Episode 164

How to Unlock Great Design for Your Business with Brand Strategist Katie Elenberger

Welcome to this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Today we discuss how to unlock great design for your business with brand strategist Katie Elenberger. Chris and Katie get into all kinds of interesting topics that are relevant to course creators, membership owners, and business owners who are interested in design for a business to create a powerful brand.

Katie is a creative brand strategist, and she helps companies determine the strategy for their brand and who their target audiences are. She designs creative strategies and tools to help companies reach their goals. Katie and her team work with companies to figure out where they want to go, and then they work out what kinds of creative elements they can use to get there.

Katie also teaches a branding and linked identities course at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Katie and Chris talk about all different aspects of branding, including which typographies to go with, color palates, and the difference between personal branding and company branding.

Getting in touch with your key message is foundational to how your brand and marketing strategies work. There are also different aspects to brand development, such as logo design, press releases, and advertising.

Chris and Katie talk about all of the work that goes into designing a logo. You want to have 20 or maybe 50 sketches, and this really allows you to work out the design and feel you want to your logo to have. You are also going to want to do your logos in black and white when you are in the design process, because color can sway your opinion in a major way. Katie shares some awesome tips like these and much more.

It is important to not think linearly while working on design, because that is not how the creative process works. You want to be open to all different paths and creative directions with your ideas. It may help to sketch out a mind map of ideas to get them all out of your head before committing to one and developing it. Don’t be afraid to start because your idea isn’t perfect, because the internet is always changing so you will have to adapt your plan or idea to the industry whether it is perfect or not. A lot of content creators won’t launch because they are afraid of imperfection, but that is just something you have to get over and power through as a course creator.

To learn more about Katie Elenberger head over to Spark27Creative.com. You can also find her on Twitter at @KatieElenberger.

You can post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. I’m joined today by a special guest KatieElenberger of Spark27 Creative. She is a creative brand strategist. We’re going to get into all kinds of interesting topics that are going to be relevant to course creators, membership site owners and really any business owner who’s needing to get into design and branding and do things the right way, and find help and collaborators and even cheerleaders behind their mission and their cause.
First, Katie thank you for coming on the show.
Katie: Thank you for inviting me.
Chris: What on earth is a creative brand strategist? What does that mean? I feel like branding is often misunderstood or it’s kind of abstract. Can you bring it down into reality of what you do at Spark27 Creative in terms of brand strategy?
Katie: As a designer by heart and by passion, design is a part of everything that I do and all things creative. By adding in the creative brand strategist is, it’s really helping companies determine their strategy around their brand and who their target audiences are, their key messages, but then really into what kind of things can we design that are going to help them reach their goals, really, and where they want to go as a company, and what kind of creative elements can we do to make that happen.
Chris: That’s awesome. What are some of the moving parts of that? There’s the strategy, but then how do you make it happen? What are the pieces?
Katie: We are a team of three, and we each kind of champion our own area. There’s a lot of crossover and collaboration, but really this overall strategy kind of comes from our whole team working together and really ideating what we think would be best for your business and then championing through design, through PR and media relations, and through digital, like that web aspect. I think that they three really work together.
There’s different subcategories through each of those. Even PR has the press releases to the crisis communication. The design, there’s logo and branding developments. There’s brochures. There’s advertising. There’s all sorts of different pieces for that. Through the Web you have websites and digital ads and digital marketing and paid media. It kind of goes into this full line of things that we can implement across, but really focusing on that design digital and PR to help your strategy.
Chris: That’s great. That’s really great. I want to ask you, and I know you teach you also teach graphic design at Minnesota State University, what is design. What is great design? We kind of know it when we see it, but how do you deconstruct it a little bit and teach somebody about how to make great design or think about great design?
