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Updates, marketing news & tips.

New Marketing for The John Chapman Law Firm

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As a business and estate litigation lawyer, John Chapman serves the Sarasota and Bradenton areas with over twenty years of experience backing him up. From construction, real estate or contract disputes, The John Chapman Law Firm is committed to providing sound advice and comprehensive legal services. With each client, his motive remains the same: to resolve issues in a way that benefits them. When John came to us for marketing advice, our motive at Think Donson was to get this message seen and heard.

Having a long term relationship with Felicia and her quality of work, John gave Think Donson a go-ahead to create a new website featuring original graphic design, data reporting and local directory management abilities. John said, “I was looking for good, or a better product than I was getting from my current provider.”

With a new website including easy navigation, responsive design and a professional, clean look, John’s requests became an actuality. An all in one reporting platform allows him to see all of his data channels in one customized dashboard. A local directory management tool allows his online presence known.

When all was said and done, John noted that “…the quality of work, personal service and quick turnaround” from Think Donson made his marketing transition an easy choice. 

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Why white space?

whywhitespace blogart sIn graphic design, the use of white space is incredibly important for many reasons. But first, let’s start with Wikipedia’s definition of the term: In page layout, illustration and sculpture, white space is often referred to as negative space. It is the portion of a page left unmarked: the space between graphics, margins, gutters, space between columns, space between lines of type or figures and objects drawn or depicted.
 
The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper. White space should not be considered merely 'blank' space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition. - Wikipedia

White space gives the viewer a place for their eye to rest. A page or website crammed with too much information or images confuses the eye and the client will quickly look elsewhere, to another page in the publication or in search for another website that is more visually appealing. Some of my clients originally believed that leaving white space was essentially a waste of advertising space. “You need to fill all the space!” they would say – but actually it is the opposite – and the design becomes more inviting to the viewer. The elements stand out better when there is breathing room!

The advantages of white space in design:
 
• White space attracts the eye and gives you a place to rest
• Improves readability
• Makes the pieces look cleaner, elegant, and sophisticated
• Gives more focus to the product
• Helps with movement and the importance of elements on the page
• Separates items
 
“ Negative space is magical – create it, don’t just fill it up!” Timothy Samara
 
The goal of marketing is to capture the interest of a potential client. You want them to respond to your marketing efforts with a call for more information,  a purchase of your product, or the use of your services. Make sure your designs are inviting and bring people in!
 
At Think Donson we help you focus on your message and create memorable and clean designs that will bring you results.
 
 
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Learn the process of logo design

processoflogodesign blogart s“A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.” - Paul Rand

What is the process of designing a logo?

Sometimes when a potential client hears the price of logo design they cannot understand why it costs so much. There is a multi-step strategy for creating good logos, and because we want to be sure that the final design suits the client’s needs, we go through an individualized process to ascertain what those needs are. Here’s a quick description of that process:

1. Design Brief – We begin by asking the client the following questions. This gives us a better idea of what the logo should say about their business or product.

• What is the overall market you are looking to reach (demographics)?

• Who are your main competitors? How do you differ from them?

• How do you want to be perceived by others? (For example: friendly, approachable, technologically advanced, etc.)

• What are some logos that you like -- and why?

• Is there a specific image you have in mind?

• What is the overall look and feel you want for your logo?

• Do you have certain colors that you prefer?

• Where will your logo be used? (This is an important question. Your logo should be able to be used on anything, not just business cards, letterhead and marketing. Think about advertising specialties such as pens, ball caps, etc.).

• If you are redoing your logo, what is the reason for the redesign? What do you like – and dislike -- about your current logo?

• Time frame – When do you plan to start using your new logo?

• How would you describe your services? What are the key words that you often use?

2. Contract – Before starting the research process a signed contract and deposit is due. This way the client understands the terms and agreement prior to any design work.

3. Research – We research competitors and the specific industry to see how other companies are doing business and how they represent their company.

