Logos 101: Designing Your Business Identity

December 29, 2011

Creating a unique and polished logo shouldn’t be the province of only large companies with big marketing budgets or in-house creative teams. As the primary image that represents your company in the marketplace, a successful logo is the distillation of the very essence of what your company represents. It’s almost as important to your company’s identity as its name. But how do you get there? What are the key ingredients of a good logo and what identity creation tools are available to companies on a shoestring budget?

 

Characteristics of a good logo

Simple: Successful logos are founded in simplicity. In a marketplace filled with competitors and store shelves brimming with products, the goal is to get the consumers’ attention and convey a host of complex product or service information with clarity and speed. Refining the design down to a simple, yet memorable and unique visual statement, as discount retailer Target has done, is half the battle.

Memorable: Still, a good logo shouldn’t be so simple that it’s rendered unremarkable. Balancing simplicity with uniqueness helps to strike a chord with consumers and create a visual imprint that can be recognized later. The Apple logo is immediately recognizable due in part to its ruthless simplicity and how that simplicity is leveraged in a unique and memorable way.

Timeless: The very best logos stand the test of time and transcend the ephemeral notions of fashion and trends. Coca-Cola’s logo is an example of durable design. Since the goal of your mark is to create some equity in the marketplace, constant change and updating shouldn’t be required. As you consider and develop your logo, ask yourself, “How will this look in 20 years? Are there any elements which might not age well or could seem outdated in a decade?

Flexible: Potentially, your logo will be produced on large and small scales, in print and online. The best marks can adapt to any media and still look great. Consider FedEx, the overnight package delivery service. Its logo must be identifiable across scores of media and contexts, from Web banner ads to airplane wings. Specifically for print considerations, think about how your logo will look in a single color, in black and white, in reverse color, and reduced to thumbnail size. Can it adapt and still be clear and easily recognizable?

AdaptableWe all know businesses are dynamic and the marketplace is ever-changing. One product line might take off while another withers on the vine. Think about this phenomenon as you brainstorm your logo. The best marks communicate what your business is about today and can adapt to how it may change over time. Marks that are too specific pigeonhole businesses or become irrelevant as products and services evolve. For example, while eBay’s lowercase “e” may link the online bazaar with the early days of Internet commerce, the logo remains dynamic as ever, even as the company has grown and evolved.

Appropriate: Perhaps the strongest design-urge business owners have is to create a logo that’s too literal. A bakery owner wants a rolling pin in the logo; a law firm wants the scales of justice, etc. But great logos don’t have to be self-explanatory to be appropriate. The Starbucks logo is one of the most recognizable on the planet, but it doesn’t feature a mug or a coffee bean. Well-crafted marks use color, scale, font and image choice together to create distinction that’s appropriate without necessarily being literal.

Choosing a logo designer

For a business that wants to create or recreate its identity, there are a wide range designers and online services—like LogoMojo—available to help. Logo creation is big business and the options are as varied as the price point and the results. For the best product, choose someone who will work one-on-one with you to create a mark that’s rooted in an understanding of what makes your business unique. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a designer or an online logo development service.

Portfolio and experience: Does your designer have experience that includes a strong portfolio of work? Pay attention to the ratio of real logos to hypothetical ones. (For example, is the designer creating logos that are actually being used or is he just conceptualizing?)

Customer testimonials: Does the designer or design service offer testimonials from satisfied customers? If so, contact a few of the client companies and check on their level of satisfaction.

Awards, recognition, and affiliations: Has your designer won any awards for identity and branding work? How well-recognized are they in the industry? For talented new designers who may be just starting out, what are their professional affiliations?

Communication: As you research services or designers to work with, gauge their responsiveness and level of professionalism and communication. Do they get back to you quickly? Are they asking questions to learn more about your business and your vision for the logo? Do they protect their work and their clients through sound contracts?

Timing: Ask questions about timing to get a sense of how much effort and customization will be put into your logo. The creation and refining process typically takes three to four weeks, but can last months, depending on complexity.

