Yesterday was 2014

New Years Day is so strange. I completely realize it’s an actual day that is actually the first day of an actual new year. However, it sort of just feels like a freebie. We usually don’t plan any events, we eat a couple of large meals and then have a couple of drinks as one last hoorah before moving towards whatever lofty goals we’ve set out for the coming year. Those goals start on January 2nd, though. I just don’t count January 1 as an actual day.

Now that we have that out of the way and with all knowledge that this blog has nothing to do with that first paragraph, let’s recap 2014!

Breweries:

This past year was filled with designs for local and national beer makers. There is no secret that Fresh Bread Design loves it’s craft beer.  We geek out over the words like “hop character”, “nose” and “malt profile”. It revs our engines or floats our boats. Either way, we’re big fans of the beer scene. With a craft beer boom in full swing in our beautiful state of Washington, it’s no surprise the bulk of our branding and package design was done for breweries. We had the amazing opportunities to develop packaging for Skookum Brewery and Triplehorn Brewing Company, as well as drawing illustrations for existing label layouts for Brickyard Brewing.  We were also able to develop branding for Lake Stevens Brewing Company and work on a rebrand for Whitewall Brewing Company (to be released in spring of 2015). Not only that but we were able to begin the branding process for Central Plains Brewing Company in Wichita, KS. They are about a year out from launching their brewery but their branding is already on a firm foundation.

Distilleries:

In 2014, we said “hello” to some great new friends. There are a lot of new distilleries opening up in Washington state and Bad Dog Distillery knew they needed a solid logo to work their branding around in order to be noticed. We also had the wonderful privilege of working with Golden Distillery on several print marketing projects. We’re currently in the process of developing a completely new packaging relaunch for our friends at Valley Shine Distillery in Mount Vernon. We’ve got approval on everything we need approval on and we’ll be going to print on much of it this next week.

Hard Cider:

Elemental Hard Cider is an incredible new company in Woodinville. They have allowed us to really work their branding and create something exciting and different. The feedback has been phenomenal and it’s been awesome to see them grow and infiltrate the market! The cider is great, too.

Restaurants and Bars:

Up until this year, we really hadn’t created a lot of branding for dining establishments.  It would only make sense that we would work with places that sell the products we design for, so we took the leap and worked with a couple of great places. The Oxford Saloon in Snohomish approached us about creating a logo for their iconic eatery this past summer. It was very special for us, since we got engaged there and there are a lot of memories in that building.  We also designed a logo for Red’s Fish House on Camano Island. It’s a restaurant that will serve as an extension to the Camano Island Collective on Tap.

Cigars:

We’ve also been privileged to be involved with San Juan Cigars. Washington’s first and only hand rolled cigars are not just incredibly well made, they are incredibly well branded! It’s been so much fun to be a part of these guys’ success. The labels should be printed soon so start watching for them on shelves at your local cigar shop.

Chili Sauce:

Food packaging is something we have dabbled in here and there but we’re this year we are involved in branding for SeaFire Gourmet (formerly Davez Foodz). It starts with a simple and clean logo and from there the sky is the limit. We see so much potential for Dave and crew in 2015 and we are blessed to be a part of that. Keep an eye out for other SeaFire projects coming in the near future.

Misc:

There were all types of other projects we were involved in this year. We designed several t-shirts for the likes of Tommy’s Guitar Shop and the Scott Ward Fan Club. We’ve designed brochures for Cascade Coffee and Greater Everett Community Foundation. We did branding for a shave ice joint in Hawaii called The Hapa Shack (I think we’re actually due for an onsite business meeting, if you know what I mean). We even designed a new logo for DC Promotional Products (my parent’s company).

The reason this blog is written isn’t entirely for the purpose of tooting our own horn. There is another reason. There are so many great companies we work with. We want you, the reader to know who they are…go to their websites…buy their products. We believe in our clients and what they do. When we look back at 2014 we are amazed at what we have accomplished but even more so who we accomplished it with. We’re also looking forward to this next year. It’s going to be a doozy.  Let’s make 2015 “The Year of the Bread”!