4. Concepts – Based on the information I’ve gathered from the design brief and research, I come up with several different concepts. I start with a lot of thinking – then creating potential images, fonts and graphics, that might work together. I put these thoughts to paper – experimenting with fonts that work well – thinking about the iconic element of the logo… then I try putting the two together to see which font works with which icon.

Sometimes I go back to the drawing board, sometimes I throw my ideas around with another colleague. But I always keep in mind that simplicity is the key. A good logo should work well anywhere, whether it’s on a billboard, a business card, a website. Logos that are simple and clean stand out from the crowd and can work on anything.

5. Presentation – By this stage I have narrowed my designs down to a small group of logos that I believe work best for the client. My goal is to offer the best possible logos that represent the thoughts and ideas of the client’s. I usually offer color choices that I think work well with each particular concept. Once the client has chosen a logo the colors can be tweaked and finalized to their exact specifications.

6. Final– At this end stage, my client has selected a logo and the color(s) have been finalized. The client pays for my design work and receives a final artwork of the logo saved in several different formats for varied usages (web pages, print advertising, letterhead and business cards, etc).

I hope this helps with understanding the logo design process. It is a lot more in depth then one might expect. Since everything in your company’s branding revolves around your logo, it’s got to be great!

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Why is color important?

whycolormatters sWhy do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint. -- Pablo Picasso
 
Color plays a vital role in designing a piece. Whether you’re working on a logo or trying to figure out the best colors to use in creating your brand, color creates certain moods. Colors can make a piece look rich, fun, sophisticated – or extremely ugly or cheap. Some colors are soothing, some are exciting, some go perfectly together and others clash. Color can totally change the way we think about a piece, so our choices are really important. How do you go about selecting the right colors for your marketing materials so that the viewer responds favorably?
Here are some of the points to consider:
 
• Do the colors convey the right message to the audience?
• Do the color choices create the quality you’re trying to achieve?
• Are you choosing the colors for the right reasons? (Not because they are your favorite or your school colors!)
• Color needs to enhance the product, not take away from it. Does the color improve the readability and design?
Color theory infographic
 
Let’s discuss color process so you will have a better understanding: Colors can be broken down into CMYK, RGB and Pantone colors:
 
• CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) -- Used for print design; also called 4-color process.
• RGB (Red, Green Blue) -- Mainly used for website applications, banner ads and other web technology.
• Pantone Colors -- The popular matching system used in the print industry. Similar to a paint swatch book, you can select exact matches on color when printing.
 
More than 80% of people choose a product by color and over 90% purchase a product because of how it looks visually. Are you going to leave your color choices to chance?
 
Contact Think Donson to talk about what colors will work best for the promotion of your product.
 
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Sharky's On The Pier Launches an Updated Website and Online Store!

Sharkyswebsite blogimage sJust one visit to Sharky’s on the Pier, and you’ll understand why it has become a favorite Venice area landmark. Officially opened on February 12, 1987, at the site of what was once an outdated beach concession, they’ve become known for exceeding expectations in drinks and dining. So when Marketing Director, Emma Kate Silvestri, contacted us about revamping and updating the Sharky’s website, we were excited about the possibilities!

“We wanted our website to reflect our restaurant – bright, fun, the “Sharky’s laid back lifestyle” – while also showcasing the breathtaking views and great food and service that guests will experience when visiting Sharky’s. Gary and Felicia created a fully responsive website that is functional and easy to use, while looking sharp at the same time. We love it!”, she says.
“A big part of our new website is the new online store. We want people to be able to shop Sharky’s, Snook Haven and Fins’ merchandise no matter where they live (including gift cards!) and now you can do that on a more user friendly e-commerce site. The online store will continue to grow with more products over the next few months – very exciting!”

When asked about her experience working with Gary and Felicia of Think Donson, her response was, “Absolutely fantastic! They really know the ins and outs of website development and go above and beyond to make sure we are happy with our new site. Gary explains things very thoroughly and in a way that is easy to understand. He’s extremely quick to respond to any questions you may have and makes necessary changes to the website right away. They are a local company which we love and are extremely easy to work with. We are very happy we ended up working with Think Donson to re-do the Sharky’s site!” Check out the new Sharky's On The Pier website here!