Katie: I teach a branding and linked identities course, well two courses actually, to upperclassmen at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Really is a collaborative approach, and I find that a lot of our classwork is a lot of studio time, a lot of one on ones, a lot of small group, which is really setting the stage for how we want them to work as designers in the future. To be able to work on a team, to be able to build ideas independently, but yet really listen and appreciate the constructive feedback that they’re given, not only by me but by their peers. That is just so huge as a designer out in the world. Being able to do it in a way that, to teach in a way that has an impact on the students that make them push themselves to be better designers, to learn the tips and the tricks around typography, and to really just be ready to be designers as a profession, too. That’s kind of like what I love about teaching design, too, is also seeing their raw creativity, too, and how do they implement that, how do they build on these concepts and then how do they produce it in a way that’s meaningful and will stand out in the crowd.
Chris: That’s awesome. Let’s get a little bit tactical. Anybody out there listening when they go to a website or they’re starting their business, a lot of times, initially there’s a lot of focus on the logo or the name of the business, but specifically the logo sometimes. In my experiences where people, when they first start really getting into thinking about design for their learning platform or their business website in general, what are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to creating a logo or working with a designer to create a logo that you’ve just learned over time?
Katie: Do’s and don’ts. That’s interesting. I think there’s a big difference between like the do-it-yourself logo that you love and you’re passionate with to working with a designer. I think a lot about the process of building that logo. If you’re doing it as a do-it-yourself, I know everybody has different budgets and that’s understandable, but even approaching it from the same way that I approach a logo project for my students, is to be able to sketch those ideas out to really push yourself past your first idea. In some of my projects, I require, “Okay, do 20 sketches, 50.” I’ve even heard some people doing 100 sketches. Really pushing half your first idea. Because what happens when, especially when you’re do-it-yourself or you’re learning the programs, such as some students are, you go into the computer too fast. You maybe don’t know the programs as well as you should. You’re going in too fast and you get really attached to that idea, because you spent three hours, five hours, whatever kind of hours it is. It’s hard to scrap that.
By pushing yourself with quick little thumbnails, get 25 thumbnails out, and then take your top five and go through a refining process and really build it out with a thick tip sharpie … One other thing I see from students and a lot of people that are trying to do this themselves is you’re getting elements in your logo that are too thin to reduce down. What you need to think about the logo is what is it on a 400%, what would it look like scaled up on a billboard to what does it look like at that 25% on a business card. That’s something so, so crucial because small texts, small lines, any elements like that that can’t be versatile on either one of those faces are going to be hard and not successful. Think about also where is this going. Is it going to be online only? If you’re building this course, is it online only? Maybe your elements and transparencies and fun color and gradients are working. If it’s a logo that’s going to transmit to, you want to embroider it on a shirt one day, you better be able to have that all in black and white or in a one color or two color version without losing parts of that logo.
Chris: Wow. I learned a lot listening to that. Thank you so much.
Katie: Sorry, that was a lot of information all at once.
Chris: No, that’s good.
Katie: I don’t even know because I answered … I didn’t even get to the second part of the answer of what is it like working with a designer.
Chris: Before we go to that, I just want to highlight what you said about pushing past your first idea, because I think that is so brilliant. Those of you listening out there, if you’re an expert or a teacher or you have some skills that you want to try to turn into an online course, you can make the same mistake in a different way. You can jump right into your learning management system or your membership site tools and start trying to plug stuff into the structure. Whereas if you were to hold off on picking up your software and loading up the course builder and LifterLMS or whatever you’re using, grab a piece of paper and do a mind map and don’t think linearly and just get all the ideas out of your head before you commit and start seeing your course come together on the website. You get attached to it and you’ve kind of the limited your creativity way down here when you just didn’t leave it loose and open or challenge your assumptions long enough.
I love how you talk about that in terms of design and branding. That’s such a brilliant insight. That’s such a good idea. Thank you for one.
Katie: I think, I’ve said this to many, many students over the past years … I even do it myself. You’re sketching and let’s say you want to get to 25 sketches. I guarantee you the one that you end up with is not that first one. Maybe you’re refining number two and number six and number 15, but maybe it’s even that 20 or 25. The ideas that you’re getting to towards the end, once you’ve pushed past the bad ones, once you’ve pushed past other ideas and gotten some more creativity out, are always going to be beneficial. That’s so true, that it’s not just logos that that’s important for, but a lot of different things.