If you want to see some of these great projects, you can visit our website portfolio or check out our Facebook. If you want to contact us, you can do that here.

What To Expect…pt 2

In our last blog, we talked about some of the questions we’ll ask before we start a project. These questions are instrumental in helping Fresh Bread Design build a successful visual brand for your company. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.

Now that we’ve waxed philosophical about your organization and we’ve taken copious amounts of notes it’s time to do a few necessary things before we can get to the fun part.  We haven’t met anyone that likes to talk about money. In the effort of full disclosure, we don’t even like to talk about it but it’s a necessary evil.  So let’s get the elephant out of the room.

Know Your Budget

We find most startups have no concept of what they should spend on branding. And with good reason. Graphic artists’ prices are all over the place…there are online crowd sourcing sites that charge next to nothing (by the way, BUYER BEWARE) and giant firms that charge exorbitant amounts. You probably have a good reason to be confused but knowing what you are willing to spend on the success of your brand is important. That’s right, your willingness to invest in your logo, print marketing and website is every bit as important as your willingness to invest in your product.

Sign the Contract

We write a contract for every job, big or small, we do.  Sometimes new business owners are frightened about signing a contract. However, there good reason for both of us to have a contract. It’s pretty obvious why it’s important for Fresh Bread Design to have a contract but it’s also important for you. We want every craft brewery we work with to know exactly what they are getting. We want every distillery we sign on to understand what they can expect from us. We want every one of our clients to have a clear outline of what they are specifically going to end up with. No surprise charges. No under delivered projects. What you see in the contract is exactly what you are getting.  It also keeps you, the client, from running down unnecessary rabbit trails. You have enough on your plate so let us do the rabbit trails on our time.

Down Payment

We used to be afraid of asking for down payments. It used to be the hardest part of the job for us. Our attitudes have changed a lot on that, though. We’ve noticed something. When we have a down payment our attitude changes and your attitude changes. When we have a down payment in hand we work harder to complete your job. When you have a down payment on the line your artwork is more valuable to you from the start. We want you to want your artwork. It is our desire for you to understand how important your design is to your business. On the other hand, it’s important for you to have an expectation for us. Something happens when money changes hands…the stakes are raised on both sides of the aisle.  We take that very seriously. And that is why we ask for down payments on every project.

We have one more blog on what to expect coming up. It’s the best part! However, if you are ready to jump in (the water is fine) contact us here.

What To Expect…pt 1

We love meeting with clients for the first time. Usually we meet in a tap house or a coffee shop and have a very informal talk about business and life and art. It’s one of the best parts of this job…getting to know people. During the conversation we inevitably are asked one question: so, how does this process work?

We’ll spend the next few blogs talking about our process and things you can be prepared with before we even meet. There are some key things we do with every project so we can give you the best design experience possible. We’ll start with 3 questions we ask every new client and why we ask them.

What 3 Words Exemplify Your Company/Organization: 

Who you are must be evident in your design.  There are few things more disappointing than getting something that looks like something else. The culture of your company, whether it’s just starting or has been around for 30 years, should be able to be boiled down to three words. For Fresh Bread Design our words are warm, nostalgic and simple. There are other words as well but we always want people to walk away with those feelings if anything. Before we meet think about what three words are the foundation of your brand. Who are you and what do you want people to walk away with?

Who is Your Target Market:

Sure…we all want to sell everything we have to everyone but to be honest, that’s probably not going to happen. If you are a craft distillery, perhaps you have created an infused vodka you know will sell best to women age 25-50. Maybe you are a coffee roaster who wants to capture hip, young, Millennial professionals. Maybe you are a cigar maker who wants to get into the hands of upper class, retired men. Regardless of who you are targeting we want to make sure we are designing to capture the most amount of attention from those groups possible.

