Welcome to plastic free July. What does that mean exactly? If you decide to take part you join other millions of people around the globe who are agreeing to reduce their plastic waste. The movement started was started in 2017 by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia. It is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world.
Whether you are a believer in Climate change or not, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flowing into our oceans every year from coastal regions (published by National Geographic in May 2019) is not good in anyone’s standards. From my own personal experience, on a recent trip to Ireland I witnessed the exuberant level of pollution in their beaches and bays. Something I had never seen before. The locals told us this beautiful part of the world has become an ocean waste deposit.
Looking at our own home front, Australia (according to War on Waste statistics), Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world. We use over 10 million plastic bags a day. 85% of soft plastic from bags and packaging ends up in landfill.
It’s an interesting time for all of us. The choices we make in our lives, both personally and professionally. Recently Coles launched their latest ‘little shop’ campaign, ie, plastic toys … and have received backslash from the likes of change.org – who have started a petition which says – “Are you gobsmacked that Coles has brought out a new range of ‘little shop’ toys during Plastic-free July?”
This is something I have thought a lot about in our business. The promotional product industry produces a lot of plastic products. It is changing. Can it change faster ? Of course. I think it comes down to education, product availability and business/brand positioning. In the last 10 years, sustainable / eco-friendly products have evolved from novel / niche to being in high demand. This growing movement has been driven by:
Changing consumers attitudes: “25% of consumers are extremely concerned about plastic packaging, 42% think manufacturers should prioritise making packaging recyclable and 21% think the industry should work toward entirely plastic-free packaging” (Kantar).
Educational programs and the rise of influencers: David Attenborough, “The War on Waste”, Leonardo Dicaprico Save the Whales
Educational precincts – UTS is working on eliminating the most common single-use plastic items in their campus.
Businesses – Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brands accounted for 60% of growth in 2016 and grew 50% faster than the rest of the business. Lego has committed to building its toys entirely from plant-based or recycled materials by 2030. They are investing over $2.18 billion in this project.
Availability of environmentally friendly products.
Through my research over the years of environmentally friendly products, I see the trend of reverting back to ‘the way we were’. We sold ourselves the dream of fast and convenient, only to realise that it’s not good for us or the environment. So slowly, we are changing things and going back to basics. That’s why you will see promotional products that don’t feel necessarily new… but the sourcing, the materials, the logistics … has changed. Here are a few I would like to share with you:
WHEAT STRAW – Is the stalk left over of harvested wheat grains. Previously it was categorised as a waste product – where in some countries they would burn off the starch. The material is now reclaimed to make wheat products.
BAMBOO – The fastest growing plant. It can be easily substitute all known wood applications without having to cut down entire bamboo groves or plantations. It also continuously grows after harvest without having to re-plant it. Bamboo converts about 35% more CO2 into oxygen than a regular tree.
RICE HUSK – A waste product with little value, so recycling will not reduce air pollution and the amount of plastic used! Biodegradable and reusable.
GLASS – A natural choice for a clean, pure taste and offers a safe and eco-friendly alternative.
SILICON – Made from silica found in sand, lasts longer than plastic, both in respect to the environment and product usage. It’s high durability, makes it more ‘ocean friendly’. Silicone can take extreme variations in temperature (cold to hot) without cracking, melting or falling apart.
My not so hidden secret is my absolute love for stationery. I used to dream of owning a filofax when I was young!
I only recently thought about the connection with my business. A lot of the promotional products I work with clients on, are in actual fact, stationery products. My love for stationery, however did start from a very young age. (“Show you the child at 7 and I show you the adult!.”)
If you know me well, you know how much I am in love with my TurnKey Promotion pens. Since the day these pens were delivered they have come into conversation more times than I can count!
I know for sure I am not alone with this borderline obsession. Which got me thinking, where does this world wide fixation on stationery come from. In the times of ‘paperlessness’ (so we thought!), stationery stores are not going away. If anything, in the last 10 years we are seeing more stores pop up.
