5 things we’re ticking off our summer bucket list this year in Penarth

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Penarth Summer Bucket List

Nowadays we all tend to be so busy with our businesses and jobs that we have to remind ourselves to take advantage of the longer evening’s and sunny weekends throughout the summer. Given the glorious sunshine today, it got us talking about what we planned on seeing, doing, eating and visiting over the weeks ahead. Take a peek below to see our top bucketlist picks for Penarth this summer.

1.  Seeing as much as we can during the Penarth Summer Festival

There’s always so much to do and see during the Penarth Summer Festival, made so much better by good weather and company. My top pick would have to be the annual Downhill Derby in front of the esplanade, which is always guaranteed to bring in the crowds each year. Note, to do this right, working your way through a 99 flake whatever the weather plays a vital role.

2. Finding some crafty little gems at the Ppod Contemporary Market

We love little craft markets and Penarth is brimming with talented creatives and artists. The Ppod Contemporary Market on 12th June 2016 at The Paget Rooms will be the perfect place to find some pretty treasures and gifts including some sunny Penarth prints from our friends at de la mer art. With artisan food, craft beer, workshops and proper coffee, We can’t wait.

3. Feeding all those summer sugar cravings with a visit to our new favourite local Café, the Crepe Escape

With it’s sky blue rustic interior, you are transported straight to the beach at this pretty new café on Glebe Street. Savoury or sweet, there’s a crepe for everybody and some yummy Gelato for those days when it’s just too hot to do anything (We can dream right?)

4. Getting some good old fresh Penarth sea air and taking a water taxi across the bay for an iced coffee in the sun

For as long as I have lived in Penarth, this is something that I have never done, always putting it off due to weather and the fear of looking like I’ve been dragged through a hedge when I get to the other side. But this summer I’m determined, motivated by the wealth of scrummy café’s that can greet me on the waterfront when I get there.

5. Spending a sunny Friday afternoon relocating our office to the Pilot Pub

I would like to say that this is something we have also never done, but unfortunately it’s always a permanent fixture on our summer ‘to do’ list. You just can’t beat it on a sunny Friday afternoon putting you in the perfect mood to kickstart the weekend.

What’s on your bucketlist this summer? Find us on Twitter and let us know with the #momentofjoy.

 

New Business Women Connect Website Launched

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BWC Blog Header

This week, we celebrate the launch of our latest website for local networking group Business Women Connect. At our launch event, in the Pilot Pub, Penarth, we were overwhelmed by the show of support from existing members of Business Women Penarth. The group, created last year by Tanya Lynch (of Lynchpin Media) and Sarah Thompson (of Bespoke Admin) aims to connect business women across the town and provide friendly, inspiring networking sessions for women who felt alienated by big corporate city groups.

We joined Business Women Penarth in June, hoping to meet like-minded creative individuals and get involved with the bustling local community. Since then, the hub has grown from strength to strength with over 130 members across both Cowbridge and Penarth.

The new members website is the next step in the expansion of Business Women Connect (the umbrella covering Business Women Penarth and Cowbridge), as plans to develop further groups in Rhiwbina, Barry and Roath caused a great buzz amongst local communities.

The site will allow members to discover, and interact with each other across networks in addition to serving as a collective hub of information, tips for business success and inspiration.

BWConnect Homepage

On developing the website, we hoped to create a platform that encourages users to actively engage with the network, providing them with an opportunity to have their say, and discuss trending topics even if they can’t attend a meeting. All members can submit blog posts, pictures, video tutorials and pose questions on the website, alongside being able to easily customise their user profile.

The entire ethos of the group reflects a friendly, supportive atmosphere so it was vital that the new website accommodated this. Essentially we wanted to create an ‘all inclusive’ feel, allowing members complete control of their own profiles. As a member, you have access to a full directory with direct contact details for fellow members and information about their businesses and also the opportunity to book onto exclusive marketing and business development workshops run by Lynchpin Media.