Where Do You Want to be in 5 Years:

There isn’t much doubt we are in the midst of a Craft Beer boom. Local and craft spirits are following as is hard cider. It’s so easy to throw something out there because it sticks. The problem with that is booms just don’t last forever. That’s not bad news if you’ve got a solid product and solid branding. Even if the boom lasts 20 years in any of those industries any business needs to ask themselves if they want to thrive or just survive. We always want to design for at least five years down the road. We don’t design for where you are now, we design for where you will be in 5 years. Will you be in a larger location? Will you have national distribution? Let us get you to that spot and beyond by letting us know your plans for the business. We don’t want to have to rebrand your company 2 years down the road because we shot too low.  Let’s aim for the future and get you there faster.

Next blog we’ll talk a bit more about what to expect when you decide to pull the trigger…and if you are ready to pull that trigger now, you can contact us through our website here!

Calling the Plumber

We recently had some major plumbing issues under our house. We found out because the water company sent us a very nice note explaining to us we were losing an incredible amount of water. Though the plumbing issues under the house weren’t the only cause, when the plumber went under to see if there were issues, he found leaks in the old copper pipes.  If you know anything about me, you will know fully that I should not do anything that involves a hammer, wrench or building code. It is not in my skill set. Not only will it take me a lot of time and energy, it just won’t be done right. It will fail.

We only had three choices in the matter. We could leave it alone and allow water to damage our foundation, fix it ourselves which would mean hours of frustration (and curse words) and muster up the confidence to believe we did it right, or call the plumber and pay him to fix it.  We did the latter since he is trained to do this sort of thing. I might not fully understand what he did but the proof is in seeing everything work while our water bill goes down.

The plumber analogy may be done to death but it’s pretty fresh in my mind. Craft beer breweries almost always start out as home brewers and are used to doing it all themselves. This is a noble thought…the person who does everything…the renaissance man/woman! But ultimately, creating your branding, beer labels, beer can design, print marketing, web design as well as brewing and creating new beer recipes all while keeping up with the daily ins and outs of running a business will keep you from doing what you do best: making great craft beer.

There comes a time where you must hand it off.  The plumber we called wasn’t cheap. However, the value we received was immense. We had it done right. We had peace of mind. We knew he’d come back and fix any issues that might arise. It was a big upfront cost but we will be ahead in the long run. Because we’re in this house for the long run.

And you should be in business for the long run.

We understand craft beer and spirits branding and packaging. Visit our website for more info!

Million Dollar Branding

In 2008, Pepsi Co. released a new and updated logo. It wasn’t a lot different than their previous logo, but there were a few noticeable differences. The success of the design is debatable and only a look at their books would tell whether or not it has a negative or positive effect on their bottom line. However, the price tag of the logo refresh was reportedly one million dollars. One. Million. Dollars.

Yes…that’s a one with six zeros behind it.

PrintThis is what a $1 million makeover looks like to a corporation like Pepsi

No one would argue that Pepsi isn’t a household name in the Western world.  There wouldn’t be an argument over whether or not the visual branding wasn’t recognizable.  The point I’m getting to is Pepsi saw value in revamping their logo. In fact, the valued their branding at $1 million. That’s how important it is for Pepsi to be at the forefront of their particular market.

We’re hoping this puts a bit of perspective on two things: 1) how important it is for your logo to be done well and 2) how much the very DNA of your branding is worth.  We’ve never charged a million dollars for anything. Chances are we never will.  But we believe your branding is worth that and more. We believe your success as a brewery, distillery, coffee roaster, start up, or whatever you are investing your life into is worth it. We believe it so strongly we started our own company to help create branding that isn’t just a “logo” but becomes your very DNA.

If Pepsi is willing to invest that deeply into their marketing, shouldn’t you consider investing in yours?

Value vs. Cost-A Story.

A few years back, our family car died. We had recently lost about a third of our income and this was just the icing on the cake. There were two vehicles that caught our eye. One was exactly what we wanted. It had low miles, looked great and was a vehicle we’d researched in the past. We knew they had a great reputation. The other vehicle was quite a bit less expensive. Since the one we wanted would have stretched us financially more than we were comfortable with we decided on the less expensive option.

