Are you starting a new business? Well, you’ll need a name then won’t you!

Starting a new business and think you’ve come up with the perfect name? How do you know it’s available to use and won’t cause you headaches in the future? Recently, one of my clients came to me for help with this and we worked through my five top tips:

1) Check the Companies Register:

The Companies Office provides a free online search facility where you can check if your potential business name is already registered.

2) Do a Google Search:

A simple Google search can help you see if there are any other businesses with a similar name operating in New Zealand (or is an established brand in international markets). This can help you avoid confusion with customers and potential legal issues.

3) Search the IPONZ Database:

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) provides a free database search where you can check if your potential business name has been registered as a trademark. This will help you avoid infringing on any existing trademark rights. They also have copyright, trade secret and patent information. www.iponz.govt.nz

4) Check for domain name availability:

In today’s digital age, having a website is essential for any business. It’s important to make sure the domain name (also known as your website address or URL) you want is available. Also, consider the length of your URL. Will it be difficult or confusing to spell out to potential clients on the phone? Will it be too long to fit easily on a business card? You can check domain names at the Domain Name Commission NZ (dnc.org.nz) or registrar websites like GoDaddy.com or Freeparking.co.nz

5) Finally, check the name or URL for unintended meanings:

When deciding on a domain name, it’s important to also check the URL for unintended meanings. For example, “woodskill.co.nz” can also be read as “woods-kill.co.nz“. It’s also worth testing out your name with trusted people or potential clients to make sure it doesn’t have any unintended connotations. The urbandictionary.com is a good place to double-check and avoid potential embarrassment in the future.

 

Remember, choosing the right business name is important for your branding and marketing efforts, as well as legal compliance. By following these tips, you can ensure that your potential business name is available and ready to use. Good luck with your business venture!

(Image by rawpixel.com)

 

 

Where to find authentic New Zealand stock photography

As it’s Te Rā o Waitangi – Waitangi Day this week (6 February) I thought I’d highlight five local stock libraries that might be useful.

We’ve all seen it. The generic stock photo of smiling professionals or the “general public” looks decidedly staged or from somewhere other than New Zealand. While It’s usually better to hire a professional photographer to capture bespoke images (especially specific subjects, places or people) the timeframe or budget often doesn’t stretch that far.

If you’re looking for something with a truly New Zealand flavour what are the options?

 

1) Truestock

“Exclusive, royalty-free local stock images capturing an authentic, diverse and multicultural Aotearoa.”

Starting at $40 for an XS image to $450 for an XL image, there are various discounts and alternative licenses available.*

Truestock offers a good range of authentic-looking meeting, school, shopping and farming images with a diverse range of kiwis.

 

 

2) Picky

“This is Picky – a growing collection of New Zealand stock and mockup images from top local photographers. Royalty-free & easy to use.”

Starting from $125+GST for online only use Picky offers a 12-month market freeze on an image as well as images that would only be used for internal presentations rather than commercial applications.*

Picky has a range of great range of mock-ups including posters, billboards, food and drink products, phones and apparel that you can add your designs to. Mock ups start from $80 +GST. These mock ups are intended for use in pitches, portfolio presentations and award applications so please check the restrictions.

 

 

3) My Chillybin

Want images showing a slice of NZ life? The most comprehensive range of NZ people and other images is right here at mychillybin.”

This library has been for around many years and most recently helped me find images of older people for a social housing brochure. Lots to look at here including some cultural images of marae, carvings, flax and kete.

Images are from $25 for small to $100 for large photographs. You can also buy credits, get a subscription or purchase an image exclusively.*

 

4) Excio

“New Zealand Image Library providing affordable access to fresh, authentic photographs based on Excio unique PhotoToken concept.”

Excio is a community-driven image library that works on a different model. They have a big membership of photographers and work with PhotoTokens for image buyers. It’s not a subscription but for $500 you can access 500 images in the first year, with ongoing access with an annual renewal fee.* This could be a great option to check out if you have a big project or an ongoing requirement for kiwi images. I know for definite they are real people because I spotted myself performing with my dancing group in Wellington!

