Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Identity -Groupe Immobilier Pettigrew

Groupe Immobilier Pettigrew is a small real estate company which only deals with high end commercial spaces.

The communication challenge that the nature of their business was bringing, was calling for something high-end enough to attract the right clientele. A big game of perception had to be won as it is a key element in the natural positioning of the company.

See for every product, has a psychological price tag attached to it. This price tag will determine how we perceive a product and to what category it belongs to; entry level, intermediate or high end. When you introduce a product to the market, there’s a few thing you need to take into consideration.

Before anything if you didn’t do it yet, please do some research and know where you belong in the market. A price isn’t simply, “I have a product, it costs xyz to make, I can sell it for whatever so let’s do it and we’ll be rich!” Determining where you belong in the market is a price VS quality issue and has very little to do with your true cost (from a perception point of view).

Take Lexus as an example, let's pretend we are back in 1989 and Toyota is coming on the market with a car that is exactly the same as a Mercedes but costs only $35,000. Would you believe it? Maybe right off the bat you would say yeaaah duhhhh! But then, you would probably have a second thought: “Wait a minute, Mercedes cost at least $70,000 so how in the world am I gonna have an equal value for so cheap? On top of that, it wears the tag Toyota…Toyota makes great cars but it surely doesn’t compare with a Mercedes, at least the feel wouldn't be the same”. Now let’s say Toyota introduces a luxury line of vehicles called Lexus. It’s supposed to be as refined as Mercedes but since the line is less known, it sells for $10,000 less. Now it makes perfect sense right (Guess how Korean cars were able to make it in North America)?

How does that relate with real estate? Well, the right positioning prequalifies your leads. It will look too expensive for the guy who’s looking to start a small convenience store in a bad neighborhood of Sin City and will be right on target for the attorney firm that wishes to expand in a new building.

The important thing to remember here is that you and the quality of what you offer need to be in line with your client’s expectations. Otherwise will end up creating disappointment and this is how you end up burning a name.

So, using principles and philosophy described in my post of December 7th, I chose to go with a modern look (which is almost a tribute to the Bauhaus School in Germany). Since they are dealing mostly with office spaces, I chose to shape the “P” as if it was an office building, only using lighting contrasts to shape the idea of the building and the 3 dimensional effect. The typography is classic and clean which supports the idea of high-end office buildings.

I very much enjoyed working on this project, and your thoughts on this identity work are more than welcome.

David Morin B.V.A.
Brand Artist

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From Freelancing to Startups – Netsetting

As a startup myself, I think there’s nothing more exciting than when somebody comes to you saying: "I understand, I’ve been there, I’ve done that", and it is especially true in those tough economic times.

This morning, I was drinking my tea (I gave up coffee recently excepted for an occasional espresso) and reviewing my blog roll and a post called: "From Freelancing to Startups – Netsetting” caught my attention……

It describes in short the story of Collis Ta'eed, making the transition with his wife into the business world “ kinda sucked doing client jobs all day, then working on the new business into the night - usually interspersed with even more client work. But it sure beat taking a loan from a bank and having repayments hanging over our new enterprise.”. So far, nothing new. We all have dealt with that situation at one point. Where it becomes interesting though is that they’ve been starting a new blog recently about their experiences in startups and web business. It’s called TheNetsetter. Their posts are very insightful, a great resource for any freelancer who have the desire in bridging to the business world full time.

Following, the first posts, make sure to check them out!

1. It Won’t Happen Overnight But It Will Happen!
2. Doing Things Yourself Will Only Get You So Far
3. Guerrilla Marketing for Startups
4. Strategy Games and How They Can Help Your Business

David Morin B.V.A.
Brand Artist

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Upates: The Fifty Dollar Logo Experiment

This is where fun really kicks in; when you realize that things we see often have deeper roots just like the old adage saying "We only see the peak of the iceberg".

