We’ve all seen those funny looking little square boxes with either squiggly black lines or some kind of artistic array of black splotches.
What looks like it could be an elaborate form of a psychiatrist’s ink blot is actually a sophisticated piece of technology that opens countless doors for marketing, customer relations and just some plain old fun.
Those little boxes are called QR (quick response) codes. They are a two-dimensional barcode with encoded information such as a website address, text, or lots of other pieces of information. QR codes can be read by a QR code scanner (imagine that!) including QR scanner apps that are available in most smartphone app stores. If you have a smartphone (and the right app), all you have to do is click a picture of the QR code and watch the magic happen.
One of the best things about the business world is that there’s so much room for variety. Not all stores are small and local with niche market offerings—but not all stores are big box retailers that seem to offer a little bit of everything either.
As the Internet has become increasingly pervasive in our lives in the last decade, many “mom and pop” type stores probably thought they would eventually be pushed out of business. After all, they might think, who wants to leave the house to visit a small local store when one could just have something delivered to his doorstep after a few clicks of the mouse? The recent spike in mobile ecommerce and concepts like Cyber Monday (the online version of Black Friday) probably only drives home this concept.
When it comes to graphic design, just like everything else, trends come and go. We sat down with one of our web designers, Cole Sikes, to get a feel for what he thinks is going to be the top trend of 2012 and what will last for years to come.
Cole (who shamelessly admits, “Frozen dinners are my friend”) is the creator of the gorgeous custom QR Codes we’ve provided recently for our clients. He is known for his clean, minimalistic designs. He draws his inspiration from modern architecture, visits more tha 30 design blogs daily and has a Pinterest account (though he’s quick to say it’s “too girly” for his masculine self). It’s the people he doesn’t even know who bring inspiration to his designs and guide him towards the next big thing.
Diamonds may be forever but branding is not—and that’s a good thing. A company’s branding must evolve and change as the company changes.
But when is it time to revise, renew or radically change a company’s branding?
Branding should accurately reflect the corporate culture and be consistent across all platforms and uses. If something happens to make the existing branding fail to meet those two qualifications, then the branding needs to be changed. If the change is radical, then rebranding needs to be considered along with that change. Other rebranding could happen after periodic, planned evaluation.
It makes smart business sense to evaluate the company’s processes, mission, services, marketing and yes, branding, on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean doing a corporate soul searching every three months or even every year. If there are no major changes that make a branding change obviously needed, then it’s probably safe to examine how well a company’s branding is working about every two or three years.