Chris: That’s awesome. What about working with a designer? You mentioned people have all kinds of budgets. If you’re a scrappy start up and you can’t afford a designer right away and you go with a text-based logo with a nice font and pick some colors on your own or find some kind of affordable logo design service that is very templated or something like that … But if you get into the more professional design arena and you’re working with a designer, how do you get the most out of that experience?
Katie: I think really just trusting in that creative process, too. Finding the right person for you too and what is their process and how do they involve you in it. I truly believe in being that strategic partner with people. I know there are a lot of designers out there that are like, “This is the way, this is …” I think there is a part of that because they are trained and they are experts, and so you do need to listen to their opinions. I do believe a designer needs to listen to their clients, too, and really take their feedback to heart and see if you can kind of come up with a really good process together or have a really good experience throughout that designer’s process, is really important to me. That that comes across with really being client relations focused in my business, too. Just really listening to each other really is huge.
Chris: That’s awesome. Having it be a team effort. Because the designer may not know … I mean, they definitely don’t know as much about your business as you do, and you don’t know nearly as much about design as they do. Let’s pull resources and trust-
Katie: Any designer is going to be going through a thorough discovery process and learning everything about that company, or they should. After, I think different budgets are coming to play. I heard you say the affordable design service that is more templated. They’re not going to know everything about you, and that’s part of that process. That’s part of what, in the term that you get what you pay for, too. Right? At the end of the day, it needs to be a success on both ends. The designer needs to be proud of what they put out and they did a really great job with it. The person, the client, needs to be really happy and proud of that brand, too. It needs to speak to their audience too.
Chris: That’s almost the most important piece. Let’s talk about that with a specific example. A lot of people listening to this might be building an online course or membership site. They’re going to be involved in the digital part of the brand and building a website. Let’s talk about both typography and colors, or color palette. What I see happening-
Katie: Speaking to my heart, Chris.
Chris: What I see happening sometimes is … For example, at LifterLMS, I’m on the technology side. We have a theme called Launchpad. You can choose from over 600 Google fonts and there’s about, I don’t know, a hundred places where you can use a color picker to pick from a million different shades of all colors or something. In the wrong hands, you can create a really ugly side or not a very usable sight. What I see a lot of web designers or website building services do is they’ll ask the client, “Pick your font and let me know what your color palettes are,” or something like that. Or, “What do you want your link or your buttons colors to be,” or something like that. If you were in a more high touch experience, and also with a designer, and keeping in mind that the design is really meant for the end user … I may like Helvetica or Comic Sans or whatever but-
Katie: Chris!
Chris: … or Papyrus, but-
Katie: Wait. Let me just put that out there. Never choose Comic Sans.
Chris: My customers, it’s their experience of the brand that matters most. If blue is my favorite color, but I’m in a business that has a different kind of feel, like it’s for kids and it’s fun and it’s playful, I might not want navy blue.
Let’s talk about it. Where does typography and design come from? Or typography and color palettes come from?
Katie: In specifically a web space?
Chris: Yeah, in a web space.
Katie: Okay, let’s start with colors first. That color picker you mentioned can be very, very dangerous. I was actually even part of this panel that was discussing colors. They were talking about the web colors, in terms of like, “I don’t have time to go back and forth with the client to pick the right color blue, or, “I don’t want to pick the shade of blue.” But to me as a designer and this brand strategist who’s implementing your web design after we’ve already determined, is that that blue has already been determined and already been picked. You wouldn’t be running through like, “Okay, change all these button colors,” because it’s already been part of your established brand. I think that that’s really important and a different feature that my company does, or some others.
