Brand Development Strategy with Mykala Mc Shea
Join miss Mykala Mc Shea as she teaches us how to come up with the perfect brand development strategy. You will also see how quality graphic design can help you build on your brand and product with some manufacturer brand example.
CHUKS: Hello Ms. Mykala Mc Shea, can you briefly introduce yourself to us?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Yes I can!
Well I’m Mykala Mc Shea by name, a recent college graduate with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design with a minor in Digital Literacy and Multimedia Design. I’ve had a passion for art all my life and knew I always wanted to take a career related to the art field when I got older. I have always enjoyed that art was a form of expression that took many shapes which could communicate feelings and ideas without having to even say a word!
CHUKS: So you’re a Graphic Designer right?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Yes I am!
What inspired you to dive into the career of Graphic Designing?
MYKALA MC SHEA: As I’ve said earlier, I have always had a passion for art in my life. When I entered University, I learned about the world of graphic design and how visuals and words came together to communicate to all different kinds of audiences; even to audiences around the world. So, I easily found my interest in graphic design and so several years later, here I am!
CHUKS: That is nice!
We would love to know, starting Graphic Design, what were your downsides?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Hmm, some downsides I found were the technological barriers. I never had the money for a laptop that could handle the high quality, digital art tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, let alone the money to buy any of those programs to start with. So, I really had to learn from the beginning of my education how to use any of them, and I also didn’t own a Mac computer, so I additionally had to learn how to use that, too.
CHUKS: Can you tell us about your strengths and weaknesses when you first started Graphic Designing?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Let’s see. Some strengths I had were taking notes of what designs worked and learning from them. I could see and understand why certain usage of colors were successful and how particular typefaces could make or break a design;
…some weaknesses I faced were again, figuring out how to use the digital art technology, but also having trouble creating new concepts. It’s really easy to get stuck in the same mindset when making visual ideas, so breaking out of my comfort zone and being more creative took time.
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CHUKS: So what aspect of Graphic Design are you specialized in and why did you pick interest in such field of design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I wouldn’t say that I specialize in any certain aspect of graphic design just yet, but I have done a lot of work relating to creating catalogs, logos, and posters. I really enjoy those aspects and find interest in them because I like being able to create the overall “feel” someone gets when they look at a poster or read a catalog; the colors you use, the layout you arrange, the typeface you choose ALL contribute to people either appreciating or hating their experiences as they encounter your designs!
CHUKS: For how long now have you been into graphic design and do you work for any Graphic Design Institution or public limited company?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Let’s see, I entered my major a bit over four years ago, so it’s been about that long! Currently, I do not work for any graphic design institutions or companies, but I have done work for the Noyes Museum of Art and a nonprofit, advocacy group called OC Smart Growth!
|Noyes Museum of Art|
|artworks in the Noyes Museum of Art|
|Noyes Museum of Art|
CHUKS: Good to know!
Well, brief us a little bit on Product Branding, Logo Designs and Packaging?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I had the pleasure of taking a packaging design class in my last semester of schooling and I really loved it. Having a strong and memorable brand is key for having a successful product among a sea of competitors.
…also, a logo that reads well is what helps the consumer remember your product and creates the brand; think of most logos like Nike, Starbucks, and Apple – THAT is what your logo to be like, timeless yet effective.
Packaging is critical to a product’s branding because it is the first thing the consumers will see before anything else. You want the consumers to know you care how your products are presented and that your message is carried well throughout the product and its packaging. For example, think of organic products that use recycled cardboard and earth-colored tones to show how natural their products are, or how vibrant and covered in images of fruit gum packs are to demonstrate their freshness and flavor.
CHUKS: Well, let’s take Branding and Product Brands as a case study, what category of design do you feel that Branding falls under and how can one get started in Product Branding?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I would say that branding falls under the category of graphic design in advertising. Within that, encompasses logo design, product design, layout, typography, and so forth. To get started in product branding, I think you’ll have to do a lot of research into why and how design principles make the most successful brands as successful as they are as well as understanding advertising even better.
CHUKS: So what can you say is a Brand’s Identity?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I would say a brand’s identity is what the overall value a brand has to its consumers. For example, with Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less” message, it’s brand identity is bringing quality goods for less money in all of its brands. Or, how Amazon’s brand identity is that the consumer can get anything from anywhere using Amazon’s services.
