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Go Behind the Scenes With Us!

We strongly believe in incorporating video content to your overall comprehensive marketing strategy. Whether it’s using Facebook live, producing a YouTube show or a simple “How To”, video can really increase your engagement on social media as well as other marketing channels. The use of video on social media has exploded in 2018. On YouTube alone, over 5 BILLION video views are watched each day!

Videos are a fun, informative, and engaging way to reach your target audience. At DARCI Creative, we offer complete, turnkey video services to our clients and event organizers. We love showcasing our client’s brands using video in creative ways. Today we’re taking you behind the scenes with Dan Modern, DARCI Creative videographer, as he starts and finishes a video shoot for our client, HRCU.

Videos are an extension of your brand, so it’s important to be strategic about it. If you’re looking for video services from the pros, give us a call to talk about our services! We have a full-service team of videographers and editors that will elevate your brand with a fresh, creative approach – from storyboard and coordination to execution and post-production.

 

Daniele Hosser
DARCI Creative
Senior Account Executive

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Your Brand Is Not Your Logo!

The very first thing we like to do with all of our clients is to assess their brand. More often than not, a client will tell us their branding is all set because they have a nice looking logo. But your brand is not your logo.

Your brand is your promise. It’s critical to your success. It’s what people are going to say about you when you’re not in the room. Don’t you want to make sure they say the right thing?

We believe that strategic branding is the foundation to helping you reach your goals. That’s why our promise is: “Inside Out Brand Marketing.” We spend a lot of time with our clients, digging deep into what makes them unique – what sets them apart. That’s what makes us really good at what we do and it’s why our clients shine brightly amongst their competitors!

Once we know the ins and outs of your business and why it’s so amazing, we can create a logo and positioning line that makes sense and is strategically on-point. We are a strategic and thoughtful marketing agency, armed with many years of experience. We know what works and what doesn’t. We want your brand to last so that you don’t find yourself needing a rebrand in just a few short years.

Think about the most successful brands in America…Nike, Dunkin’ Donuts, TD Bank…to name a few. Their brands are so on-point from the start that they stand the test of time all these years later. No rebranding necessary. That’s what we’re talking about. And that’s what we do for our clients.

 

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

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Why You Need Branded Photography For Your Business.

How much time do you spend online looking at websites, social media, shopping, searching…you name it? Probably more than you’d like to admit! But the truth is, we live in a very visual world. Much of our time is spent looking at photos and images. Whether you realize it or not, those images have an impact on the brands you follow and purchase from. You make connections (good or bad) with those brands based on the images you see.

That’s why it’s so important to have branded photography that is specific to your business. It’s an opportunity for you to convey your brand promise to your audience through images. It helps build a connection between you and your audience. Using these images consistently throughout your marketing materials increases your brand recognition. Eventually your audience will “know” your brand just by seeing the photos you use.

You’ve worked hard to create your brand image for your business. You’ve carefully designed an amazing logo with a thoughtful positioning line that clearly defines your brand promise. Be sure to carefully select photos that support all that hard work.

 

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

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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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A Videographer’s Guide: Getting Ready For Your Video Shoot

Video content is on the rise in marketing, and we can definitely see why. Videos are informative, entertaining and engaging. They grab your attention – and keep it there – making people stop their scroll and watch closely.

Our agency has amped up our video services to clients of all types, creating content from short social clips to television spots. As a videographer, I’ve come to understand the importance of being prepared for our video shoots, so that the production can run smoothly and the set is stress-free. If you’re a videographer or just looking to pick up a camera and start shooting, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Have a checklist of the equipment you will need. This seems like a simple task, but it’s so important. Double-check it the day before the shoot, and the morning of the shoot as you pack your gear. With a list in hand, you will know everything will be with come shoot day, and there won’t be any need to rush back to the office or studio to remember that tripod or extra extension cable you forgot.
  • Have all your batteries charged and SD cards formatted. Another tip that seems like it would be a no brainer, but so many times people forget to charge their spare batteries or neglect to address the battery that is already in the camera. They get on set and the camera has ten minutes of battery life left. Or they forget to clear their SD cards and when they get on set, the card is either full or they can’t format it. Often, if there is something already on the card, it might be important and there’s a chance it might not have been backed up yet. Sub tip: export your raw footage on to your hard drive (and back up hard drive!) the same day you shoot – you’ll thank me later.
  • Be personable and learn how to read your on-camera subjects. No matter what kind of shoot you have, your on-screen talent needs to appear natural. For example, with an interview you will want your subject to feel comfortable. Just sitting down and jumping right into it by asking them thoughtful questions will make them feel very uncomfortable, and the camera has a way of magnifying this uneasiness. You’ll want to warm them up and have a conversation with them before starting the interview, to ultimately get a much better response.
  • Finally, have a game plan for what you are going to shoot. Say you are filming an action, sports or travel video. You always want to be thinking about your shots ahead of time before you shoot – that way when you arrive on site, you’ll have a good outline for how you plan on capturing all the footage. Are you factoring in weather or the changing angle of sunlight throughout the day? Are you planning to shoot more complicated shots after the other footage, just in case technical troubles cause any delays? Developing a storyboard is a huge help. Even if it’s only stick figures, a storyboard will let you know what shots are essential and how the visuals will flow. After you’ve completed your shot list, anything candid or spontaneous that you’re able to capture after that is a bonus.

Remember, preparation is key for a videographer. Stay tuned for another post where we discuss tips to prepare your client for their upcoming video shoot! And, if you’re looking for video services from the pros, give us a call to talk about our production services. Our team of videographers and editors will elevate your brand with a fresh, creative approach – from storyboard and coordination to execution and post-production.

Jake Provencher
DARCI Creative
Finance & Traffic Manager/Videographer

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Choosing Your Brand Colors

Let’s talk about color in branding and design. Specifically, how to choose coordinating colors to be used throughout a brand.

Selecting the right colors for your brand is one the most important aspects of brand design. It all starts with the question: How do I want my brand to be perceived? Whether you’re looking for bold, eye-catching colors or more subdued tones, color plays a key role in identifying your brand – and the colors you choose will be used for years to come!

When I start a branding project, I like to think about the vision of the brand from fruition to years down the line. To me, it’s important to create a brand mood board first to really nail down the feel of your brand (after deciding who your target audience is, of course). Starting with a mood board gives us the groundwork for the imagery, textures, and colors that play into your brand. Starting with images that portray your brand can be a great way to draw color inspiration from.

Choosing colors that are cohesive, but also contrasting, can bring depth to your brand. For instance, your logo may have a bold red and a dark grey, but you may not want to always use those two colors. If your brand is bold, think about using tones and colors from the other side of the color wheel – greens and blues, maybe in softer shades to offset the louder red.

We recently created a brand and website for a local realtor whose logo uses red and grey. Although she loves red (which is why we initially chose it), we wanted her brand to have more depth and be more than just those two colors. Through her website, we were able to bring in a bold mustard, vibrant blue, and black through imagery to help portray her quirky personality and approach to real estate.

It’s also important to remind yourself that your brand doesn’t need to be full of color. Choosing subdued colors, grays, or even black/white can create an impact when paired with colors throughout a website, ads, social media, print – the list goes on! Just look for those complimenting colors to enhance your brand’s vision, and always go with your gut. The colors that resonate with you will translate into your brand, beautifully.

 

Riddy Hosser
DARCI Creative
Art Director