Relying on resources to me is really huge. There’s a lot of really good places out there that will help you pair colors together. If you’re in this DIY space and you’re looking for colors that’ll match, go out to Adobe Kuler or go out to Design Seeds or go out to a few of these other places that are already pairing these great colors and sending you what those RGV values are and then what would those CMYK values be if you’re going to be printing a business card or you’re printing a brochure. Because those colors will change.
One mistake I see a lot of people doing is they’re picking this color on the web, which is the RGV version, and then they’re trying to print it out and it looks completely different. Any student that says to me in portfolio critiques and stuff like, “Oh, well, it looked a lot different on the screen, and then I printed it out.” I’m like, “No, those need to be like changed right away. You need to be looking at that across the board. Relying on resources and looking at colors. You might pick navy blue, but there’s a lot of different versions of navy blue. How does that navy blue coordinate with the other colors? Are you adding enough contrast? Are you adding saturation? Is there a color that’s going to end up vibrating? Those are all things to really consider. Because it’s not just picking navy blue. Not to me anyways. There’s very, very differing hues of navy blue.You can think about it like you’re painting your wall navy blue. The navy blue you’re picking from, there’s a lot of different choices.
In terms of typography, legibility is huge. I find a lot of people that are picking in DIY are thinking, “Oh, it just looks nice.” But like how are you pairing those together? Don’t use two serifs together, don’t use to sans serifs. Having a good … Like a serif and a sans serif together or a headline and a strip font with a sans serifs. Then how are those fonts that you’re picking really going after your market? If you were to describe your brand, what is it? Is it contemporary? Is it rustic? Is it old school? Is it retro? What kind of font are you looking for? I think I have 6300 fonts on my machine. It’s not just a font to a designer. That’s a big choice for us. Thinking about what description words your brand needs to encompass or telling your designer that you’re working with, “This is the overall feel that I want it to be.” It’ll help them pick the fonts that’ll fit that best.
Legibility, obviously, number one. If you can’t read it, you can’t read their message. Anybody is going to leave your page.
Chris: That’s really good. I like what you’re saying about out of 6000 thousand fonts … You can tell when you see different fonts, like, “Oh, that looks like it came from the West,” like cowboy kind of thing. If you’re selling Cowboys pearl snap shirts, that might be a good heading for your website. But if you’re selling medical devices, that might not be the best font to choose or something. You might want something a little more professional and modern looking.
Let’s talk about-
Katie: Hopefully you’re working with a designer that’s considering all of that. That would be the ultimate goal.
Chris: Yeah, yeah. Design is a language. I’m a self-admitted not the greatest designer, and I love learning from great designers. Because they find words for things that I didn’t know how to express, but that I felt before, when experiencing a brand in some way. I think that’s why working with a great designer is so important, because they give you a language and a way to communicate and even understand your brand or create a brand that is just going to work.
Let’s talk about color for a little bit. I’m just selfishly trying to learn from you. I see bright colorful … I have a very elementary understanding of it. If I see bright, colorful stuff, I might be thinking of, “Okay, this is for kids’ toys or whatever or children’s books website or something.” If it’s all blacks and whites and grays and silvers, it might be super high end, elegant, very expensive premium stuff. If it’s red, it might be very edgy or masculine or something. I don’t know. If it’s pink, maybe it’s very feminine or whatever. Can you help me not sound like such a Neanderthal when I talk about colors? How do you explain color to people?
Katie: That’s really tough. Approaching color when we’re going into a branding project with a client is first we develop all of our logos in black and white first, as a rule. Sometimes, know the rules to break the rules.
Chris: You’re getting the content right first. Kind of. Is that the way it …
Katie: Right. Because I think that color can ultimately sway a decision.
Chris: Okay, that’s interesting. I’m learning. I’m learning. Keep going.
Katie: Yeah. I feel like I’m giving very general examples because there’s always, always the rule breaks. Generally, our process for logos would be to be developing in black and white and giving three different versions. All based on those descriptions words in the discovery process that we went through. One, we like to develop in black and white because it has to be not even just for the digital space, but for the print space, we believe that it needs to always have that one color version. Bold and thick and not too busy. Backing up to our other conversations, that a lot of DIYers try to add so much to a logo. When you’re pairing it with a lot of other elements, a lot of other textures and other backgrounds and colors and photos, your busy logo isn’t … Save those elements for other design areas of your site or of your pieces.
