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Is your image on purpose?

June 8, 2016

All businesses have an image - but is it by accident or is it on purpose? The answer to that question could have telling results.

We all know that image is an important and multifaceted aspect for our businesses, but what if you don’t know exactly what kind of image you want or need to have? What if you’ve never thought about design and branding? What if you need a logo or a website but haven’t a clue what it should look like - what do you do?

At Nexus Business Space, we have a great network of businesses working throughout our creative office spaces. This is great because it means we have specialists and experts in a range of fields sitting, quite literally, right next to each other. One of those businesses is Cake Graphic & Digital, who specialise in helping businesses design the right image for them.

“The first step in any design project is to take a brief,” explains Heather Tomlinson, director of Cake Graphic & Digital. “People sometimes don’t have one - they just know they need something but don’t really have a clear idea on what they want specifically. For example they might want a logo but have no idea what they’re really wanting it to show or look like.

“Each project is quite different, so each brief will vary depending on what the design project is for. With branding, for example, we discuss target market, self perception, client perceptions and what the purpose is for the required piece of work.

Two big questions

Heather helps clients answer the big questions to help establish what a company’s image should look like.

“You need to clarify: What are you wanting to communicate? Who do you want to reach? These are the kinds of questions we discuss to come up with a really clear idea of what we want to achieve.

“The problem is often people will think about their branding from their own perspective and not from the perspective of their target audience.

“We help people to step back and offer some fresh perspective to make sure their image is effective for reaching their target customer.

“One of my clients, for example, is a recruitment firm. Their clients and prospective clients want to hire a professional company that will do a great job for them. Therefore, the purpose of their branding is quite simply to make them look presentable and trustworthy. “

Startup story

Heather, from Cape Town, South Africa, moved to Scotland in 2001. Getting a job as a Branding Consultant for Standard Life, she then went on to work as a multi-media graphic designer with an award winning agency in Glasgow before returning to Edinburgh as an agency web designer. Finally she started Cake in 2010.

“I’d been working for one company for a long time when one of our clients, who owned a PR company, came to me and asked me to start a design studio for his business. I did that and from there went on to set up my own company.

For many start-ups the early days are a bit of a slog, but having built a great reputation among clients already, Heather was able to get established quickly.

“When I started Cake I actually had old clients contact me and give me their business. People I’d worked for in the past, directors of companies I’d done work for introduced me to their network and gave me referrals.

“It also started and grew quite quickly.”

Staying small on purpose

Since starting out, the company’s name and reputation has continued to grow and flourish - they’ve done work for a range of organisations, including Traverse Theatre, Open University, Queen Margaret University, Scottish Poetry Library, Sound Music Festival, Creative Scotland and PR firm Pagoda Porter Novelli.

They moved into Nexus Business Space around a 18-months ago, having had offices elsewhere. “The reason I chose Nexus is it’s really central and easy for meetings, looks great & everything is really well run and managed - they really do go the extra mile to make sure you have everything you need,” Heather explains.

Since Nexus Business Space offices are highly flexible with services and packages, businesses, like Cake, are able to work in a way that is highly client focussed.

“I work with a range of freelance developers, photographers and designers. Working this way allows me to flex and call on my network as and when I need them.

“We’re small and flexible, so clients who come to us aren’t having to pay all the additional cost that goes into covering account managers that go with bigger design studios.

“I like the way things are at the moment. The bigger you get, the more expenses there are so the way we are set up currently allows for better value to our customers.”

Do you have a growing business but need a central base in Edinburgh? At Nexus Business Space, we're just seconds from George Street with a range of flexible office solutions - from Virtual Offices and Hot Desks to full on office space. Contact us to find out more.