What is a MONOGRAM

A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters to form one symbol. They are often made by combining the initials of an individual or a company, used as recognizable symbols or logos.

Combining the letters  L + M + L

The Good Designer

Any respected professional wants to work with their equal and thrive. The professional designer also feels the same way. With so many design service options to choose from, and considering the time and money that you plan to invest, things can get confusing.
#1 GoodDesigner
Here are three things you should expect from a professional designer. The designer’s goal is first to listen to your wants and needs before heading to the ideation board. (I have to confess that we always have ideas floating.) Followed by some questions and observations to get the gist of the situation and start a conversation.
#2 GoodDesignerIt should then be followed with the design brief. The design brief is about discovering what solutions might be required in order to align your design with your objectives. It’s the anchor that holds your whole design project in place with you and the designer. From the brief’s findings the designer can begin creating conceptual ideas that will bring solutions to your business problem.
#3 GoodDesignerIf you want to find out more about the design brief, simply visit the creative process: http://smilingsurface.com/creativeprocess/

From naming your business to designing its logo. A short story.

1_LogoDeconstruct
A little update on the subject: the logo for Smiling Surface as changed since. It’s now a sexy happy S. 

Your logo is your business main character accompanied by your company name. It’s that icon, shape or typographic element or both, that will constantly be present on all your business communications. It takes time with some investments to become Apple or Nike where they are only recognize now by their logo.

You developed your product or service with the desire to solve a problem. It’s likely that you’ve also pondered on an official company name.

Naming a product, a service or a company can be a challenge. Branding legend Marty Neumeier says that good product names have seven characteristics. I believe those qualities are also applicable to business names. Now ask yourself.

Is my name:
Distinctive?
Short?
Appropriate?
Easy to spell and pronounce?
Likable?
Extendable?
Protectable?
Is the domain name available?

Researching your industry
Don’t you want your own style, colours, typography, and branding to be different than your competitors? I know it’s sounds obvious but we often dismiss the value of analyzing the competition’s visual approach. Because it’s where your business will be cohabiting. Designers research their client’s competition before sketching any idea.

You found some names
Now that you have a few names, test them out. You might be set on a favourite name but you need some honest feedback. Often we are too close to the subject. Ask all your key players and listen to their comments. You never know what can bloom from it.

How I discovered my business name?
Another short story.

Smiling Surface came to life after reading “Famous Brand” and some soul searching. One element was constantly present. It’s that common response when presenting design work and noticing the client’s reactions. Some were expressive, talkative, some were quietly analyzing and some were smiling at the ideas proposed. In the end it was that conclusive smile of satisfaction.

Now for the word surface. An obvious aspect taken for granted is that without a support design doesn’t exist. From that piece of paper, to the web, to the cool t-shirt you wear on weekends, the surfaces are endless. Without an applied surface design has nowhere to live and no audience.

How I came up with the Smiling Surface logo?
Combining the smile (the human element) with the exclamation point (the typographic element) it created a simple logo/icon that can live on any surface.

You may wonder why I chose the exclamation point. It’s the only punctuation mark that creates an impact to a sentence. Your message needs to speak creatively to our audience. Your product or service need to make an impact.
2_LogoDeconstruct

How designers get from a blank page to your final design project?

ds_QuestionsTHE BRIEF

The design brief is the anchor that holds your whole design project in place. It’s getting to know you, your business and your present goal.

Without the brief, you may feel lost in a world of possibilities. Even the best and most experienced designers will depend on the brief to create something that really works for you. A good brief should cover all aspects of your project, including the goals, the target audience, the branding details, the media through which the design will be relayed to the customers, etc.

The brief is about discovering what solutions might be required in order to align your design with your objectives. A brochure, a website, a logo, or other types of design projects will have their own unique considerations. Following a completed brief, we then enter into the Creative Process where we bring to life real visual solutions to your project.

Research and Development

Learning more from our own research.

The creative process

Defining the problem
Let’s say you’re in a situation where you feel your product or service is not generating the projected sales. Is it a lack of credibility? Either way some areas of your product or service are not performing has you wish. Share your real concerns with the designer and emphasize why they need to be address offering some real data. Once the real problem has been formulated it’s time to explore how to bring ideas to life.

Getting ideas
Ideas can come from different directions. You’ll need ideas for making a connection with your audience, for creating a stunning visual impact, and you’ll need compelling copy as well. Your designer will provide those ideas with some sound advice to help clear the path among the possibilities, in keeping with the discovery process that the brief provided.

Creating form
After some workable ideas have been identified, some great copy will be needed to support the new direction of your product or service. Then the transformation can begin into the desired form, which may be tested on a packaging, a brochure, a website, or whatever it is that you are looking to design to bring a breath of fresh air to your market.

Testing and refining

Once into shape you can even go a step further and test some ideas again. That’s what the design process is. Refining until you have it and you’ll know when it’s right.

Approuval and Production

Now the final file is just right and you gave your seal of approuval.
The files are now heading to either the printer or the programmer.

Distribute and Celebrate

From the smell of the fresh printed pieces coming out of the boxes, to the online responsive presence, you have that feeling of empowerment and pride. Now it’s time to strut your stuff and celebrate.

“I’m smart using ‘smart’ quotes.”

Quotes are important to testimonials, to excerpts and to create a visual impact.

In English you will find dumb or straight quote that is vertical bars versus the smart quotes that are either curved, squared or angled. See samples below.

Using dumb quotes shows a lack of professionalism. Often designers need to replace quotes and apostrophes from a client’s file because the font in use wasn’t designed the smart way.
DumbQuotesDesigners comb through thousands of fonts to bring a feeling and a style to the text on a page. Among those fonts, we check if they have all the proper characters to typeset with finesse.

How to set French quotes?

In French we use the « guillemet » or « chevron ». French punctuation is set differently than in English. In French we add a thin space before and after the chevron. The colon, semi colon, question mark and exclamation mark need a thin space before.
FrenchQuote

How to set a block quote?

The sample below shows the English quotation mark offsetting the four lines of text. Isn’t that chick! Applicable in French as well.
BlockQuote

PS. Enjoy feeling smart.