Logos, Web Design, Business Cards, Etc.

Business By tootie0809 Updated 31 Jan 2009 , 3:57am by classiccake

tootie0809 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 1:52pm
post #1 of 32

For those of you who have a website or have a logo along with your business name for cards, invoices, and advertising, where did you get your logo and design? Did you work with a professional or make one up on your own? Also, for those with a website, any tips or information you care to share about bulding an effective website?

31 replies
indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 3:57pm
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If you work with a professional, be sure it's someone who knows about marketing and not just a graphic designer. I explain the difference as "A graphic designer knows HOW to fit the info on the biz card ... a marketing guy knows WHAT info to put on the biz card". My marketing guy actually hires a graphics guy to do the 'bricks and mortar' stuff after the marketing guy does his thing.

My personal opinion on websites ... and you'll get lots of good ideas from other folks on here, too ...
- No music. Brides may be browsing at work and if wedding music comes on, then their boss knows they are goofing off and the bride will quickly click out of your website and move on to someone elses.
- easy-on-the-eyes background. Fancy dancy wallpaper may look pretty but this is a website, not a wall hanging.
- Test print one of your website pages. I was printing out a website info page and while it looked ok on the screen, once it printed out, it was unreadable.
- No funky fonts. 20-something brides are not the only ones looking. Moms and gramma's are also looking and we old folks are in the bi-focal stage of life!
- Font should be big enough to read but not so bold that it jumps out and scares you. Refer to bi-focal reasoning above.
- If you're not going to list your specific address, at LEAST list your city and gen'l delivery area. Someone in California who finds you via an internet search will need to know that you're in Delaware.
- I personally don't like the "fill out this form" type of contact page. Many times I want to contact someone and the form is not applicable to my question .. I don't have an event date, or cake flavor, or number of guests ... I just have a question.
- Your About Me page should be a SHORT resume of your cake creating background and be a reason why they should call YOU instead of someone else. Contrary to what we think, we are NOT as fascinating to other people as we are to ourselves, so keep it short.
- Have some kind of price reference. Even if you price each cake individually due to design elements, brides/clients want to know ABOUT how much a cake will cost. I've seen "Cakes start at $x.xx per serving. Final price depends on final design." Or "Cake pricing averages between $3-6/person, depending on design." At least give them an idea.
- Don't divide your cake pics into too many categories. Saw one where they had categories of Birthday, Celebration, Special Occasion. icon_confused.gif Ok, sorry, but what's the difference here? Remember, you're talking to cake civilians!
- Have a FAQ page ... think about the things you seem to always be explaining (payment methods, lead time to order, delivery & pick up options, etc.)

UltimateCakes Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:11pm
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Vista Print is a good website to create your own logo and business cards etc. Affordable. Google allows you to create a free website and so does Myspace. If you sign up with Merchant Circle, they have affordable site hosting rates and advertising, plus the option to connect with other local business that will increase your visibility.

mndy204 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:13pm
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This is a very helpful respnse, thanks indydeb!! I didn't ask the question, but I learned a lot!! thumbs_up.gif

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:22pm
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Ditto Debi..

I hate music on sites.. I don't care how soothing you might think it is just say no.

A clean site is the most important thing you can have. Something that looks inviting and PROFESSIONAL. I have said it before and I know that some find it harsh, but I think if you are going to have a site it's worth paying for it. You don't want a site that screams "I'm a free template site". Make an investment in your business. I'm not saying go out and spend thousands getting a site completely made for you, but there are template sites out there that will give you a very professional looking site for not a ton of money.

WHat Debi said about yout About Us page is GREAT advice. No one wants to read about how you love to collect this or that or enjoy long walks on the beach or that your kids did the funniest thing on your business site. Keep it short and very on point. Tell them what makes your product special and what you have accomplished in cake and leave it at that. The other stuff is for your personal blog or something like that.

I am also put off by fill in the blank questionaires and on-line order forms. Your contact page should list your phone number, address, and have a place for them to type out a message. And for those who are in the camp of I'd never give out my personal info on the web.. I'm sorry, but if this is your business.. you are already out there. You need to be accessible to your clients.. and keeping it all a mystery will put people off.

