Standards

How we helped the Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics upgrade their branding

The Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (WAFCC) is an advocate for the State’s ninety free & charitable clinics. The organization provides state advocacy, education opportunities, consulting services, and telehealth services to clinics. WAFCC fosters collaboration, networking, and resource-sharing. They selected Jill B Gilbert for two branding initiatives–brand guidelines and a custom presentation template consistent with these new guidelines. 

Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines are the rules an organization–large or small–follows to ensure their brand is consistent across various digital and print communications.  These guidelines typically communicate the organization’s voice, style, logo, type, and colors. 

They show the accepted use of the logo, any color variations, and placement, including  very important “Do’s and Don’ts.” If an organization uses specific graphic styles, icons, or illustrations, the guidelines contain these, too.

Brand Guidelines are meant to be flexible, changing as the organization grows and changes. The WAFCC Brand Guidelines are a living document, soon to be updated with examples from the new slide presentation template. 

Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (WAFCC) Brand Guidelines Mockup
Brand Guidelines | Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics
"I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANYONE TO WORK WITH JILL. SHE HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE, IS VERY KIND, RESPONSIVE, AND DID A WONDERFUL JOB ON OUR VISUAL BRAND GUIDE."​
Heather Ule
WAFCC

Presentation Template

The most common methods of communication are email,  PowerPoint (/Google Slides/Keynote/Other) presentations, and social media. 

Branding is important in slide presentations, because it sets the tone for your organization’s message. Consistent style and message are key!

Jill B Gilbert designed a template that was a great match for WAFCC’s message and style needs. 

"This was my second project with WAFCC. I enjoyed working with Heather and building a relationship. We plan to work together on more projects in the future."
Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Slide Presentation Template
Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics | Presentation Template
Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Consulting, Corporate Identity, Design, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography

Jill B Gilbert delivers stylish slide templates for The Justice Hub School

Custom slide template and presentation for The Justice Hub School
Custom slide template and presentation for The Justice Hub School

 The Justice Hub School provides underserved youth in Houston’s Third Ward with academic and leadership skills to succeed in life. Jill B Gilbert was pleased to create a colorful new brand and a stylish custom presentation templates for this public charter school. 

Our graphic design team created two templates aimed at different audiences–prospective donors and board members, and prospective students. Both templates employ Justice Hub’s new brand and color scheme. The image above shows the second, less formal, template on an iPad Pro. 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Design, Education, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography, 0 comments

Approaches to branding multiple products or services under one business

I have a client that needs graphic design work for multiple brands, and wants all of their brands in a single portfolio. Their services generally target the same audience, and the audience can choose one or more services; these services do not compete with one another. My client seeks consistency in the way they portray the different services in digital and print media. 

If your organization manages more than one brand, you have different options to manage them. Your branding strategy–key to your marketing strategy–depends on your target audience and customers. 

Whether you already have several brands, or you anticipate new product or service lines, you can find a structure that works for your organization.

Individual Brands or Parent and Sub-Brands

Two options for managing multiple brands are:

  1. a multi-brand strategy with individual brands for each product/service, and
  2. a single, parent brand with multiple sub-brands. 

If the products or services aim to fulfill different purposes or have different visions, you may want to to separate your brands. If your products or services reflect an overarching vision or purpose, you might choose the parent/sub-brand option.

Your company’s vision, values, customers, and market position can guide your choice of options. 

  • Who are your customer segments?
  • Do your products/services target vastly different segments?
  • Do these differing segments want to be associated with one another?
  • If you plan a new product/service, does it reflect your existing brand’s deeper purpose and vision, or does it reflect a new purpose and vision?

Examples

Multi-brand strategy

Procter & Gamble uses a multi-brand strategy, with individual brands for each product line. Some of their product lines include Tide, Gain, Crest, Pampers, Bounty, Swiffer, Oral B, and Gillette. Some of their products compete with each other, for example, Tide and Gain, but Procter & Gamble gets a piece of the laundry market share from both products, aimed at different consumers. 

