Review of latest free web safe Google fonts

Until recently web designers font choices were limited to a  small group of web safe fonts. These fonts didn’t pixelate or blur when displayed on monitors and worked consistently all the major browsers.  Adventurous web designers resorted to using Flash to use non-web safe fonts or spent a lot of money and development time utilising specialty font services.

Thankfully as internet browsers evolved, support for an incredible array of fonts become available.  Services such as ‘font squirrel’ enabled designers to create convert purchased into web-ready fonts which could be imported to the website and used (with caution) and a bit of coding knowledge.

With over 680 font families to choose from, Google Fonts library has so many fonts there is really no need for the overwhelming majority of web designers to ever purchase another font.  The font library is continously being upgraded, with a keen eye on the latest font trends.

Here is a look a some of the more interesting recent additions.

Maven Pro
This Sans Serif free font improved with geometric shapes. It exudes an image of modernity, stylishness, and elegance. With three ultra light weights, the extensive glyph coverage makes it ideal for most projects.

Lato
One of my favourites, its clean lines, style and versatility allow it to work for display and smaller text and includes different weights, making it an ideal family for larger projects.

Stalemate
There’s nothing like a simple script to bring attention to the text and this typeface does that masterfully. Unlike some other script options, Stalemate is highly readable (particularly at bigger sizes) and has a gender-neutral feel, so that you can use it for almost any project.

Ubuntu
If you’re working on a project that has multi-language requirements, this family includes a full palette of open source options from a sans serif to condensed to monospaced options that is usable in more than 200 languages. 

League Gothic
This traditional font has all the clean lines that work with today’s flat and material design styles.  When it comes to display options, this typeface is hard to beat. It has nice thick strokes, a tall x-height and highly readable style that works exceptionally well in a variety of uses. 

 

Conclusion
There are so many free font options available to web designers that there are real dangers of applying the wrong font for your purposes.
Fonts should reflect the documented branding strategy for your small business.
Why are you using it ?
What doe it do for you ?
Call us today and let us advise you on the font select that suits your objective.

Redesigning logos the right way

Examples of corporate logos that were redesigned in the last year

These companies take branding extremely seriously.  The understand the importance of perception of their brand and individual product.  It takes a lot of effort to successfully develop a brand and there are many reasons my companies might decide to change their logo.  However, just for something to do is definitely not one of them.

Here are a three reasons to change an established logo.

  • The company’s reputation and image has been damaged.
    The most immediate example that comes to mind is BP after the oil spill, but there are tonnes of examples.
  • The company has moved into a new market space.
    The phone company Nokia has transitioned many times, from paper milling to rubber plantations, the logo has evolved accordingly.
  • It’s hard to reproduce it
    Apples original logo was a rainbow coloured symbol, but the company found it hard to reproduce on various surfaces, so the single colour version was adopted.

Examples of changes this year

Guinness – the nectar of the Gods
You can bet the designers had to reign themselves back on this a few times.  The challenge here might have been creating something new and staying true to the established look. But by moving away from the trend of flat designs they’ve created a contemporary logo that reflects the brand’s history.

Guinness
Blue Lily Studios – Branding logos – Guinness

Gumtree – who hasn’t used it once ?
The logo re-brand was part of a website overhaul.   The core principals for the designers to consider were: modern, simple and digital. 
The new logo clearly meets it’s objective of being a clear, simple brand image that cultivates an online community.

Gumtree
Blue Lily Studios – Branding logos – Gumtree
Kodak
Blue Lily Studios – Branding logos – Kodak

Kodak
If ever a company had a need to re-brand themselves it’s Kodak.  On the heels of a previously not too successful attempt at re-branding, we thing this one nails it.
It maintains the red and yellow colour scheme, but adds a new typeface and layout.  The intention is to represent the perforations on the edges of old film stock.  –  Hats off to the designer.

