Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The many new faces of your logo

No longer do you only design a company logo for letterhead, some shirts or other promotional items, and your website. When designing your logo you must consider its many different uses, including multiple sizes, different shapes, and possible color requirements.

The first and most important thing to be certain of when creating your logo or having one created for you is to design it originally in a vector format. Vector graphics, unlike raster graphics, are fully scalable up or down and will meet any of your future design sizes and needs without compromising the quality of the graphic. There are many different vector formats, but one of the most popular for two dimensional graphics is AI or Adobe Illustrator. We will go into more detail about the different types of graphic files you will need in a future blog post.

For now, let’s think about all the different ways and places you will use your logo so you can design a logo that is adaptable to all of them. Following are some you may need along with specs currently in place as of this writing for those that have a standard. We’ve used different variations of our logo to show how it can be adapted to each scenario. Note that social media sites update their requirements often (especially Facebook who has changed header requirements more often than some people change socks). So be sure to check with specific sites for current specs before you start designing.

Embroidery or screen printing – most companies at some point want to use their logo on shirts, hats, mugs, or other promotional items. You will need a black or grayscale version, a fully white version, and a color version available depending on the specific company’s requirements. Vector is almost always a requirement for a good logo quality. You also may need versions with and without your tagline.

Websites – remember to design your logo not only for your website, but for use on others as well. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve placed logos on a website for companies and they are frustrated with how their logo shows up next to the competition. Keep that in mind when designing your logo! Most websites have no more than 200-300 pixels wide of space when placing multiple logos – so be sure whatever you design fits well in a small space. A logo with multiple words in a long straight line won’t scale down well. You may also want to think of designing a more stackable or square version of your logo.

Large scale printing – think billboards, buses, banners, exhibit booths, etc. You want your name and logo colors to stand out and catch the eye. Check out some posters and banners we’ve created for our clients here.

Social media – every site is different – here are some of the current most popular site requirements:

~Twitter – You definitely need a sharp, legible 73 x 73 version of your logo for your Twitter profile pic. You also have the option now of including a 1252 x 626 pixel header or a background like ours, which is 230 x 1238 pixels aligned to the left.

~Facebook – Currently you need a 160 x 160 pixel logo and a cover photo that is 851 x 315 pixels like this.

~LinkedIn – Your business LinkedIn page requires a 100 x 60 pixel logo and a 646 x 218 pixel cover photo – you can take a look at ours here.

So you can see just some of the many requirements you will have for your logo. These will continue to change as social media sites change requirements and you expand into other social media avenues. Your logo is often the first thing customers and potential customers will see when they connect with you, so be sure to stay on top of them so your business is always represented in the best possible way at first sight.

Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What will you learn this year?

Lifelong learning is no longer just a buzz phrase like it was a few years ago. It is a fundamental requirement in life. Constant and dramatic changes to technology make it imperative, especially in business, that we are always learning and growing, keeping up with new ideas and new ways to do things better and more efficiently.

Each year we should be learning new software, new tricks and avenues for social media, new ways to expand our business outreach for less, new ways to incorporate technology into our lives, and so much more.

Among other things, in 2012 we continued to learn how to best implement social media into our own business and for our customers, we started this blog as a new way of sharing information with our target audience and continuing the conversation with them, we increased our Twitter use and concentrated on adding and communicating with new followers in our target markets, and we learned how to create and implement a new solution for a client when the only options available cost thousands of dollars and were less than efficient.

I personally continue to learn and read and grow so I can be a better wife, parent, daughter, sister, friend, and business owner. 2013 already promises to bring exciting new learning opportunities – both professionally and personally.

Let’s get the conversation going! Will you share one thing you plan to learn in the coming year?

Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is your exhibit booth approachable?

We are definitely in conference and trade show season, and there are many things to consider when you choose to invest good money into exhibiting at a conference.  Last week we asked when it was time to consider a professional exhibit designer; this week we will go further into not only the design of your exhibit booth, but also whether or not the booth is approachable.  Obviously the number one goal of exhibiting is to reach as many qualified prospects as possible and get your information into their hands. Your exhibit booth plays a major role in this process, so let’s begin by taking a look at the design. 

1.       Does your booth design invite people in or shut them out?  A typical 8 x 10 exhibit booth usually includes one table.  Where do you put it?  If it is at the side of the booth, attendees can walk in and around the space.  If it is out in front of the booth, the message is “you belong on that side of the table, not in the booth”.  That may still work if your table is the focal point, but if you want people to enter the space for a conversation, to view your materials or experience a demonstration, open it up!
2.   Entertain a little.  Remember that conference attendees’ days are long too.  They are in workshops, networking groups, meeting bosses for dinner, etc., and an exhibit hall may just appear as a blur of lights, graphics, and never-ending sales pitches.  You may need to work a little more to get their attention.  Have fun and/or useful promotional items.  If it is appropriate, dress in a costume or play some music to stand out from other vendors.  Have a larger item drawing or an important announcement, and build some buzz ahead of time so attendees will come back for that moment.