If you’re ready to revitalize your website, contact us! We’ll work with your vision to make it responsive, intuitive, functional and optimized for discovery. Your website is the heart of your digital presence. Why settle for less than excellence?

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Why is it so important to have a marketing budget?

whyimptohavemarkbudget blogartMost small businesses have little or no money set aside for marketing – but even with a small budget it’s possible to effectively brand your company’s products and services. You just need to be sure you’re using your dollars for all the right reason and getting your money’s worth.

When starting up a business consider your start-up costs for marketing. An obvious first step would be a great logo design. Your logo will be around for the life of your company and should be simple and clean, memorable and effective. Secondly, your business card is your “calling card” – it should leave a positive impression of you after a face to face meeting with a potential customer, and should entice that person into contacting you about your product or services.

A badly printed or designed card, a cluttered look, too much information, an unattractive or unreadable font, the wrong colors, poorly chosen artwork – all these mistakes and more may send clients away and over to the competition. A well-designed card says you’re serious and professional about your business and gives you a head start in attracting the right clientele.

Another important marketing must is your business website. Don't skimp on your site -- it needs to function easily, be well designed and bring in traffic. Do your research; make sure you understand what you are getting for your dollar. Even a well designed website won’t mean a thing if it can’t be found by search engines! Good branding and effective optimization are equally important – one brings in the consumer and the other keeps them engaged.

Let’s discuss some things to consider when working on your marketing budget:


• Ideal Customer – knowing who your ideal customer is will help you best determine the places to spend your limited funds. Many people will try to sell you marketing services, so do your research and know what will be the most effective approach to reach that particular demographic.
• Make sure you have the right marketing message – What makes you stand out from your competitors? Why should they use you? Make your service a necessary part of your potential customers lives.
• Social media – Post special events, sales and testimonials through social networking. This is a way to get your company’s name out there. Build your brand – and at a very nominal expense. Social media can reach a large number of people and it’s also a great way to track traffic.
• Email newsletter -- This is another inexpensive way to reach potential customers. Give them more
Information about your company, build a database, send out your blog or get people
to your website with special offers.
• Blog – Blogging can keep your business and services updated; it engages and builds trust in your readership. Post stories, testimonials, interesting articles about your field of business, sample work, etc. – it all helps your credibility, builds your brand and increases SEO (search engine optimization).
• Testimonials: Ask your customers for recommendations. Why were they satisfied with your services? Why should people should use you? Include these testimonials on your website, in your printed materials or on your facebook page.
• Building a network of contacts: Building contacts is key. Referral programs with other businesses
Is a win-win for both businesses. Partner with companies that you respect. Check back with those clients who use any referred businesses or services to confirm their experience was positive. Be sure you are building a positive image for your company!

This is just a starting place to build from; I’ve seen too many people waste their marketing dollars on sales tactics that are not effective. Use your budget wisely – do your research – start with the basics and don’t skimp on the important stuff! You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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The advantages of using local printers instead of online printers

localprinters blogartWith 18 years of design experience, I’ve tried all the printing options out there. Some people may disagree, but I strongly believe in keeping your print jobs local – and here’s why:
 
• Face to face communication: There’s much to be said about talking directly to your printer. You can look at samples of their work, choose your paper, colors, and check proofs easily. If your job is not printing exactly the way you envisioned it can be adjusted.
• The value of ongoing relationships: Bring in several jobs to the same print company and you build a relationship while supporting the community you live in.
• Quality control: As the customer, you have more control over the end product with a local printer. You don’t have to mail things back if you’re unhappy with the print job and wait for days for a reprint – you can discuss it directly with your printer. Online companies may be able to beat the prices of local companies, but bear in mind what the trade-off is. You can lose time, quality and ultimately money in the long run if you need to reprint or find another online printer. Do you want the cheapest? Or the best quality?
 
