Establishing a brand image that stands out




A quick quiz (don’t worry, you pass):

1.    What’s red, made it so Santa Clause was jolly and round, likes polar bears, is a tasty drink and “Gives the world a ….”?

And for question #2, same genre, different product. Good luck!

2.    What’s green, adventurous, male, a daredevil, and energizing? “Do the…”

Did you figure it out? Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew have established great brand images and consumer expectations. But can companies without multimillion dollar marketing budgets do the same? Here are a few tips:

  • Establish consistent colors. Your website, blog, and Twitter account should all look and feel similar. Reinforce your brand through every media outlet.
  • Logo: design (preferably hire a professional to design) a logo for your company. Put it on everything, even in-house documents.
  • Induce emotion: make sure everything associated with your company name makes your potential consumer feel the way you want them to feel. (link to Article on logos)
  • Use social media: tweet, blog, and update Facebook about things that are relevant to your field
  • Develop a mascot (follow ours on twitter: @doggydetails )
  • Follow through with your customer. Make sure they are getting what they were promised, in terms of experience, service, and products.

Wine Tasting- A sensory experience

Tasting wine is a truly sensory experience.  From the moment the cork comes out of the bottle with a faint “pop,” to actually drinking and tasting the wine, all the senses are engaged.

First, you hear

Once you’ve chosen your bottle of wine and you’re ready to enjoy it, it’s time to open it! The first sense is stimulated – your hearing.  Your sense of hearing is continually stimulated as the wine is poured into the glass.

Second, you touch

The wine glass influences the temperature, bouquet, taste, balance, and finish of the wine.  There are many different types of glasses, but generally glasses with smaller bowls are for white wines, larger bowls are for red wines, and flutes are for sparkling wine and champagne. Riedel is a company known for their extensive collection of wine glasses and the science behind each design.

Then, you see

The third step to wine tasting is checking the color and clarity of your wine. It is easiest to distinguish color on a white background.  When you are determining color, look past just red and white, because a closer look can enable you to gauge the grape and age of the wine.  Red wines tend to lighten as they age, whereas white wines become darker in color.

When tasting, you can also look at the “legs” or as the French say, the “tears” of the wine.  When you swirl your wine in your glass, the rate at which the legs fall is a result of the Marangoni Effect, and can help determine alcohol content of the wine.

Next, you smell

When you smell your wine, you first take a quick whiff and gain a first impression of the wine.  Next, put your nose into the glass and take a deep breath.  You may smell oak, berry, tobacco, pepper, vanilla, or many other scents.  Then swirl the wine again, and sniff.  You may identify more scents than you did the first time!

Don’t underestimate the power of smell, because what you smell greatly influences what you taste. A master sommelier once said, “You can only taste 5 things – bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and umami – but the number of things you can smell is endless.”

And finally, taste

First, take a small sip and swirl it in your mouth.  Different areas on the tongue are sensitive to different types of taste, and incorporating them all enables you to experience the full taste of the wine.  After the first impression, your palate gets the chance to distinguish the taste.  Finally, after you swallow the wine you are left with the finish.  This is the lasting impression the wine has in your mouth, the taste you continue to experience even after the wine is gone.

We hope you enjoyed this break down of the senses and wine tasting, and we’d love to know your thoughts and comments!  If you liked this, there will be more, we will be writing soon on how label design and brand image influence your purchasing decision and maybe even how you perceive the taste and quality of the wine. CNN also has added a great addition to their Eatocracy blog- a series called Leggy and Luscious that’s all about wine tasting and experience.

Special thanks to John Banquil, Regional General Manager at Ling and Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill for his input and help writing this article!

Print Finishing Touches




At first glance, printing might seem like the end of a long design project. Printing however is one of the most important parts of the entire design process.  For someone new to printing, the different finish options can be confusing. We’ve compiled a short list of the most common options for finishes, and what they mean:

  • UV Varnish: creates a gloss on the page.  A UV finish can be used as a spot treatment (on a few specific areas of the page) or across the entire page.  A spot UV treatment can be effective in making a logo really pop!
  • Matte Varnish: gives the printed page a smooth, non-glossy finish. This coating reduces glare and improves small text readability.
  • Gloss Varnish: usually used to enhance the colors of printed photographs.  The gloss reflects light and makes colors appear more vivid and enhanced.
  • Foil blocking: when metallic foil is added to the printed material with heat to set it.
  • Satin/silk: this varnish is a middle option between gloss and matte varnishes.  It provides some highlight, but is not as flat as a matte varnish.

We hope this helps, if you have more questions about print finishes, leave a comment!  To see how different print finishes can enhance your business card, click here.

Here are some print finish websites we find helpful, do you have any you’d like to share?

Brand Sense

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom is a must read for the progressive marketer. Lindstrom focuses on the immense power the five senses have in influencing how consumers feel about brands. He analyzes how the most successful brands today, like Apple and Coca-Cola use sensory branding to entice consumers and create a community of raving fans.

Lindstrom delves into the psychology behind consumer preferences and translates the science into something readable, giving examples of brands that incorporate scent, sound, touch, taste, and sight into their brand experience. This multi-sensory encounter makes the brand more memorable, and increases brand loyalty.

Lindstrom’s other works include Buyology, Brand Child, Brand Building, and Clicks, Bricks & Brands.

If you’re interested in reading Brand Sense, click here to order!

Menu Covers

In a restaurant, “menu” can mean two things: the food served at a particular restaurant, or the object you hold in your hands to learn about the items being prepared.  As a restaurateur, it is easy to be so consumed with what ingredients, wording, and prices are going in your menu that the menu covering options put off until the last minute, and rushed.