Here is the story. With the rise of a lot .com design services that somehow hurt the business of a lot of professionals, creative director Jim Walls at 160over90, a Philadelphia based branding agency, conducted what he calls an experiment with one of these offshore companies ( to make a point. On February 17th, Jim finally posts his insights of doing business with such company. The next day, acclaimed designer David Airey picks up the story and posts it on his blog, Logo Design Love. The blog has 9516 readers so it didn't take very long to start an intense discussion and argument among industry professionals which eventually lead to exposing a genuine scam and copyright violation story.

Keep in mind that whenever an offshore company promises six logo designs, unlimited revisions and a 1-3 days turnaround time, just know that:

a) It is too good to be true.


b) They might be hiding a dark truth... just like that laundromat not far from where I used to live that have no washing machines but still in business after 10 years...

Apparently, according to a comment left by Brian on Logo Design Love, has been reported as an attack site by Firefox. For those who are unfamiliar with attack sites; they "...try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system... Some attack sites also intentionally distribute harmful software".

Another comment left by Keith suggests that "...if you go to their web design portfolio you will see links to work that they clearly haven’t done” such as the Get London Reading Website. It has in fact been design by artist Kent Lyons... And I personally believe that the layout of the site is purposely built to be mistaken with successful Logo Works. It is clear that the company is ran by crooks with the intention to fool and screw you. Ask Doug in Florida that filled a complain on Rip-off :

"This company offers logo design packages starting at $50 for 6 logo concepts, you can also add other services to this for additional fees. They offer to present you with your concepts for revision in 1 to 3 days. I picked a package above the $50 one that offered 12 design concepts. I made payment after completeing my order and waited for my concept designs.

After 4 days I had heard nothing and decided to use there online help service as they claim to have 24/7/365 operaters to answer your questions. It seems I must have caught them on the leap year when no one was available. I left a message reguarding the status of my order only to recieve a mailer demon email saying it could not be delivered and the mail box was full. I then sent a somewhat threatning email to the email address on my order confirmation. I recieved a generic misspelled email in return stating my order was in progress and I would recieve my designs asap.

It is now day 9 and I have heard nothing and recieved nothing. So much for a 3 day turnaround. I will be requesting a refund and filing a dispute with my credit card company. The site appears to be a scheme to me. The online support is never online and the mailboxes are full. Seems to me I'm not the only dissatisfied customer. Just remember, you always get what you pay for.
I thought I had found the answer to my business logo need. It turns out I just created alot more hassle for myself and I'm currently out $70."

To all my entrepreneur friends, please beware.

David Morin B.V.A.
Brand Artist

The list of lists; 101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers

Recently, as the tax season kicks in, I went across a re-tweet (thanks to AaronLock) about "101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers ". It was such is such a great resource that as I was sharing it with everybody I knew, I got quickly overwhelmed forwarding the damn URL to all those who requested it... so I decided this morning to simply post the list of 101 tax deductions and the link to the original post.

Make sure to visit the original post by Paul Michael as he also gives some interesting tips for novices.

So here it is folks, have fun and as Paul says; "Stake your claim!":