Price: In identity work, as in most fields, you get what you pay for. The fee for most online logo creation services start around $175. Of course, the cost of working one-on-one with a designer varies by experience and recognition, but there are many young and hungry designers looking to create a body of work who may be flexible on price.

Take a look all around you—what marks get your attention? What labels and logos are on your clothes, on your desk and in your wallet? With a fundamental knowledge of good logo design and by exploring a few creative resources online, your company can develop a lasting mark that represents what it’s all about.

Kentin Waits is a freelance writer and marketing specialist based in Portland, Ore. His work has been featured in US Airways magazine and top-rated blogs such as Wise Bread, the Consumerist and MSN SmartMoney. When he’s not writing, Kentin runs a small online antiques business.

Article Source:

http://www.openforum.com/articles/logos-101-designing-your-business-identity?intlink=us-openf-nav-ymal-t8b6p5p5

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity


5 More Survey Sites for Cash and Rewards

December 28, 2011

Homepreneurs realizes that some aren’t ready to jump into a home business but still need money.  We present survey sites as a way to make quick money from home.  This posting lists 5 more survey sites, keeping the idea of helping you get past a difficult financial period.  For other survey sites, please click here and here.  Some of the 5 sites listed below offer surveys to international members in addition to the United States and Canada.  As always, Homepreneurs reminds you to conduct research on these sites and never, ever pay them to participate.

Each of the descriptions about the surveys are taken directly from the websites of these companies.

1)     Gongos Research

As a member of Consumer Village, you will have the opportunity to participate in far more ways than a panel can offer. Not only will you be able to take more surveys, you can earn points every time. Points will be redeemable for amazon.com gift certificates.

You will also have the opportunity to constantly interact with members of this private online community. Members may engage in chats with thousands of other consumers – on current events, trends, products and services – or just about anything you want!

Your opinions will also make a difference in another very important way. Not only will you help leading manufacturers and Fortune 500 companies develop new products, but you will help raise money for charity. Gongos Research will match 5% of all points earned for donations on behalf of Consumer Village. We will let you know which organization the money is benefiting. So…the more you participate, the more you earn…and the more you contribute to those in need.

2)     SurveyBounty – GreenField Panel

Survey Panel Features:

  • Earn cash and prizes for each completed survey
  • Influence the development of new products & services
  • New member cash drawings
  • Join over 12 million other successful survey panelists

3)     MySurvey

How to Earn Money with MySurvey.com

    1. Get started by completing the quick 5 minute registration process.
    2. After joining you can find information on current studies by checking your email for survey invitations, and by logging into the MySurvey member’s area and clicking on the My Surveys tab.
    3. Then just complete surveys and earn points. Most surveys pay 10 points just for completing the introductory questions which usually take less than 5 minutes to complete. The answers to these small surveys is how they qualifying you for higher paying surveys, so it is important that you complete them. If you are chosen to complete the more lengthy survey, you can earn as much as 1000 points per survey.

4)    MyView

How does the MyView Community work?

By signing up to participate in Market Research surveys through MyView, you have the chance to share your thoughts and opinions with today’s top businesses. MyView works with companies that are eager to find out what consumers really want from them. These companies convert your collected thoughts, ideas and needs into solutions that improve their products and services. So, you really can make a difference.  There is never any cost to either join MyView or participate in Surveys sponsored by MyView.

How does MyView’s Rewards program work?

Before you start a survey, we let you know how many MyView Points (MVPs) you will earn for participating and the average time the survey should take. In exchange for sharing your thoughts, you earn MyView Points (MVPs) which can be redeemed for rewards.

Once you complete a survey, you will immediately be awarded the points promised. Even if you don’t qualify for a survey, you’ll still get points just for trying!  To receive your “Just for Trying” points, we just ask that you stay in the survey until we have verified that you are, indeed, not eligible to continue any further.  You can redeem these points for Prepaid Visa Cards. We’ll soon be adding other exciting reward options such as the ability to donate to a charity or purchase gift cards, subscriptions to services, etc

5) Opinion Outpost

Opinion Outpost offers its members the opportunity to take marketing research surveys in exchange for rewards. Voice your opinion and shape the products and services that touch your life! Sharing your opinion has never been so rewarding!
It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 !