 

5) NZ stock images.co.nz 

Royalty Free Stock Images and Videos from around New Zealand”

This is exclusively landscapes featuring photos and videos from a drones-eye-view. Locations include Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tāupo, New Plymouth along with Bay of Plenty and Marlborough. So, a more specialized stock library, but a photo of Oriental Bay, Wellington or an atmospheric fly-by video of the Northland coast could be just what you were looking for (from $175 and $400 respectively).*

*Note: Prices mentioned are to give you a general idea of the options offered. Please check websites for exact prices and licensing options.    

I’d love to hear if you’ve found any other useful stock libraries out there.

Check out my other blog about other stock library options here.

 

Ka Kite, see you again

 

Some years ago, I was involved in one of the first bilingual traffic signs in Aotearoa New Zealand for Porirua City Council. It got some media attention at the time and I’ve noticed that bilingual signage is becoming much more common.

 

Tree-lined suburban street with cars and a blue road sign with white words that read āta haere slow down

Porirua’s first bilingual road signs mark the streets around Takapuwahia Marae.

 

Some of the examples I’ve seen are council signage by Porirua City Council and Wellington City Council.

 

White pole with a blue sign against a bright blue sky

Porirua City Council signage in Pukerua Bay, Porirua.

 

Out of interest, I looked to see if there were any bilingual signage guidelines out there. I found that Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Māori Development have put out a resource called ‘Māori-English Bilingual Signage. A guide for best practice’.

Their objective for developing the bilingual signage guidelines is to “Increase the visibility of te reo Māori in public spaces within the government (central and local) extending to business sectors, and thereby increase the usage of te reo Māori in every day conversation.”

They say when developing bilingual signage the key principles are:

  • Responsive and accessible services
  • Visibility of language
  • Equality of language
  • Quality of language

Te Puni Kōkiri says that embracing te reo Māori and culture in everyday public life helps establish a shared national identity and builds goodwill and social cohesion within Aotearoa New Zealand. That it’s a good business practice as it can help build staff pride, morale, and loyalty.

 

“Bilingual signage also offers the opportunity for organisational development through building staff capability to speak te reo Māori, and therefore their ability to work with Māori communities, and to communicate and negotiate with a range of customers in diverse situations.”

 

Te Puni Kōkiri’s guide is based on international literature and the United Nation’s best-practice principles of bilingual and multi-lingual language planning guidelines adopted in policies and guidelines in many countries. They say “the typographic rules applying to bilingual signage as an internationally recommended standard shows the “first language” (the one being revived), i.e.
the Māori text is at least as large as the font for the English text even if the text in one language is longer. Further, if this is not practical in terms of the eye easily reading at a glance, then the Māori text should dominate. The rationale is that English is an international language that most people know and understand. Customers will, therefore, have little difficulty in navigating themselves towards a building or within its work-spaces, or websites.”

 

“It makes sense to have the Māori on top; that’s how we keep the language alive.” DEPARTMENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

 

Black panel painted on a white wall with the words wharepaku toilets and some toilet icons

Bilingual toilet signage in Arapaki Manners Library, Wellington City.

 

All great stuff but how exactly do we put that into practice? What does it look like?

Luckily TPK have distilled the main design points into a PDF.  I’ve listed their Do and Don’t points below.

 

Cream panel with various bilingual signs

Some tips taken from TPK’s “Design tips to support quality bilingual signage” PDF

Bilingual signage tips

DO:

  • Have the font for the Māori text at least as large as the font for the English, even if one text runs longer.
  • Use an equal typeface for the Māori and English.
  • Use the same font style for the Māori and English.
  • Apply colour coding to text and or language – separating background panel.
  • Be consistent in all signs with the same colour and position for each language.
  • Consider how a pictogram might reduce the amount of text required.
  • Place Māori first, either stacked or side by side.
  • If both Māori and English cannot be easily read because signage is ‘visibly biased’ consider having the Māori only.

