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We've had a lot of inquiries lately on personal branding and logo design. What's involved, how much it costs, etc. Apparently, many agents are realizing that if they don't have a unique "look and feel", it may be difficult to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.
As a result, I thought I'd share with you a little bit about the process. It's kind of fun to watch somthing go from a plain white "sheet of paper" (actually my computer monitor)...to a finished product. Well..in ths case, it's not quite finished yet...but hopefully will be by the end of the day, as we have an 11x17" brochure to do on a new multi-million dollar listing of hers.
Sandy is one of our newest customers. She came to us with simply the name of her new real estate company.
Meritage Real Estate.
As the Broker/Owner, Sandy wanted something elegant....a little artsy-fartsy, yet still conservative. She specializes in higher-end properties, and was hoping to create something which would appeal to that prospect base. She had no clear-cut ideas in terms of fonts, or colors, other than she's partial to darker colors. Rich blacks....maybe some gold tossed in for good measure. Possibly burgundys, plums, etc.
Well....first things first. We need to do an "ink-blot" test. LOL!
An "ink-blot" test is simply a way to find out a little more about what our customer is thinking. Everyone has their own idea of what fonts and/or designs reflect "elegance". So it becomes necessary to test our customer's thoughts and ideas in this regard in an attempt to give them exactly what they're looking for.
Step 1 (the corny ink-blot test)
Above you'll see an example of the "ink-blot" test. Phase 1 of creating a high-impact design which can then be used across all marketing platforms.
It doesn't look like much right now, as it's a hodge-podge of fonts, swirls, etc. Nothing at this point is EVER intended to be a final logo (as you'll see). But it definitely helps establish an insight into the minds of our customer, and they easily choose which ones they like...and which ones they HATE right off the bat.
In this case, Sandy liked the 3rd one on the left and the bottom one on the right. Her husband, Jule, however, preferred the 2nd one on the right. They basically didn't like any of the others at all.
PERFECT!!!! It never bothers us when some ideas are not liked at all...as it really makes our job much, much easier!! It tells us in what direction we need to head, and we can begin the process of Phase 2, which starts getting a bit more serious.
Phase 2 (honing the design)
We took Sandy and Jules input...and started playing with those ideas. Adding color, highlighting effects, embossing techniques, and other ideas. Phase 2 is an important one, as we're finally going to start getting close to some sort of finished product.
Here's what Phase 2 looks like:
At this point, it starts becoming easier to get a feel for what your new design might actually look like on various marketing pieces. You begin imagining what they'll look like on business cards, presentation folders, letterhead, trifold brochures, etc.
You can see the variations we came up with to further "test" what Sandy was looking for. We often find that our customers don't know....til they see it. For example, the photo (above the first logo) which was now introduced really appealed to Sandy. Her first comment was that she absolutely loved it because it looks exactly like what her own personal property looks like. OMG! That was lucky! But I'm very familiar with Sandy's market area, and this photo was actually taken in that vicinity. Hmmm, maybe it wasn't so "lucky" afterall??
Nonetheless, it was interesting to see if a photo was what she wanted, or whether she preferred more of a vector piece of clipart...or what?
Just as before, she was drawn to Logo #1. She said the font was exactly what she imagined her company's name looking like...and Jule relented on his idea (logo 2 on the right.) Sometimes seeing things developed a little further helps you decide whether you're on the right track or not.
So we moved on to Phase 3 (getting very close to final stage now)
Phase 3 is where we're almost done. At this point, we take the main idea, experiment with color schemes a bit more, and create examples of actual marketing pieces that would have the logo on them (in this case, presentation folders).
Here's what's currently posted at Sandy's proofsite:
What will happen now is Sandy will take another look, see yet more ideas thrown in, and see a color scheme that she wasn't thinking of at all (the cream version in the lower right). We do that just to make sure.
At this point, we're probably one step away from creating a final version.
Sandy and I haven't spoken yet, as it's only 6:20 am here on the West Coast, and we just finished uploading the example to her proofsite.
Later today...I'll come back and let you know which one she liked....and time permitting, I'll show you what the final version looks like, along with examples of various marketing pieces. She wants everything, from Listing Presentation Binders, to signs, to Follow-Up Notecards, etc. so there should be a lot to show!
If you've thought about branding (or re-branding) yourself, I hope the process above lets you know how easy it can be. It shouldn't be daunting at all, and it's not nearly as expensive as you might think!
However, it can definitely raise the bar in terms of "look and feel" and if that's an important factor in your real estate business (it is, by the way)....then perhaps we can get you started with YOUR VERY OWN ink-blot test soon!!?? :P
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.