  • 1 Register for FREE
  • 2 Participate in Surveys
  • 3 Earn Cash and Rewards

Here is what you get:

Cash and Rewards
Redeem points for instant cash via PayPal or for other exciting rewards.
Prize Draw
Taking Surveys enters you into cash prize drawings.
Winner will receive $12,000.
Charities
Trade in your points to support popular charity organizations.

Compiled by Dion D Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunities.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2011


Notable Home Business: Become a Notary

December 26, 2011

Homepreneurs presents another home business idea: Notary Services or simply working as a Notary.  This position is often a freelance job, where a notary travels site to site as needed, witnessing house closings or other legal transactions.  Some notaries are employed by corporate entities and serve in other positions such as executive assistants or other administrative personnel.  Banks and local governments employ notaries too as secondary functions of their positions.

The American Society of Notaries describes a notary’s job as follows:

What is a Notary?

Most people believe that notaries simply “notarize signatures.” This greatly oversimplifies a notary’s duties and responsibilities. In carrying out his or her duties, a notary not only follows what is dictated in state law but exercises subjective judgment on matters such as the state of mind of the signer, the signer’s comprehension of the transaction, or whether fraud or coercion are present.

The most typical notarial transactions involve the execution (signing) of documents.  In order for documents requiring a notarial act to be properly executed, the signer must physically appear before the notary, prove his/her identity to the notary, and acknowledge his/her comprehension of the document and willingness to sign OR swear/affirm that the contents of the document are true. The required notarial act is determined by the composition of the document or is at the direction of the signer or other party involved with the document—it is not determined by the notary.

Notaries derive their authority from their state governments. They are “appointed” or “commissioned” by a top official of their state, generally the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State or Treasurer. Each state has its own unique notary laws and notaries must follow the laws of their particular state. This means that notaries in one state may have authority to perform duties that notaries in another do not—it depends completely on each state’s notary laws. There is no corresponding or overriding federal law governing notaries.

A notary’s specific, authorized duties vary by state but can include:

  Administer oaths and affirmations;
  Take and certify the acknowledgment of a document;
  Take and certify affidavits;
  Take and certify depositions;
 Issue protests of notes and bills;
  Witness the opening of safe deposit boxes and certify a list of contents;
  Perform civil marriage ceremonies (1)

Becoming a notary does require training and fees are required for training and ongoing certification renewal.  Every state requires a training class and exam to become a notary. More information can be found here.

Though the amount a notary may charge is regulated by the state, someone hiring the services of a Notary Signing Agent (NSA) or traveling Notary will pay extra because they must cover the notary’s expenses. Depending on distance traveled, the type and complexity of the documents, and other factors, a Notary Signing Agent can make $30-$200 per signing.(2)  Some notaries feel that 5 signings per day (because of distance) is close to the maximum amount, though this will vary by area.

Interested in a Notary position?  Below are some links to investigate for potential positions:

American Title Inc.

CDS Signing Services

Document Assistance Company

Nationwide Document Service

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

References

1. http://www.asnnotary.org/?form=whatisnotary

2. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_money_does_a_notary_make

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2010 – 2011


5 More Survey Sites for Cash and Merchandise

December 26, 2011

Survey sites are not a get rich fast scheme.  What these sites can do is provide extra cash or gift cards and merchandise.  Every little bit extra helps during these difficult financial times.  Homepreneurs again cautions that survey sites use demographic information to match up clients to members.  And again, pay no money to these companies.  You are working for them; they must compensate you!

1) Global Test Market

Help companies with their market research
The online paid surveys you complete directly influence the development of products and services from top companies. Make a difference today by sharing your opinion and help shape the future of what makes it to market.

Earn Money
GlobalTestMarket will reward you for every online survey you complete. GlobalTestMarket rewards MarketPoints as well as sweepstakes entries into daily and monthly cash drawings. Once you reach 1,000 MarketPoints, you can redeem your balance for $50 U.S. dollars. Sweepstakes winners will be contacted directly to claim their cash prize.