DON’T:

  • Assign a heavier font or colour for English.
  • Apply a dominant visual style to English.
  • Use italics or symbols (– or /) to separate Māori and English.
  • Squash Māori to match English text.
  • Use CAPITALS to differentiate languages (e.g. CAPITALS and upper and lower case).
  • Double up on icons.

As always there is more to learn, and I look forward to putting these tips into practice.

 

Here are some of the resources I found that you might find useful:

 

 

 

 

Letter a with macron in different bright colours on a white background

Kia ora.

Te Reo Māori is the indigenous language of Aotearoa, New Zealand and one of three official languages of the nation. Its use is increasing in professional and everyday life. As a designer that means designing with fonts that can accommodate macrons as they are an integral part of the language.

I’m going to share some simple ways to find some macron enabled fonts to use in your designs.

I’ve made a quick video of some of the ways here.

Google Fonts

Google font homepage

This a great resource of all of the typefaces listed in the Google Fonts directory are open source. More info about the licence here.

On the home page you can add a word with macrons under ‘custom’ in the search bar. You can then see if the fonts available have macrons. Another option is to select ‘Latin Extended’ in the ‘Language’ button list. This should exclude most fonts that don’t have macrons.

Adobe Fonts (Typekit)

Screenshot of Adobe Font search window

If you’re using Creative Cloud you’ll know you can access Adobe Fonts. When searching in Adobe Fonts you can paste a word with macrons into the ‘Sample Text’ window. This will show a range of fonts and the ones that do not support macrons will have a crossed box replacing the macronised letters.

Screenshot of Indesign Glyph window

If you’re already in Indesign or Illustrator you can add or check whether the font you’re using has macrons by going to Window>Type>Glyphs and selecting ‘Entire Font’ in the ‘Select’ window. Scroll through to see if there are macrons. Double clicking on any of the letters will add them into a text box you have open.

Canva

 

screenshot of selecting different typefaces in Canva

If you’re using Canva, select a template or one of your existing designs. In a typebox paste a word containing a macron. With that typebox selected you can click on the typeface button in the top left of the editing banner which will open a window of different fonts. Most of the popular fonts accommodated macrons when I checked them. If they don’t there is a basic default font used.

It’s so great there are many macron enabled font options out there which makes it easier for designers to do the right thing! Here are a couple of other resources that I’ve also found useful.

Other useful resources:

Ka pai!

Three file icons on a pink background with a question mark on the front of each file

Every now and then I’m asked; “Did you work on this?”

Each time, I’m reminded that the extra bit of effort required to number, name and file a job properly is worth it for those occasions when I’ll need to retrieve it.

Recently, I was asked this question about a project that had lots of iterations over the years… including a company name change. I didn’t have the job number, but I did know the client and the project name.

With a quick bit of digging, I found all the artwork files in the cloud and on archived DVDs. Turns out they were from 2012, 2014 and 2015.

I’ve been working with this client for 14 years and most, if not all, the staff have moved on. I was delighted that my archive provided a kind of outsourced ‘institutional knowledge’ storage system.

With staff turnover and different filing systems, sometimes clients will ask me to source a logo or photo they’re having trouble locating in-house. Or sometimes a project is being reprinted or updated.

Diagram showing the different parts of a file name

Whatever the reason, my job number, client code, description/keyword and date filing system hasn’t let me down yet!

 

The words ask more questions as a framed picture on a wall

If you’ve got a project coming up that needs some design input, I recommend you ask yourself these simple questions before talking to a designer. Not only will it save time (because you’ll have a lot of the preparation covered) it should also save money spent on design. The designer will have the information they need to get on with the job and not waste time chasing things up.

