2014-wrap-up-graphic

A sneak peek at some items on our burner…

It’s official, 2014 is history. In case you missed it, we wrapped it up with some 2014 Twitter memories, a look at the 50 top rebrands and logo redesigns and a humorous breakdown of the best, the worst and the dubious of the past year. The holidays are done, our Christmas logo has been put away and it’s time to take on 2015 full force. While we’re generally loathe to make public New Year’s Resolutions around the shop, we have some projects in the pike that we hope to roll out over the next few months as well as some things we’d like to work on. Here’s a few:

Update our design services.

For all intents and purposes, we’ve serviced clients the same way since 1996 with our design packages and pricing evolving from there. It’s a different media landscape now and small business owners need more than just their logo files when it comes to managing their brand. They also require assistance and direction (managing a brand can be vaunting – even for us and we’re supposed to be experts at it.) Accordingly, we’re working on a new set of add-on services and design packages that will help the average business owner do just that. All this will mean some pricing changes – up not down – but any design shop that markets on price alone, in the era of Fiverr and their ilk, needs their head examined anyway. We’re also going to concentrate a little more on web design, something which we’re glad to do, and do a lot, but haven’t really marketed (it doesn’t really work under The Logo Factory brand one of the main reasons, but clients don’t seem to mind.)

More emphasis on social media.

social media iconsJuggling the day to day of working with client projects and social media can be tough. Not that we don’t try. We’re fairly active on Twitter. Less so on our Facebook, Pintrest, Tumblr, Dribbble and Instagram accounts. We have a Google+ page somewhere – ah yes, here it is – that we don’t utilize at all. I’m on LInkedIn personally, but never even got around to making up a page for The Logo Factory. Until just now. In 2015, we plan to get out there with more frequency – that includes blogging too, though I want to focus on more regular, shorter pieces, rather than the monster-sized screeds I’m famous for. We may also get around to e-mail newsletters and what have you, but I’ve always been wary of using e-mail to market services, regardless of the valuable information contained within. The only way to do this is through a dedicated service, and such things are practically useless unless sent out fairly regularly. They also run the risk of being viewed as “spammy” and for the time being I’m agnostic and only moderately interested.

Tighten up our brand (again.)

brandLike every small business, we often treat our branding with a “just get it done” approach. Fine and dandy, but that can lead to an unfocused identity without a cohesive look or message. And like every small business interested in developing an effective brand, it’s sometimes worthwhile to take an inventory and tune-up where things have gone astray. We need to do that PDQ. As part of that, we also need to focus on our..

Site redesign.

new website designOur site is kinda hinky – has been for a few years. In a case of shoemaker’s kids, we keep planning a reboot but never seem to get around to actually finishing it (the initial design above is one attempt that was abandoned before completion.) We hope to change that in the first quarter of 2015. We’ve already built half the responsive framework but editing, paring down and moving the amount of information that’s on our site is quite the task. At some point we’ll even have to shutter this version of our blog and start anew (the graphics and images from older blog posts won’t port over.) We’ll also be retooling our Canadian and UK localized sites – they’ve needed some serious TLC for a while now.

Finally publish The Guide to Great Logos.

Guide to Great LogosBeen working on this – our definitive logo design guide book – for a while now. I think it’s a pretty decent attempt (other than a few nit-picks, an early reviewer told me that it’s close to a “Bible of logo design.”) and definitely something worth pursuing. North of 200 pages, our guide is about 90% completed, but there never seems enough time to bring it home. We’re going to finish, and publish, this puppy in 2015 if it kills us. The gang at the shop are unaware I’ve made that “finish or death” promise.

Revisit Logopalooza.

Logopalooza new cover
We redesigned the logo for this project back in the fall. There was a reason for that, namely the relaunch of Logopalooza as our brand of podcasts (available on iTunes as well as here) and our series of downloadable ebooks. Our podcast series never really became a series, and Logopalooza publications were an on again, off again affair. In 2015, we plan to revisit both with something approaching regularity and make them on again.

Release the definitive guide to design contests.

Crowd Design: Facts & Fables (working)I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of logo design contests for years now, but as my default view is that of a designer, I usually approach them from a designer’s point of view. I wanted to approach how design contests – most specifically those for logos – fleshed out for the contest holders and treat the analysis as objectively as I could. Had originally planned to do a series of blog posts, but that would be harpy and scatter the information around our blog like all the other critical articles I’ve written. To that end, a nice little ebook would be the ticket (working title and cover above,) but with that comes the demand for some illustrative graphics. Those are coming along nicely too and while we’ve been using these graphics on the blog from time-to-time, here’s another preview. There’s the contest pyramid:
Design contest pyramidDesign contests aren’t even contests. This illustration shows that pretty well.
Design Contest DurationThe prize money/site fee ratio on most design contest platforms is unknown by most contest holders (in many instances, they’re upsold on paying more because the argument goes that more prize money equals more/better designers when it actuality, the platform takes more in “fees.”) Some graphs and stuff:Logo design contest pricingMore graphs from another platform:
Logo design contest price analysisTruth is, as the prize money increases, the “take” of the sites goes up, sometimes at an ever-increasing percentage. These two little charts illustrate that quite nicely.
Logo design sliding scale site oneAnd again:Site two sliding scale graphWhat in-depth analysis doesn’t need pie graphs? We’ve got lots of pie-graphs:
pie chartsAnyhoo – you get the idea. This should be a decent resource for both design buyers (illustrating their risks) and designers too (a “thanks but no thanks” treatise for when asked to work on spec.) Look for the release of this end of January.

Some random stuff that we’d like to get to.

There’s enough of a wish list here to keep us hopping for a good chunk of 2015 (keep in mind we also need to run our studio day-to-day.) Some other stuff that we’d like to get to whenever we can? Do something with LogoDesign.net. That’s a prime chunk of internet real estate that we’ve owned for a long time. Despite numerous attempts at blogs, forums and news aggregators, we’ve never settled down into anything definitive. Maybe this is the year we do. There’s also a pet project called Jabberr that I’ve been working on whenever I get a moment.
jabberr horizontal logoCan’t give too much away, except reveal the case study behind the logo. That was a lot of fun. Finally, and while our logo file format guide has available for download for some time, I’d always like to re-do that puppy as originally envisioned, with two cartoon characters called Vector & Pixel. The characters have already been developed and the logo’s already done:
pixel vector ultimate file format guideAlas, that format guide book is perfectly serviceable as it stands – re-doing it way down the list of priorities for this year. Who knows, might even show up on our 2016 New Year’s Resolution list.

I really like that logo.