Thanks to thepaperdashery.com they have shed some light on where the obsession with stationery comes from:
New stationery represents a fresh start
Stationery provides an alternative to digital communication
Stationery puts power and control into your hands – literally
There is a belief that stationery makes us more organised and creative
Stationery provides a channel for us to express our true selves.
Who thought a pen and notepad or diary could deliver so much!
So it appears there are a lot of emotions and feelings, consciously or subsciously flying around in stationery stores. A place of self reflection, clearing the past and ‘potentialising’ the future. Stationery stores are limiting their marketing potential… we are no longer talking about paper and pens, we are talking about people’s lives in big ways! Kikki K (Australia born, starting in Melbourne in 2001 and now has 100 stores) has run with this notion, offering in-store self development workshops. ‘Saved by the ballpoint pen!’
Stationery stores have definitely upped their game, which is most certainly the reason, for those who once watched their love fade away, have since reunited. The choice of stationery products, the colours, the luxuriousness… these are no longer boring places we paced for office supplies. They have become the kind of stores that you think twice about, before entering, because you know for certain, you will spend longer than you initially plan to. An adults toy world!
To be honest I am not sure if this is a gender specific obsession. I know a lot of women who have stationery obsession, but I don’t know of a lot of men. Enlighten me if you have some examples.
For me personally, stationery provides a tactileness, that I increasingly crave – post the computer taking over our lives. Stationery without even realising helps me to connect and focus on what I am doing right now. You definitely don’t want your mind wondering when you write the first word, line, paragraph in your brand new diary!
I found a list (thank you Gena-mour Barrett at BuzzFeed) that has confirmed my stationery obsession is real – “Anyone who’s slightly obsessed with stationery has secretly done:
Organised your pens by colour, type of pen, etc.
Taken the line width of your ruled paper seriously.
Practised your handwriting before making that first sacred mark in a new notebook.
Lied and said you didn’t have a pen because you didn’t want someone to take it.
Been excited by the prospect of starting a new job or term at school because it means having to go stationery shopping.
Refused to use a beautiful notebook for way too long because you still haven’t found a good enough reason to use it.
Convinced yourself that new stationery is the key to organising your life.
Winced when someone asked to borrow a piece of paper because it means ripping a page from your precious notepad.”
Lucky for me I have turned my obsession into a business, and so researching, sourcing, reviewing, testing, selling, stationery products for my day-job is a perfect fit.
These are some of my latest obsessions that you may also find yourself becoming obsessed with:
If you need a sample, don’t hesitate. Nothing would bring me more joy!
Each year around this time, conference season takes flight! Which means you could potentially, if you live in or are visiting Sydney, find yourself pacing the aisles of the ICC more than a couple of times.
There are some very big events in Sydney in May and June, that are not necessarily limited to your traditional conference style events. We are seeing conferences expand beyond the four walls, onto the streets. Vivid for example is not simply an outdoors light show, as a lot of us might think, but there are a long list of workshops and talks that accompany the Vivid festival.
Ironically, the rise of the digital world has had no impact on the numbers attending conferences / face-to-face experiences. If anything, it has had the opposite effect. We are seeing more conferences than we have ever seen before. You only have to take a look at the International ‘self development’ gurus, per se, that have been travelling to the very distant shores of Australia, to ascertain the growth in the conference industry: Tony Robbins, Brene Brown, Michael Mosley, Gary Vaynerchuk, to name a few.
The Australian conference industry, according to a 2019 IBIS Report, The Exhibition and Conference Centres, generate a revenue of $13 billion and have grown 3% year on year from 2014 to 2019.
The numbers are all in growth, both internationally and nationally, along with the number of people attending. We are definitely seeing total ‘events’ in general, if you include: meet-ups, business industry events and self development events, explode. Everywhere you turn, there is another event on. Social media has definitely played a key role in helping the events reach a larger, broader audience.
