zooms digital

Branding design: What to know before hiring an agency

Branding design: What to know before hiring an agency

Brand development is one of the most important and deciding steps that can help a young business succeed in the market. And choosing a branding agency is crucial, as it can really make all the difference. But how do you choose the right one?

Here’s the deal: branding design is one of the definitive aspects of a business that can make or break its success, both in terms of sales and awareness. You can have the best product, stick to your values, be extremely hardworking and good in what you do, but your business might still suffer because of a badly designed or inconsistent brand. Don’t believe me? Apparently, up to 94% of first impressions are design-related,

according to this research

So, picking the right agency is important, as it can cost you a lot of money, both for the design process itself and for what it can make you or lose you in the future as a result of what you end up with.

If it’s your first time branding your business, here is some helpful advice on what to concentrate on when deciding which agency fits you best.

Beware that good agencies always have their own brand strategies

You can find the best designer, but you shouldn’t expect them to be a researcher, analyst and strategist, as well as an artist. A good creative or marketing agency will have a strategist that will take over the branding process, do proper research for you and take care of the design team’s workflow too.

Business owners sometimes don’t understand the single steps of a branding process, which is why good creative agencies are capable of taking over the whole workflow and simply producing deliverables that the client can pick out and then finalize the preferred concept.

If an agency promises that one person can do it all, take it as a red flag. And know that graphic design and branding design can sometimes be costly for the sake of quality. If you have budget constraints, there are always options such as our graphic design service.

Make sure they research your industry and competition

New Product Development Marketing Concept

Sure, having plenty of ideas about your own brand is the main requirement a branding agency should do for you. That and making them come true.

But another essential step of the process is research. Not just them meeting your requirements and transforming your image and values into a brand identity, but also knowing who your competitors are, what their brand designs look like and what is the general industry standard. 

In their research, they should be looking into:

  • Industry standards
  • Design trends
  • Website design best practices
  • Social media graphic design
  • Platforms and channels used
  • Tastes and expectations the ideal buyers have

At the same time, look to it that agency doesn’t have ideas only within the realm of the industry standard. You want to be different from the competition, not just another unrecognizable brand on the market.

your dedicated branding designer
Looking for remarkable branding design ideas

Get them acquainted with your products and services well

For the branding agency to completely encapsulate your company. its products and services, as well as the mission and vision, you need to to give them a thorough understanding of what you do.

make sure you give them more than an elevator pitch. the branding design reflects many things: Style, beliefs, ideal buyer personas, vision, the brand image and finally, industry. be sure that they understand what you do, as well as what your wishes and expectations are.

respect their style but check if they are flexible enough to fit your vision

You might be drawn to an agency or designer mainly because of their style. They might check all boxes you require, and that is great. however, it is also important to know that if they stick strictly to their own style, they might miss the mark on how our business should look like and what will make it different from the rest of their clients. 

a good agency will know how to infuse their style into your business and product, but still make it about you, not them.

Check if they value pretty or functional more

Things that look good are always attractive and well-remembered. however, in terms of branding design, they should also serve a purpose. 

Shapes, color psychology, heraldic, font usage and its characteristics, are only some of the many things that are used in branding design not only to look good but also to serve a purpose and speak about the brand’s identity. another reason why functional is worth more than pretty is the intuitiveness and ease of use in design. this is especially important in web design and app design if your branding agency is also taking care of that portion of the project.

Too much to worry about?

In case there are too many variables in your search, or your budget can’t handle a pricey agency, check out Zooms Design. We have worked on branding design for tons of clients, all for a flat monthly rate and all sorts of on-demand design services. Check out our work.

How can merchandise help you with brand recognition?

How can merchandise help you with brand recognition?

From creating emotional bonds with potential clients to generating new leads, here are a few examples of how branded merchandise helps with brand recognition.

Go to any industry trade show, tech conference, or professional meetup event, and you will likely end up with bags of promotional materials. The usual business card, brochures, flyers, stationery have been replaced with more practical and polished items such as hoodies, reusable water bottle and phone gadgets. Still, their purpose remains the same: to promote a brand and reinforce  its recognition.  

