Category: blog

Communicating Climate Action vs Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a marketing tactic used by companies to make their products or brand appear more environmentally friendly than they actually are. This can involve misleading or false claims about a product’s sustainability, energy efficiency, or environmental impact.

Greenwashing is harmful in design because it can deceive consumers into believing they are making environmentally conscious choices, when in reality, they are supporting companies that are not truly committed to sustainability. This can lead to a false sense of security and prevent consumers from making more informed decisions that would have a positive impact on the environment.

Additionally, greenwashing can undermine the efforts of genuinely sustainable companies and products, as it dilutes the meaning of sustainability and makes it harder for consumers to distinguish between truly eco-friendly options and those that are simply using green marketing tactics. This can ultimately slow down progress towards a more sustainable future.

I think we can all agree that when communicating real advice and devices with genuine sustainability at their heart, we need to differentiate our communication strategies to get through the greenwash.

Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), together with Zero Carbon Cumbria, Climate Outreach, and the Centre for Sustainable Energy held a conference yesterday about how meaningful messaging can help reach your audience. They did this through the medium of the seven segments devised by Britain Talks Climate.

Coined ‘Communicating Climate Action in Cumbria‘, they discussed not only the national spread of segmentation, but on a much more local scale, specific to Cumbria. These are based specifically on how different people think about and engage with climate change. The seven segments are defined as:

  • Loyal nationalists (around 25% of Cumbria)
  • Disengaged battlers (around 30% of Cumbria)
  • Disengaged Traditionalists
  • Progressive activists
  • Civic Pragmatists
  • Established liberals
  • Backbone conservatives

With a greater understanding of who these people are and what their priorities are, we can tailor an approach to better communicate and inspire them into action. Language, priorities and emphasis were discussed, but to give you a brief overview, to allow people to listen, we need to speak about climate in the following ways:

  • Give hope
  • Build efficacy & confidence
  • Make using their power common sense.
  • No-nonsense and talk pride in British achievement.
  • Rely on trusted messengers and bring out other benefits.
  • Address their sense of unfairness.
  • Hone in on the local.

While working on the lowest common denominator may ensure the majority listen, it may not be effective in inspiring each segment to take individual action, so designing a full engagement strategy is paramount.

What I am interested in particularly, and will be doing further research on, is how we can engage with these segments visually. What graphics and why may resonate with people and attract the widest audience to make a difference. Verbal communication is only one aspect, if the visual does not bring them in in the first instance, the words will be lost on deaf ears.

Watch this space as I dig deeper into this, and look to design strategies that work both verbally and visually to make the world a better place. Worth a try, no?

If you have any thoughts, do feel free to get in touch.

Design Forecasting for Longevity

So, how does a brand weather the storm? With a designer who is adept at design forecasting.

Design forecasting is the process of predicting and analysing current and future design trends and consumer preferences. It involves researching and analysing various factors such as cultural shifts, technological advancements, social changes, and consumer behaviour to anticipate the direction in which design is likely to evolve. This, quite simply, allows us to be on top of our game.

But how does forecasting help with designing a brand that rises above the trends? No one wants a brand that mirrors fast-fashion and needs to be changed every other week, but by understanding the current, past and future status of visual communication, we can see what patterns are consistent, what visual aspects and graphical devices remain synonymous with certain attributes, and use these to ensure we create a brand that is both classic AND current.

How can design forecasting help your brand?

By understanding upcoming design trends, you can differentiate your brand from competitors and stay ahead of the curve. Implementing fresh and innovative design elements can help your brand stand out and attract attention. This means different things to those that are starting out and those who are longer in the proverbial tooth… by seeing your brand as more of a fluid beast, you can tweak brand elements to keep it current and above. Remember your brand is not just a logo!

Design trends are often driven by consumer preferences and changing behaviours, playing a crucial role in shaping brand perception. By staying informed about design forecasts, we can align your brand’s visual identity and communication strategies with what your target audience desires, ensuring that your brand remains relevant and resonates with the actual people you want it to.

It’s important to note that while design forecasting can provide valuable insights, it’s also essential to balance it with your brand’s unique identity and values. Trends should always be interpreted and adapted in a way that aligns with your brand’s personality and resonates with your target audience. Taken with a pinch of salt if you will.

The key takeaway here? Style does not stand still, and visual communication that once stood for one thing, may not always be seen this way ad infinitum.

You may not need a complete brand overhaul, unless of course your offering, direction or messaging has evolved; but a little tweak here and there, perhaps even imperceptibly, by a designer with brand forecasting as a super-skill is what will make the difference to keep your brand fresh, current, and reflective of your offering.