“Good service is good business.” - Siebel Ad
 
The goal of your local printer is to build long term relationships in the community by providing good service and a quality product. Since your marketing materials may be the first introduction to your company you want them to look great. Working with the same printer can ensure a consistent level of professional materials – and the end results show that you and the print shop can produce a quality product.
 
When choosing a print company, make sure to weigh all your options -- talk to other business owners, find out who they use and why, compare products, and ask the right questions. You may find that the few dollars you save with an online print company causes problems you never anticipated. Is it worth it?
 
There are many great print shops in the area capable of handling any size print job – color or black & white, large format or small, business cards to full-color complex projects. We use local because we want the best quality and service for our clients.
 
 
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How a creative person charges? Crystal Ball not required.

howcreativescharge blogart Is there a method behind how a creative person charges a client?

Experienced graphic designers, photographers, writers and other creative service providers put a huge amount of effort into their work. Their pricing must be competitive and fair in the market and is based on the time involved, the depth of the project, and the skill required. Next time you’re looking to hire a creative service person, please consider the time and effort that goes into each and everything they do.

Does a writer simply write?

A talented writer doesn’t just sit down and write great copy. There’s a good deal of time and research involved, first drafts, meetings, edits and rewrites before the final copy is approved.

How does a graphic designer create a great logo?

An experienced designer doesn’t just throw a logo together. Thought goes into each idea, and the designer must fully understand the client’s wishes and the company’s mission and message before starting on any initial concepts. Color options, marketing plans and future goals as well as knowing the competition are all important considerations that contribute to a successfully designed logo.

Photography is not just about the pictures!

Similarly, a photographer meets with the client, plans and sets up the photo shoot and choreographs the project from start to finish. He takes the photos, returns to the studio, processes, photoshops, edits, revises and finalizes the work before the client sees any proofs. And there is more time involved in providing the client with the final product.

These are just a few of the steps that your creative services person goes through in order to provide you with a quality product. A good designer wants you to be fully satisfied with the end results!

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Can Graphics be used to explain information in a Court Trial?

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When people think of graphics they immediately think logos, fliers, and brochures. But are there other uses for graphics? The answer is yes! Graphics are used to communicate messages and ideas. Presented correctly, they can bring to life data and information while focusing your audience on key points. A perfect example is this presentation created for a court trial. Using graphics, the client was able to explain the process of an Audit in a simple and interesting way, while making it easy for the Jury to understand.

At Think Donson we can help your company identify its needs and create unique and dynamic images to inform, educate, and attract your customers. With experience in all industries of Marketing and Design, Think Donson can produce products tailored to your specific business.

Solutions come in all shapes and sizes. We combine creativity and technology to help move you out in front of the crowd.

Looking for a new solution? Contact us today!

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Think Donson helps Clark Road’s Broken Egg hatch a new identity as The Original Egg

THeOriginalEgg a65276f4dabae00394c07f86d823df99

When The Broken Egg on Clark Road in Sarasota began the process of rebranding to The Original Egg, owner Dawn Hair recruited Think Donson to help.  Gary and Felicia Donson had previously worked on the popular restaurant’s marketing and email blasts, so Dawn wanted to involve them in the rebranding as well.

“What they’ve done over the last few years has helped increase my sales by more than 20 percent,” Dawn said. “I owe so much of our new success to them. They're a vital part of my team.”

The first order of business was to create a new logo.  “The logo they designed for us is remarkable,” Dawn said. “It's a brilliant use of color. The first thing you see is the egg, which is what it's all about, after all. The design is bold, fun, and punchy—and it works in all formats, large and small. I love it and our guests have told me that it makes them hungry, so it's obviously working."

Next Gary and Felicia set to work designing The Original Egg sign for the exterior of the building, the restaurant’s egg-shaped menus and business cards.  “The marketing collateral is eggs-celent,” Dawn said. "Joking aside, it strongly communicates our brand and creates desire. It's appealing, like a slice of pie—and its playful spirit reflects our personality perfectly."