Sorry, backing up. Our process, it would developing these three black and white versions and showing that to the client, or talking through that. That isn’t always the case. At least it’s a good rule of thumb to start where we’re at. Or identifying a color that your client really wants to stay away from. Maybe it’s a personal hatred towards orange. If you had orange in any of your … You never asked that question and you had orange in any of your logos, sometimes color can just sway the person, “I don’t even like that logo because that orange is terrible.” Really, the concept would have been strong. I think that it’s really important to pick your colors very thoroughly because it can really impact the client, but it can also impact your customers. Just make sure it’s really fitting.
Chris: That makes sense. I’ve heard some things, like red and orange and yellow, these are the colors that fast food companies use because it makes you hungry, makes you think about food. Blue, I think, is supposedly trustworthy or something like that.
Katie: Right, yeah. I know a restaurant that we didn’t work on it, but that chose blue just because they wanted to be setting themselves out …
Chris: Different.
Katie: … separating themselves. I’m like, “But blue and food? Those just don’t really go together.” I think that there’s definite need for pushing beyond the boundaries and pushing to do different things, but still considering why isn’t blue used in a restaurant space as often. Things like that. I just think color can be very impactful.
Chris: Can you provide some general tips around, I guess the word would be rebranding? For example, if you’re a scrappy course creator, membership site builder, and you don’t have a lot of extra resources. You launch your site. It’s doing well. People are in your course. They’re buying your membership or whatever. Then you’re like, “Okay, I kind of hacked it together. I chose colors. I picked a logo that I made myself. I want to do a rebrand.” What do recommend in terms of rebranding? Is it any different from branding from the beginning or considerations when you’re doing a shift? Could you just speak to rebranding a little bit?
Katie: Yeah. I think that rebrand process really starts with the why. Is it because you know your logo isn’t being effective or-
Chris: Let me give you a specific example. At LifterLMS, design is not our strength. Our strength is more in functionality and business and teaching through the internet. These are our skills. Design is not our highest skill. We need more design help. When we started, we first launched … This is a LifterLMS … If you’re listening to this on a podcast, I’m just holding up a coffee cup in the video that has our … We just had a Helvetica Lifter LMS logo. We’ve got a space theme. We’ve got a rocket that’s our logo, basically. That icon, the rocket, is something that lots of companies in the software space use. We were committed. We have products named after a space theme. But we’ve thought about doing a rebrand and we really want to develop a more unique logo and invest in it. Using that as an example, for, “Man, we’re just getting tired of this rocket. We go to conferences, we see other booths with rockets.” That’s where it starts with us. What would you recommend?
Katie: I think there’s two things. One, you guys might be sick of the rocket, but is your clients? Are they seeing the same things? Or if they’re seeing these other rockets, are they able to recognize whether it’s a Lifter rocket versus another rocket? That’s one thing to consider. There’s two things with rebrands. There’s one of we’re going an entire different direction. If you guys lost that rocket, you’d have to change a lot of your different programs. Right? Does that rebrand of, “We’re really trying to move and position ourselves in a different way”? Or you’re rebranding from your rocket and you’re taking more of the approach of adjusting the rocket to make it a little more unique or a little more simplified or a little more designed as another part of a rebrand. Really, kind of going through that. Still, I think that’s determining your why. Why do you want to do this? How will this impact your users and your end users and your overall look? Really kind of going through this audit of what’s working and what’s not. That’s going to be determined, with your rebrand, it’s going to be determined in your colors and your textures and the type of photos you’re using, as well as just your logo.
Chris: That’s awesome. I really appreciate that. We are going a little long. I hope that’s okay with you on the time. Are you good for a couple more minutes?