So, if you’re looking for a brand refresh, brand overhaul, or brand new brand straight out of the box, you know who to ask.

What Makes a Good Logo?

A dull way to describe a logo? Sure. A logo is a visual representation of a brand or business, and it plays a crucial role in creating a strong brand identity. As I’m sure you can appreciate, a good logo should be memorable, recognisable, and communicate the values and personality of your brand. Easier said than done, but if you get yourself a professional designer, to answer Billie Eillish, this is what we’re made for.

So, what are the key aspects that make a good logo or brand mark…

So, look at your logo. Is it simple, memorable, timeless, versatile, and reflective of your brand? If so, you’re on to a winner. If not, are you ready to create a kick-ass logo?

Drop us a line and let’s get started. Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.

Added Value Website Design

When websites first popped up, anyone that could build a working website was classed as a ‘web designer’, but in this saturated marketplace, you need more than a built website, you need a website that has been designed. Designed by someone that understands how to attract your ideal customer through visual, typographical and experiential methods. A designer.

Designers thrive on the different, and we are not restricted to grids and boxes, by our very nature, we break out of them.

What we offer at Jili Allen Creative, is a website designed around you and your content, but also designed as an extension of your overall brand and comms, appealing effortlessly to your clientele and putting their attention, as well as their user experience, at the heart of what we do.

So, with that in mind, here are some of the top reasons to choose a designer website over that DIY template.

So, while using an existing template may seem like a cost-effective solution, hiring a web designer offers many advantages; a customised, professional, and functional website that meets your specific needs and requirements, for now and in the future.

Get the Saville Row treatment your website deserves. Drop us a line and let’s design and build you a bespoke website that fits you to a T. Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.

The Power of Good Branding and How It Can Improve Your Business

Don’t just take my word for it, let’s explore just some of the facts and figures that prove the importance of good branding and how it can improve your business.

From increased customer loyalty and higher perceived value to improved market positioning and revenue growth, good branding has a tangible impact on a business’s bottom line. Investing in developing a strong brand identity and consistently delivering a positive customer experience can lead to long-term success and a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic business environment.

If you’re looking to improve the direction of your curve, we’d love to help you with your branding.

Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.

A hat-trick of awards to finish 2023!

These include:

  • Web Development Specialist of the Year – North England (Cumbria) – The Prestige Awards
  • Most Innovative Graphic & Web Design Agency 2023 – Cumbria – SME News Northern Enterprise Awards
  • Creative Designer of the Year 2023 – The Netty Awards

Jili Allen was also named Honoree for ‘Independent Designer of the Year’ in The Netty Awards.

“We’re so delighted to be honoured in this way after such a busy year. This is testament to all the hard work we put in to each and every project we embark on and I’m overwhelmed to have won these awards. We are so lucky to have such fantastic clients, without whom we wouldn’t have the opportunities to explore our creativity, so these awards are as much theirs as ours. We are proud to showcase the North of England, and the design industry from our quiet country corner of the world.”

The Prestige Awards recognise small and medium-sized businesses that have proven to be the best in their market over the past 12 months.  All shortlisted companies put forward in the prestige awards are asked to support their nomination with evidence of their work, positive feedback from their clients, information on previous accreditation and recognition as well as highlighting the most outstanding parts of their businesses.

The judging panel base their decisions upon areas such as service excellence, quality of the product/ service provided, innovative practices, value, ethical or sustainable methods of working, as well as consistency in performance. The winners selected are those who can best demonstrate their strengths in these areas. Jili Allen Creative were delighted to be recognised.

The Northern Enterprise Awards celebrates the industriousness and the dedication of the businesses and enterprises hailing from the north of England and were particularly impressed with the digital aspects of the company. Jili Allen Creative have designed and built many websites for businesses and individuals throughout the north, from florists to foundations, cathedrals to commerce sites, health care to holiday homes, and adapt their creativity to fulfil and exceed each brief.

Unlike the Prestige and Northern Enterprise Awards, which are location based, The Netty Awards are awards on a national and even international scale.

The Netty Awards said:

“Your exceptional work has set you apart in a field of remarkable entries, truly embodying the spirit of creativity, innovation, and technical proficiency that the Netty Awards celebrates.”

Are you looking for award-winning design? Get in touch and see how we can help.

Graphic Design Sustainability

From web design to brand identity, every aspect of our industry, and of course, our lifestyles in general should be streamlined with sustainability in mind. But how do we go about this?

Here are some general ways graphic design can be more sustainable:

By adopting these sustainable practices, we can contribute to a more environmentally conscious industry and help promote a more sustainable future, together.