CHUKS: Is there any difference between a Brand and a Brand Identity?
MYKALA MC SHEA: To be specific, a brand involves the details like the logo, the colors, the typeface, and images associated with a specific product or company. A brand identity is more of the overall message of what these all mean to the consumer, like the Walmart brand is the blue typeface, the yellow star, and the tagline “Save Money. Live Better.” yet the brand identity is providing inexpensive but quality products with anything stamped with the Walmart brand.
CHUKS: How does Graphic Design relate to a Brand and a Brand Identity?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Graphic design easily relates to brand and brand identity because graphic design is what creates the aspects of a brand – the logo, the typography, the colors, the pictures, websites, brochures, newsletters – which help communicate a brand’s identity.
CHUKS: How does the quality of a Graphic Design affect a Brand and a Brand Identity?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Like with anything else, putting hard, quality work into something will give back the best results. Good graphic design is what keeps a brand and its identity resonating with the consumers when they go to the store, what continues to bring them back time and time again, and distinguishes it from others like it. Bad graphic design rarely helps a brand and its identity to be as noticed and therefore, does not succeed as well.
CHUKS: How can one brand a Product?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Branding a product takes a lot of steps and a thorough understanding of what you want to communicate when a consumer sees your brand. You have to think about what your brand is, what it stands for, what kind of people will be using your brand, why it’s better than the competition, how it can improve or change the life of the consumer, where your brand will be seen, etc. There’s quite a process to successful branding!
CHUKS: What can you say is the difference between Marketing and Branding?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Branding is more of what a product is and what it stands for while marketing is the way in which you get attention and publicity for your brand.
CHUKS: So developing on a brand, how can one name his or her Brand?
MYKALA MC SHEA: How you can name your brand goes hand-in-hand with how a person can brand a product. It again comes down to:
*Figuring out what it is your brand is about?
*What purpose it’ll serve? who will be using it?
*When will consumers be using it?
*What does it do for the consumer? etc.
… Once you know WHAT your brand is, in its entirety, you can figure out what kinds of names speak to communicate those ideas of your brand. Looking out for brands with similar messages and ideas are important so you can create a more unique brand name.
CHUKS: Well noted!
So I’ve seen some wonderful brands been developed and I feel that there is a process to this. With a little research, I figured out that most designers follow what is called a “brand development strategy” when trying to come up with a unique and amazing brand;
So what can you say is a Brand development strategy?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Well, brand development strategy is simply the plan of action to take with your brand over time. That includes short and long-term goals for the brand, what you hope to achieve during those time intervals for the brand, how you choose to be flexible for the brand according to the consumer’s needs, and how you wish to expand your brand as it grows.
So what is the most efficient brand development strategy?
MYKALA MC SHEA: For a perfect brand development strategy, you have to do a lot of homework and research! You have to determine who the consumers are, that you wish to target, how you will reach them, what your name, logo, and taglines will be, so on and so forth!
CHUKS: As a Graphic Designer, what do you need to come up with the perfect Brand?
MYKALA MC SHEA: If a “perfect brand” exists, as a graphic designer, coming up with it involves plenty of research into the target audience, successful colors, and strong typography!
CHUKS: Brand development strategy for your craft or Design business, what is the perfect guide?
MYKALA MC SHEA: There is no perfect guide to creating a brand strategy, but being flexible is crucial for your brand or design business.
CHUKS: Can you give us a good Manufacturer Brand example and tell us what you think was their perfect Brand Strategy?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Coca-Cola is a good example of brand hierarchies. Coca-Cola has a clever way of creating smaller brands that reach to different audiences such as soda drinkers, tea drinkers, water drinkers, and so on despite its main-brand being Coca-Cola soda.
CHUKS: So, Branding and Logo Design, are they the same things or they differ in a way;
If so, what is the difference between Logo Design and Branding?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Logo design is just one element of branding; branding is composed of several aspects of a product including the logo, as well as the tagline, the typography, the colors associated with the brand, etc.
CHUKS: What is a Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Logos are graphic symbols, images, or words used to name a specific company, brand, or even individual to create a kind of trademark of who they are.
CHUKS: What are the major steps to creating an ideal Logo Design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Majors steps to creating an ideal logo design include TONS of concept sketches, research, revision, and continuously flexibility. Rarely is the first idea for a logo the best idea! It usually needs to be fleshes out over several times.