Then it was time to tackle the website (www.theoriginalegg.com), which features colorful, oversized photos of Original Egg favorites, including hash browns, chicken salad and, of course, sunny-side up eggs. “The web design is graphically fresh, creative and communicates clearly who we are," said Dawn. "It's top of the line—at the level of a national restaurant chain. It evokes excitement about who we are, tells our story, and is also extremely functional. This website makes us stand out from the crowd."

Dawn adds that Think Donson also handles all of her social media and web tracking. "I'm busy running a restaurant," she says. "I rely on Felicia and Gary to handle the ins and outs of marketing. They're just as vital a part of our team as our chef in the kitchen or waitress on the floor."

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Complete Digital Marketing for Koval & Koval Dental Associates

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Growing up, Dr. Christine Koval would work in her dad’s oral surgery practice whenever she could. His passion for his work led her to pursue dentistry, too, and when she graduated from dental school in 1983, she and her dad started a practice together in Sarasota, calling it Koval & Koval.

Since then, Christine has been serving clients in Sarasota who come seeking beautiful new smiles from the trusted cosmetic dentist.  For the last year, Christine has been working with Felicia and Gary Donson of Think Donson on the marketing and branding aspects of her practice.

“Working with Felicia and Gary has lessened my stress about marketing,” Christine said. “I trust them to make sound and economically responsible decisions about where money should be spent. This is huge, because marketing is what continues to allow a business to grow.”  In addition to marketing consultation, Think Donson has provided Koval & Koval with call and review tracking.

“Gary is very helpful in tracking where my market is coming from so I’m able to adjust my focus to areas that are the best for my business,” Christine said. “Plus he has a phenomenal command of the new and ever-changing way Google operates.” Think Donson also developed a responsive website redesign for Koval & Koval (www.askdrkoval.com) that incorporates search engine optimization so new patients can find her practice.

“My website re-design is really cool and crisp and continues to evolve,” Christine said. “New clients comment on it very positively.”   Another key piece of the Koval & Koval marketing plan is media campaigns that engage potential new patients.

“Felicia’s ad design and other creative ideas are such fun,” Christine said. “She allows me to participate, but guides me since this is her expertise. She’s also phenomenal at making sure everything is always on time, and she never asks me for any materials at the last minute. I appreciate that in this very busy world.”

Every month, Felicia and Gary have a status meeting with Christine to discuss the prior month, as well as future plans.“I really appreciate the monthly sit-down meetings,” Christine said. “They allow me to see what works and how we are best able to reach new patients. I am a very satisfied and pleased client!”

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New Responsive Website for "La Musica"

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Often referred to as Florida’s Cultural Coast, Sarasota is known world-wide for the area’s dedication to the arts.  The musical arts particularly flourish here, with residents and visitors flocking to performances of the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Key Chorale and La Musica. 

For three decades, La Musica has brought premier musicians to Sarasota from Europe and the Americas to present an inspiring festival of chamber music.  The 2016 season celebrates the organization’s 30th birthday, and the occasion called for a redesign of the La Musica website (www.lamusicafestival.org) by Gary and Felicia Donson of Think Donson. 

“Gary and Felicia are a great team, and I enjoyed working with them to redesign our website,” said Sonia Velasco, the Marketing Director of La Musica. “They are very responsive to my requests, and they are very knowledgeable about the latest technology and trends.

The new website has an upgraded contemporary look, with easy navigation for all devices.   “Visitors to our new website will experience a more user-friendly interface that’s easier to navigate,” Velasco said. “The fact that the website is responsive is key for those accessing it from mobile devices. And while our audience base is largely an older demographic, we hope to build and attract awareness among younger audiences by having a mobile-friendly website built with SEO in mind.”

Once visitors have browsed the artist and event information, they can also purchase tickets for the upcoming season on the website. The website’s impressive functionality is built into the sleek new design.  “Gary and Felicia brought a lot of creativity and expertise to the table in helping design the new website,” Velasco said. “They developed an attractive and elegant website without making it too complicated. I would highly recommend Think Donson, and I’d definitely use them again in the future.”



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New Responsive Website for The Bijou Cafe "Clean with easy navigation..."

