Visualize Your Tomorrow

- a blog about design, small businesses, branding, & more -


by Michelle Wang

Layout is King

October 24, 2019

Inexperienced graphic designers beware: your clients will not be impressed by how many computer programs you can list on your resume. They’ll only be satisfied when you show that you can use those programs to create stunning digital artwork. And you’ll never get there if you don’t learn how to put together a good layout.


Check out the two wedding invitations below to see what I mean.

First, we have what I would call a “cringey” design. You could blame it on the mismatched blues or the lace that somehow got stretched out like old underwear on a washline. Yet, even if we fixed those elements, something about this invitation would still make you cringe every time you saw it: the layout.


Layout rules. Layout is king. Layout drags down any project that doesn’t acknowledge it, dooming your work to an unfulfilling existence.


Just look at this thing. The text is disjointed, sharing its space with the couple’s monogram, looking unbalanced. Your eyes are not drawn to focus anywhere because this invitation has the logical layout of a toddler’s fingerpainting. (No offense to any toddlers reading this.)


If you received this invitation, you wouldn’t notice who it is that’s getting married until after you’ve read the date or pondered over who you know with the initials J, A, or T. Not only are the flowers and laurels out of line with one another, but their placement doesn’t add any direction to the overall design.

All of these layout problems are easily fixed by someone with skills in the creative program of their choice. Yet, designs like this one are made every day by designers who don’t pay homage to King Layout.

Now take a look at the invitation made using the same text, fonts, and graphic elements. Technically, this invitation has exactly what the first has. Yet it has more.


This is a cohesively designed wedding invitation. The focus is on the bride’s and groom’s names, with their chosen style coming through unobtrusively. The ceremony details are not the focus, but they’re easy to find when you want them.


The graphic elements accentuate the size and shape of the cardstock they’ll be printed on, and they all seem to point toward the bride and groom, the starring roles of the love story so briefly summarized here.


Want to succeed in a kingdom? Play nice with the king.

Why Does Visual Brand Identity Matter?

August 22, 2019

What is Visual Brand Identity?


Visual: VBI includes everything you can see with your eyes, from business cards and brochures to Twitter pics and T-shirts.


Brand: Your brand defines who you are as a company. Without a set brand, Salad Shack is just a place with bowls of lettuce. Charisma Clothiers is just a building with a lot of outfits. And let’s face it; without a brand, Nike is just another shoe manufacturer (and one that is often copied at that).


Identity: This is the core of your business’s existence. When you identify with hipsters, you don plaid and grow a beard. If you're goth, you wear black with chains and studs. Now think of the identity of your business in the same way. Its personality should be apparent in visible and tangible ways.


So visual brand identity is everything about your company’s core that can be portrayed through graphics, photos, videos, colors, and symbols.


Why does VBI matter?


You work hard to attract your clients. It takes time and money to get their attention. Don’t you want to hold their attention? Or would you rather have another forgettable business that fades into the noise of the approximately 5000 advertisements that the average American sees each day?


Your visual brand identity is what works hard for you in the background. It’s what sticks in Customer Carl’s mind long after he’s ordered the Salad Shack Supreme with croutons on the side. Sure, he’ll remember the tasty salad for a while, and he may even come back to see that nice waitress again.


But what happens when someone else makes an equally tasty salad? What happens when that waitress quits?


Then it’s time for your VBI to kick in! Carl scrolls through Facebook and sees that signature Salad Shack neon green in the background of his friend’s photo. He spots the funky retro font and recognizes it immediately as Salad Shack’s menu, and the memories flood back. Suddenly Carl is craving a salad!


Something as simple as a font and a color could jog someone’s memory when you've established a solid VBI. Don’t believe me? Check out the following:

google harry potter coca cola

Your brain intuitively knows which brands those words belong to. These companies have spent years refining their VBIs, and now you can identify them in two seconds flat without me even having to type out their names. Whether you first saw these brands on a screen, on paper, or printed on a product, you now know them across all platforms.


That’s visual brand identity at work.

Why do I need a professionally designed business card? (Infographic)

July 12, 2019

Billions of business cards are printed every year, yet most go straight to the landfill!


But why? Why don't your best prospects keep your standard-looking business cards printed on cheap cardstock designed from a free template that everyone else is using?


If your small business seems stagnant, it may be time to invest in a professionally designed business card⁠—something that wows your potential clients so much that they would feel guilty about tossing it out.


Don’t let your card say, “I’m just like the rest!”

Ask your designer to create a card that says, “I’m the best!”

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