BWConnect Website About

New members can now easily join their local group online, allowing them to start getting involved and meeting each other prior to their first meeting. The simple navigation of the site means that you don’t have to be a computer ‘whizz’ to benefit from online content and provides members with a further opportunity to market their business to a greater audience.

BWConnect Events Page

The website also allows users to keep track of local events and meetings with an all important up to date calendar.

We are so excited to be a part of this new venture and so pleased to have the opportunity to work with/meet some truly inspiring local business owners. Good luck ladies!

You can join Business Women Connect online at businesswomenconnect.co.uk and if your interested in learning a bit more about how we can help your website, drop us an email at john@candidcreative.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you!

The Power of a Website

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The Power of a Website Header

When it comes to websites, first impressions certainly do count. In the offline world, its generally understood people buy from those they ‘know, like and trust’ and for small companies, a vast majority of business will come from a customer recommendation. Well, your website is no different. When a person clicks onto your website, they expect to be able to identify who you are, what you do and what is different about you almost instantly. In fact, studies show that it takes as little as 50 milliseconds for a person to form an opinion of your business by looking at your website.

Many small business owners view their business as a totally offline entity, pursuing more traditional ways to promote themselves and win customers. However, whether you’re a large enterprise or a small independent (or anything in between), a purely offline strategy is a risky one as your customers are spending more and more of their time online.

A well designed website not only makes your service accessible 24/7, it also makes you look trustworthy and professional. Most importantly, it stops you from being invisible. Often, the very first thing a person will do when they want to find out about a product / service will be to ‘Google it’. If your business isn’t coming up, then your missing out on a great opportunity to reach a new customer.

So what if you already have a website? Well, when was the last time you really put yourself in your customers shoes and really looked at it? Start at your homepage and consider:

  • Is your navigation unruly? Is it easy to find your way around?
  • Is your blog a bit stale? Remember, content is key, the more you write, they more likely you are to show up on Google searches.
  • Are there any ‘next steps’? So your customer is on your website, great. But how are you persuading them to turn browsing into buying?
  • Do you lack credibility? People like to do their research before they buy. Do you have a cracking ‘About’ page?
  • Do you have stand-out visuals?

We’ve designed websites for a wide range of businesses over the years, from big to small but here’s a few examples that show how powerful a well designed website can be.

Epic Media Services 

The beauty of this website for Epic Media Services is it’s simplicity. Is easy to navigate with stunning animated visuals that create a huge impact when you first enter the site. The style is clean cut and professional with a dash of hot pink to add a bit of personality.

Epic Media Services HomepageEpic Media About Page

Liza Henry

Offering training for therapists, the Liza Henry website needed to reflect the companies professionalism and expertise. As with most websites, it was important for a user to be able to instantly identity what the business does and who it caters for. The 3 large buttons on the homepage act as the ‘next steps’. Regardless of where a user is on the website, they can easily navigate to the next step in their journey by returning to the homepage. The booking system on this website is user friendly and quick, offering the team at Liza Henry a 24/7 virtual receptionist where people can book sessions, courses and events.

Liza Henry HomepageContact page

Tamzin Ford

With Tamzin Ford Design, a new interior design service in Cardiff, one of the key challenges in designing the website was to ensure all content was not overwhelmed by busy patterns and large images. The website is simple and minimalist allowing all visuals to breathe, added with a splash of mustard yellow to draw the eye. The ‘Projects’ page clearly showcases latest designs allowing the user to see examples and testimonials before they decide whether to contact.

Tamzin Ford Projects PageTamzin Ford Stockists

 

For all web enquiries email john@candidcreative.co.uk

 

5 logo trends that are set to rule 2016

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A logo is an integral part of every business’s branding strategy and as the saying goes; a picture paints a thousand words. Your logo can speak volumes about your brand and is often overlooked at the start. Many new business owners are so busy and eager to get going, that little thought is given to their brand identity, but we live in a visual age, and your customers expect an easily recognisable and characteristic brand image. The ability to channel the right message and associations will stand you apart from your competitors in a crowded marketplace and future-proof your brand.