But what is really interesting, is the access we now have to industries that we previously didn’t have – if it wasn’t for the explosion of the event conference market. TEDx is a good example of this. When you attend a TEDx, you are enlightened by a subject and/or an idea that you typically may not have had any knowledge on. A previously isolated industry or discipline that kept to themselves. And the convergence of a world stage or a stage that is open to a broad audience, can have a significant impact on people’s awareness, and as a result, what happens next – for the audience, the speaker and their industry.
People flock to people. It’s our nature. Hence the power of events and conferences versus digital. The energy is different. The impact is different. Atmosphere is the point of difference conferences have over digital media channels. Fundamentally you are bringing a group of passionate, curious, open, people in the same room. A great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and colleagues or meet new people. When you attend a great conference, you leave with new found ideas, inspiration and energy. You are excited and ready to tell the world. We have all been there… it’s a great feeling. And, the combination of the two: face-to-face experiences and digital, definitely does have an exponential effect.
Full stop… Definitely not yet!!
We haven’t spoken about promotional products and the big role they play in conferences. There is a good reason why promotional products go hand in hand with conferences. They work! The opportunity of a captive audience!
I have attended many conferences across many industries and promotional products still very much play a significant role in the experience being remembered, and the creation of lasting connections between the audience, an industry and or businesses. The products may act as a thank you, reminder, inspiration, education, support after you leave the event.
If the promotional product has strong appeal, so it’s not discarded on the way out (which a lot of brochures are), it becomes something that is held onto for a good period of time, outside of its intended usage, it also acts as a symbol of the energy and ideas from the conference. If the brand and message has strong association with the product, the conference theme and the audience, then the investment into having a tangible brand presence is worth it.
There is a reason why Australia Marketers spend more than $1.34 billion per year on promotional products:
54% say their impression of a company is more positive after receiving a promotional product.
76% recall the name advertised on the product.
55% keep the item for more than one year.
Nearly 50% of recipients use them daily.
52% are more likely to do business with a company after receiving a promotional product.
Like any marketing investment, you want cut-through, impact, relevance and longevity. So when the time is ready for your customer to seek the services or products that you offer, your organisation is top of mind.
Are you planning a conference or event? Have you thought about not only making your conference great on the day, but how you can keep the energy and momentum going after the day is over?
I work with clients to create promotional products that have impact and create lasting connections with their customers. Products that turn customers to you.
Here are some popular conference product ideas. It’s important to customise any idea to your brand and always keep in mind customer appeal, use-ability and longevity.
How can your promotional product create a conversation?
To ensure your branded merchandise is kept and used well into the future – quality is (Turn)Key!
According to the fashion industry, 80’s neon / fluorescent trend that made a comeback in recent times, is here to stay. Early this year, International spring and summer collections are embracing the bright hues from head to toe. Neon / fluoro is about grabbing attention. They reflect light and have higher visibility.
The first record of fluorescence was in the 1500s from a mixing of the wood of two tree species, where the combination of chemicals in the trees and oxidation created a fluorescent colour. Who would have thought that colours that are not very ‘natural’ were originally derived from our natural environment!
Now step into a safety environment, where fashion trends couldn’t be further from the priority list. A category that has been leading the fluoro charge since it first came about … not for the reason of self expression, but for the sole purpose of safety, injury prevention and protection.
When it comes to safety in any organisation, we can approach it as a checkbox and a numbers game, as per the sign below. They are usually found in locations with a lot of passing traffic and act as a good reminder to everyone who enters the work site that the responsibility for safety lies with both with the individual and the organisation.
Signage is the bare minimum amount of activity in the safety prevention area that we see. Particularly in Australia … we have high safety standards, which only continue to increase and for good reason. Safety, fortunately, has become a very central aspect of how we operate – and though previously may have been considered a last minute thought or interruption to the flow of work is becoming very integrated in our daily behaviours.
The safety products available for safety prevention as a result continue to grow. Yes it does help that there is more thought put into the design and functionality of the products than there ever was.
By adding a company logo or custom safety message that aligns with both the product and the environment it is being used in shows that your organisation values the wellbeing of staff and visitors alike.
Who thought talking safety prevention could not only be beneficial for the workplace but also provide an opportunity to capture the spirit of an organisation – that safety is important to them and that they completely integrate and own it.