Pricing is important.. so have something on there that lets them know where your pricing stands.

Too many gallery divisions is SUCH a pain. Tell me the difference between a birthday and a special occasion.. icon_confused.gif come on now. Jacques Fine Pastries is a place that is not too too far from me.. their gallery page is ridiculous.. they have so many galleries that it's hard to find all of their images.

Your website and business cards should flow together.. even if it's only in color scheme. It should appear like a total package.

JenWhitlock Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:22pm
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I, of course, agree whole-heartily with indydebi!!!
I would say when it comes to webpages or other stuff - try to image yourself as a client. e.g. I like to bookmark or email a particular item. so my navigation allows you to do that, i.e. I don't use a flash-based photo gallery.

also, if you are just starting or goofing around for a while and are not going to be purchasing a domain, I would recomend shutterfly as a host. I've used a few different ones and really like the shutterfly software (both look and usablity)
your site URL will look like: [yourname].shutterfly.com
which isn't too bad for a free site!

I made my own business cards, but I would recomend searching the business section here for a lot of good advise. I used Vistaprint to print them and it has been great.

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:29pm
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I like flash sites.. I think they are sharp and professional looking and give a little wow factor with the animation. They look like you spent a ton on them which is nice to a potential client (superficial I know, but it's the business). Not to say that HTML sites can't also be nice, but they are limited in what they can do.

tootie0809 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:35pm
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Wow, you guys are great! Thanks for the detailed information. I am writing all fo these things down so I remenber them. I agree, I HATE music on a website. It always startles me and I kinda jump up in my seat the first second I hear it too. For those that have websites, do you feel that they are a big marketing tool? Do you get a lot of traffic and/or business from people who look at your website? Thanks everyone!

JenWhitlock Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:37pm
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I actually agree with you.
I agree that if you are serious, you should definitely purchase a great website. I think that is says a lot, and I find it annoying when a professional has a badly done website.
presentation is VERY important. you'd think we should know this because, we are, afterall cake decrators icon_lol.gif

also, I agree with you about the flash websites. they are beautiful. and they give off a very professional quality. it's just a personal preference (and a time issue) for me. I just wanted to illustrate that you should think through how you want people to use you site as a "end-user" or client. (although we can certainly lead ourselves astray and should get external input - oh for example, HERE icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif )

indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:43pm
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tootie, it's an AWESOME marketing tool! I not only have my menus and pricing listed, but brides can download my Budget Wizard and just by plugging in their expected headcount, they can figure their total cost right down to the penny before they ever call me. It's a pre-qualifier tool .... those who figure ahead of time that they can't afford me, don't call and waste my time. Those who figure they can afford me, well, the battle is half done ... we'll just be meeting to set the details.

I also recently paid $1200 to have my website optimized ... so it comes up on the front pages during a general search. Best money I ever spent!!! I've been found by places like Macy's Dept Store (St. Louis Corporate office) and local colleges for their events ... they never would have found me without the optimization! It took me 4-5 years to decide to get this done, and my thinking now is "what the heck took you so long?" (other than that lack of money thing!) icon_rolleyes.gif

95% of my business comes from the internet. The rest is from word-of-mouth referrals.

indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:46pm
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Originally Posted by JenWhitlock

also, I agree with you about the flash websites...... it's just a personal preference (and a time issue) for me.

Me, too. I prefer to click on the pictures at my own pace (and my own choice) instead of being forced to sit there and wait for the next pic to scroll thru. The pics either move too fast or too slow. It's just personally irritating.

l80bug79 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:55pm
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE Vista print. they always have a ton of stuff for free so you can try stuff out. got another shipment today actually. I have my website thru them it's free for the first month and then after that they have different ones available from $5 to $20 a month depending on what you want. it's really good for me because i'm in the in between stages of hobby and side business so the less money i have to put out is good for me. I also have a myspace acct. have a personal one too, so i reach my "friends" there. most people with a myspace acct checks their acct every day, and they can see when you upload new photos, send out a bulletin, etc. they're not going to go to your website every day to see what's new. that's my thoughts on it.

i agree about the music. not a fan of that. especially since monst people who are looking are "surfing" while they should be working icon_smile.gif

I also agree on the gallery. I only have my wedding stuff seperate and it's on the wedding page. I do have my photos seperated within the page. but cakes are cakes, cupcakes are cupcakes and cookies are cookies. i don't have a seperate tab for which occasion you're looking for. But i figure that for those who have "special occasion" bday cakes, etc divided out of their gallery they get hits on all of their pictures. I know when i go to sites like that and i'm looking to see if they have something peticular, I look thru the different tabs to see if they're in birthday, special occasion, grooms, etc.