 

THINK bijou site

For nearly 30 years, The Bijou Café has anchored Sarasota’s theatre and arts district.  It’s the dining establishment of choice before or after a show at the Sarasota Opera House, Florida Studio Theatre and the Urbanite Theatre. 

And any night on the town is made more elegant (and more delicious!) with the addition of dinner at The Bijou Café.

Owner and chef Jean-Pierre Knaggs sought Gary and Felicia Donson out to help with the restaurant’s branding, advertisements and social media before he decided to enlist them to create a new website for the restaurant.

“I like Gary and Felicia’s demeanor – they are very calm and relaxed, and we’re able to get a lot done,” Knaggs said. “It’s easy to talk to them because they’re very familiar with the restaurant business. They really understand the life of the restauranteur.”

Think Donson developed a simpler, fresh website for The Bijou Café (www.bijoucafe.net) that uses straightforward navigation and large-scale photography to allow the user to focus on the most important information, including browsing the menu and making a reservation.

“I like the simplicity of the style on the website,” Knaggs said. “It’s clean and easy to navigate, and it shows up really beautifully on your phone or tablet.”

In a world where diners often make split-second decisions about where they’re going to eat, it pays to have a website that’s optimized for mobile usage.

“When people are looking for a restaurant, our website will give them the info they want clearly so they’ll be able to make a quick decision to dine with us,” Knaggs said.

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The Crow's Nest Upgrades to a Mobile-Friendly and Efficient New Website

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When it was time for the Crow’s Nest to develop a new website, manager Matthew Green knew exactly where to turn.

He’d worked with Gary Donson for years, so he told Gary the Venice waterfront landmark was ready for a redesign, and Think Donson got to work on a whole new website.

One of the goals was creating a site that would be better for customers.

“It’s prettier and more efficient for guests,” Green said. “And, of course, it’s responsive in design so it works on mobile devices, too. ”The new website (http://www.crowsnest-venice.com/) features a clean layout, simple navigation and timeless design, with photographs highlighting the delicious seafood the Crow’s Nest serves up and the restaurant’s beautiful waterfront location.

“The site is streamlined to reflect both years of analytics data regarding which of our pages see the most traffic and modern trends – trends in websites in general and trends in restaurant websites,” Green said.

Improving the front-end of the website was important, but Green also wanted to make things easier on the back-end of the website.

“We offloaded our online store to a third party rather than continue to be responsible for the security of credit cards in the online arena,” Green said. “That was Gary’s idea – let some of these great third-party developers help us out with our workload.”

Now that the new website is live, Green’s advice to other restaurateurs and business owners is simple: Don’t leave your business’s website to an amateur.

“Anyone with the budget for it should be having their website designed and managed by a pro,” Green said. “It’s not one of those line items you can disregard anymore. And some of the services available from Think Donson are so inexpensive that you are really making money by using them.”

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The Originals Website Gets a User- Friendly and Fresh New Look

originals
 
If you’ve had an amazing meal at a Sarasota restaurant, chances are that restaurant was one of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals.
 
The Originals are a group of 50 independent restaurants from Anna Maria Island to Venice Pass. They’re known for culinary masterpieces that range from regional cuisines to world flavors from a variety of cultures. People know that when they choose an Original, they’re going to have a wonderful dining experience.
 
But with more Originals patrons using the group’s website when they’re out and about, they needed a website that would translate well to mobile devices.
 
So they turned to Think Donson to do a complete redesign of The Originals website. The new website (DineOriginal.com) replaced a website that was past its prime.
 
“Think Donson took a site that was so outdated and turned it into website gold,” said Originals  Executive Director Kate Atkin. It features simplified navigation that makes it much simpler for diners to use the site on any device.
 
“Now we have a website that’s sophisticated and rich in design,” Atkin said. “It’s a clean, classy website, and most importantly, it’s very easy for our guests to navigate. Working with Think Donson has been nothing less than a pleasure.”
 