The menu cover should never be ignored or thought of as less important than the actually contents of the menu. A cover is one of the first impressions a guest experiences once they are in the restaurant.  The opinion of the guest will be vastly different if a menu is dirty or torn compared to clean and well-maintained, and can also alter the expectations of the type or quality of food they are going to receive.

Below are 5 common types of menus and a quick guide to them:


For the super-sustainable, earth friendly restaurant, washable menus are the best option. The covers, made out of either cloth or nylon fiber in most cases, can be easily removed and sent to the laundry if dirty. Washable menus are most commonly used in high-end restaurants, and can surprise the guest if they are not expecting to feel an interesting cloth-texture on their menu.


Another environmentally friendly option, wipe-able menus are covered by translucent plastic and can be easily wiped down with a wet cloth if they become dirty. Johnny Rockets uses a wipe-able menu cover in their restaurants.


Disposable menus are low-cost, but are not a very sustainable option.  When these menus become dirty, they are thrown in the trash.  The initial cost of disposable menus is usually low, but cost increases with time if the menus have to be constantly replaced.


Artistic menus are a great option for restaurants that want to show off creativity or further embody the brand image through the design on the menu cover. They may feature a local artist, or a famous artist that fits well with the brand. Kai in Chandler, AZ has beautiful menus that are individually created by members of the Gila River Indian Community.


Menus that make a guest want to touch and experience the texture of the menu cover are tactile menus.  They are functional, but can be made out of odd objects, like cork, metal or wood.  A washable menu could be considered a tactile menu because of the different textures the cloth has.  A tactile menu is usually unexpected and can enhance the brand image of the restaurant for the guest by incorporating the sense of touch, and increase guests long-lasting impressions of the restaurant into menu design. Depending on the type of tactile menu chosen, they can be expensive and are usually seen in upscale restaurants.

Next time you’re in a restaurant, give the menu a second glance!

A Great Example of Re-Branding: Apple Inc.



At Miss Details Design, we are Apple fanatics. We use Mac computers, we lust over iPhones, and when the logo of iTunes changed, it was a topic of conversation in our office.  Since we weren’t all working together when Apple Computers Inc. rebranded to Apple Inc. in 1997 and changed the logo around the same time, we figured now would be a good time to look at the rebrand.

Removing the colors from the logo gave the company a clean, fresh look and also made the company appear more modern and sophisticated. When the company removed “Computer” from the name it removed the limit that the company only specialized in computers. It enabled Apple to develop new and innovative products in other areas, such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod.

Apple has come a long way since 1997, becoming a leader in not only the personal computer market, but also creating a successful platform for mobile apps (with the App store) and music (with iTunes), breaking into the mobile phone market (iPhone), capturing market share in tablet computers (iPad), and making music portable (iPod).

Coke vs. Pepsi





The famous Coke vs. Pepsi taste wars were a great way to prove that a brand image can impact the taste of something.  Did you know when a blind taste test occurred (meaning the participant was not told which beverage Coke or which was Pepsi) the results were split? Just as many people favored Coke as favored Pepsi.  When the participants were told which product they were drinking, the results changed dramatically.  Coke was much preferred over Pepsi, with two-thirds of people favoring Coke, and only 1/3 favoring Pepsi.

What causes this gap?  It is due to the solid reputation Coke has cultivated over the course of 100 plus years, reinforced through advertising and marketing that portrays a happy, comforting, and positive message.  When a person knows they are drinking Coke, these marketing messages have insinuated themselves into the human nervous system so deeply, they actually influence a persons taste preferences!

Coke’s positive message is solidified by its appeal to the senses through marketing. The music they use in their commercials, like “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” the feel of the Coca-Cola bottle, and the emotion their marketing messages display, like the journey through a vending machine in the 2006 Super Bowl ad. Even the guerrilla marketing campaigns Coke engages in, as shown in this video.  These marketing messages have helped uphold the brand image of Coca-Cola. The beverage has benefited by maintaining a leading position in the soft-drink market through the sensory marketing materials used.

Which do you prefer- Coke or Pepsi?

Are your colors creating the right kind of experience?







We are surrounded by millions of colors everyday, and each one of them evokes an emotional response within us, whether conscious or subconscious (sometimes referred to as color psychology. ­Have you ever noticed that stepping into a room with blue walls makes you feel calmer? Or when surrounded by large amounts or red you feel aggressive or hungry? Both of these are examples of emotional responses to the colors around you.

Every color is related to an emotion or specific activity in the brain. For example, purple stimulates problem-solving brain activity, while yellow sparks creativity. So, in addition to the aesthetic components of visual compositions, colors actually inspire your emotions.  It is especially important to consider this when designing a business system, marketing materials, logo or environment for your customers or prospective clients. Using the wrong colors or wrong color combinations can be detrimental to your business. Clients may feel disconnected from your company if the color(s) used are neutral to the viewer or worse, off-putting.

Here’s a quick list of how each color makes people feel:

Black: authority, intelligence, evil, seriousness, seduction, mystery

Blue: (blue is the most universally liked color) calm, trust, dependable, mature, cool/cold

White: pure, clean, (in some Eastern countries white is the color of mourning)

Gray: practical, solid, old, depressed

Red: attention getter, energy, love, aggression, hunger

Pink: (pink is the most calming of all colors), sweet, soft, safe, love

Green: growth, youth, learning, money, calming, envy, luck, fertility, generosity, peace

Purple: royal, fake/artificial, mystery, wisdom, dignity

Yellow: happiness, creativity, optimism, (too much can cause aggression)

Orange: energy, warmth, ambition, new dawn

Brown: reliability, stability, natural

Want more info? This is the first in a series of color focused blog posts from Miss Details Design.