Creative Instinct Blog – Branding & Marketing Tips for Busy Professionals

Informative articles and tips on marketing for small businesses.


The lack of brand discipline is something we notice often when we work with small businesses. It can be very damaging. Exposure of a consistent brand is essential to building name recognition. To achieve it, companies need image guidelines that all of their employees follow; these must include a company font to be used on all communications, presentations, etc. That font will speak to your brand forever. To make sure it has strength, here are 10 fonts to avoid at all costs:

1. Comic Sans

No one is surprised that this is No. 1. Comic Sans may have been cute and playful once upon a time, but everyone and their mother has used it for homemade signs and logos, so avoid it like the plague. It should never be used in corporate settings.

2. Papyrus

You might think this has a “natural, beachy” feel, but it doesn’t. That has been worn off with overuse. It now appears stale and used up.

3. Copperplate

You think it’s strong and professional, and it’s just perfect for your law firm/accounting agency/serious business. If you want to look like everyone else in your industry, have at it.

4. Curlz

Going for the cute and perky look is not a bad thing for certain industries, but doing it with the same font ad nauseam does nothing but destroy your uniqueness.

5. Mistral

This one saddens me because, once upon a time, it was stunning and fresh. Sadly, like all of the other fonts listed, it has been beaten to death. Don’t be tempted; Mistral is like John Mayer—once deeply attractive but now totally overexposed. Keep looking.

6. Yearbook

Unless you are working at an athletic department circa 1945, run for the hills. Not every single high school on the planet has to use the same font.

7. Brush Script

Like Mistral, many think Brush Script has just the right amount of pizzazz; it doesn’t. At best, it was a pale imitation of Mistral.

8. Bradley Hand

With all of the “hand drawn”-looking fonts, I don’t understand why we’ve settled on employing only a few of them. Sadly, Bradley Hand has become Generic Hand.

9. Cooper

I am sure this was the coolest font ever, in 1970 or 1920 (when it was designed by Oswald Bruce Cooper). But it isn’t cool and edgy now anymore.

10. Kristen

This font may be cute for school posters and youth events, but no font is effective for branding when it’s as beaten to death as this one.

It may seem like I’m making a big deal out of something small, but for branding just as for everything else, the devil is in the details. Logos cost money because good designers don’t just rely on fonts to create an image that will speak to your brand and stick with your customer. No matter how cool the latest (or oldest) font may be, it’s totally uncool for your brand to use tired imagery.


Need help with your branding? Call on us!

When you create a powerful business brand, you’ll attract the clients, projects, and referrals that you want. Deliver your branding message consistently, and your reward will be consistent profit growth. Let Gwen Canfield with Creative Instinct guide you through the process. We promise, it will be painless.

To see logos we’ve designed for other small and mid size companies, click here.

Call Creative Instinct now at 501-244-0573 for a free quote on branding for your business, including: logo design, brochure design, website design and much more. Or, send an email to Gwen at To see samples of our work, visit

This article is an edited excerpt from Ragan’s PR Daily. Written by Amy Tobin.
Link to original article:


Article by Ryan Holmes

When your mom friended you on on Facebook, you wondered if social media was going mainstream. When your grandmother did, you knew it was.

Today, teens, parents and grandparents alike are on social media and the numbers back it up: 72 percent of all adult internet users in the U.S. are active on at least one social network, a remarkable surge from just 8 percent in 2005.

Since founding social media company HootSuite five years ago, I’ve been lucky to have a front-row seat to this sweeping change. Recently, I sat down with some of the top social media minds I know to forecast what lies ahead. Here are our best predictions for what to expect in 2014:

1. Social media that disappears. In 2014, we will see the rise of “ephemeral” social networks like Snapchat:

Regardless of whether or not you think Snapchat is worth the $3 billion Facebook offered it, one thing is clear: There’s an appetite out there for so-called ephemeral networks, where content literally vanishes seconds after being received. And, contrary to popular perception, this isn’t just about sexting and X-rated selfies (though it definitely is about that, too). As content on the major networks becomes more corporate and commodified, Snapchat and services like it restore some of the fun and spontaneity to social media.