We are seeing multi-purpose functionality. Not just acting as a means of drawing attention but also providing mobile storage. This backpack is a good example of this. It has an adjustable helmet pouch, side mounted radio pocket, padded harness with utility belt & strap … one of many multi-purpose high visibility packs and bags available.
Safety clothing is also experiencing a revolution. The range of styles and colours have increased significantly. From your standard safety vest to overalls, stretch pants, fleece jumpers to bomber jackets. There is no excuse for anyone to not be able to find safety attire that is suitable for them … range is enormous.
Silicone earplug key chains makes ear protection easily attainable. Great for work loud environments, but also for loud entertainment areas and plane travel. Helps with both hearing loss and industrial deafness prevention and hearing sensitivity management.
Illuminate flashing armband, with adjustable straps. The panel lights up with the touch of a button and emits a bright red glow for added visibility and has 80 hours of battery life. If you are thinking outside the working environment, this is also a great product for cyclists and walkers… anyone who is active when there is poor lighting and visibility.
Anti-Impact Grip Glove made with Nitrile foam coating which provides excellent grip both in wet and dry conditions. With gloves like these you can ensure your hands are protected.
Safety clothing, equipment and accessories do a good job to not only remind others but remind ourselves of the potential risks in our surrounding environments and how we can both avoid them to protect ourselves and at the same time attend to the task that requires our attention. The Top 10 injuries in the workplace in Australia identified by Safe Work Australia are:
Sprains and strains of joints and muscles make the vast majority of workplace – 41.8%
Bone fractures and crushing – 8.5%
Open wound injuries excluding amputation – 7.7%
Contusion is the medical term for bruises, and skin injuries that don’t involve open wounding – 6.4%
Disorders involving muscles, tendons and soft tissue – 6.3%
Dorsopathies, or spinal injuries – 6%
Industrial deafness from excessively loud equipment – 3.6%
Hernias – 2.2%
Joint dislocation – 1.5%
Burns – 1.4%
Each workplace has safety risks that are applicable to their environment, industry and organisational structure. As an exercise it would be worth identifying the top ten safety risks in your workplace and the products that could be put in place to prevent and protect.
Denim is a rugged, sturdy, twill weave woven (a special characteristic which sets it apart from other fabrics) made from 100% cotton fabric.
In 1873 American Jacob Davis (A Tailor) and Levi Strauss (Cloth Merchant) collaborated to fulfil an order for a pair of trousers that would be “sturdy and wear well” – which would become ‘Jeans’.
The days of denim are still strong
A Poll by ShopSmart (from Publisher of Consumer Reports) found the average American owns seven pairs of jeans. Roy Morgan Research reveal that in any given four-week period, more than 1.7 million Australians 14+ buy at least one pair of women’s and/or men’s denim jeans (2016). And to prove the timeliness of denim, millennial Lorna Burford, a 30-year-old blogger in England, has between 400 and 450 pairs of jeans.
Denim is a material that has lived on through cultural revolutions, generational change, socio-economics and fashion trends. Interestingly if you look at the evolution of denim jeans in particular, you will see a direct correlation with people’s consciousness, i.e. how they are feeling about the world that they are living.
20’s and 30’s – Denim jeans were worn by workers.
50’s – “Bad Boys” Marlon Brando and James Dean glamorised denim jeans on film. As a result, Public Schools in America banned jeans for being too provocative.
60’s and 70’s – We saw the hippy denim jean, denoting freedom and less structure.
80’s – Was the start of designer denim. Where Brooke Shields became the face of Calvin Klein Jeans.
A flashback to my days of double denim!! Feel free to share your denim flashback with me so we can reminisce together!
90’s – The grunge era came on coinciding with the rise of hip hop. Here we saw very baggy, casual styles.
Early 2000’s – Low-rise jeans became popular thanks to Britney Spears.
Mid to late 2000’s – The skinny jean was the big innovation, thanks to denim stretch technology. Providing ‘go to’ apparel for any occasion.