SpoonfulofSugar Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 4:56pm
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Wow...this is all very good info...thanks for asking such a good question I'm currenlty working on a website as well....my DH is a programmer so he is actually working on it. I totally agree with no music. I also do think it will be a great marketing tool. I've noticed the first thing people ask me is what's your website? so I can't wait to have it up and running. I also agree with listing your prices.....when I was getting married that was a turn off b/c you automatically think well they must be really expensive since they don't list prices.....good luck

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:02pm
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See on a flash site you can click on any image in the slide show and look at it for as long (or as little) as you want. You don't HAVE to sit through the slide show. icon_smile.gif Perhaps that's something not a lot of people know about a flash site?

kellertur Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:09pm
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Thank you for this post ~ thumbs_up.gif

Swede-cakes Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:12pm
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There's some great advice here, for sure! One of the things you should think about is any "extras" you put on your website. Flash is fine if it's done tastefully. However, floating butterflies, falling snow, kaleidoscope-type swirling frame changes can sometimes be distracting from the photos and message you're trying to get across. So, yes, take time to view your site as an end-user, or have someone who's opinion you trust take a look at it from that perspectve.

I wholeheartedly agree that Vistaprint.com ROCKS! I've purchased 250 bus. cards when they were on sale for $3.99, then changed them a bit (due to my own error) and happened to catch a Free sale.

I also ordered a car magnet that says,"Please don't tailgate...Wedding Cake On Board" with my website address at the bottom. It's about 9" x 11". I ordered a pen with my info on it, and 25 business card magnets, ALL FREE. I only paid shipping. I love goodies! icon_biggrin.gif

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:15pm
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Oh I agree totally about the crazy extra stuff.. animated backgrounds.. trailing pointers.. all yuck. Any animation you have on your site should be restricted to between frames when you click on different areas.. fade in and fade outs.. things like that. If I come to a site that is over the top with the silly stuf I pass on it.

chefjulie Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:31pm
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One thing that annoys the crap out of me is when the website doesnt FIT the page!! An up and down scroll is ok, but I HATE when I have to scroll side to side!!!

GLEIGH75 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:39pm
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As someone in the marketing business with a degree in public relations and marketing I can tell you that it's always best to work with a marketing person who has a graphic artist that they like to work with. Graphic artists are amazing and talented and do things that I never ever could but often get bogged down in their art and you don't want to end up with a logo that looks cools but is unreadable and you had to pay for. A marketing person can filter through that kind of stuff and be a discerning eye for a graphic artist.

And just to agree to everyone else Web sites are so so so important for anyone doing business today! And all the advice everyone has given you has been awesome.

P.S. Love your doggie pic icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 5:50pm
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Originally Posted by chefjulieatkins

One thing that annoys the crap out of me is when the website doesnt FIT the page!! An up and down scroll is ok, but I HATE when I have to scroll side to side!!!

Me, too, on this one! And the sad part is, I think my photo pages on my website are like that! icon_redface.gif sometimes it depends on what kind of screen you have ..... hubby's computer has a landscape screen and he sees so much more on his screen than I do. But I don't know how to prevent the side scrolling. Oh well .... 95% of my pics are on my Flickr site and those fit the screen ok! thumbs_up.gif

jkalman, agree with the "silly stuff". To me, it's cutesy and "little girly" ... ok if you're a mommy sharing her kids crayon drawings ... not ok if you want to be taken seriously as a business.