  • Do specific fonts or colours need to be used as per your organisation’s branding? Do you have a copy of the brand guidelines and high resolution versions of your logo?
  • Are there any particular images/photos you’d like to use? Are they good quality and is there any photo credit or attribution required?
  • Will the copy supplied to the designer be a final version signed off by the appropriate authority and proof-read (in-house or professionally)? Or will there be changes once it has been laid out?
  • Are other organisations involved and do their logos need to be included in the design? Do you have access to high resolution versions of their logo?
  • Will the final product be digital or physically printed and who is organising the printing?

Scattered polaroid photographs on a dark background

From my experience images, especially photos, are the one thing that often hamstring a project. You may be required to show particular things or particular people. If the only photos you have of these things are poor quality then this will limit design options. It’s much better to provide your designer with a realistic idea about the images they’ll have to work with upfront. Then they can come up with a design solution that accommodates the images and is not ruined by them. If you need New Zealand specific images check out my blog about stock images.

If you’d like some more tips about getting the best out of your designer check out this interview I did with Angela at Halo Communications.

Communicating information rather than driving sales

What if your aim is to impart information to an audience that isn’t particularly engaged? Or the data is technical, complicated or copious? The answer is often to simplify where possible and cherry-pick the most pertinent or surprising facts.

In a previous blog I talked about the quirks of designing for the public sector  and that the challenge of making information easier to ‘take in’ and comprehend is something I deal with a lot. Here are some approaches that I’ve used to highlight facts or tell a story:

1) Pull out percentages and enlarge for visual impact

pie chart

A pie chart and pull out percentage from the QEII Annual Report, designed by Pogo based on their existing brand guidelines.

 

2) Multiple symbols to represent quantities

A snippet from Pogo’s Annual Report for Capacity.

 

3) Timeline

timeline showing photos of different types of motorbike

TImeline to celebrate 100 years of Motorcycling New Zealand by Pogo.

 

4) Maps

Road upgrades on Kapiti Road were shown on this map design by Pogo for Kapiti Coast District Council

 

5) Icons/pictograms

abstract map of wellington with pie charts and percentages showing travel types into the city

Pogo’s infographic showing travel into Wellington City for the Wellington Regional Growth Framework

6) Diagrams

One of several diagrams describing different models in the ‘Alive and Well’ document designed for Upper Hutt City Council and Lumin.

7) Illustrations

Illustration of a dune in profile

One of the illustration showing dune erosion in the brochure (by Pogo) for Kapiti Council City Council

 

Selling features and benefits

If you are a business selling products or services, differences can be distinguished by colour-coding or with benefits/features highlighted by icons. Using a table to compare costs, features and benefits is a popular and effective way for customers to decide which option they want.

table showing features and benefits of a product

Features and benefits table laid out for Kestrel Group.

Other things to consider

Getting through to your audience is paramount. Being more accessible and inclusive will help with this. I’m by no means an expert but areas to think about include:

  • People with visual disabilities and low vision
  • People with learning difficulties, including dyslexia etc
  • People with limited literacy
  • Different languages
  • Being inclusive with gender, ethnicities

The UK Home Office put together a set of accessibility posters which are great resource.

Check out the previous infographic blog here.

If you have any infographic questions, feel free to get in touch.

 

 

 

abstract map of wellington with pie charts and percentages showing travel types into the city

We live in an increasingly complex world and are bombarded with information 24/7. To have any chance of catching and holding a customer’s attention it helps to be very clear about what you want to say and present that information in an eye-catching or easy to digest form.

Infographics (or information graphics) is described by oxfordreference.com as “visual representations of data, information, or concepts.”

 

A recent article by The Guardian, about New Zealand’s clear messaging during the Covid-19 pandemic, highlights how important it is to have a clear communication strategy and how it is delivered.

“Information design may seem a superficial front by which to assess a pandemic response; but whatever course a government chooses to take against the virus – whether it be elimination, control or herd immunity – it is effective only insofar as people understand it.”