Months or even years after a particular event passes, branded merchandise given to the visitors will continue to remind them about the specific brands silently. with cpi as low as $0.005 and recall rate as high as 85%, branded merchandise is by far the most efficient and cost-effective type of advertising. when an average keep rate of over a year, promotional product are the least discarded marketing materials.

Branded merchandise for advertising purpose is no longer for companies with big marketing budgets. From Coca-cola to the local gym, everyone uses different of merchandise to amplify and build brand identity.

what is brand merchandise

Products that have a company logo, slogan, or any other element that is part of the brand identity and are used to promote the brand are called branded merchandise. The sole purpose of these products is to promote the brand, raise awareness about it and improve its recognition among the target audience. 

Branded merchandise today can be considered as a business card, only more fun. The majority of these promotional products are handed out at trade shows and conferences to new or potential customers, influencers, and journalists from trade publications. 

Their primary purpose is to spread the word about the company and remind them of your business.

Still, there are a lot of brands that shifted merchandising to a whole new level. using their brand identity elements for different types of product, they created lasting personal experiences and connections with their audience. they made an additional revenue stream by offering their customers branded products. an excellent example of this is Starbuck which offers attractively designed, seasonally themed drinkware and other types of merchandise.

Why is branded merch important?

You might wonder if it is really that important to print your company logo on a tote bag or a t-shirt. you already have the company website, social media profiles, and print materials, so branded merchandise might seem like pushing your budget a little too far. Think about the last time you went to a conference, promotion, product launch, or trade show. you probably ended with more than a dozen business  cards, brochures, and pamphlets. the majority of those ended up at the bottom of your desk drawer or in the trash. 

However, you probably kept a good part of the promotional merchandise you received designed usb stick, a nice-looking bag for your laptop, or well-designed stationery likely found practical uses in your daily life.

According to asi (advertising speciality institute), the average time a consumer keeps a promotional product is about a year. this is why branded merchandise needs to be part of every marketing mix today. Promotional products have the lowest cost per impression (cpi) compared to any other advertising medium. with the cost as low as $0.005 per impression, merchandise is an excellent choice for small businesses and companies that lack large marketing budgets who want to work on increasing brand awareness.

what types of merchandise are the most important? 

The same study by asi shows that writing materials such as branded pens, pencils, notebooks, pads are at the top of this list. almost 9 in 10 americans, or 89%, own at least one such item. 88% have branded drinkware, 80% have t-shirt with a company logo or a slogan, and 73% have branded bags. next on this list are headwear, outerwear, and polo shirts which can be found in approximately 67% of american homes. 64% of americans have some branded desk accessory, 58% have at least one usb drive, and 33% have a mobile power bank that was given as a part of a promotional campaign. 


And even though some studies show that millennials and younger generations prioritize experiences over stuff, the branded merchandise industry has had steady growth for the past five years. Today this industry is worth over $24 billion only in the United States.

how branded merchandise impacts brand recognition

One of the goals of every marketing strategy is to build and improve brand recognition over time. Print materials, TV advertisements, radio jingles, website banners, and social media ads promote particular products or services and remind us of the company. That is why you can see campaigns that do not advertise anything but the brand from time to time.

Merchandise branded with company logo can be used daily and is usually kept much longer than other promotional materials. So as long as your customers use the products you gave them, they will see your company logo and brand message. But this is only just one of the reasons how promotional products improve brand recognition.


It help you introduce your business

If you are starting your business, branded merchandise can efficiently introduce it to your potential customers. products with your logo, such as tote bags, t-shirts, or anything that fits your business type and brand, will work much better than an ordinary business card. you can always print a qr code that leads to a specific landing page your website address, or other helpful information to make it easier for your potential customers to find you. 

Just make sure that the product is well designed and is visually connected to your branding. Putting your logo on a bag or a mug is not enough. You need to pay attention to the overall design of the product. You want your merchandise to stand out from your competitors and make it visually pleasing so your customers will want to keep and use the products.

It leaves an impression

According to Nielsen and OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) data, merchandise offers the best number of impressions for every dollar spent. While TV and magazine ads can cost you up to $1.8 per impression, the average CPM on social media is on the rise from $6.64 in 2017. 

