easier said than done. Social media can be overwhelming, whether you manage one account or ten. Algorithms change, content seems to move at the speed of light, and the ‘best practices’ of yesterday may not be the same today.

One solution to lessen the stress? A social media content scheduler. We use Hootsuite, a user-friendly dashboard that lets you manage multiple networks and profiles, schedule content in advance, and even measure your posts’ results.

Before we take a peek at what Hootsuite can do, let’s talk about scheduling content. No matter how many social profiles you manage, we highly recommend creating a content calendar and planning your posts out in advance. When you create a plan like this, you’re inherently encouraged to take a more intentional, strategic approach to the content you share (rather than sit there staring at a blank caption box, scratching your head about what post on a given day). It allows you to mix up your content, from photo and video to blog posts and graphics, offering a variety of means to keep your audience engaged and interested. And of course, it takes the pressure off coming up with a post idea the day you need to share it.

There are a variety of content scheduling tools available – and many of them offer free options in addition to more advanced plans – but Hootsuite takes the prize for us. We love the way this tool allows us to break down all facets of social media: by platform and by client, organized into customizable “streams” for easy viewing.

Here’s what our Hootsuite dashboard looks like on a given day, highlighting our DARCI Creative Instagram streams:

Notice how we organize our dashboard: by posts that we have already made, scheduled posts to go out, and posts from other accounts that we have ‘liked’. We even created relevant streams based on location (Portsmouth, New Hampshire has its own stream for all posts marked in that location), as well as relevant hashtags like #branding.

Now let’s take a closer look at the scheduling feature. Whether you’re looking to post on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s easy to attach media forms like links and images, set a custom date and time to post, and tag a specific location. Save a draft for later or schedule it immediately to publish at the specified time – how easy is that?

We’ve found Hootsuite’s scheduling tools especially useful for Instagram. And now, all scheduled Instagram posts are automatically posted to Instagram for us (whereas the previous method of Hootsuite sent a “push notification” to our phones for us then to manually publish the post at the scheduled time). It’s easier than ever to plan ahead on social media – and a lot less stressful, too.

We hope you’ve been inspired to revamp your social media strategy, plan out content in advance, and use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite to stay on top of your social media game.

And if you need a hand, let us know how we can help with your social media efforts. We’ll craft and manage a strategic plan that will drive growth for your business and keep your brand top-of-mind in today’s noisy world.

 

Alanna Hogan
DARCI Creative
Copywriter & Executive Assistant, Social Media Manager