One example they reference is the use of simple black and white pictograms to illustrate public health directives, chosen for their inclusivity, compared to examples of less successful campaigns in other countries.

 

illustration of public health messages

‘Unite against Covid’ public health illustrations.

While most projects do not have the same pressing importance as a government’s pandemic response, using appropriate infographics will often help people understand the story you want to tell them.

Infographics can be divided into three basic types:

  • Data visualization (charts, graphs etc)
  • Information design (concepts or other information, such as process, anatomy, chronology, or hierarchy.)
  • Editorial infographics (graphic content to replace more traditional editorial features)

Example of editorial infographic from www.good.is/infographics

Part two of this blog can be read here.

Colour illustration of a prawn

When I got involved in producing a book project recently (see my blog’s about this here and here) I thoroughly enjoyed creating some collage illustrations. During the process I revisited some favourite stock libraries for images and even discovered a new one!

There are heaps of stock libraries, but I like the following ones for their ease of use, great images and user-friendly licensing conditions. Always, always, always check out the licensing info before using – you don’t want to inadvertently find yourself in hot water!

My top picks for free sites are:

  • Rawpixel 

    rawpixel.com This is my new discovery and includes some “fantastic public domain and vintage design resources with a CCO Licence”
    CCO = Creative Commons licence (see explanation below!)

  • Unsplash

    unsplash.com for some beautiful images “powered by creators everywhere”

  • Pixabay

    pixabay.com

  • Pexels

    pexels.com

 

website page showing a stock photograph of a Marae roof in front of a blue sky

And great paid sites include:

Painting of older woman's face with black background.

Detail of Mme. François Buloz (Christine Blaze) (1879) by John Singer Sargent from Raw Pixel.

Don’t get caught out

As mentioned, different sites have different licensing requirements always check the license to make sure your intended use of the image is covered.

  • Many sites like unsplash encourage the use of photo credits to the contributors.
  • The Creative Commons licence: “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain”.
  • You don’t get exclusive use of stock photography so some popular images can get used extensively. Stock images are great but if you need unique images for your business hiring a professional photographer can be a great investment.

I hope these tips help.

google search page

A popular images from unsplash that crops o=up in lots of places.

 

Different design projects require different colour systems depending on how they are being produced. In a brand guide for example, there will be usually be CMYK and RGB values for the different brand colours. What’s the difference between them and why do we need both?

 

CMYK is created with ink

A full range of colours are created by adding physical Cyan (bright blue) Yellow, Magenta (bright pink) and Black inks on white paper.
Any project that will be physically printed with ink rather than on a digital screen.

CMYK values range between 0 – 100.
No covering of ink = 0
100% covered of ink = 100

 

Black (completely covered in ink) has a value of:

C: 100

M: 100

Y:100

K:100

 

While white (no ink) has a value of:

C: 0

M: 0

Y:0

K:0

 

Please note: There is a minimum and maximum value of ink coverage for the best printing result. General guidelines are not going below 10% for minimum ink coverage or over 280 -300% for maximum ink coverage but will depend on the type of paper or ‘stock’ being used.

Some colours can’t be reproduced using the CMYK system (such as fluorescent orange or reflex blue) . Another option is a“spot colour “ using special inks in the Pantone colour matching system.

 

RGB is created with light

Starting with a black digital screen Red, Green and Blue light are added to create colour.
Anything that is created electronically for a digital screen uses RGB colour.

RGB values have a range between 0 – 255 for each colour denoting the amount of light added.

 

Black (no light) for example, has a RGB value of:

R: 0

G: 0

B: 0

 

Whereas white (maximum light) has the highest value for red, green and blue lights, creating white.

R: 255

G: 255

B: 255

 

Please note: Some colours that look bright and vibrant on screen are hard to recreate physically with CMYK ink. Especially bright orange and some light turquoise blues.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any colour queries.