 

Branding 101

Small Business Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, big or small.  Big companies take this subject seriously for a reason.  IT WORKS.  Branding tells customers what they can expect from your products and services and determines how your customers perceive your company.

Here is a 60 second overview of what you may already know about branding but never said out loud.

  • Before you can define your brand you need to ask people what they think about you, your company and your products.
  • Don’t just ask friends or employees, talk to customers, suppliers, stop a bloke in the street, try online surveys.
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?  If you don’t know these, you must call an emergency meeting at the pub because nothing else will work.
    Make sure your customers agree with you about these features and in particular the benefits.
  • What qualities do you want them have about you and what do you need to get to that point?

The basic elements

  • Write down your brand messaging and make sure everyone knows it, employees, customers, advertisers, your pet poodle.
  • Ensure your staff buy-in and work with the brand in mind.
  • Get a great logo and stick it everywhere and on everything.
  • Develop a memorable, meaningful and concise tagline that reflects the brand.
  • Create a marketing style guide defining how all visual communications are presented.
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials.
  • Be consistent

Do you need help with developing your brand. 
There are hundreds of books for small business owners offering advise on all these aspects.
Chances are you’ve already read many of them.  
However, it’s the implementation of it that separates the successful businesses from the casual business.
We can develop an entire branding strategy for you.  Complete with all the essential elements, documentation and templates.
Call us to fast track the development of your company brand.

We take the time that other designers will not.  It’s not because other designers are too busy or can’t be bothered.  
The truth is most designers don’t understand the importance of building a brand as much as they do about creating a logo.
Remember, a logo with reference to a company brand strategy is just a pretty picture that uses up space on a website banner or business card.

Small business branding or Product branding ?

As a very quick definition, small business branding is process of marketing various products or services under the name of a company.  The objective to create an experience or expectation that the client comes to associate with your business name and products.

On the other hand product branding is the companies marketing strategy for promoting  individual products without the company’s name being immediately associated with the product in it’s advertising campaigns or even on the product labeling.
An example might be an established company own supplier a lower quality product that is suited to a particular market segment and separate to the quality products desired by their high end niche market.

Small Company Branding
We specialise in helping brand campaigns for small businesses.  We talk to the owners, to their customers, their suppliers, we even talk to competitors.  Our goal is to understand the market space.  We want to understand what influences the customers to buy, to share positive stories and to come back and buy again.
We develop an entire network of marketing collateral with a common purpose.  That purpose is to associate our clients products and services with the most memorable positive experience possible.
We guide clients in setting up the a communication style that will carry through on everything that a client touches, such as website, social media platforms, product brochures & packaging, display signage, stationary, social media platforms.  Our objective is to create a consistent positive impression every time a client considers our products.

Product Branding
An example of product branding that will be familiar with is Lexus.  Lexus are the top end vehicles manufactured by Toyota.  The Toyota name is not mentioned in any marketing material for Lexus.  The Lexus range of cars have their own logo, websites, marketing materials and a very different marketing strategy.

However, one interesting aspect of this product branding is that it is common knowledge that people are well aware that the Lexus brand is very much associated with Toyota.  One might speculate that this has encouraged Toyota customers to perceive the higher end Toyota range with the quality and styling of the Lexus range.

There can be more than one way to appreciate any marketing stratgey.

What is the point ?
Why bother with individual product branding, it my small business branding is so strong that the product could leverage off the business name.
One advantage is that having a suite of individual products allows you to test the market without damaging the small business brand.
You can introduce an entire range of products, each with individual branding and let the market inform you which they like and in turn what they are prepared to pay for.
Discovering hidden gems through product marketing allows small businesses to identify the most successful products from the range which they may decide to incorporate under the small business brand in the future.

Can we help
Yes we can.  Rather than rebuilding the wheel for each new product, we can develop product brand templates for your company.
Using a successful circular strategy we can quickly develop libraries of templates that will allow you to successfully take new products to market at a much lower cost than creating new concepts everytime.

Please call us today.