Today – We see a lot more variety. There is no set trend as such; Straight Leg, High waisted, Vintage Distressed/Shredded Denim are trending. The extreme cut out style is something I’ve never seen or previously heard of… not sure if this will take off (I certainly won’t be wearing them!). The average smaller independent eco friendly denim lines are also popping up challenging the bigger brands as they are just as accessible via internet shopping.
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important across all industries. The denim industry is no exception. Some of the innovation in this area includes:
Investment in clean technologies. For example, in the fibre stage of making denim, biodegradable synthetics and bio elastomers are being used to help mills create more sustainable denim.
The introduction of both natural (e.g. Hemp or Linen) and man-made (e.g. lyocells) alternatives to the thirsty cotton crop.
The avoidance of consuming new resources and replacing with recycled fibres like new Refibra which is made out of waste material during the manufacturing process.
Introducing sustainable alternatives, organic and BCI cottons, when requiring new cotton.
Denim not just for jeans – Denim Promotional Products
The versatility, durability and appeal of denim fabric has enabled cross-industry utilisatilisation. We have seen denim shirts, jackets, dresses, shorts, skirts, headbands, swimming costumes, shoes, etc.
In short, there is no end to denim. Now you can find a variety of products made out of denim like mobile phone covers, aprons, quilts, pillows, notebooks, sunglass frames, bags, hats, computer cases, towels, drink holders … the list continues.
The promotional products industry is also trending with denim, with some of the following denim promotional products now available to take your company logo:
Bags, for play, shopping and work. People are looking for materials that last, protect and have style. And denim totes and satchel bags certainly fits this bill.
Apparel. Aprons and Denim shirts bring a premium feel to any brand.
Hats are available in different denim fabrics enabling versatility in the style that best suits your brand or product positioning.
Below is an example of Trip Advisors Travel Accessories pack. You have a backpack, wash bag, passport, bag tag, diary and pencil case. The complete pack for a branded gift to customers. Some elements translate to different industry gift ideas, for example, course enrolment, company welcome pack and new member gifts.
Since researching Denim for this article, it made me think about the longevity of materials and trends. On Quora (platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers) there was some interesting feedback about people thinking that denim won’t be around for too much longer.
From everything I have seen, read and experienced during my lifetime, I would have to disagree with this. There is something about denim that makes people not only feel good but express themselves in a very individual way, despite being a mainstream material. I thought the whole athleisure surgence (e.g. leggings, tights), would take over, but it appears not. Denim jeans has a strong hold over us. My only guess as to why, is because it has continually evolved with the times and always feels contemporary whilst connecting us to our past.
8th March marks International Women’s Day, so we thought it timely to share our favourite promotional products for the ladies.
The word busy gets thrown around a lot, but women do tend to
have a big daily to do list, so promotional products that can help with being
organised and save time are perfect.
You can’t go past a nice looking good quality tote bag. Printed with a motivation quote along with your company logo and it’s sure to be used for years to come. Some of our favourites are the heavy weight canvas tote or denim styles that can be used in a work setting or casual. Plus it’s environmentally friendly to have a reusable bag.
A notebook for jotting down the daily to do list is a must, however, if lost can be devastating. That’s why the O2O notebook is perfect, your daily written notes can be saved in the cloud for easy access from anywhere – taking the offline to online with ease.
Having branded travel mug is not only good for the environment, it’s also essential and the one’s from Frank Green are even better with the ability to personalise with initials and tap & go payment facilities, ensuring the Barista made cuppa is received quickly so you can be on your way.
The perfect companion to have with you when out and about so you’re prepared for a change in weather.
All the women I know (myself included) always like to look our best when going out or into a meeting, having a pocket mirror on hand for a quick check ensuring all is as it should be helps to be prepared.
There’s nothing better at the end of the day with your favourite scent in the air, to help wind down and relax.
Stemless Wine Glass
Teamed up with your favourite adult beverage, nothing is better than branded stemless wine glasses to finish of a perfect day.