There are many things to think about when designing your new logo and one of the consistent factors that we consider, regardless of the client we are working for, is versatility. You may have only just established your business and will therefore, only be looking to use your logo on a few flyers or business cards, but what happens as your company grows? Year on year, you will inevitably be adding extra services, maybe a website or an app, leaflets or brochures, and your new logo needs to be adaptable for all of these. You should also be able to tweak the colours without losing impact, or take out colour all together.

So it’s a new year and a new start, and if you were planning on refreshing your logo or setting up the business you have always dreamed of, then take note. We have put together a list of the top 5 logo trends that are set to rule the roost in 2016.

  1. Negative Space

This trend continues to build upon the minimalism movement that we have seen in graphic design over the past few years- sometimes, less is more. The use of negative space can produce interesting logos that grab the viewer’s attention and inevitably, the more time they spend concentrating on the picture, the more likely they are to remember it. This trend works especially well for black and white logos as it adds a bit of spice to something that would otherwise be quite boring. Logos using negative space will enable the consumer to reveal a deeper message behind the brand too.

Negative Space Thumbnail

  1. Crafty Hand-made

This trend conveys honesty and intimacy and has been gaining popularity for a few years now. The usage of scribbles, signatures, arrows and swirls suggest the ideal of being handmade and utilise this charm, whilst still appealing to a digital generation. Bespoke fonts are often used within this trend and emphasizes that typography is not just the style of the text, it is the voice, the language and the personality of the brand. Recent years have seen consumers lean back towards local, small businesses and a handmade logo will present a reliable and caring image.

Handmade Thumbnail

  1. Monoline

Thin clean lines present a fresh look in this trend. Representing something like a wire, this trend makes a simple design into something far more intricate and beautiful. Whilst hinting to the ‘handmade’ feel, this trend is slightly more ‘put-together’. Monoline logos offer a welcome break from the block colours and gradients that have dominated the industry over the past few years. They are simple, easy to read and give a nod to emoji’s and memes which currently rule the internet.

Monoline Thumbnail

  1. Typography and Script

Your logo is likely to display your company name, and bold typography offers a unique and captivating way of displaying this. By using a script font in your logo, you can add drama and personality to your brand without making your image too complicated or busy.

Typography thumbnail

  1. Overlapping

Bright, shiny colour schemes work the best with this trend. Overlapping gradients adds another dimension to your logo and brings it into the digital age. Shadowed logos grab the viewer’s attention and can take your original brand image from simple and minimal to sophisticated and stylish.

Overlapping Thumbnail

 

Creating a Brand Image for Shelley Norton Stage School and Management

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Local talent agent, Shelley approached us a few weeks ago with not just one, but two new start up projects developing a new performing arts hub and casting agency. The challenge was to create two new, innovative brand images that would appeal to two very different audiences, but married well together under the Shelley Norton Stage School and Management umbrella.

Shelley Norton Management

Shelley Norton Management would act as the umbrella covering The Talent Shack, and needed to present a professional, clean-cut image to casting directors looking for talented and unique individuals.

Our initial thoughts after meeting Shelley for the first time were that her unique look and personality would be essential in developing an innovative, creative brand that people would instantly recognise and relate to. From this, we began to consider why will performers sign up to Shelley’s agency and what will make industry professionals decide to hire from her? The reason for both would not be because of the agency’s facilities or track record; it would be because the famous Shelley Norton is behind it!

This essentially, is what differentiates Shelley Norton Stage School and Management from its competitors – the fact that Shelley herself glues it all together.

Shelley Norton Management FINAL

The final logo embodies this message from head to toe, literally putting a ‘face to a name’. By incorporating Shelley’s signature bob and red lipstick, we created a logo that screams individuality whilst still maintaining an all-important degree of professionalism. The logo fully reflects the agency’s message to it’s members – that it’s okay to be different and actually, its important to celebrate what makes your stand out from the crowd.