CHUKS: What is the secret behind the perfect Logo Design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I really think the secret behind the perfect logo design is simplicity! That isn’t to say more complex designs aren’t good, but the most successful designs are the easiest to read with the least amount of colors; the “perfect” logo designs are the ones that can be recognized universally!
CHUKS: What do you love most when designing a Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: What I love about designing a logo is being able to create a message in a single symbol and making a graphic that someone will see and say, “That makes sense!” for whatever the logo is for. It’s like speaking to an audience without many or any words.
CHUKS: What are the various types of Logo and in what situations can they be used?
MYKALA MC SHEA: There are image-based logos that use pictures exclusively as their logo. For example, the Apple logo is only a partially-bitten apple. These kinds of logos can be used when symbols, like an apple, read much better and are more memorable than words. Certainly people recognize a picture of an apple better than they would the word “Apple” which is a very ordinary word on its own anyway.
Then, there are text-based logos, or typographic logos, which only use text. Think of Marvel, for example; it’s only white text and a red box, but it’s iconic and timeless. These kinds of logos are best when no image can sum up a product or company easily and preferably when there is only a single word involved that is distinguishable, again like “Marvel”.
Lastly, of course, there are logos which marry both text and image together. We can look at the Amazon logo, for example. The text remains “amazon” after the name of the company for it’s a single, distinct word, yet they also use an arrow which points from “A” to “Z” within the text to not only describe the variety of products you can find with Amazon, but it also creates a smile to reflect the consumers’ reactions! This is the most common kind of logo seen for most businesses and companies when a word or image alone is not enough.
CHUKS: What type of Logo Design do you work with mostly?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I’ve typically worked with logos that involve both text and image the most!
CHUKS: What makes a Logo unique?
MYKALA MC SHEA: There are many reasons why a logo may be unique, including specific colors, interesting typography, clever use of white space, or logos that make use of word-play or puns. Those especially stand out and become memorable!
CHUKS: As a Graphic Designer, what are the major requirements in coming up with the perfect Logo Design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Like I said for the question regarding the major steps for creating good logo design, doing so requires a lot of flexibility, patience, and most of all, creativity! There are millions of logos out there already and each new logo design is an attempt to make something new. It’s tough, which is why a design needs to keep working at it and take their time.
CHUKS: Are there any shortcuts to quick Logo Designs?
MYKALA MC SHEA: If there were, no one would need graphic designers like me!
CHUKS: What tool do you use when designing a Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: It’s best to use vector-based programs, so I’ve used primarily Illustrator when it was available to me, but also Inkscape.
CHUKS: Here’s a funny question, are all Logos vectors?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Ideally, you’d want them to be vector-based instead of pixel-based, so most logos SHOULD be, but not all are. If for whatever reason a logo will always stay the same size and will never need to be scaled, it may be made of pixels! However, I think it’d unlikely that vector-based logos continue to gain favor.
CHUKS: What is the best way to vectorise an image and turn it into the perfect Logo Design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Assuming the image is originally pixel-based, turning into a vector is only one step to making it a great logo. Depending on the image, you could trace it in Illustrator using “Auto-trace”.
N.B: Below is a tutorial showing an easy way to vectorise an image in Adobe Photoshop.
CHUKS: How can quality Logo Design Improve a Brand or a Product Branding?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Quality logos make a brand distinct, they make them memorable, and they make them valuable, most of all. No one will gravitate towards a poorly made logo, let alone remember it, but everyone will go towards the infamous golden arches of McDonald’s “M” because it’s simple, clean, distinguishable, and at this point, a timeless icon. Everything associated with the golden “M” is immediately given those characteristics.
CHUKS: How can I test the quality of a Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: You can ask yourself some questions. For example, can you understand what it is? Is the image clear? Is the typography readable up close AND at a distance? Do the colors compliment each other or are they too vibrant? How does my logo look printed in black and white? Can you still read it? Share it with other people who are designers and not designers equally, asking them these same questions.
CHUKS: How do I pick the perfect typeface for my Logo Design?
MYKALA MC SHEA: That’s a difficult question! Finding the typeface perfect for your logo takes a lot of trial and error. Some logos do better with serif typefaces – others do better with sans serif. Thinking about the overall “feel” you want for your logo is important in determining your typeface.
