Rob Marsh

Using Color—Blue

We’ve written about color before (Paul did talked about color temperature, here, and I wrote about the color red, here). In that last post, we saw how colors have meaning. Today we take a closer look at the color blue.



Interestingly, if you were to ask someone their favorite color, you are mostly likely to be told, “blue.” Blue is preferred over other colors by more than 50% of all people, including both women and men. It is particularly popular among men.

Like all colors, blue is associated with both positive and negative attributes. Some of the positive ideas that blue can represent include: tradition, authority, stability, calm, tranquility, knowledge, healing, loyalty, and quality (think blue ribbon). Blue can also represent negative ideas including cold, depression (the blues), and nasty language (swear a blue streak).

Unlike red, which calls attention to itself and raises metabolism, blue does the opposite. Blue has a calming effect and can lower metabolism and suppress appetite.

Because of its association with trustworthiness and tradition, blue is used by many organizations that want to communicate these values—banks, insurance companies, and investment brokers. It is also used by government, police, and military units to communicate authority and expertise. Politicians often use blue in their signage and logos for the same reason. Large brands that effectively use blue include: IBM, Dell, HP (disclosure: our design shop is owned by HP), Ford, GM, BMW, Prudential, Progressive, United Way, Pfizer, Hilton, Princess Cruises, and Microsoft. Of course, there are dozens of other examples.

Is blue the right color for your brand identity? It all depends on what you are trying to communicate. If your brand stands for trustworthiness, calm, or authority, blue may be a good place to start. Spas, pool companies, law firms, and pharmaceutical and medical companies might also want to start with the color blue.

One of my favorite blue logos from our logo design gallery:



Do you need a logo that uses the color blue, or any other color, for that matter? Call the logo experts featured at You could see your first concepts in just three business days.

Photo credit: Ehsan Khakbaz.

Rob Marsh

Semi-regular Design Team Gathering

Every couple of weeks, the artists here in the design shop post on the walls a bit of their favorite work from the previous ten days or so. Then the design team “votes” on the best work of all those that are submitted. Each of the designers with the best work gets a small gift card as well as the applause and respect of their peers. (I say this a little tongue in cheek—in truth there is usually much joking around and the good-natured ribbing you’d expect). Often times the designs that are presented were not selected by the client—but are amazingly good and deserving of some recognition. Thus the reason for the get-together (it’s definitely not a meeting).

We’ve been doing this 2-3 times a month for almost ten years, and the incredible quality of the design we hang up on the wall each time we get together never ceases to amaze me. It’s a good reminder of the incredibly talented people I get to work with every single day. Last week’s gathering featured about 30 logo, stationery, and website designs. Here’ are two of my favorites (in both cases here, the client ultimately selected another composition)…

The first is for a golf course restaurant called Tomasso’s that uses lettering to suggest the idea of spaghetti in addition to a nice icon that represents both golf and a pasta bowl (I’m getting hungry just looking at it):



The second is one of my favorite logo designs I’ve seen in a while. It is a simple, custom lettered, logotype, and in my opinion, a great logo…



See more great logo design in our gallery. (Or try your hand at designing your own logo at that last link).

Rob Marsh

Demonstration—Let’s Draw Toby

Our most popular posts tend to be those that show our designers at work. So here’s another in a growing collection of demo videos, this one by Rob (not me, but rather the more talented, extraordinary designer Rob). Like a couple of the others, Rob chose a subject from the U.S. version of The Office. Obviously, we’re fans. Take a look:



To see our other designers at work, click the links below:
Design Demo #1
Design Demo #2
Design Demo #3
Design Demo #4

UPDATED: We don’t have an active design shop any more. However, the designers who created these demos are featured at Check them out. Or create your own logo here.

Rob Marsh
Filed under Design, Small Business.

7 Ideas to Help Make Your Brochure More Effective

This article originally appeared last week in the Logoworks Small Business Newsletter. If you like what you see, you can subscribe on the right side of the page.

7 Ideas to Help Make Your Brochure More Effective

If you need a brochure to help promote your business, product or service, there are a few things you should keep in mind to help ensure it is an effective marketing piece. Some of these suggestions are common sense, but it’s surprising how often we see companies create marketing materials that could have been far more effective, if they had done the following:

#1 Work with Professionals.
While it is tempting (and easy) to sit down with a Word template and pound it out, your brochure will look and read much better with the help of a designer and a copywriter. A professional designer will make sure the layout of your brochure matches your brand identity and communicates visually, while an experienced copywriter will help make your message more attractive and readable to potential buyers.