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 6:23pm
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Another thing that bugs me is when people have political or religious stuff on their business sites. I have no problem with anyone's political or religious views, but I don't think it belongs on a business site unless you are working for a political campaign or a church. If I see that sort of a thing on a site I pass on by too.

I hate tha side scroll too.. icon_lol.gif

tootie0809 Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 9:11pm
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I'm so glad I asked these questions! CC members are the best! icon_smile.gif I was kind of thinking of putting off a website until later on down the road, but I think, after reading all the wonderful tips and opinions here, that I'll start working on it as soon as I have my food license and am legit. Okay, this is probably a really hard question to answer since it varies from area to area, but what should I ballpark expect to fork out for a decent website done by a marketing advisor?

FromScratch Posted 10 Oct 2008 , 9:48pm
post #23 of 32

If you are having someone build to your specs.. you can expect to shell out upwards of a couple thousand dollars (of course some will be cheaper, but it's not cheap), but you can get a nice looking site by buying a quality template. My site is a template design. It cost me $100 and another $100 per year for hosting. It was a great investment in my business, and didn't break the bank. icon_biggrin.gif

momtobtb Posted 11 Oct 2008 , 1:18am
post #24 of 32

I am another one that thinks a website is very important to business.

I also have a flash site and I think it's the best money I've paid. It's a premade flash template from winklet web design and I had it customized with extra pages and a calendar option to show my available dates. My customers tell me they've never seen one like it in our area and it's what draws them in to my cakes. I've received so many compliments and customers because of it. It cost me around $150 or so.

One thing about flash sites, you have the option of turning the music off and slowing down the speed of the picture slideshows. In my gallery you can even just click on the picture numbers to take you to the next one.

For the galleries, I did have them all lumped together at one point, but I thought it was important to at least seperate the birthdays from the wedding and from the rest of the special occasions.

Vistaprint is awesome! I had my business cards done through them.

MichelleM77 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 7:03pm
post #25 of 32

I didn't have the money to have a logo made, so I put out a request to the local college's graphic design program to do a swap of services. I made cookies for a graphic designer's senior show and he made me a logo. Now I'm a simple gal so I knew he could do what I wanted (he actually wanted to go more flashy and busy, had to keep telling him to simplify icon_smile.gif ), but this might not be the route everyone wants to go. Either way, it worked out great for me and it only cost me a few batches of cookies. This is also an option if you would like a more professional website done but can't afford it right now. If you contact the school before they have their "lessons" set up for the year, you can actually have your request as one of their assignments, so you could have a whole class working on your logo/website and then get to pick the one you like! They get added portofolio info and you get a logo/website!

I made my own website through Homestead.com and with the use of their meta tag feature, I come up pretty close to the top for a lot of general searches in my area. I'm sure I could pay to have a better listing, but I'm happy where I am for right now.

I had my business cards printed through Vista Print as well. I thought I was stuck to their templates for a long time. You can actually remove certain things and move them around. I moved a border so it was on the top and bottom (I did the vertical layout) and also removed the patterned background of little hearts. Added my logo and my info and I have what started out as their template, but made it uniquely mine. I got a free logo magnet for the car for just the cost of shipping too. icon_smile.gif

Again, their might be a cheaper or better way of going about these things, but I can only afford a few bucks at a time right now and Vista Print works for me.

mcdonald Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 7:15pm
post #26 of 32

great information ladies!!! I think I will get started on something like this for my business. Time to get a little more exposure... sounds like it helps!!!

BitsnBites Posted 23 Jan 2009 , 11:41pm
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You can have a decent website made to your specifications on one of those Freelance pages.

You just place what you want and the most you are willing to pay and let the bidding start. They can even send you exactly what they would do and experience and all that so you can make an informed choice and not just go with the lowest bidder.

You can get some really great web designers for really really ridicously low prices. My brother started like this. He was working for like $300 for custom websites.

