Friday, 17 May 2013

Bearfoot Graphics onsite graphics operators ensure your live events run smoothly

There is no doubt that working live in any profession is pretty daunting, this is never more true than working as a graphic designer on live events and conferences. The ability of the onsite graphics operator to rise to the challenge and really feel at home backstage can make the difference between a successful event and an unsuccessful one.

With a collective experience of over 30 years in the live events industry, our onsite graphic operators have been involved in pretty much every type of event, from intimate business meetings to large car launches to multi-room corporate conferences and even a couple of events which included indoor live ammo and chainsaw demonstrations!

We are not just PowerPoint operators. We are creative graphic designers too. We know what content will work on screen and, more importantly, what won’t. We understand the power of imagery and the clarity of correct fonts and colours. We love creating stunning graphics to enhance the event’s theme making the content interesting and memorable.

Interpreting slide content is one of our best skills, we constantly work hard to help our speakers unlock the power of their presentations by developing effective content and helping them to deliver it in a compelling way.

With so many events under our belt we really understand audiences, we use this experience to suggest strategies to the presenter, which will aid them in delivering their message to the audience without distracting them.

Presenting at an event can be a stressful experience, we believe that it is very important for a speaker to feel supported and have someone on their side. Our experienced onsite team work hard to create a rapport with the speaker very early on, we see it as being crucial to creating great graphics for them. A friendly, can do attitude goes a long way to developing this relationship and is something we pride ourselves on. Really getting to know the presenter, their content and how they like to present, makes pre-production, rehearsals on site and the event run smoothly.
Our role differs from job to job, but we are more than comfortable with any situation, from following the cue light or working with the speaker and autocue operator to mark up a script and create graphics.
The buzz of a live event is something you just can’t replicate in the studio, speakers often deviate from the rehearsal or change their mind, technical issues arise and you need to react fast and calmly and you most definitely have to be able think on your feet. But it’s what we’re well used to and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We love working in the live events industry and hope we can work with you again soon.
Call us on 01420 520 865 to discuss your next live event project and how we can help.

Top 5 reasons why you should use illustrative elements in your designs

1. Explain and demonstrate a point or add context to a piece of text
This technique really helps a text heavy piece of design, it breaks up the piece making it far more engaging for the viewer. If for instance you have a list of locations, placing them on a stylised map helps to add context for the viewer giving them additional locational information.

2. Create a relevant but unique theme or feel to a design
Using illustration to create custom icons, backgrounds and other creative elements gives a design a very unique and distinctive feel. This can be approached in a variety of ways, for example adding an abstract digital illustration, delicate hand drawn imagery or decorative elements.

3. A picture says a thousand words, by communicating information through imagery, it is likely to be more interesting than text and easier for the viewer to understand
This is particularly useful when considering how to represent data in a more viewer friendly way. Infographics are a creative, illustrative and appealing way to visualise statistics, aiding the communication of complex ideas and information. Next time you get one of those awfully complicated graphs or charts to deal with this is definitely worth a try!

4. Purely as an abstract decorative element to make a design more visually appealing
Perhaps your design doesn’t have any suitable content to rework into an illustrative element or the subject matter just isn’t something that would benefit from being illustrated either, this doesn’t mean it has to stay as just text. Subtle and neutral illustrative elements can be introduced purely to make the piece more visually interesting. Adding a highly abstract element such as a background, hand drawn boxes or directional symbols, can often add real value to your design, attracting attention or engaging your audience.

5. Just because you can!
Adding illustration to your designs adds that extra creative touch, you never know, it might just be the key ingredient in attracting attention to a piece of design that they may otherwise have disregarded.