Just like a real-life interaction—where ideas flow freely and you generally don’t worry about everything being recorded for posterity and broadcast to the world—SnapChat and networks like it offer a channel for genuine, unfiltered exchange. And the kids really like it. While Facebook’s own CFO officially acknowledged last month that teen use of his network is declining, the number of teens on SnapChat—at least anecdotally—is exploding.

2. “Hey, what’d you score on your Twitter exam?” In 2014, schools will recognize social media as an asset, rather than liability:

As social media has gone mainstream, it’s become a major factor in how people are evaluated in the real-world—for jobs, educational opportunities, and much more. A recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep, for example, showed that nearly one-third of college admissions officers now look at applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them

The good news is forward-thinking educators have begun taking note of these trends and are bringing social media into the classroom—even at the high school level. History and journalism teacher David Cutler at Palmer Trinity School in Florida, for example, conducts classroom discussions on online etiquette and teaches his students how to politely navigate an increasingly digital world. In 2014, we will see more schools recognize social media as an asset, teaching social media and digital skills to better equip their students for our changing world.

3. Don Draper, eat your heart out. In 2014, social media ads will challenge old ways of advertising.

Mad Men might be on its last legs but social media definitely is not. As such, advertising on major social networks like Facebook and Twitter—called social advertising, or native advertising—is seriously taking off. It’s an industry already worth billions and accelerating fast, expected to hit $11 in revenues by 2017.

So what’s behind the growing success of social ads? For one, they’re proving to be a lot more effective than some traditional forms of advertising, like banner ads. While online banner ads are now pretty much ignored (clicked on 0.2 percent of the time), Promoted Tweets show engagement of one to three percent— up to 15 times better.

Social ads have another big—but easily overlooked—virtue: They work better on mobile devices than traditional ads because they take up less space and fit small screens better. By the end of 2013, there will be 1.4 billion smartphones on earth, one for every nine people. Collectively, that’s a ton of new real estate that advertisers are just beginning to reach.

4. Trash the TV Guide. In 2014, millennials will help fuel a major trend in video sharing on the web.

Did you know that currently, 1 in 3 millennials watch less TV than they do online videos, or no TV at all?

It makes sense. Many millennials—those born roughly from the late 1980s to 2000s—grew up on a steady diet of viral content via sites like YouTube: cat fails, hot new music videos, comedy mashups, etc. As a result, this demographic is incredibly comfortable with the medium of online video and consume it collaboratively, sharing choice clips with their friends on social networks.

In 2013, we saw Instagram—now the 2nd most popular social network amongst teens—play into this rising trend, with the launch of its new video capabilities. (Sorry, Vine.) Add to this the emergence of Snapchat, which lets users share short video clips (along with text or images) that only last for a few seconds.

By 2020, millennials will comprise half of the US workforce so it’ll be interesting to see how this type of immediately accessible, free content further evolves as more and more digital-savvy, video-loving workers begin to take up the reins in businesses.

Need professional help?

Does your company need assistance with creating and maintaining your social media presence? Perhaps you have tried to do it yourself, but just can’t find the time. We can help! To learn more about our social media services and pricing, contact Visit our website at


(Article by Forbes)
Is print dead?  This is a question that has been buzzing around the marketing world since the rapid surge of the Internet and social media. While many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign. Let’s take a closer look at print media and some advantages it has over its digital counterparts.


A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.


There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.


Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.

Target Marketing

Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.

More Engaging

Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)

Less Print Ads

With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.

QR Codes

Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.

The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print. Although it is likely that most emphasis, in terms of advertising, will be executed online, there still exist those who revel in the glory of the printed page and it’s important to reach them. Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.

Need some help with your marketing?

Need some help with your company brochure or other marketing collateral? Call Creative Instinct at 501-244-0573 to arrange for a free consultation.  Not only can we create an appealing page-turning design for your brochure, we can bring in an talented copywriter to craft the perfect verbiage that will make the sale. Email Gwen Canfield: To see collateral designs we’ve created for our clients, visit