Protecting a Visual Identity

Two people planning their visual identity

Most business leaders understand the value of having a memorable business name and logo, but many don’t realize the importance of a visual identity, what it entails, and why protecting it is paramount.

Building a successful brand takes time, resources, and strategy. Typically, the brand’s foundation is in its mission statement, value proposition, and unique voice which are then expressed through the company name, logo mark, print and digital marketing materials and website. Those graphical components comprise the visual identity, or face of the business, at inception.

However, over time, a business’s actions and reputation become intertwined in the visual image establishing the business’s brand, which, done well, can become one of the business’s most valuable intellectual assets.

When starting a business, trademarking and copyrighting a logo helps to ensure a company will be the only one of its type selling a similar service or goods using the same business name. A visual identity that consists of an icon or wordmark can also be trademarked.

Purchasing a domain name that reflects the business name is another important avenue to stake claim to the business’s brand name online. Creating social profiles that secure the business name across all major social networks should be done as well, even if there is not an immediate plan to activate a social media program.

Brand Guidelines are a Must-Have for Your Visual Identity

A company’s visual messaging effectively expands as it grows if it is implemented with consistency and a long-term strategy in place. Consistency is needed in the color palette, fonts, graphical style and tone to make it recognizable at a glance thus building the brand’s equity. This consistency put into a formalized document with a set of rules to control proper logo usage, font hierarchy, iconography and tone in any public-facing visual communication is essentially the basics of a brand guide.

An example of a brand that has withstood the test of time by making intentional choices and following a brand guide in its implementation of the visual identity is Absolut Vodka. Their bottle has reached iconic status because it hasn’t changed and was used for 25 years in their marketing campaigns. The main star of the visual creative was their bottle and their product name in the same bold font with a simple headline and playful imagery. A brand guide is essential in ensuring deliberate decision making regarding graphic design.

With growth and increased engagement, a brand’s story and personality further develop. The brand personality is tied consciously and unconsciously to the consistent use of a branded visual identity and adherence to brand guidelines. Apple has mastered this practice. As a result, the company is now synonymous with simple design and innovation.

As a company successfully delivers on its value proposition as it matures, it builds trust and brand recognition in the public eye. Its visual identity is no longer simply recognized: it’s preferred. When a brand is trusted, it’s able to expand and raise prices because people are willing to pay more for products or services from a company they trust.

Protecting Your Creativity is Essential

Throughout a brand’s growth, if the visual identity isn’t protected by registering for a trademark, purchasing a website domain with the company’s name, securing branded social channels and possibly consulting with an attorney to protect intellectual property, the business risks eroding its brand equity. Worse, a copycat company with a lower quality product could use a similar logo design, social media strategy or online presence and not only dilute the work that has gone in to developing the brand but also tarnish the company’s reputation.

Another risk is that a new market entrant develops a strategic brand with a strong visual identity and is able to grow its reputation, build the customer’s trust and take market share. Even in commodity industries like insurance or consumer products like toilet paper, brands and visual identities help brands stand out and stand for something, like the GEICO gecko or the Charmin bear. One stands for 15 minutes that could save you 15% and the other stands for strength and softness.

Protecting a visual identity from the start is the best way to ensure a company’s resources aren’t wasted and safeguard its future success. The process is actually relatively simple compared with what’s at stake.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Felicia Watson is Director of Creative Services at (W)right On Communications. With a proven track record of success and more than 20 years of design and marketing experience, Felicia approaches each project with a commitment to create an impactful design that achieves results. Responsible for leading the agency’s creative services that integrate print and digital graphic design, online programming, videography, editing and photography, Felicia also oversees agency services including animation, motion graphics, and emerging technologies including augmented/virtual reality and holography as they may be integrated in strategic communication programs.

An Introduction to Design Thinking

“Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving.

– Coe Leta Stafford, Managing Director IDEO U

This presentation on Design Thinking was originally developed for an internal agency workshop by Graphic Designer, KeAsha Rogers. It spawned such great discussion among our team at (W)right On that we thought we’d share it on our blog as a resource for our clients and friends. Design Thinking is defined as a method for the practical, creative resolution of problems using the strategies designers use during the process of designing – but it is an approach that can be applied to just about any business challenge.

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If your organization or team would like to learn more about applying the Design Thinking methodology to your business challenges, let us know at info@wrightoncomm.com. We can host a session at our office or bring a brown bag lunch presentation to your location. If you’ve had experience with Design Thinking in your workplace, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Hiring a PR Firm

Hiring a PR Firm

Take it from the team at (W)right On Communications, people often think about hiring a PR firm for the wrong reasons. But how can you gauge whether you’re doing it for the right ones?

If you recognize yourself in any of these five reasons for not hiring a PR firm, that’s a sign you need to take a step back and reconsider whether (W)right On Communications, or any good PR firm, is right for you. Now, that said, if you’ve reviewed the aforementioned list and feel that you’re ready to get serious about strategy, storytelling, scope and budgets–and an integrated strategic communications partner sounds like just the ticket; let’s get down to business.

Want to Talk?

We’re communicators, so we love to listen as much as we love to talk. Get in touch so we can feel each other out.

We want to know what your business objectives are so we can share with you how we’ll help meet them. Knowing what your time frame and budget are for reaching them gives us everything we need to turn around a proposal for you. Email us at info@wrightoncomm.com or call (213) 633-7575 to start the ball rolling.

Not Convinced? Check Out Our Client Testimonials

We’ve compiled a few recent client testimonials on our website, plus over 20 case studies on our award-winning programs.