Whilst you were summering it up in Australia during January, I was trumping it up in America!
This was travel for both work and play!
The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo was the main purpose for the trip – the biggest industry expo in America. We are talking 11,000 distributors representing 4,000 companies and 30 countries, attended by over 20,000+ people. The Everest of Expos, both in respect to the variety of products, the exhibition space … and trying to get through it in three days. Then throw in the Las Vegas location – the epicentre of ‘can you make it bigger and better’!
With something as big as this, you have to plan and be selective from the start, or you could find yourself lost in the noise, hype and excitement.
The opportunity to attend this Expo in Vegas was a milestone for not only my business, but also for me personally …. as I extended the time to experience America is a completely different way.
We, my husband and I, experienced Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and then drove to Las Vegas via California Highway 1 for a stay in San Simeon, home to the amazing Hearst Castle. We miraculously stumbled across over 3,000 elephant seals that come to the coastline every year to give birth and mate….But that is for another time and something I would be happy to share if you are thinking about travelling to America.
So, back to the show.
We had a plan and it worked very well.
The first two to three days were purely education in sales and marketing, specific to the promotional products industry. I attended a lot different educational sessions. I think it was 16 in total. Customer Service online and offline, continues to be top of mind. There was also a lot of education around high performance selling, unifying sales teams and the latest trends and topics related to social media, metrics, branding and positioning. A great opportunity to immerse myself in how the world is seeing business and integrating promotional products to further extend and leverage marketing communication and programs.
For the following three days I walked the Trade Show floor on the lookout for new products or a new and fresh approach to existing lines and found the segments with a lot of momentum are:
1. ENVIRONMENTAL PRODUCTS are big and only getting bigger. Which is great to see. Recycled straws, recycled materials, less materials, reusable straws, bags, containers for food and drinks.
2. BLING AND MORE BLING! What I mean is bling decoration on anything and everything – bags, drink bottles, in cars, books, clothing, phones. I don’t think this is going anywhere soon. The asian influence in our markets continues to grow, and anything bling acts as a means of creating your own signature add on. Click on the image below to view the Sequin Artwork.
3. SOCKS has turned into a means of self expression. We are seeing a lot of branded socks out there. If designed with the customer and positioning in mind – this is very effective.
4. DENIM. The days of denim are definitely not behind us. There is a lot of denim still to be lived. It’s exciting to see the different ways in which this material is being integrated with other materials – and bringing new life to products we haven’t seen before.
5. THE EXPO LIVE ‘GET IN TOUCH’ interactive stage was also a good bit of fun. There is where live product demonstrations and interviews with industry leaders were streamed. A non-guilt rest break!
Also throw in the very talented, knowledgeable and ENGAGING KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:
David Goggins, the closing speaker, was a stand out for me. He spoke on the topic “Stop Talking Yourself Out of Being Great”. An inspiring talk about personal accountability and building momentum. He spoke about in the early challenges in his life, becoming a Navy SEAL in most elite unit in the American military, and the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete SEAL training. He also was in the U.S. Army Ranger School, where he graduated as Enlisted Honor Man, and Air Force tactical air controller training. A few years later he became one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world.
Scott Stratten was also another great speaker . Who was named a top five social media power influencer by Forbes. He has completely changed how corporations do business. During his presentation, he shared his ‘radical’ insights on how to engage better with customers through social and viral marketing and blended real-world strategies with memorable stories to rethink the way we market and sell.
Connie Podesta … well I have not laughed so much at this stand out presentation on sales as I’ve never heard it being presented before. As an award-winning author, Podesta is an expert on the psychology of sales, leadership, change, life balance and getting your act together, which helped to inspire industry professionals to do what it takes to increase sales, attract and retain more customers, build longer-lasting relationships, strengthen leadership skills and become more profitable, happier and successful.
So back to our plan for the show. It worked well. Or we thought it was working well. Until….we heard about the ‘Pop Up Puppy Stand’. (Which was amongst foodie pop-ups chocolate-dipped bacon, meatballs and rolled ice cream and caricature artists and an illusionists). In a flash we made a run to cuddle the most beautiful puppies.