Hope this helps.

jammjenks Posted 24 Jan 2009 , 3:06am
post #28 of 32

I use vistaprint for all my stuff: t-shirts (so DH and I would match at an advertising gig we did), business cards, lawn signs, fridge magnets, car magnet, postcards, and even my web hosting.

cambo Posted 24 Jan 2009 , 4:41pm
post #29 of 32
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

I didn't have the money to have a logo made, so I put out a request to the local college's graphic design program to do a swap of services. I made cookies for a graphic designer's senior show and he made me a logo. Now I'm a simple gal so I knew he could do what I wanted (he actually wanted to go more flashy and busy, had to keep telling him to simplify icon_smile.gif ), but this might not be the route everyone wants to go. Either way, it worked out great for me and it only cost me a few batches of cookies. This is also an option if you would like a more professional website done but can't afford it right now. If you contact the school before they have their "lessons" set up for the year, you can actually have your request as one of their assignments, so you could have a whole class working on your logo/website and then get to pick the one you like! They get added portofolio info and you get a logo/website!

Michelle, this is EXCELLENT advice! Just yesterday my neighbor (who is a teacher at a local joint vocational school) suggested I give their CIS/computer graphics department a call! I did and the teacher was VERY interested in my "brand/marketing" project! Currently I have a very generic logo....just wording and a picture, but he would like to have an end-of-year project for his students to work on at their leisure that could encompass brand identity as well as website construction/functionality! I had hoped to move to a blu site sooner than later, but I think I'll hold-out a little longer to see what their creative minds come up with!

This is a great thread....full of great advice! Also, Jkalman, you're right, not a lot of people realize they don't HAVE to sit through the slide-shows on flash sites. I personally prefer flash over html....just looks more professional and polished, however, there is NOTHING wrong with html sites....I still have one!

CrystalEyez Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 7:53pm
post #30 of 32

hello all! i'm new cake decorating, but an experience graphic/web designer and worked at an ad agency for a few years.

some things that i just wanted to comment on regarding logos and websites and such.

be very careful about using clip art and graphics that you find online for your logo, or even on your website and printed material. the last thing you want to do is caught up in a copyright issue. make sure that you have permission to use the graphics. if you are working with a graphic designer, be sure to come to an agreement on paper about the copyright of the creation. also, make sure that you are not doing something similar to an already established logo, especially if it is trademarked. that's when fines and law suits come into play over an innocent little graphic.

also in regards to logos, keep it simple and make sure that it can work in different applications and multiple sizes. this means ginormous posters and ity bity pen type deals. what you are looking for is that everything in your logo is still recognizable. this is why you want to use simple shapes and lines and don't go too crazy on details. you may be able to print some effects, but that does not mean it can always be recreated in embroidery and certain sign making techniques.

determine if you have a set color scheme that you want to use. and if you are going to be getting them professionally printed (not at home and not at kinkos) then you may want to discuss with the designer or the printhouse about using Pantone colors. if you choose a specific shade of red out of a pantone color book and it is instructed to use that particular red when printing, then it will always be that particular shade of red. but you will also want to make sure that the logo will work in black and white, grayscale, all black, and all white and still be recognizable.

the suggestions made here about websites, especially the initial ones from indydebi are fantastic and right on point. now when it comes to flash sites, 2 things to consider:
1. give the visitor the option to choose between a flash site or a traditional html site
2. although flash sites are great and do pretty amazing stuff, is it really necessary? they do require load times which can vary for each user and some people are very much put off by it.

if you decide to hire someone to build your website, make sure that an agreement is made about the maintenance. either you pay them to make revisions or you have them build a site with a Content Management System that allows you to make changes without having to learn the proper code. the way i used to do it was as part of the proposal build the website as one cost and then give them the option of pay as you go maintenance which billed by the hour which could be as little as $75/hr or up to$125/hr, or put them on a monthly maintenance plan where each month they pay a predetermined amount, let's say $50 and they get up to 5 hours of revisions for the month, going over the 5 hours they would pay the hourly rate. but even if revisions weren't made, the monthly fee was still paid, kind of like a cell phone plan. (pretty big difference in price if you look at it though)

as for printing, i have actually preferred 48hourprint.com. they were just always cheaper and higher quality than Vista print in my opinion. But it's always best to shop around and ALWAYS request samples.

Sorry for the long winded reply, but i have just seen so many badly done logos and businesses go under for not taking the time to learn the legal side of graphics that i would hate to see it happen to anyone here.

Good Luck!

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