The 411 on Social Media Best Practices in 2016

By Kara DeMent, Communications Coordinator


With more than two billion active social media users today, having a presence on social media is a must for brands that want to get noticed. With “best practices” and social media platforms evolving and ever-changing, it can be tough navigating the social media landscape to create effective campaigns.  If you want to be a savvy social media communicator in 2016, here are five ways you can stay on top of the game.

1. Inspiring Visuals

Use strong visuals that leave a lasting impression. Content paired with a great picture creates 650% more engagement according to recent studies. Recently, WOC helped hospitality client partner, Delaware North, secure the win for Best Use of Visuals from PR Daily – a great example of how creating captivating visuals can help your social media presence stand out.

2. Consistency is Key

Content says everything about your brand. And if you’re not consistent with creating and producing your own content, your brand will feel it. Continuously producing good original content gives you a better chance of being seen by your audience. The more you produce, the more love you’ll receive from your audience – although this depends on what your brands/clients’ needs are, you don’t want to over produce or under produce, so always keep this in mind.

3. Follow the Golden Rule

Whether it’s a fun visual, new product launch or exciting announcement; share, like and comment on content that other brands and influencers of interest to your audience produce. This exposes you to others who in return, may also share your content and help increase your followers and help your engagement. Give and you shall receive.

4. Engage Your Audience

Those of us who are social media pros don’t post content for the fun of it. We post for the opportunity to help our clients raise awareness, drive interest and build relationships. In order to make that opportunity a reality, that means we engage with our target audience by answering questions, commenting, sharing and liking content. The more you engage on social media, the closer you’re to achieving your client’s business goals.

5. Measuring Success

Measuring your social media results only helps you better your social media strategy. It shows you what’s working and what isn’t working. It gives you the leisure to experiment with what works for your brand. If you’re not sure how best to measure your results, the “Big 4” from Buffer is a great guide to follow.

If you’re still stuck on breaking through social media, our team at WOC can get you on the right track. Give us a call or find out more about our capabilities here.

Top 10 Gifs That Sum Up The Life of a Graphic Designer

By Keely Smith, Design and Multimedia Specialist

Top 10 gifs that sum up the life of a graphic designer:

  1. When a friend offers you an opportunity to “build your portfolio”

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2. When you finally identify an obscure font

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3. When you inherit someone else’s art files

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4. When your software crashes and you didn’t save your files

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5. When you start noticing bad design all around you

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6. When your Photoshop layers are a mess but you’re too busy to care

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7. When a client loves EVERYTHING you do

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8. When you haven’t had coffee

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9. When your colleague tells you “nice, but it needs more pop”

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10. When people think being a graphic designer is “easy”

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Graphic Designer extraordinaire Keely Smith has dealt with all these issues and more, but always with a smile and unfailingly with incredible results, because that’s just the way she rolls. The (W)right On team can’t imagine life without her, so try to keep her coffee mug topped up and restrict their asks for making something “pop” more. Check out Keely’s awesome web design and branding work on our Case Studies page.

Meet the Team: Keely – Design and Multimedia Specialist

Headshot_Keely-263x300

To help our audience learn who is behind the content on this blog, we’ve been releasing a series of Q&A’s from our team. In this month’s edition, you will learn all about our Design and Multimedia Specialist, Keely Smith.

Keely brings an eye for design to the (W)right On team. Her experience stretches from web to print media, designing for local businesses, schools, and corporate structures. Keely seeks to create art that motivates the audience to see and experience the world in fresh and exhilarating ways. As an artist and innovator, she engages various mediums including graphic design, sculpture, illustration, dance and music. With a passion for expression she strives to build relationships around fostering creativity and collaboration. Keely has a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design from San Diego State University.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

My dream job would be to work as a travel journalist with my own travel show (the female Anthony Bourdain). There’s nothing better than being paid to explore the world!

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Eclectic.

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know ____”My worst fears.

What super power would you like to have? The ability to change into any person or animal.

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

Sleeping in, have a tasty brunch somewhere, spend time with friends/family, go for a nice walk or bike ride, end the day with a good movie and a glass of wine.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

I’m not defined by my failures or misfortunes.

Best vacation you’ve had?irelandI went to Ireland for 2 weeks after I graduated college. Some of the most joyful and sarcastic people I’ve ever met!

What’s your most embarrassing moment at work?

After a trip to the ladies room, I was that girl who walked down the hall with my dress tucked into my underwear. Needless to say things got a little “cheeky”.

Favorite quote?

“I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” – Michael Scott

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Jennifer Lawrence – she is crazy talented and has a great sense of humor.Drew Barrymore – because people say I look like her

What’s your drink of choice?

A whiskey-ginger or a glass of cabernet sauvignon.

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

The Civil Wars – Barton Hallow

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Double Trouble

Ben Howard – Every Kingdom

Banks – Goddess

No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew____” That I am part Hispanic even though I’m pretty much translucent.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When you go out of your way for someone on the road and they don’t give you the courtesy wave, you know what I’m talking about.

What tv show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

Oh man, let’s just say I watch most of the HBO, Starz, masterpiece, and Showtime series. Some of my favorites: GOT, Girls, Homeland, Outlander, Penny Dreadful, and of course Downton Abbey.coffee

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

There are 2 things I can’t live without…coffee and cheese.

Favorite line from a movie?

“You accept the love you think you deserve.” – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Do you have an office nickname?

What is it? Yes, K Slizzle.

What’s the best/worst gift you have ever received?

Worst – a small tea light candle… just one.

Best – when I was a teen, my mom took me and 2 friends to see my favorite musical Oklahoma.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with friends and family.