Katie: Yes, we’re good.
Chris: Could you speak to a little bit what you mean by texture? You just threw that in there. Is this like rounded corners versus hard corners, or shadows? What is a texture in digital?
Katie: I guess I just mean more other design elements. If you’re on a digital space, does that block of color only need to be yellow? Does that only need to be blue? Are there other things that make sense with your brand that you can add in? I’m thinking rockets, you’ve got the different kinds of smoke. Is there other elements of texture? When I say texture, it’s like design elements that you can add in that are really just going to emphasize your overall brand, but really from the cosmetic standpoint. It’s not all just that very flat color. What is that other dimension and that other layer that’s just going to add a lot more dimension to your work?
Chris: That’s awesome.
Katie: If that makes sense.
Chris: I have a couple more selfish questions to ask you before we wrap up.
Katie: Absolutely.
Chris: I’m just thinking about this issue of a personal brand versus a corporate brand or whatever. What is your stance on it? You like to advocate for the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are often building a company, but they might be a company of one. It definitely starts that way. Their personal brand is a part of it, but maybe over time they’re transitioning more to a corporate brand. How do you decide, in the beginning or just as you strategically think about the future, of what kind of brand am I building? Is this a personal brand or a corporate brand or do I need to care about both? Can you speak to those, that dichotomy there?
Katie: I probably have a bit of an interesting answer to that question, Chris. I feel like you’re kind of speaking to my origin story of how I got going owning my own business, too. From doing this business, I was always a designer and I always worked as a design and strategy, but kind of built my business as a side hustle. I joke that side hustle, people other love or hate that word. In my situation, I had no other term for it really because I was working full-time and I was raising a family and I was working on the side to build my business.
For me, and I hope this is applicable to the people that are listening too, it was building my customers. It was building my audience. It was building my following. It was building my client list. That was huge. That was even before I could work on my own brand. While I was working full-time … We were allowed to freelance, but we were promoting ourselves. We never had our own website. When I announced to my clients, “Hey, I’m going to go full-time,” it was just this dump of work. They were protecting me in a sense. We had built this really strong client relationship. They knew that I was doing this on the side, at night, on weekends and stuff. When I finally said, “Okay, I’m committing. I’m going to do this full-time,” it was this dump of projects. I think six months later I finally was able to take a breath. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even have my own logo or my own website. I’m constantly building all of these things and all of these branding campaigns for all my clients, but not my own.” I think, though, that is a little ridiculous, it makes a lot of sense for who I am and my client relationships, too. I did kind of always put them first.
I’m getting on a long tangent here. Sorry, Chris. Ah!
Chris: Just the dichotomy between the personal brand and the corporate brand. Did you start as-
Katie: Yeah, the switch of it, right?
Chris: Yeah.
Katie: That building up, I see a lot of people that are so overwhelmed with, “I’m going to be building this. I want to build this.” If you don’t have people to sell it to, where is it going? Sorry, I got a little distracted there. That’s where I was going. I had people to sell it to, so my personal brand was a little bit less important. I had that client list. You could spend months and months trying to protect or perfect that logo and that content and that design, but if you’re never going to end up launching the course, then who are you selling it to? It’s a mix of getting it out there, and then, when things are successful, then revisiting that brand. That’s the same kind of thing that I ended up having to do.
Finally, it was successful as a business. I had clients to sell to. Then I ended up reworking, “Now I understand were my content needs to lie and what my design needs to look like.”
Chris: That makes a lot of sense. We talk a lot about that in a similar way with creating a pilot version of a course or pre-selling and validating it before you actually go big and build a whole learning management system with lots of courses and membership levels and all this. The brand can evolve with time.
When we first started LifterLMS in 2013, we used Lead Pages to create a single opt-in landing page to see if anybody was interested. We didn’t have a logo. It was just some words. Not a single line of code had been written. That was the beginning. We just used the blue and yellow that was in the Lead Pages. We did a launch. When we first launched, we got 42 customers. From there, over time, we would just keep evolving the brand. I think that is a really important point, to make sure you’ve got enough momentum and your idea is right and you’ve kind of pivoted it to ultimately where it’s going to be before you go really strong into branding. You don’t want to do too much too early and then change what you’re going to do or change the brand or who it’s for or whatever.