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2 New Responsive Websites for Pier 22 - Bradenton FL

Think Pier blog 

People are talking about Pier 22. And no wonder – it has the best dining and catering in Bradenton and a fantastic view of the Manatee River from the historic Memorial Pier to boot.  Whether you have a craving for sushi, fresh fish, mouth-watering steaks or wild game, Pier 22 does it deliciously.

And if you’re planning an event, Pier 22 has you covered with several private dining rooms and a waterfront ballroom that seats over 200 people. Off-site catering is a popular option as well for weddings, corporate events and family gatherings.

Lately the folks at Pier 22 have been working with Think Donson to improve their brand’s digital and physical appearance.

Gary and Felicia Donson have built 2 brand new responsive website for the restaurant(www.pier22dining.com) and catering service (www.pier22catering.com), complete with photo galleries and a blog.

Natalie Purcell, Marketing Director & Operations Manager, says the website is easy to navigate and has beautiful images.

The site was built in Joomla and includes conversion tracking to reveal the sources of traffic and gift card sales. Think Donson also rebranded Pier 22’s marketing materials, including the restaurant’s menus, Facebook page and more.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with both Gary and Felicia on this project as well as many others,” Purcell said. “Their response time is phenomenal and they have some really great ideas.”

 

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Does your branding work at 40 miles per hour?

brandingat40miles
Signage is a great way to bring in customers. But if we’re talking about road signs, how do you attract a potential customer when they’re driving by at 40 miles an hour? Or walking down a busy sidewalk?  Quality design is the key.

Here are some important considerations when creating signage for your business:

• Colors – Bold colors catch the eye of drivers passing or walking by.
• Fonts – Use simple, easy to read typeface!
• Text – Keep it simple. You don’t need a lot of information, just the basics. Too much copy and people won’t bother. You want people to read the sign, not just drive or walk by.
• What do you want your sign to do? Direct people to your store, website, event, etc.? Convince them to consider your services over the competition? Be sure the message is clear.
• Logo – Use a high quality version of your logo on the sign. Make it visible!
• Size – Make sure the sign is the right size for its location. Too big can be overwhelming; too small and it will be missed.
• Quality – Your signage should be well made – good printing, strong color and design, properly installed. If the quality is poor you put your company in a bad light.
 
Every bit of marketing you do is a representation of your company, so be sure to consider all your options before choosing your branding efforts. Signage, websites, advertising, print ads – everything should have the same feel including your logo, colors, font and style.
 
People will recognize your company more easily if you are consistent in your branding. And if the average driver has only a second or two to view your signage on the side of the road, you want to be sure they get the message quickly.

Represent your company the best way you can with Think Donson. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
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How to talk to your web designer

how to talk to your web designer
In the world of branding your business, websites play an important role. They give you exposure to
a larger number of potential clients you  might not normally reach through other forms of marketing. Your website can provide a lot of good information about your products and services – and if your site is well built and well designed, can be a great first impression.
 
Done poorly, a website can also be the kiss of death. So yes, you do need a website for your business, but you’d better be sure it says the right things in the right manner, looks and functions intuitively, and grabs the interest of the people who have visited. The goal of a well-designed website is to draw the person in and get them to respond – by calling, emailing, or making a purchase.

Consider the following questions and share your answers with your web designer:
• Who are your clients? For instance, male, female, young, old? This makes a difference for the design and layout of the site.
• What is the purpose of your site?
• What makes you different from your competitors?
• What are some websites you like and why?
• What kind of image do you want to portray?
• What is the call to action? In other words, what do you hope the site visitor will do once they have visited?
• Sit down and map out your site. How many pages do you need? What headers do you want? What kind of copy, images, maps, etc. need to be on there?

What will a web designer need from you?
• Logo – your logo plays an important part in the look and feel of your site – so if you don’t have a logo, that is your first step!
• Content – whether you have a writer or you are writing your own content, the information you provide is very important in the layout of your site. Sometimes something in the text may spark new ideas or images that can enhance your pages. Mapping out what info needs to be on each page will help this process.
• Pictures -- Are there images you have that you want on the site?
• Videos – Embedded videos can be a great marketing tool.