Parent brand and sub-brand strategy

Adobe has multiple products under a single brand. Creative Cloud, their main product line, includes Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Lightroom, and more. Adobe markets Creative Cloud to very different audiences, and allows individual users and teams to select the apps that best meet their graphic design, photography, and other creative needs. 

 

Adobe Creative Cloud includes over 20 desktop and mobile apps

In closing, if your organization manages several brands, make sure that you have a clear strategy. And make sure to document this strategy and also provide clear brand guidelines so you can communicate consistently and clearly with your target audience. 

References

Pruitt, Jeff, Approaches to Branding Multiple Brands, Inc. Magazine, accessed 02 November 2021.

Pruitt, Jeff, 4 Branding Structures When Multiple Products and Services are Involved, Inc. Magazine, accessed 02 November 2021.

Dearth, Brian, Multi-Brand Strategy: 5 Top Trends in 2021, Vaimo, accessed 14 January 2022.

Adobe Creative Cloud, accessed 14 January 2022. 

Procter & Gamble Brands, accessed 14 January 2022. 

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Corporate Identity, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography

So, you want a new website… 30 questions to answer before you build it

Creating a new or updated website to reflect your organization’s identity takes a bit of thought and planning.

Your website is an important part of your organization’s identity. A well-designed website reflects well on your organization, and a poorly-designed website can damage your reputation. I know this is hard, but spend time planning your website before you build it. Understand your audience and design your site accordingly. Make the site attractive and easy to navigate.

Whether you plan to redesign your website or are in the enviable position of designing a new website from scratch, take the time to find answers to the following questions to set your website project up for success. You will be glad you did!

Purpose

  1. WHO is your target audience?
  2. HOW will your website serve that audience? 
  3. WHAT is the compelling marketing message that is tailored to your audience?
  4. WHAT problem does your website solve for each type of person in your audience?
  5. WHAT is the site’s purpose, such as informational, e-commerce, blog, portfolio, news, or a combination of several purposes?

Content

  1. What is the clearly defined goal for each page on your website?
  2. Is your Home/Welcome page compelling?
  3. Does your About page describe the problems that you solve in simple and easy-to-understand terms?
  4. Is your web copy geared to your target audience, clear, easy to understand, and free of jargon?
  5. Do you have a landing page that you can use to collect email addresses and create email subscriptions?
  6. Do you have effective Calls to Action that lead your visitors to a desired action?
  7. What legal content do you need, such as Terms of Use, Privacy, Copyright, and/or other statements?

Design

  1. Is your website “look and feel” cohesive, and consistent with your company’s branding and color standards?
  2. Is your website’s navigation clear and easy to use?
  3. Is the site typography easy to read (fonts, type size, type hierarchy, headings, color and contrast)?
  4. Do you use high quality graphics and images on your website?
  5. Do your fonts and images load quickly?
  6. What is your preferred technical platform, e.g., as HTML + CSS, or a Content Management System like WordPress, Wix, or other?
  7. Is your website responsive—readable on mobile, tablet, laptop, and large screen devices?
  8. Can you maintain and update your website in-house, or do you need an outside specialist?

Marketing Goals and Objectives

  1. What business results you expect from your website?
  2. How do you plan to drive traffic and visitors to your website?
  3. What system do you have in place to track visitor behavior and interactions on your site?
  4. How will your organization generate and capture website leads?
  5. Are your site and any blog posts optimized for search engines?

Security and Backups

  1. What systems will be in place to protect your site from hackers?
  2. What tools or systems are needed to address website crashes and spam?
  3. What user and password security measures will your site have?
  4. What is your backup and recovery plan, including on-site and offsite storage?
  5. What is your periodic site audit plan?

Granted, 30 questions is a lot to answer—but take the time to find answers to every question if you want a website that addresses the needs of your audience and yields business results. If you are not sure how to proceed with your website design and build, please consult a professional that understands the technical, marketing, and business aspects of website creation. You will be glad you did!