2) SwagBucks

Earn Swag Bucks periodically by taking part in various opportunities, including: searching the web, trusted surveys, watching videos, completing daily polls and more.

Redeem your Swag Bucks for exclusive Swagbucks.com products and more in the Swag Store.

3) Survey Payoff

Using SurveyPayoff.com, users are introduced to new online consumer panels where they can provide their opinions and have the opportunity to earn cash and win prizes.

Can I do this?  If you have access to the Internet, you can be an online survey taker! Teens, seniors, and everyone in between can earn cash & rewards taking surveys from their computer.

4) E-Poll

At E-Poll, our members provide feedback on new products, services, celebrities and entertainment. It’s free to join and we never share your personal information.
When you become an E-Poll member, we will send you email invitations to take surveys. Earn points for every survey you take. Use your points like cash to fund your PayPal account or use your points to earn gift cards at major retailers:Best Buy, Target, Starbucks, iTunes, Home Depot, Amazon.com and more.

5) NPD Online Research

As a member of our online research community, you’ll make a difference by completing quick, fun surveys about the products you buy, services you use, stores you shop in, and much more. We’ll merge your opinions with those of other panelists, and your combined input often reaches the desks of Fortune 500 executives and is regularly quotes by major media outlets.

Panelists living in the United States can participate in our SweepLand program, which is available exclusively to NPD Online Research panelists. Members earn points for completing surveys, and each point is worth one entry into an exciting sweepstakes of your choice. For more details on how SweepLand works, click here. In addition, you will automatically be entered for a monthly $1,000 sweepstakes upon completing a survey.

Compiled by Dion D. Shaw

Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs.

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

© Homepreneurs 2011


8 Great Pep Talks for Generation Jobless

December 22, 2011

Let’s be frank: life sucks a little bit for today’s recent graduates. So many of them, despite having expensive college degrees, haven’t been able to find the jobs they set out to get hired for. Often, they end up working in low-paying, low-skill jobs with dubious futures, or worse, can’t find any jobs at all. This, of course, results in record numbers of college graduates who are now living with their parents, putting pressure on families that are likely to be struggling with both the current economic situation and impending retirement. And as both graduates and parents struggle to stay afloat, student loan bills often begin to roll in. Things just aren’t great, and while plenty of people are quick to point out the problems of Generation Jobless, there are a few bright spots in all of the chatter. So if you’re over the whole Generation Jobless pity party, take a moment to check out these inspiring pep talks, offering inspiration, ideas, and hope to those who may have run out.

So what to do?  Onlinecollegecourses.com has some good ideas; one is to start a blog.  Why?  To keep sane, maintain a routine, fill your resume, network, and maybe even make some cash.  Better than sleeping 16 hours every day.  Homepreneurs posted about making money from blogs in the past, and provided tips for successful blog writing.

Generation Jobless: How and Why You Should Start a Blog if You’re Unemployed

When you’re unemployed, it’s easy to get bored and cut off from the world. After all, instead of heading out the door to spend time in an office each morning, you’re more likely to plop down on your couch or log on to Facebook than get dressed and pound the pavement day after day. But the blog behyped recommends ditching your daily unemployed ritual for a new one that involves a blog. Blogs, behyped says, are a great way to open up new worlds to anyone who has been “temporarily cut off from society” whether it’s from joblessness or disability. Sharing your interests and talents through a blog means that you’re developing social proof, reputation, and a networking tool that might actually help you land a job. Beyond that is the possibility that your blog can become a money-making business. At the very least, a blog gives recent grads without a job a purpose, which without any other benefits is certainly enough, giving you the opportunity to say you’re at least doing something.

Blogging isn’t the only suggestion for unemployed college students or graduates.  Take a look at onlinecollegecourses for several more suggestions to help you during these though economic times.  Some of these include: creating your own opportunity, finding that first big job, and financial tips.  This website has very valuable information.  Check it out.

Article Source:

http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2011/12/20/8-great-pep-talks-for-generation-jobless/


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