Still, the cost of impression for promotional products can go as low as $0.005. outerwear generates around 6,100 impressions for every  dollar spent. t-shirt and headwear generate 3,400 impressions each, and bags on average generate some 3,300. People under 55 prefer promotion products or any other type of advertising. they also have 25 times more favorable opinions of promotional products than digital ads.


It has a tremendous life cycle

One of the biggest prejudices about promotional materials is that most of them end up in the trash. however, data from asi shows that the majority of promotional products are being kept and used. the determining factor to keep the merchandise for many people is quality and design. this it why more and more companies are paying attention when selecting products for potential customers. the better the quality and design, the longer the life cycle the product will have. People keep outerwear the longest, which is 16 months on average. Umbrellas and T-shirts are used for 14 months on average, while mobile power banks and drinkware are utilized on average for one year.

Still, this doesn’t mean the end for these products. In many cases, they are usually given away to someone else, so their life cycle extends. 68% of polo shirts, 65% of T-shirts, and 61% of bags are given to someone else.

it helps brands be more memorable

85% People remember the companies that gave them branded merchandise which doesn’t come as a surprise. take into account the average number of impressions and average life cycle of branded merchandise. you can quickly understand why merchandise boosts brand recognition. the ad impression study from 2019 conducted by asi identity that an average household in the u.s owns approximately 30 promotional products. gen x households had on average 34 promotional items, millennial households had 30, while baby boomers had on average 28 such things. 

These numbers might not sound that impressive at first. however, once you multiple those items with 120 million households in america, you get a number of over three billion logos and promotional slogans being seen every day repeatedly.

Final thought

The simple placement of your logo on merchandise is not enough. You need to get creative and look out for inspiration. If you plan to give away any apparel, then there are more than a few websites that can provide you with ideas.

Be environmentally friendly. Try to pick merchandise that is made out of recycled or natural materials and that is durable and lasting. Consumers are shifting towards eco-conscious brands that not only preach but practice as well.

Merchandise can improve your brand’s recognition over time. Just make sure you picked the products that your customers will enjoy using daily. And if you have trouble or doubts about creating designs that will make your promotional products stand out, feel free to contact us. We at Zooms design are always ready to help you with any creative work imaginable.

Mastercard simplifies logo and brand identity

Mastercard simplifies logo and brand identity

Mastercard is dropping its name from its iconic brand logo of the interlocking red and yellow circles. The simplified logo will now stand on its own across cards, retail locations both online and offline, and major sponsorship properties. Mastercade sais that the symbol represents the brand “”Better than one word ever could”, and the modern design will allow it to work “seamlessly” across the digital landscape.

According to Raja Rajamnnar, chief marketing and communication officer at Mastercard, reinvention in the digital age calls for moder simplicity, adding that more than 80% of people recognise the Mastercard symbol without the word “Mastercard” having to be plasterd everywhere. We felt ready to take this next step in our brand evolution. we are proud of our rich brand heritage and are excited to see the iconic circles standing on own, he said.

The red and yellow interlocking circles have been the hallmark of the Mastercard brand for more than 50 years, symbolising the brand’s promise to connect people to “priceless possibilities”. The brand said that the recognisable circles give consumers the confidence and trust that their transactions are secure.

“We live in a time where, increasingly, we communicate not through words but through icons and symbols. Mastercard has had the great fortune of being represented by two interlocking circles, one red, one yellow, since its founding in 1966,” Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram said.

Now, by allowing this symbol to shine ot its own, Mastercard enters an a elite cadre of brands that are represented not by name, but by symbol: an apple, a target, a swoosh. Mastercard’s two interlocking circles have always represented their commitment to connecting people. Now, that commitment to connecting people. Now, that commitment is given greater presence by Mastercard’s status as a symbol brand’ headded.

copa america

Mastercard simplifies logo and brand identity



Mastercard simplifies logo and brand identity



Agency : McCann Colombia, bogota

Creative Director: Adres Salamanca soler

Art Director: Felipe Alvarez C,

Adres V, De la Hoz, Sergio Ramirez.