The Importance of a Great Logo Design

At Bearfoot Graphics we believe a key factor to building a successful business is creating an appropriate and effective brand identity. As part of this it is really important to have a great logo that communicates your brand clearly, but is also unique and appealing and sets your business apart from your competitors. We believe that a successful logo is one which provides a clear, positive and professional representation of what your company does and what you stand for. Your logo should attract the attention of your target customer/consumer, through a design that either appeals to them visually, or demonstrates that the company provides the service that fulfils their needs.
There are a number of elements to consider when creating a new logo
1. The name of the business, this is the core of the design, other elements should work to enhance the representation and meaning of the name.
2. The brandmark or illustrative element that is included in addition to the text.  This element acts as a visual signifier of the brand and in many instances is also used to give more context to the brand name. Although there are some very successful brands with a purely typographic logo, most tend to be made up of at least these two key parts.
3. Alongside the brandname and brandmark, a possible strapline can be used and then there is the consideration of a colour palette and typeface choices. The aim of all these elements is to collectively communicate the desired impression of the business that the company wish to make on the viewer in order to attract their target market or consumer.
Logos which have stood the test of time
Nike chose a brand name with a great deal of meaning behind it. Nike, Greek goddess of victory, her siblings representing force, strength and rivalry; all qualities or goals to which their stereotypical target consumer aspire, whilst also representing Nike’s own brand values. The typeface chosen for the word “NIKE” was specifically selected to represent the key traits of a sportsperson, such as to be strong, solid and bold. Italicisation implies movement and speed. The iconic Nike “swoosh” brandmark clearly relates to the brandname, it is meant to symbolise the flight of the goddess. Cleverly, this “swoosh” is also shaped as a tick, automatically associated with positive connotations, as if to imply the brand is a great choice. The specific shape and design of the tick also gives the impression of speed, smoothness and streamline, which again would be appealing qualities to athletes that Nike would hope to attract as customers.  The “swoosh” is a perfect example of how a brandmark has become so widely recognised that it can stand alone as an icon of the brand and still be easily recognised by many. This has then enabled Nike to use it as a signifier of the brand that they can manipulate to target more specific markets; such as gender or type of sport, by altering the colour or adding additional elements to customise the “swoosh” to have greater appeal to the particular market. Alongside these two main elements the strapline of “just do it” is well known and gives an added sense of energy, power and drive, all key brand values that attract the attention of their target market.

We have implemented these successful theories and methods within our own designs. Examples of how we have done this can be seen in our brand identity and creation for our friends at Smart Talk. The main focus of the logo is the name “Smart Talk”, this has then been enhanced and reflected by the added speech bubble design element, which adds context to the name. The logo is designed within a square, allowing for the bubble to be formed, and bringing the elements together to form a workable structure which can easily be placed onto a range of designs and layouts. This creates synergy throughout all the businesses branded materials, as seen with the business card and compliment slip.
If you need something new and are thinking about a rebrand, or just a refresh of your identity, give us a call or drop us an email, we would love to show you what we can do!

Taking Your Business To A New Dimension

One key factor in creating a successful business is to stand out from the competition in the eyes of your customers. Your products features and benefits need to be easily recognisable; demonstrating them effectively however, this is often a difficult task. The integration of high resolution 3D models and lifelike digital animation provides a solution in which potential clients can visualise a product’s uses and advantages in a way far more effective than any still image or word, written or spoken could ever be.

A 3D model is a representation of an image or idea that is simulated in a computer generated 3-dimentional environment. The technique of visualising designs in 3D is an effective way to communicate fictitious, abstract and real ideas. Anything from characters, objects or full environments can be created in 3D space. Your imagination really is the limit. Some of the other terms used to represent 3D graphics you may have heard of are artist impressions, renders, stills and CGI (computer generated imagery).

We have all witnessed 3D animation being used in big budget Hollywood blockbusters (like Star Wars) and in family films (such as Toy Story) but how many of us have seriously thought of using them within our businesses?

Historically, 3D visuals were only used in the film industry because of the time consuming process and high expense. However recent technology and software advances, have led to dramatic reductions both in cost and the time involved, putting 3D firmly within the reach of most businesses. Nowadays 3D visuals are commonly used in the business environment being frequently incorporated into commercials as well as other forms of B2B (Business-To-Business) and B2C (Business-To-Consumer) corporate communication.
So what are the advantages with the use of 3D technology?
  • Exact proportions and dimensions can be used. Combining this with photorealistic renders mean very accurate concepts can be created.
  • Early visualisation of a product allows final adjustments to be made prior to moving onto the expensive production process reducing both cost and the chance of errors.
  • Objects can be scaled up or down, rotated and moved. This dynamic interaction allows objects to be viewed from any angle and displayed just as intended.
  • Models can be reused rather than be created from scratch every time. This means they can be used on any type of media with ease (screen, print, web).
  • 3D visuals can often be cheaper to produce than using live actors – there are no film crew costs or studio and prop rental expenses.
  • For pitching there are massive benefits to using 3D visuals to demonstrate ideas or concepts before outlaying much larger costs.
  • Different styles can be used to present your object. Photo-realistic, cel-shaded (for a cartoon feel), untextured (a basic looking model that can be produced relatively quickly) or CAD renders (which are used mostly for technical representation for engineers, architects etc.).
  • Internal training videos can be enhanced and become more memorable.
  • By utilising 3D within you’re your business, your company logo and messages come to life making them a lot more engaging for your audience.
Here at Bearfoot Graphics, we offer a full 3D design solution – from concept to creation. This includes:
Hubert the Bear
BrightFuture Exhibition Walkthrough
Bearwick Whisky
So You Think Know London?
If you would like to know how 3D visuals would help to promote you, your product or your business get in contact. We can advise as to what type of visuals you need, when you need them and how they help to communicate with your audience.