The Talent Shack

 The branding for The Talent Shack, needed to stand alongside Shelley Norton Management but appeal to a very different group of people. Although preparing children and young adults for the industry, the Talent Shack is more of a hub than an agency – a community of performers having fun together. It’s image needed to be playful and bold, it needed to appeal to a wide age range, and most importantly, it needed to represent a place that children and young adults alike, would be proud to go to every weekend.

The final logo draws inspiration from the building itself, taking the simple silhouette of the roof whilst reflecting a rickety wooden ‘shack’ which adds a level of playfulness to the design. The scribbles and lines echo panels of wood, hammered together haphazardly to create a structure. Whilst the content of the logo could be considered quite busy, the shapes and lines are simple allowing it to create equal impact even when converted in to one colour way, making it perfect for use on hoodies, t-shirts, bags, wristbands and other promotional material.

 

The Talent Shack Logo FINAL

 

For more information about Shelley Norton Stage School and Management and the Talent Shack head online:

shelleynorton.co.uk

thetalentshack.co.uk

Fancy a chat about how you could develop your brand image? Email me at beth@candidcreative.co.uk

Building a brand for Tamzin Ford Design – Cardiff’s newest Interior Designer

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We have loved working with Interior Designer, Tamzin Ford over the past month and last week saw the official opening of her greatly anticipated, beautiful showroom on Churchill Way, Cardiff.

Tamzin Ford Design joins sister company, The Stitching Boutique at a brand new premise in Cardiff showcasing exclusive luxury designs by Liberty and Rebel Walls, but Tamzin is not just an interior designer. During our first meeting with her, we understood the importance of conveying the other services the new business will offer including; architecture, space planning, lighting design and bespoke furniture design. Our challenge was to create a strong brand image to reflect all of this and of course, Tamzin’s own personality and taste.

For this particular project, it all started with a logo. After researching Tamzin’s competitors and industry, we began to identify themes and concepts. It was vital that the chosen logo would be able to stand alone but also stand out amongst busy environments (this would prove invaluable when developing the website). It needed to be minimal and modern, not just for this purpose, but also to reflect Tamzin’s style.

Working with Tamzin’s initials – T and F, we began to create interconnected shapes loosely inspired by the linear style of artist Rennie Macintosh. The chosen logo design was built by ‘cutting out’ a part of the original initials and positioning the name – Tamzin Ford Design in its place, allowing the viewer to still read the shape as a T and and F. The style is contemporary and bold, and using a bright yellow as an accent completed the look and gives Tamzin a palette to carry across other aspects of the business.
Tamzin Ford Logo Yellow

The beauty of this logo lies in it’s simplicity, giving it the potential to adapt to any surrounding environment, whether it be as a window vinyl, on business cards or online, without losing it’s impact.

Tamzin Ford Business Card Mock up

You can find out more about Tamzin at tamzinford.design or pop in to the new showroom at 16 Churchill Way, Cardiff.

For details about our logo development and branding services, contact john@candidcreative.co.uk

Have yourself a very local Christmas

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Have yourself a very local Christmas header

Whether your ready for it or not, Christmas is coming and last night was the start of our festive trading as we introduced our new Custom Christmas Card service to a room full of fellow busy business owners in Penarth.

We’ve been a part of the Business Women Penarth group since the summer, and this thriving community of passionate and creative entrepreneurs is now like a (very large) family. Full to the brim with ladies from all trades, the support and friendship gained from this group is second to none and so incredibly important for the continued success of a traditional seaside town outside of a big city.

