Target Markets: A Counterpoint

15 03 2013

two men wrestling with armsWell, this is interesting…

Recently, my twin brother, a professor of entrepreneurship, guest blogged about the critical importance and use of target markets in marketing your business.

This is neither a new nor radical point of view, as a quick search on the ‘Net will show. And it is a factor that we take into serious consideration on all DMT Artistry design projects.

However, I’ve just digested a very different view on the subject – VERY different – on the blog of a designer I admire greatly. It aptly addresses the personal side of what we do at DMT Artistry and, more particularly, why our tagline reads: “Designing You.”

I believe it’s important that you, also, have the opportunity to read this alternate viewpoint:

Click here to read the Before & After blog, “Who is your logo for?”

John McWade’s blog has inspired me to reassess how and who I prioritize in the design process.

My conclusion? Depends on the project! Both are essential, though to varying degrees on each and every project. Whether the client’s or the target audience’s preferences take precedence depends very much on the goals of that design, the desires of the client, and the needs of the business.

What are your thoughts on the subject? When push comes to shove, whose input should “reign supreme?”

Please share your thoughts in the comment section! (click “Comment” below)

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





What Design Is… and Isn’t

11 01 2013

Dawn Tomczyk-Bhajan giving a web design presentationMy husband’s a great guy. And because he’s a great guy, he insisted on supporting me at a recent speaking engagement at Eastern Michigan University, through a seminar-based company called Web Adventure Workshops.

I was asked to give an overview of Website Design.

While my mind was awhir with psychologically strategic content placement, target audience impact, and structural integrity across browsers, my husband was, very understandably, not-so-eagerly awaiting a 45 minute schpiel on how to make a website look “pretty.”

Happily, my podium time gave me the opportunity to dispel this popular myth for more than just my better half.

While I’m on a roll, let me clear up this point here, too…

Design is NOT the art of “making things pretty.” Design is the psychology of making messages effective, of initiating action via sensory stimulation.

In simplest terms: it’s getting people to do things… not in a creepy or mind-controlling way, but in showing them how your product or service provides a solution to their problem, whatever that may be.

More than that, design does not always have to be “pretty” to be effective. Looks play a role, but it’s not the end-all-be-all goal of a successful designer.

Here’s the thing… the purpose of a website is to elicit some sort of action from a targeted group of people, preferably within a desired time frame. That could be a call to contact the company, read its blog, follow its tweets, visit its store, leave a donation, pass on information, watch a video… the list goes on. And it can be several of those things at once.

A web designer – or any designer, really – needs to think about the psychology, the science, and the math of making that happen. The “pretty” part is icing on the cake.

Corporate culture, existing branding, structure, competitors, and mission all influence how the message is presented. That’s design.

Audience age, gender, income, interests, location, and culture all influence how a message is perceived. That’s design, too.

Colors, layout, navigation, style, imagery, and content all influence whether a message is acted upon. And that’s definitely design.

So, when you contact DMT Artistry LLC with your next design project, anticipate a fascinating, in-depth conversation that will not only help ME create effective marketing for you, but will give YOU useful insight into your own company and clientele.

And you can rest assured that we will make it look pretty, too. The artist in me is always happy to oblige.

“An object imbued with intent — it has power, it’s treasure, we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent — it’s random, it’s imitative, it repels us. It’s like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away.”  ~ John Hockenberry

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

 







The Power of Words in Designing a Logo

29 06 2012

WordsI’ve had an epiphany. A design breakthrough. I’ve got my logo concept “figured out”.

And it’s all thanks to a little word power!

I’ve talked about important verbage in my previous blog, particularly in terms of determining your company’s message.

An initial stage in the DMT logo design process involves filling a page or pages with company-relevent words – descriptive, associative or otherwise. One word leads to another, which leads to another, which eventually and reliably leads to an “a-HA” moment.

Instantaneous logo perfection? Ideally, yes, but realistically, no. However, word play always brings me one enormous stride closer to “the one”.

For DMT Artistry, a few of the words that not just lit, but quadrupled the wattage on, my proverbial logo lightbulb are as follows:

Transformation   Most of my clients come to me with an idea that their marketing materials could just plain be BETTER. So, as a combination designer-marketer-artist-human, it is my goal to be a catalyst – one that transforms “old and stale” into “downright awesome”!

Above & Beyond/Transcendence   My business is successfully operating and growing on 99.9% referral business. Why? I like to think it has something to do with my winning personality. But I also suspect that it stems from a personal mission to exceed expectations. That’s not lip service, either; it’s the way I do business. Ask my clients.

Flights of Fancy   There’s a reason “Artistry” is part of my company name; it represents the creative evolution of ideas and the artistic combination of “form” and “function”. So, yes, I consider “flights of fancy” essential to providing my clients with fresh and unique designs.