Why use infographics to communicate your data

We work on a lot of presentations, working in the live events industry we see how information is presented and the best and worst ways of explaining data. No matter what platform we are using, the capability of interpreting numbers and making it easy, concise and memorable for the audience is where design really communicates the messages.
Using a chart and filling it with copious amounts of data is simple, but no one needs to know every week of the year’s sales increase. You need to give the audience context and make it interesting to view. Keeping people involved and relaying this information in an unusual way will help them remember the information and learn from your presentation.
One of the best ways to do this is to use infographics. They’re instantly understandable and can be designed incredible well. The great thing about infographics is that almost anything can be interpreted using them.
Now some might say pie charts and bar graphs are infographics, and they wouldn’t be wrong at all. They definitely illustrate data, where they fail is that no one really thinks when creating these kinds of charts as it is done so often, and therefore no thought goes into whether the message behind it is clear to the audience and more importantly if it’s interesting.
We see infographics every day, in newspapers and magazines and one of the most famous infographics is the London Tube map. If you looked at a true representation of the Tube network it would be impossible to navigate and use, the design behind the London Tube map is incredibly complex yet produces something so simple and easy to use, this is the result of great infographics.
Really thinking about and designing your infographics can lead to some amazingly creative, thought provoking and logical ways of relaying your messages and data.
Some of our favourites have been comical but some of them have been on really serious topics. We’ve got a few of them below; we hope you can see the possibilities and benefits of using infographics.

Top tips to branding a new company

Where to begin – before you make a start on any design work for your business you need to establish your brand identity and develop a brand strategy. To do this you must establish what it is your business stands for, what makes you different from other businesses, and the benefits that your product or service offers to your customers. Once this is done formulate a communications plan that enables you to highlight your offering and differentiates your service or product from that of your competitors.
Establishing your brand values – it is really important to establish a set of brand values that make up your company ethos. They often include a mission statement, what the company stands for, and how the company wishes to be perceived by the customer. These are often incorporated into a brand story or history of the business. Although they may not feature on smaller pieces of marketing material, it is really useful to have established them in your branding process as they are likely to be featured within website content or as part of your company presentations.
Getting the logo right – it is essential that the logo created to represent your brand is tailored perfectly to be a clear icon of all that your company embodies. Firstly, you need to ensure that any typeface you select has strong readability so that it clearly communicates the name of the business. The next element to think about would be a form of brand mark, such as an icon, image or abstract shape that accompanies the brand name to give a greater sense of identity and enables the brand to stand out and be easily recognised. Another element to consider may be a strapline or statement about the business that can be used as part of the logo. This could also be used separately as a feature on any marketing collateral or stationery. Remember, this strapline needs to underscore the benefit of the company to the customer, not just remark on how great the company is; it needs to clearly highlight what the consumer can expect of the brand.
Defining brand guidelines – it is really important to define rules as to how your brand identity may be recreated, used and applied, so that you retain consistency throughout all your branded materials. This is necessary as any inconsistencies in your brand application could serve to confuse the consumer and detract from the credible and trustworthy impression you wish to create. These brand guidelines need to include a breakdown of the logo, stating typeface specifications, and any size restrictions. Guidelines should also denote the colour references for your brand colours; the choices for your scheme are key to creating the desired feel for your brand, colours can convey a multitude of emotions and have certain specific connotations, so you must select these very carefully. You may like to consider if your logo can be used in other colour variations which might give a little more freedom, or if repetition of a decorative element of the logo could be used to create a brand pattern. Defining guidelines for the style of imagery used within any of your branded material is another way to ensure greater consistency throughout your marketing. Examples of this may relate to the subject, feel or focus of any photography. For icons it would be useful to decide whether these should be flat or used with more of a 3D feel. If you wish to include more artistic illustrations you should select a specific style for these in terms of medium. A final suggestion for your brand guidelines would be to set a tone of voice for any written communication. This tone of voice will be determined by who your market is and your choice of strategy to best communicate your message and product/services to them. So whether the resultant tone is formal, relaxed, technical or quirky, you should remember it must always remain consistent and stay true your brand values to reinforce the brand identity.
Brand application – once you have decided on your logo and brand guidelines you can then begin to apply this to all your marketing collateral. By applying your branding across all your company assets and promotional material you create consistency which adds a real sense of professionalism, quality and in turn credibility. Remember, applying branding doesn’t necessarily mean placing your logo on everything, it can be more subtle, such as through the use of a particular brand colour, or it may be as simple as ensuring all typographic elements are consistent with the brand fonts.
If you need any help with your branding or marketing communication please feel free to contact us.