3.       The “make or break” component to your exhibit booth is the person or people staffing it.  How many times do you see a person slouched in a chair behind a book, newspaper, a smartphone, or computer, or talking on the phone in an exhibit booth?  The message here is “I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to talk to you, don’t bother me.  Exhibiting is often extremely expensive, especially when factoring in travel costs.  Make sure the person who is the face of your company at a tradeshow is friendly, engaging, knowledgeable, and willing. Otherwise you are throwing money down the drain, and giving a very poor impression of your company.

Next time you exhibit, step out of the booth and see it from the attendee’s standpoint.  And ask yourself “How approachable is my exhibit booth? “
Kim Luedke is Co-owner of ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Visit the ProfessionalEdge website at, email, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or like their Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Taking the leap…to trusting an experienced exhibit company?

So, you've tested the waters in trade show marketing with a do-it-yourself display booth. You have an exciting product/service. You have a good team. You probably have some loyal clients that helped you get on the map, right?  Still, you look across the show floor and can tell the image you project could be well…more impressive.

Regardless of how frugal you are, when do you know it’s the right time to take the leap from designing, building and installing your own trade show display to working with a professional exhibit company to do these things for you?  The answer might be easier than you think. Here are 3 basic factors to consider to help you make the evaluation.

1) Competition – If you’re in an industry where everyone brings a do-it yourself booth, then maybe you shouldn't spend more. It might be that projecting a frugal image is the right image to be successful in your industry. For example, the ASD/AMD show is a show of surplus and discount import merchandise from kitchen to toys to tools, and everything in between. Industry leaders present at that show tend to use large, do-it-yourself trade show displays in an attempt to look both successful and frugal, and it usually works. By contrast, if you’re in an industry  such as the hi-tech industry, a frugal do-it-yourself booth can project the image of being a weak competitor. Overall, it’s not hard to tell if a strong, successful image is the norm on any show floor, and this simple evaluation will help you decide if a do-it-yourself booth is right for you.

2) Synergy – You’re already investing big money to participate in your trade show. There is cost of the booth space, the travel, the hotel, food, entertainment and more. When you develop a complete trade show budget, you realize that your booth is a smaller portion of your investment, but the one which may have the biggest impact on how the rest of your investment delivers. Your exhibit design will have an effect on how confident your staff is on the show floor, and your exhibit design is the first impression your company gives to attendees, letting your clients know how you're evolving in the market. If you’re going to invest in the trade show marketing game, why not play to win?

3) Time – Once you see the bigger picture, you see each trade show as a three month event, one that takes time and effort to cultivate interest, differentiate on the show floor, and finally, convert leads to dollars. From this perspective, you’ll see benefit in focusing your efforts in sales marketing and business development before, during and after the trade show. The day before and the day after the show are great days to schedule meetings, or meals to toast a new relationship.

Hopefully this helps you identify if the time is right for you to make the leap to a high-impact trade show display, designed and executed by a professional exhibit company. Once you decide, you need only find a good, like-minded exhibit house to serve as your partner. The exhibit industry is largely an owner-operator business, as there is little advantage to being a huge company. It’s a custom business, and buying-power doesn't get much better with size. In fact, overhead is the leading downfall of bigger trade show companies. So, look for companies with skill, creativity, and experience, especially in the upper ranks. It's also a good idea to try to find a company where you feel comfortable developing a personal relationship with the owner.

Most exhibit houses grow by word of mouth, so don’t let the top results in Google be your only measure. Talk with friends to see if they've found a exhibit company they love. Browse portfolios and look for genuine testimonials. Most exhibit houses will develop a photo-realistic design with a quote, free of charge, in hopes of winning your business. This is your opportunity to shop a few companies to evaluate their skill and commitment to quality and service. Don’t hesitate to discuss materials, fabrication processes, or to ask for some show floor pictures. Once you've decided on an exhibit house, if it’s a good choice, your experience and your booth display will only get better, show after show!

Trade shows are the incubator of the free market and innovation. Trade show marketing is, in part, gut-feel marketing. Though the actual sales you receive directly from the show may not justify the investment, your participation may spark interest that leads to eventual business. Evaluate your needs objectively, keep egos at bay, and take only calculated investment risks. You want to show a steady pattern of growth and improvement on the show floor, so avoid risks that may lead to downsizing. 

Trade shows are always exciting experiences, and now with this knowledge, you’re armed and dangerous! Always strive to improve and grow your company and your trade show presence, and remember that everyone starts somewhere; Bill Gates launched Microsoft in a 10 x 10 booth.

Matt LaBruzza is the owner of Exhibit People, a Las Vegas based Exhibit Company specializing in trade show display rentals. Exhibit People offers exhibit design, exhibit construction and trade show services so you need only show up and sell.  Visit Exhibit People’s website at, email Matt at and follow them on Twitter @exhibitpeople or like their Facebook page.