Katie: That evolution is probably a part of every business, I feel like. If you have all of your stuff set up, and you think, “This is perfect,” then maybe you’re not going to be ready or prepared for change. If you go into it knowing, “This is really great for where I’m at right now, but in a year we’re going to revisit this or in six months we’re going to try to be able to hire somebody to help us.” Really it’s embracing that change and being ready for that kind of evolution. I don’t feel like at some point that’s perfect. Because three years down the road, the entire web industry is going to be changing and there’s going to be different trends to be watching for.
Chris: I’ve got one more design question for you before we wrap up. It’s kind of a really specific niche question, but I’ve always been fascinated by characters in branding. Like Geico has the lizard. Different products sometimes have a character. When does it make sense to have a character? What is the function of that? Is that a way to give it a personal brand, but it’s imaginary? Could you just speak a little bit from your perspective about these fictional characters that exist in brands? Where does that come from and what purpose does that serve? I’m looking for you to teach me some language around that.
Katie: I also feel like this is your question of should we remove the rocket ship and add in a character …
Chris: That is also my question.
Katie: Chris, I really wish I had a better answer for you on the characters and when it makes sense. A lot of the businesses that I work for are more in that corporate space or healthcare, so you don’t see a ton of that character niche. That’s maybe more around products.
Chris: Consumers, yeah.
Katie: A little bit. Or maybe driven around advertising. I know you mentioned Geico. That’s very advertising driven, which then … What I can talk to you about is you see it on the ads, and then when you get to their website there’s continuity between that as a brand. I think continuity across all of those different mediums is incredibly important. I think that all of the people that are building courses on LifterLMS who are looking for branding advice, just make sure you’re using that same continuity with colors and everything across in your content.
I wish I had a better answer for you for characters. Now I feel like I’m going to have to do more research. We’re going to have to talk again.
Chris: You did a ninja move and you brought it over to continuity. I’m guilty as charged, where I’ve done Facebook ads. I was in a hurry. I grabbed some stock photography or whatever. The click-through, it was incongruent, I believe the word is. I think that consistent … Whatever you do, be consistent. I think that’s key. If you’re going to rebrand, you’ve got to rebrand all the way.
Katie: You mentioned stock photography. Maybe there’s a time and a place. In my business, we try to be as original as possible. I preach that a lot to my students at MSUM, is that as a designer, going out and taking your own photography or working with a photographer, you feel maybe a lot more satisfied with your end result and knowing that you had much more of an art direction role in that photography.
Obviously, I can’t say I’ve never used stock photography, but I think that’s one aspect of what can you do or what can a designer add that’s original to and that you can taken then through all the different pieces.
Chris: That’s beautiful. Katie Ellenberger, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom with us. We’re definitely going to have to do a part two, because I can tell we just cracked the seal on your knowledge. There’s a lot of design wisdom in there. We’re going to get more out of you in another episode, if you’ll have us.
Katie: Absolutely. Thank you for asking me to be on, Chris.
Chris: Yeah. If you’re resonating with all this and you want to find out more about Katie, check out Spark 27 Creative. Is there anywhere else people can find you on the internet or places they should go if they want to connect with you?
Katie: Yeah, absolutely. All the social media. @KatieEllenberger on Twitter. You can find me on LinkedIn, on Instagram, and Spark27Creative.com definitely will get us connected. I hope that something I mentioned today was inspiring and can help all of your Lifter clients or whoever is listening to this podcast to be able to make some changes and to be inspired to use creative, original ideas, and to build your network that you’re comfortable getting feedback from.
Chris: Thank you for coming on the show and helping inspire all the education entrepreneurs out there. We really appreciate it.
Katie: Thank you, Chris.

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