Three months later I blew a head gasket on a snowy, winter morning. We had a warranty and it was covered it but I missed work that day. Not long after that, the sunroof started leaking. In fact, we’ve had a lot of issues with this car. Most of the problems weren’t covered by any sort of warranty and even the ones that did didn’t cover the time and lost hours on the paycheck.

What I’m trying to get at is this: costing less doesn’t always equal a good value.

The same situation happens with your branding, packaging or other marketing design. You may go with the least expensive option…that makes sense to you since money is tight. But the real consideration should be the value of your design. Does it draw in more clients?  Does it stimulate conversation? Is it working for you?

We pride ourselves in having fair pricing, that’s a given. We aren’t the most expensive design option or the least expensive. And ultimately, that’s not the main point. The main point is your design should expand your profits and we do everything we can to make sure that happens.

Don’t just look for the best price. That’s a decision that might leave you on the side of the road watching others pass you by. Choose the best value. It will get you where you need to be.

Let us help you make the right decisions and increase the value of what you do. You can contact us through our website.

Refer Madness!

The reason for our success is mostly because of the power of community. Our clients, friends and acquaintances champion us and believe in the work we do. You love us and we love you, so we want to reward that community in some way. I guess money is the best way to do that.

So we are introducing a referral program through the month of August we like to call Refer Madness! Let us explain how it works:

If you send someone our way we have never worked with before and they complete a job with us, you get a check equaling 10% of their design cost. To put an even finer point on that, if you refer a new client to us and they complete a $1000 contract with us, you will receive a $100 check. If you refer a client to us and they complete a $10,000 contract with us, you will receive a $1000 check.

So here are the rules (sorry, gotta have them)…

1) This must be a new client on their first contract.

2) The new client must mention your name on the contract. We will be adding a referral line on all new contracts through August.

3)  Payment for Refer Madness! comes after the contract is complete, signed and paid for in full.

4) The 10% is for design work only. If there are other costs associated (stock photos, printing or hosting costs) those will not be included in the Refer Madness! bonus.

5) Contracts must signed by the end of August. That doesn’t mean they are completed by the end of August, it just means clients need to contractually agree to the job by the end of  August.

We hope this brightens your day and gives you even more incentive to tell your friends and acquaintances about Fresh Bread Design!

So, Why the Change?

Because we take your design very seriously, we must take our design very seriously. When we first launch a little over two years ago, we had no idea where we were going as a business. We knew we loved design and it was one of the most important elements of a business’s success. What we didn’t know was that we would journey down an unexpected path…package design.

About six months into this adventure, a friend of mine in the design world gave us some sage advice…find what you love and pursue that.

What do we love? We love craft beer, small batch distilleries and micro coffee roasters. In fact, we love them so much, our desire is to see them thrive. Design is an integral part of that. In fact, your packaging should be as good or better than your product if you want to reach beyond your current customer base.

So…fast forward to this year.  As we looked at our own branding we realized that it wasn’t portraying who we have become as a company. We were no longer throwing darts at a blank wall trying to see what we could hit. We knew who we were and why were doing art.

We want our art to be accessible…because we are accessible. We don’t believe in portraying anything as outside of someone’s reach. Going outside of the box is ultimately important because it means you can reach more people. Being artsy for the sake of being artsy doesn’t get you very far, however, if you can reach beyond the normal creative trends effectively you can pull from a larger source of potential clients. We’re not in the business of alienating your clients…we’re in the business of bringing you more.

The new branding has a high dose of nostalgia…because nostalgia holds a large measure of comfort and warmth. As hip hop artist Shad once said “fashion’s just a flash in the pan but classic stays classic ’til it’s fashion again.” Trends are important but they aren’t the end all/be all. We utilize the trends in small doses so your artwork has a longer shelf life.

We hope you like the new look as much as we do. We didn’t just throw it together. It was crafted for specific purpose and to portray who we are in the most honest light. We feel it’s warm and comfortable…a little quirky…definitely nostalgic…and still Fresh.