If your budget doesn’t allow for professionals, make sure you choose a template that matches the style of your brand identity and can be customized with the colors in your logo. You’ll want to make sure you can change it enough so that your customers won’t see the same brochure from the business across the street.

You can do it yourself, but hiring professionals is a wise place to spend your marketing dollars and may help you save more money in the end.

#2 Choose the Right Format.
Brochures come in dozens of shapes and sizes. If you need to mail your brochure or place it in an information rack or display, you should consider using standard sizes like the tri-fold or executive layout. If you’ve got the budget for something different (generally requires a professional designer), you can play around with fold-overs and die-cuts to make your brochure unique and appealing. There are even options for using gimmicks like pop-ups to engage your customers.

#3 Make Sure Your Brochure Looks Professional.
Think of your brochure as a salesman pitching your product or service to potential customers. How do you want to come across? What image of your product do you want your customer to walk away with?

Choose fonts, photographs, and a layout that supports the look and feel you’ve developed for your brand (in fact, use the same fonts and colors used in your logo if appropriate). Avoid clipart, fonts, and images that don’t fit the overall feel of the brochure.

#4 Don’t Use Too Much Text.
A common mistake many business owners make when creating a brochure is trying to share everything about a business or product. Don’t do it. Your brochure should have one purpose and one purpose only (more on that in #6). You don’t need to share your company history, your entire product line, references, testimonials, product specifications, product and lifestyle photography, contact information, and on and on. Plan on about ½ page of text for every designed page. For the typical two sided, tri-fold brochure, plan on ¾ to one page of text—no more!

Limiting the number of words in your brochure helps make sure the text is readable and can be laid out in a way that appeals to potential customers. And it leaves plenty of room for photography, white space, and call-outs to emphasize the most important message.

#5 Write Stories, Not Descriptions.
You could describe all the product features and reasons why a customer should buy from you. But a better approach is to tell a story about how your product helps solve a problem. See if you can note the difference in this example from a company called Amazing Back-ups:

Description Approach: With Amazing Back-ups, you have 24/7 access to our exclusive server co-location for data storage and recovery. If you ever experience a crash or loss of data, simply connect through our secure network and download the data you lost. It only takes a few hours and it will be like nothing happened. It’s fast. It’s secure. It’s easy.

Story Approach: It seemed like a really bad dream. Halfway though the project, the servers overheated and we lost more than four weeks of work—with just seven days until our delivery date. Missing the date meant losing our best customer. But Amazing Back-ups had us up and running less than 4 hours later. No data lost. It was as if nothing had happened! Our ability to deliver on that contract led to even more business. We are growing faster than ever!

See the difference? It’s the same information but the story engages, while the description falls flat. Stories show benefits. They engage your customer on an emotional level. They make promises without being slick and salesy.

#6 Say One Thing and Say It Well.
The best brochures have a single message. Imagine for a moment that you are a mechanic. You need a brochure to promote your emission testing service. Great! Don’t confuse the customer by adding information about oil changes, tire repair, bodywork, biographies of your experienced team, and reduced summer hours. Focus on one thing and its benefits. You may miss a few bodywork customers, but you’ll make up for it with emission testing work.

And make sure that your brochure is written from the customer’s point of view, not yours. What’s in it for her? What benefit does she get? Will she understand the jargon or technical details? If not, don’t use them.

#7 Tell The Reader What You Want Them To Do.
This is what it all comes down to. Your customer has read your brochure, now what? Should they call and place an order? Visit your website? Stop by your tradeshow booth? Bring the kids into the store for lunch? Don’t assume that your customer will know what to do next. Tell them. Then watch it happen.

Rob Marsh
Filed under Celebration, Milestones.

Huge Milestone—Our 200,000th Project

UPDATE: Sadly, two years after we published this post, we closed the door on our design shop. Many of the designers who worked for us are still featured at To work with them, check out their portfolios.

Uncork the champagne or the diet coke (it’s still the middle of the afternoon here) because we are celebrating a huge milestone for our logo design shop. Today we started our 200,000th project. No, that’s not a typo—200,000. That’s a lot of work done in just ten years. Thanks to everyone who made it possible from Morgan and Joey to the dozens of designers who have worked in our shop over the years (and about 200 more around the world who have done projects with us). Thanks also to our investors, partners, affiliates, and everyone else who has had a hand in helping grow our business.

Most of all thanks to our terrific customers who trust us to help them design everything from logos and websites to brochures and packaging. Working with you is a privilege every day. And without your trust, we wouldn’t have had this great opportunity. Thank you 200,000 times for helping us reach this milestone.