Energy   My designs are not static. Why should my logo be?

Awesomeness   My ego and I love to elicit the “wow” factor just as much as the next human, so I put that desire to work for my clients, creating designs that are downright… awesome.

Have an idea of what my logo will be/contain? Let me hear your thoughts!

First person to deduce correctly before my next blog post will receive a free, 2-sided business card design for themselves or a friend. (Those few who already know, sorry! You’re out of the running.)

Your Turn
Ask yourself, do any of these words describe the essential essence of your business? I challenge you to create your own word list with at least 20 real zingers. Now hone in on the 5 most important, most relevant, and most meaningful.

In your future dealings with designers, marketers and associates alike, you’ve now got 5 powerful tools for directing the form and function of all future marketing materials. Bravo!

Next Week’s Blog: Logo sketching.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”  ~Pearl Strachan

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Let’s Call It What It Is: Stalling for Time

8 06 2012

Cookie thiefThere’s nothing like a little family perceptiveness to make you face up and fess up, and my family’s caught me with my hand in the cookie jar – so to speak – stalling for time.

When I first launched the “re-branding of DMT Artistry learn-along blog” concept, I had an office build in the works, branding ideas galore and a schedule that allowed for directing reserve creative energies toward my own projects. Since that time, I have an office that seems to enjoy being permanently under construction and the brainstorms are fairly pouring out of my ears. But it’s that last part that’s really thrown a trip-wire across the trail.

Business is booming. It’s been all kinds of phenomenal. And it’s tempting to just ride the wave and enjoy the rush. It certainly demands a great deal of my time. But waves have a habit of either drowning you or beaching you places you’d rather not be stranded. Riding waves puts circumstances in control of your life, instead of the other way around.

Now is the time when it’s MOST critical for me to not only shore up my boat, but generate my own waves with a marketing campaign that will keep my company growing and powering forward.

My goal was never to be an overnight success (well, okay, maybe in my daydreams). Overnight success, to me, is strapping a saddle on a tsunami and gambling my career and life on whether or when to bail. Simply owning and operating a business is enough of a rodeo for this cowgirl, thank you very much. I’ve been taking the “quick and steady” (“slow and steady” doesn’t sit well with my Type A personality) approach.

Mismatched water and rodeo analogies aside, remember how I told you, back at the start, that I wanted you to learn from my mistakes? Well, right now I’m “‘fessing up” to one doozy of a blunder. It’s called complacency.

Complacency comes in all forms. It can be an unwillingness to change. It can be self-imposed ignorance. Or it can be one seemingly legitimate excuse after another, thrown up like orange traffic barrels and police tape, to hold you back from your best.

I expect that YOU expect me to conclude with declarations of taking control, stepping up to the plate, making Herculean efforts. I will do all of these critically corny things but, more importantly, I had a support network that called me out in the first place. Let me do the same for you.

Whatever it is that you’ve been postponing indefinitely, I’m calling your bluff. It’s not that you haven’t found the right people, don’t have the time, or just plain can’t do it – it really isn’t. These are all manageable hurdles, and we both know it. Dig a little deeper and figure out realistically, honestly why you’re holding yourself and/or your company back.

Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of effort or anything in between, if your passion is still there and you have faith that you’re doing the right thing, you’ll get through it.

We’ll both get through it.

(Incidentally, yes, I am aware of the irony of stalling for time with a post about stalling for time.)

“We’re all in this together.”  ~Red (from the “Red Green Show“)

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Logo Inspiration

1 06 2012

Designing a logoI’m in the midst of one of the most thrilling, frustrating, illuminating, time-consuming, tear-jerking, soul-searching, INTENSE experiences of branding (or re-branding) a company – conceptualization (read: brainstorming) of the logo design.

I cringe when I hear that a logo was born fast-food style at the clumsy hands of cousin Earl, career couch potato with a laptop. That’s like saying, “oh, yeah, I’m having my handyman wire up some braces for my kid’s teeth – he’s already got wire, glue and pliers.”

If you, like me, think of your business as your child, don’t let a non-professional within a mile radius of your logo design! This foundational branding mark is the representation of your company, your products and services, your future success, your image, your corporate culture, your staff and, yes, YOU. Treat it all like the gold mine that it is, and get it done right the first time.

Soapbox stashed safely back in the closet, I just wanted to provide you with one of my favorite sources of logo inspiration – a website entitled “Logo of the Day“. This site is updated – what else? – daily with fresh new designs and long-standing icons. The comments below each logo often provide useful insight as to why a logo design does or does not work.

So, back to the drawing board for me, but strap your camera around your neck, your fanny pack around your waist, your tourist hat on your head, and take a stroll around Logo of the Day for ideas and motivation!

Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended.”  ~Raymond Loewy

Next Week: Topic to be determined

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





A 15 Minute Fix for the Productivity-Challenged

25 05 2012

Infinity time spiralMy project load is vast and all-consuming enough (thank you, new and loyal clients alike!) that I’m going to step away momentarily from the next DMT Artistry, LLC rebranding adventure – logo redesign – and attend strictly to my clients.

However, that won’t prevent me from imparting a piece of productivity wisdom that I learned ages ago from my father, and resurrected from my memory files only a few short years back.

I know for a fact that I’m not alone in quietly pipe dreaming that I could multiply myself 10 times over. SOMEONE needs to tackle all those career, social, family and life obligations that strap on army boots with cleats and gleefully trample our schedules and our sanity.

Happily, 15 minutes in the morning can solve our dilemma.

The Extreme To-Do List Makeover

Before you stride purposefully out the door on your mission to make something of your day, grab a sheet of lined paper and jot down all of the “to-do”s on that day’s agenda. Getting them down on paper not only helps unload your brain burden, but also jogs your memory about tasks that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.

If it’s a long list, consider labeling each “A”, “B” or “C”, according to its level of importance. And if you’re really in the spirit, pre-estimate how long each task will take.

Now, write out the hours of the day, leaving 4 lines between each hour. You’re going to plan your day out in 15 minute increments.

Yes, you read that right… I said 15 minute increments. Blocking tasks off in hour-long lumps is not remotely helpful, because it’s rarely remotely accurate. The more detailed you are, the easier it will be to follow your schedule.

It can be difficult to start blocking when you see all those blank lines staring you in the face, so start by scheduling the easy things for which you can already answer “when?” and “how long?” – i.e. shower, breakfast, drive to work, lunch, drive home, dinner, favorite show, bedtime, etc. You’ll be surprised by how much time these must-do minutia require!

Done? Good. Now you’ll see your free hours broken into manageable chunks. Start with your most important “to-do”s, make your best estimate regarding how long they will take, and write them in where they fit best.

Be sure to block off free time to relax, nap or have fun. We don’t want you comatose by the end of the day!

Take this schedule with you and refer back to it frequently throughout the day. Modifications will be necessary. No big deal. You have placed yourself in control of your time.

And that’s the key – putting you back in control of YOUR TIME. Productivity will follow like a faithful pet.

For anyone using a Franklin Planner, this system may seem familiar. But if you find your productivity slipping, check yourself to see just how diligently you ARE using that planner!

I challenge you, readers, to try this at least once, and report back with how it impacted your day.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have a website build scheduled for the remainder of the hour…

“Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.”
  ~Charles Caleb Colton

Next Week: Topic to be determined

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.





Epiphany: A Color Course Correction

11 05 2012

DMT Artistry, LLCIf you enjoy a good “aha!” moment, become an entrepreneur. Your days will be just packed with epiphanies…

One came earlier this week, as I was enjoying a company color scheme conversation with my father, a long-time corporate marketing manager (whose expertise, incidentally, you will also benefit from in future posts.)

I explained to him that I like my existing color scheme (below left) – it’s simple, pleasing to the eye and required minimal thought at the outset. However, that’s hardly a foundation on which to build a meaningful and effective branding image.

Here’s why I want to change it:

DMT Artistry, LLC1)  These colors, in combination, appear young and feminine. There’s nothing wrong with either of these things, except that I am not targeting teen girls. My audience is professional business owners of both genders.
2)  These colors reduce my marketing flexibility. I offer a wealth of design styles for a wealth of branding materials in an absolute plethora of marketing venues. My clients hail from every industry – from service, to retail, to manufacturing, to distribution, to organizations, to events. My color scheme should allow me to easily express my versatility, rather than lock me into a particular look and feel.
3)  These colors say “nice”, when I really want them to create “wow!”
4)  These colors don’t excite me. And THAT, as they say, is THAT. Time for a change.

It was in the course of listing these problems that inspiration struck, and I realized that my dilemma was actually my solution. And, not only that… the solution also provided purpose, direction, and inspiration for my logo, office, website, print materials, apparel and other soon-to-be-transformed branding pieces.

So, yes, I have settled on the official DMT company color concept, and I will share it… in a future post. There’s still refining to be done, and that’s a process in which I am willing to invest extra time. For curious parties, the quote below is a hint…

“We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.”  ~John Locke

Next Week: There will be no post next week, as I address a heavier-than-usual project load, but I will be back the week after with more tips and tools for you and your business! In the meantime, enjoy these “psychology of color” links that my father thoughtfully recommended:

Color Wheel Pro

The Meaning of Colors

How the Meaning of Colors Affects Business

What Color is Your Business

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.