Do you need a designer on your wavelength? Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.

Opinion: Specialist Design

My instant thought was yes, as this is advice that I would give to my clients without blinking – to focus on their USP and what they love to do, and the rest will follow. However, talking to myself now, I can understand that this may be a difficult decision to make. 

Having originally qualified (with a first class honours no less – cue trumpet blowing) in Consumer Product Design, my specialisms were in product and fashion. However, as my career and business has evolved, the skill of being able to sit myself in a consumer, client or colleagues shoes and to be able to look at any design project from all perspectives (as we are taught to do in product design) has far reaching advantages for all aspects of design. I have also found that the great richness and complete and utter diversity of my clients; from a pioneering engineering firm, to a self-employed celebrant; keeps me vibrant and excited about what I do.

Could this excitement be distilled into one category? Would I get the same joy from designing a website for an internationally established drinks brand, while also working on a care home brand? Monday, designing pumpkin picking illustrations, and Tuesday, a brochure on decking? I’m not sure.

How narrow to our specialisms need to lie to be effective? Is graphic design too broad a stroke?

We all know the great adage of Jack of all trades, Master of none, but within a trade there are so many facets, where do the boundaries lie? Matt Wheeler of claims “if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one,” which is certainly true when it comes to brand design. You focus on your ideal client base, and be inoffensive to the rest and you’re on to a winner.

Would you prefer a ‘generalist’ or ‘specialist’ design studio to handle your project? There’s no denying a specialism makes you stand out.

This has genuinely made me think.

Perhaps I need to talk to myself a little more often…

For the moment, however, for any and all graphic design, we’re here for you. Contact us at Jili Allen Creative before we close the open door and pop a bouncer on there with a list.

Read the full article here: Sector specialisms: are the risks worth the rewards?

Design vs. Creativity

The word ‘design’ has evolved and I would argue that it has been somewhat diluted from its original form. Design and creativity have always been assumed to be synonymous with each other, with the assumption that all design encompasses creativity.

Design and creativity are closely related but distinct concepts.

There are web ‘designers’ everywhere, who in reality are web ‘makers’ or web ‘builders’. Many Graphic Designers are in fact more ‘artworkers’, either adapting existing templates or putting a given idea into practice. This does not make either of these roles any less valid, but this is where Creative Design stands apart.

Creativity refers to the ability to generate new and original ideas, concepts, or solutions. It involves thinking outside the box, making connections between seemingly unrelated things, and approaching problems from different perspectives.This fundamental human trait exists in numerous areas including art, science, technology and everyday life, and within each domain, it involves idea generation with the ultimate goal of creating something unique.

Design, on the other hand, is the process of intentionally creating and shaping something with a specific purpose or goal in mind. It involves applying creative thinking and problem-solving skills to develop solutions that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and meet the needs of users or clients. Design is often guided by principles, constraints, and objectives, and it requires a systematic approach to transform creative ideas into tangible outcomes.

While creativity is the foundation for design, design develops the practicality of creativity by incorporating additional elements such as functionality, usability, feasibility, and context. Designers use their creative abilities to come up with innovative ideas, but they also consider practical considerations, user needs, market trends, and technical constraints to create effective and meaningful solutions.

So, creativity is the ability to generate new ideas, while design is the intentional process of applying creativity to create purposeful and functional outcomes. Design harnesses creativity to solve problems, meet objectives, and create value.

Now…imagine you had someone at your fingertips that could do both?

A Creative Designer. Someone that could imagine a concept, and action it into reality.

Well, here we are! Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.

Pictured: Conceptual research for seating design from my days as a student in Paris

The font of all knowledge

I’m a self-confessed fonts geek and own more books on font and typeface than is strictly appropriate, so this is something I really am passionate about.

Sarah Hyndman, (another wonderful font aficionado) is also known as Type Tasting and is a great advocate for the power of font. As a self-professed fonts geek, I have always found this to be the starting point in any branding process. Different fonts say, or indeed ‘taste’, different to your audience. This works on the subliminal layering of graphic meaning, which is a topic for a later discussion, but what you need to know now is why it’s important.

Let’s start with the basics:

Choosing the right font is an important aspect of branding that should not be overlooked. By selecting a font that is consistent, legible, reflective of your brand’s personality, and unique, you can create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience.

So, take the time to choose the right font for your business – it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run. Subtle differences in font, may have larger consequences in the communal physche.

Do you need to add consistency to your brand or review the strength of your typeface choices? Whether it’s consultation or actively creating brand guidelines, we can help. Contact us at Jili Allen Creative.