For example, you most likely wouldn’t use a scripted or cursive font in a logo for a tech company. Instead, you’d use a sans serif font that looks related to technology because that fits the “feel” better!
CHUKS: What Logos contain hidden messages in their design(give examples)?
MYKALA MC SHEA: That’s a fun one! The FedEx logo has a hidden arrow in the white space between the second “E” and the “X”.
The “BR” in the Baskin Robins logo has a “31” hiding between the “B” and the “R” to represent their 31 flavors!
Lastly, Hershey’s Kisses has a secret chocolate kiss shape in between the “K” and the “I” if you lean your head to the left.
CHUKS: As an entrepreneur, is it profitable designing Logos for a living?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I think it depends on the experience and area a graphic designer lives in. It isn’t very profitable as the only source of income for most designers, but for some I could imagine it might be if they have many, many years experience and many credentials.
CHUKS: Should Logo Design be pixel perfect?
If so, state why?
If not, state why?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Hmm, I think a logo should only be “pixel perfect” if it’ll stay relatively small with very minimal increase in scale. Otherwise, I believe a logo should be vector-based as to avoid having to make every logo “pixel-perfect”.
CHUKS: Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, which is the best tool for designing a Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: Adobe Illustator!
…because it’s a vector-based program; to help avoid pixelation for graphics that will be scaled up or down.
CHUKS: Finally on Logo Designs, what is the secret behind your company’s Logo?
MYKALA MC SHEA: I’d say the secret to my own logo is being true to who I am, what I like, while still expressing myself in a way appropriate for graphic designers! Never get too caught up on doing logos like everyone else when the best logos may very well speak of how you do logos yourself.
CHUKS: So do you have any media by which fans out there could contact and reach out to you?
Meet with Mykala Mc Shea
Design your Own Custom Greeting Cards – Tutorial by Mykala Mc Shea
Creating a digital greeting card is simple, easy, and fun. There are many ways to do it, and in this tutorial, I will show you how to create one using a photo of a flower and a paper texture image.
So let’s dive into it!
Note that this design was done with Photoshop cs4, so there will be a slight change in terminologies; but I will try as much as possible to make it well understandable.
STEP 1 (Setting up Document)
Open a new document in Photoshop and make it 1080 px wide, 720 px high. Title your document “Greeting Card”.
Open the photo of the flower.
Click and hold the layer down to the “Create New Layer” icon to create a copy of your flower photo. << for cs4
Name this new layer “Flower” and make the locked background layer invisible by clicking the eye icon.
Next, go to Image >> Adjustments >> Curves and pull the curves line up to brighten the image a bit; then click “Okay”.
Now use the Magic Wand tool to make a selection of the background.
Hold the Shift key and continue to click with the Magic Wand Tool to add to your selection.
Naturally, the Magic Wand Tool will sometimes select things outside of what we want, if our background has multiple colors. We ONLY want the background selected, so we’re going to use the Lasso tool to exclude parts of the flower that were accidentally selected.
Alternatively, if there are parts of the background that did not get selected, still using the Lasso Tool hold the “Shift” on your keyboard to include parts into the selection. You should see a little plus sign to show this.
Once your background is completely selected and none of the flower is anymore, press “Delete” on your keyboard to delete the background, leaving only the flower behind.
Now go to Image >> Adjustments >> Hue/Saturation. Go to “Lightness” and bring the value all the way down to -100. Click “Okay”.
Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill this layer with your foreground color.
Hold “shift + click” on both the colored layer and the layer of the flower >> right click and select Merge. The two layers should be merged into one layer now.
Select a color similar to your flower layer. Now, select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
Now, on the layer you just filled, create a rectangular selection along the bottom half of your card. Fill this rectangle with the color you chose. Press “Ctrl+D” to deselect.
Open the paper texture file.
Right Click your paper texture layer, select “Duplicate” (alternatively, press “Ctrl/Cmd + J) to duplicate the layer) and place it into your “Greeting Card” file. Name this layer “Paper” and make sure to move the paper layer at the top of all the other layers.
Hold “Ctrl + T” to scale the copy of the flower down to a small size, placing it on the top edge of your banner, now click “Enter”.
Select the Horizontal Type Tool and then click and drag a rectangle where you’d like to type.
Type your greeting in the font, color, and size that you desire within the rectangle.
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