The difference between the BWP ladies and some other, more corporate network events that I have attended in the past; is simply that when we say we will support each other, we’re telling the truth. This doesn’t mean simply retweeting them or waving through the window as we walk past. It means we buy each others products, we attend each others events and we embark on joint business adventures together. We really do try our best to keep it local. However, we are all guilty to heading to the big chains in the city as Christmas draws nearer for last minute panic buys. In fact, I am totally guilty of this, as I do most of my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. This year is different. This year, I pledge to keep my ‘shop local’ mantra going strong throughout December. No more last minute socks and chocolates, my Christmas shopping is going to be sourced with love and thought and purchased from the local traders I have come to know so well – who’s with me?

In case you needed convincing, here are just a few benefits of shopping local:

It’s good for the economy

It’s an obvious one really, but research by Sage shows that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p of it stays in the local economy compared with only 40p with larger businesses. It all adds up!

You are supporting local entrepreneurs

Small towns are often hotbeds of innovation, with close knit communities full to the brim with the next generation of talent. Unlike the monster chains, small businesses listen to their customers and know them on a personal level, so are constantly reinventing their ranges, putting them at the forefront of trends.

No-one else will have it!

Little boutiques will obviously, only buy in a small quantities, so the likelihood of you bumping into somebody wearing the same jumper at a New Years Eve party, is very unlikely. These quirky, unique gems will show you have put thought into their gift, and isn’t that what its all about?

This year, join us, and put your money where your house is. Lets shop local this Christmas.

Little moments of joy can make a BIG difference

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Candid Dog10 idea’s that are sure to bring a smile to their face, for when saying ‘Thanks’ doesn’t quite cut it.

Whilst saying ‘thanks’ to your customers or clients each time they shop with you is important, it’s undeniable that words simply don’t carry the same gravity as actions. Being able to show customers appreciation is a great advantage for smaller, local businesses over city corporates. Unlike big chains, you do care about your customers. You notice when they Retweet you and it makes your day seeing a new customer pop in after a friend has referred them. It’s these small, tokens of kindness that keep you motivated and your business thriving.

Don’t you think its time you started giving little moments of joy back to them?

Here are 10 creative and memorable ways you can show your appreciation without breaking the small business piggy bank.

  1. Help them learn something new

The more educated they are about your industry, the more they will appreciate your products and for a small business, this is incredibly valuable. Host a regular event where you bring in experts and learn new things together. If you’re a book shop, bring in a local author to talk about their work or if you’re a coffee shop you could bring in a barista to do free tastings.

  1. Make them say ‘WOW’

Don’t ever underestimate the power of ‘word of mouth’. Stories of amazing customer service will spread around the town like wildfire- start your morning with the aim of making your business the story of the day.

  1. Spend some time with them

Go out of your way to get to know your customers or clients. Invite them to local events or hold charity coffee mornings. Not only are you showing you care, their feedback could prove invaluable.

  1. Treat them

This doesn’t need to be a lavish gift. Little tokens like biscuits on your shop counter or offering them a cup of coffee on arrival will make them feel relaxed, confortable and will encourage them to stay longer and talk to you.

  1. Put the spotlight on them

Recognise their loyalty. Send out special thanks for ‘popping by’ or comment that it was nice to see them on social media for everyone to see.

  1. Throw a party

Make them feel like a VIP by inviting them to a special event for your business. Whether your celebrating an anniversary, or launching a new product or service, make them feel welcome.

  1. Celebrate with a card

Don’t be a scrooge; send a Christmas card. Yes it may take up a bit of your time, but it will be worth it and your effort will be greatly appreciated. Try adding a little token craft or recipe inside your card to really make you stand out from the crowd.

  1. Introduce them to a friend

Stay on the look-out for opportunities to refer them to your other clients or suppliers, and link them into your network. You may end up responsible for the perfect business partner match!

  1. Value their feedback

Reach out to customers or clients to tell them that you have implemented their suggestions following their recommendations. Your showing your listening to them, and recognising you couldn’t do it without them.

  1. Think of them

When your developing your next product or service, make sure to bear certain customers or clients in mind. Being able to say; ‘I saw this, and thought of you’ will go down a treat with your loyal customers.

 

 

 

 

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