This is genius marketing distraction and also drove traffic to less populated areas of the venue … and the perfect reminder that we are fundamentally, as humans, emotionally driven. Which brings me back to why promotional products continue to work.
Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO said. “Promotional products are the only medium that allow us to connect with consumers on a tangible level”.
The benefit of tangible connections, is increasing emotion, trust and engagement – which are the foundation for establishing sustainable business and brands.
If you would like more information about the show and the latest promotional products please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org
It isn’t a bad problem to have, fending off the sun rather than the rain. But as December comes and falls away and we all stumble forward, probably more than a little tipsily, into the blinding sun of 2019, more than a few of us will be feeling the heat.
It’s easy to spend Christmas week cooped up inside, nursing a nice port and eating yourself into a food coma, but then it’s time to get out and let the fun of the sea and surf wash away the accumulated kgs. Or at least move the eat fest to the beach.
Either way you’re going to need a spot of shade, and with the holiday season being a time of friendship and family, you’re probably going to need a lot of the stuff. Beach umbrellas are a mainstay in the arsenal of any sun lover. The stars of postcards and boardwalks, you can’t have a beach without a beach umbrella. Easily stored, carried and large enough to keep everyone cool and relaxed.
Large but also lightweight, the Bahama Beach Umbrellas eight panel design fits all the necessary specs for safe fun in the sun. Boasting a reflective silver lining with a UPF 50+ protection, short setup time and a nifty carry case, it’s a product that’s going to get around.
With options for screen printing and digital transfer, branding is exceptionally easy. Beaches are wide open, easily accessible spaces that provide a lot of visibility and footfall. With a striking design and logo on the showerproof polyester canopy, it’ll be easy to stand out, come rain or shine.
There is logic in creative thinking and expression. Despite whether the creative or the audience is aware of it. Unconsciously we are drawn to design that follows at least one or more of the key principles of design. On the other hand, we repel, and feel like something isn’t right or is missing if none of the principles are adhered to… which may be what the designer is trying to achieve. Hence the importance of firstly knowing what your desired outcome is of any design piece.
WHAT ARE THE KEY PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN
There are six basic principles, however, some theories state there are up to 20 principles, but from research it is a further dissection/layering of one of the key principles below. The basic principles will suffice in creating ‘good design’. The theory is that at least one of the design principles should be incorporated to achieve good design, however, all the six principles can be incorporated into the one piece.
This helps us to create order and an invisible connection between elements. In today’s world, the number of messages that we engage in / cross our path each day, makes it essential for us to make it easy to understand quickly what it is that we want to the audience to think or do. It is a simple but effective way to creating sharp design. Interestingly, the word alignment, infers a feeling of balance and peace.
Something that is used when you have multiple pages or pieces typically, but we can also see this principle used in one-offs. In this case, it would be for the purpose of making a very strong statement that leaves an imprint. Repetition, generally, is about creating consistency. Consistency makes people feel safe, provide clarity and helps build trust. Unless your brand is very established, playing around with the treatment of your logo for example, will only confuse your audience, whilst forgoing the opportunity of building familiarity with your brand.
Contrast is all about emphasis. You can achieve contrast with type, colour, images, shapes, lines, etc. It’s a great tool to help guide the viewer, also playing a role in the principle of hierarchy (below). Creating strong contrast definitely helps with grabbing attention. So if you have a big message you want to get across, use contrast. You will see this principle adopted in many political movement communications.
Is a means of prioritising the message order, so the design doesn’t create chaos and lose the viewer, as they are not sure what path to follow to take in the information. Our eyes, when looking at something, are looking for order of where to start and where to end. When it comes to a marketing message what is the order from the most important to least important in the eyes of the viewer: is it your logo, the message, your website, the visual, the contact details, etc? It’s crucial that we think from the viewer’s perspective. This has created many interesting conversations between creatives and clients on the percentage of space given to a logo!! Currently the trend of minimisation is impacting how and where and if we position various components… and leaving us to ask the question… do we actually need them at all?