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography, Web Design

Mississippi Park Connection selects Jill B Gilbert for graphic design work

iMac with screenshot of Mississippi Park Connection presentation slides
Custom, branded presentation template for Mississippi Park Connection

Mississippi Park Connection needed a custom, branded presentation template to convey its mission and message. They selected Jill B Gilbert to design the template. “The challenge was to understand Mississippi Park Connection’s needs, and find a style to complement the organization’s three pillars—habitat restoration and tree planting; paddling the Mississippi River; and youth education,” says Gilbert. MPC is thrilled with the presentation template, which includes over twenty customized illustrations that will appeal to diverse audiences, from prospective board members to volunteers and Park visitors of all ages. 
Read more about the project here.

“Jill was wonderful to work with. She responded positively to our initial feedback on a design and came back with an update that accurately met our needs and vision while incorporating her professional expertise in PowerPoint and graphic design. She is prompt, communicates efficiently, and pushed the project along at times when I felt overwhelmed. We now have a well designed, branded, and functional PowerPoint presentation that will bring cohesiveness to all our presentations. Thank you Jill!”

–Callie Sacarelos, Communications and Marketing Manager, Mississippi Park Connection

Mississippi Park Connection is the nonprofit partner of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (U.S. National Park) and has headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, at the start of the river. 

 

Jill B Gilbert is a graphic and web designer with years of experience creating impactful marketing communications for both digital and print platforms, for large corporations, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. 

 

the nonprofit partner of Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Branding, Consulting, Corporate Identity, Design, Graphics, Illustration, Marketing, Standards, Typography

Branding lessons well worth learning

A Fast Company Design article relates how Steve Jobs worked with legendary designer Paul Rand to develop a logo for NeXT Computer.

NeXT logo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Whether you have millions of dollars or a more modest marketing budget, the takeaways ring true.

  • A logo must be distinctive, memorable, and clear.
  • A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing (product or service) it represents; brands, by themselves, don’t make companies successful.
  • The designer’s role is to solve a problem, not to suggest options.
  • Logomarks—symbols like the Nike swoosh—could cost $100 million, plus could take years to become well-known.
  • Once a brand is designed, you must communicate standards and guidelines for its usage throughout your company.
Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Branding, Corporate Identity, Design, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards

Develop style guides for your design projects

Whether you are developing a 50-page Website, a small mobile phone app, or an annual report for a corporate client, you should get in the habit of developing a style guide.

Branding and style guides are important for projects large and small. They help to provide consistent messages about an organization and provide a degree of professionalism. Creative Bloq has a good post on this topic, with examples of thirteen style guides for famous organizations.

Client project style guide

The client’s goal was to refresh their brand and their Web site to draw more customers to their wellness practice and retail establishment. I prepared a simple style guide, using Adobe Illustrator. The Style Guide displays the brand, color chips for main and accent colors, typography and usage examples:

Style Guide | Nature’s Garden

Here is how the styles look when applied to a “mobile first” Website design. Note how the colors and the leaf motif are repeated throughout the page. The design works well on a smartphone, on a tablet or on a large HD screen.

Mobile View | Nature’s Garden
Responsive Home Page on Retina Display

University style guide

On a whim, I researched my alma mater’s color and brand guidelines. The Miami University is a nationally recognized Public Ivy, and its brand is particularly important. The brand must convey the Public Ivy experience.

The University uses different reds for print, Web and merchandise use. Several formal and informal logos are available for these uses. The use of certain “vintage” logos requires special permission.

The branding guidelines include logos, colors, typography and graphic elements. They encompass Web, print publications, social media, photos, use in athletic programs and more.

How people – alumni, students, future students, faculty and staff, fans, donors, and the public at large – feel about Miami University directly relates to the University’s success. In a sense, the brand speaks on the University’s behalf without saying a word. It represents who we are and what we stand for. It is the visual representation of our reputation.

Miami University Brand Guidelines

Here is the “M” spirit mark often used on sportswear and signs.

The Miami University Spirit Mark

Posted by Jill B Gilbert in Best Practices, Branding, Color, Corporate Identity, Graphics, Guidelines, Logo Design, Marketing, Standards, Typography, Web Design