Providing a designer with the above information will help your website process go more smoothly. The most important thing is having a website that functions and is designed well, so that your potential clients will visit – and become customers. At Think Donson  we can help make this process easier!

Call us today to get started.

“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be... functional.” — Cameron Moll

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What is branding?

whatisbranding
According to Entrepreneurs.com, branding is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”. It is essentially, making your mark. In the online and print world your brand can serve as a symbol of professionalism. Every company has a brand, and a good one says volumes about your business. Successful branding is the correct application of techniques carried throughout all of the company’s marketing efforts.
Why is branding important?
 
• Builds long term customer relationships through brand identification
• Differentiates you from your competitors
• An organized and consistent branding campaign indicates reliability and experience
• Cross-platform branding pushes your company message to a huge audience
 
The biggest part of your branding efforts is made up of your logo, website, social media and promotional materials. Consistency is most important – your message should reach across all of these marketing outlets so that there is no confusion about your company, product or services. People will know who you are and what you do, and they’ll recognize you when they see any type of advertising that you employ.
And when I say consistency, I mean using the same fonts, colors and style throughout all of your promotional materials. Doing so makes your company look professional and the customer will gain trust about your commitment to service.
 
How do you define your brand? By answering the questions below you will identify the key points that must be included in your branding efforts:
 
• What is your company’s mission?
• What are the benefits of your product?
• What type of customer or demographics do you wish to reach?
• What qualities differentiate your company from your competitors?
• What are the core values of your company?
• What is your company’s tagline or message?
 
At the end of the day, it’s the company’s reputation for quality and service that makes for successful business. But without successful branding, no one will know who you are. Are you going to leave it to chance?
 
If you’re ready to increase your visibility, refresh your company’s image, identify your target audience, or step into the online world of social networking, please contact us. We would be happy to meet with you and discuss the possibilities.
 
"A brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It's the sum of all the experiences you have with a company." – Amir Kassaei
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How do you choose a Logo Designer?

choosing a logo designer
“To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.” –Michelangelo
 
When you’re looking for a graphic designer for a new logo design, web pages or graphics for your business you want the right fit. Every designer has their own individual style – so your choice is important. With so many graphic designers out there, I’ve listed some key pointers to keep in mind that will help in selecting the best designer for your needs:
 
• Portfolio – Look at the designer’s past work, either online or in person. This is the best way to see if you like the the graphic designer’s style. For instance, if you’re looking for a high end restaurant logo and the designer specializes in a more cartoonlike style, he or she may not be the right choice for you. You’ll also be able to see their client base and their depth of experience. A strong portfolio is a good indication of the quality of work you can expect.
• Testimonials – Find out what other people are saying about your potential designer. Some designers will have customer testimonials on their website; others you can email and ask for past/present clients and talk to them directly. This will also give you an idea how the designer works – are they good with communicating? Deadlines, etc.?
• Design Process – Let the designer discuss how he or she goes about creating a logo.
 
What are some of the questions they may ask a potential client? Here are just a few questions the designer should be asking:
 
• What is the overall market you are looking to reach (demographics)?
• Who are your main competitors?
• How do you differ from your competition?
• How would you describe your services?
• What are the key words that you often use?
• Customer Service/Professionalism – Another important competent of a good designer is good customer service skills. You don't want someone who cannot meet deadlines, does not treat their customers well, and is not trustworthy. Again, these are qualities you can check with other clients who have done business with the designer, either listed on their site or given to you from the designer as references.
• Price – Price is important to the client, but on the other hand I would encourage you to select your designer based on their portfolio and reputation and not just on their fees. (You know the saying “you get what you pay for”?) Logos are not cheap – they are the most important part of your brand and you’ll be using it for years to come. If you take the time to understand a good design process you will understand what goes into the designer’s pricing. Understand exactly what you’ll be getting for your money so there are no surprises!
 
“An image … is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.” – Daniel Boorstin
 
Picking the right designer to create your company logo is as important as the branding of your business. At Think Donson we take all those key points seriously. We want to give our clients the best experience possible.
 
Contact us with any questions or concerns.
 
 
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