It is what it says. You can achieve this in two ways: symmetrical, when the weight is evenly distributed (ie, two equal halves) and asymmetrical, through using contrast (eg, dark and light). Keep in mind what you are trying to achieve and whether this design principle is applicable.
Colour – Is not a key principle, per se, but we think it’s worth including.
A game changing principle to any design piece. The key is to know how far you can take colour and when to pull it back. In most design courses, colour is the last thing you get to play with so you can focus on learning to leverage the effectiveness of all other principles. A good discipline to establish. Work on the order first and then play with colour. There are millions of colours, each every one tells a story. So think about the story you are creating with the colours you are using. If you are looking for inspiration, look to nature. There is a magic in natural that achieves colour combinations that we might not ordinarily be able to achieve.
WHAT ROLE DOES THIS PLAY WHEN IT COMES TO PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS?
This thinking is still relevant today. Before we step into designing any promotional piece, we must try to understand how it will meet the needs of the user/audience. The more aligned we are with this, the more value the audience will place on the item. So staying close to what’s trending is important to ensuring your brand/business stays relevant. A well thought through promotional product clearly denotes your relevance in the market … an image speaks a thousand words. Doing something for the sake of doing it, without the thinking, will come through and may devalue your brand in its market.
What we are seeing now is how, what were once considered promotional products, have become a merchandise range, for companies like VB and Tiffany’s. It has become a means of leveraging their engagement across new channels and new audiences. In itself, it is/has become a marketing medium that the consumer is paying for. For the reason that the brand value has been well established. VB has engaged fashion designers to create their new range of apparel line – which is a big step forward.
Before you go straight to the ‘promotional product’ consider the following:
Start with your customer
Research what is trending in the industry and consumer market
Be clear about what you are trying to achieve
Consider some concepts
Think about the message and the relevance.
When you go into design, apply two or more of the design principles listed above.
GREAT DESIGN ADDS VALUE
At first you may not being able to assign a monetary value to great design, however if it’s having an impact on perception, then this is the beginning of a new era for your brand, business and you. You, is in reference to how you think and feel about your brand. That it is worthy of the investment, that the customers are also worthy, that the alignment with your desired brand positioning (if your current one doesn’t cut it) is crucial to continuing to build ‘perceived value’. And perceived value, at the end of the day, is a ‘real value’. Sometimes our biggest challenge is knowing our true value!!!
Socks have become kind of a low-key way to inject a splash of colour and personality into business dress. They’re easy to cover up and easy to unveil. Take a seat at a boardroom table, and with a flick of your leg you can unveil a polka-dot print amidst your otherwise standard formal attire. Socks, as mundane as they once seemed, are now something of a statement.
Where there’s a statement to be made there is power. So ask yourself, what do your socks say about you? That’s the ethos behind companies like Swanky Socks, (https://www.swankysocks.com/about-swanky-socks/) who have sought to bring a variety of striking designs to your tootsies. They’ve done so rather successfully, with their brand now featured in over 250 retail stores. The key to their success might be the sliding range of their products, from the loud and colourful to the more subdued and sedate. With each design though, they still retain a consistently eye-catching style, so you can choose the volume of your statement.
There’s an untapped potential in branding socks. Many see it as just one part of a great whole. Nike socks are just there to compliment a set of Nike training trousers and a crew neck. Socks though have the unique ability to infiltrate any and all settings. Sports socks, business socks, lounge socks, it doesn’t matter. There’s always socks.
By producing branded socks you can make introduce your image to a vast array of settings and markets. What’s more, people often forget they’re wearing them. Wearing an emblazoned t-shirt or decorated jacket is something that you’re always aware of. If say you intend to produce some as promotional materials to give away, you’ll potentially see a much higher adoption rate than with a big and bold company t-shirt.
Socks aren’t always in the forefront of the mind but they’re always present. They wear out quickly but they’re quick and easy to produce, and always in demand. Everybody needs socks, and they need them often. Make your brand part of that need.