1. Industry books & periodicals, including audio books
2. Other books and periodicals used for research
3. Library book charges
4. DVDs and CDs related to your blogging
5. Movie or theater tickets, if related to your blogging or freelancing
6. Music and TV show downloads
7. Magazine subscriptions
8. Research sites that require a subscription
9. Further education classes
10. Webinars
11. Business podcasts
12. Business-related websites (for me, that would be Adweek)
13. Memberships to professional clubs and affiliations
14. Internet access fees (at about $40 a month, that’s a biggie)
15. Public internet access fees (Internet café’s, airports etc)
16. Stock photo purchases for your blog
17. Search Engine Optimization services and fees
18. Paid site submissions
19. Website hosting fees
20. Website design and/or maintenance fees
21. Website/blog templates
22. Domain name cost(s) and renewals
23. Blog expenses (e.g. WordPress additions)
24. Film & Digital cameras
25. Web cameras
26. Handheld video recorders
27. Digital memory cards
28. Recordable CDs and DVDs
29. Zip drives
30. Photo printouts
31. Film & film processing
32. Printer ink and copier toner
33. Phone charging stations (e.g. at the airport)
34. Second phone line for your business/fax machine
35. Long distance charges related to business
36. Cost of phone/fax/scanner/copier equipment
37. Cell phone & PDA expenses (bills, equipment, accessories)
38. Personal voice recorders and memo machines
39. Business equipment rental
40. Computer equipment & peripherals
41. Computer upgrades (I had to upgrade my RAM twice last year)
42. Depreciation costs of computer equipment
43. Data storage (both online and external HDDs)
44. Any business related software (not games…unless you review them)
45. Software licensing fees
46. Anti-virus and anti-spam subscriptions
47. Unpaid invoices. If you do some work for someone, be it a simple blog article or a much bigger job, and you get stiffed on the bill, you can write off your loss.
48. Fees for other bloggers and freelancers. If you get overwhelmed and pay a friend or relative to help out, any money you pay that person for their assistance is a tax deduction.
49. Tax and accounting software
50. Tax preparation fees
51. Business incorporation costs
52. Costs for Trademarks or Copyrights.
53. Business logos and graphic design fees
54. Business cards, letterhead and other stationery (even stuff you print yourself)
55. Office supplies (everything from paper to paper clips)
56. Home office expenses. You can deduct the part of your home you use exclusively for blogging or freelancing as an expense, including a portion of the rent, water, heating bills and so on.
57. Percentage of your home insurance (for your home office)
58. Online self-promotion fees (that includes banners and Adwords costs)
59. Trade show fees
60. Advertising costs (newspapers, stickers, posters, postcards etc)
61. Photography fees (e.g. headshots, pack shots etc)
62. Photocopying/faxing fees
63. Transportation costs: car mileage; airline tickets; taxis; buses; trains.
64. Highway tolls
65. Parking fees
66. Hotel costs for business trips.
67. Cleaning & laundering services when traveling for business.
68. Costs of conferences, plus all related expenses (e.g. BlogHer)
69. Health insurance costs (if you’re self-employed)
70. Computer equipment insurance
71. Food and drink purchased on business trips
72. Client entertainment (be reasonable…not sure you’ll get away with Strip Club deductions)
73. Postage costs ( is ideal for keeping track of postage, and the service itself is tax-deductible)
74. PayPal and Western Union fees
75. Post Office Box fees.
76. Safe Deposit Box fees.
77. Self-storage fees, especially useful if your files and records are spilling over into your garage and you need extra space.
78. Advice. Any professional advice you pay for that pertains to your business is a tax deduction, and that includes counseling or coaching.
79. Membership dues to labor unions (do bloggers have a union?)
80. Charity work or donations (this one’s tricky. It’s limited to your out-of-pocket costs, not the final cost of the product. In my case, I’ve done some writing for charity, which is not applicable because you can’t deduct time spent. But any materials used during your charity work can be deducted).
81. Prizes and giveaways. Here at Wise Bread, we give away some very nice things. Often, they are generously given to us as gifts to pass on to you, or readers. But when we go out and spend money on a prize to give away, that can be deducted, as well as the cost to mail it out to you.
82. Business furniture. If you use it exclusively for your blogging or freelancing, then anything from a chair or filing cabinet to the whole desk can be written off.
83. Business functions. If you hold a little get-together for clients, even just one or two, then everything from the rental of the room (or golf course…know what I mean?) to food and drink can be deducted.
84. Business lunches. You can't include your own meal, but if you pick up the tab at a power-lunch (or just a meeting with a potential client) you can write off their part of the check.
85. Props. I sometimes use props for photoshoots, and the cost of those props can be deducted.
86. Job search expenses. Any money you spend trying to get work, from postage to travel, is a deductible expense.
87. Alcohol and drug abuse treatment. If the pressure turns you into a Betty Ford patient, you can deduct the expenses of treatment. Let’s hope you never have to though.
88. Any losses due to theft. Away on business, your laptop gets stolen…write it off.
89. Moving expenses related to your blogging or freelancing.
90. You can deduct 50% of your self-employment tax
91. Home improvements. Turn the basement into a home office, those expenses are deductible.
92. Clothing and accessories. If you have to buy any clothing for a particular job (maybe you needed protective clothing & headwear to write an article about a building site) then those costs are also deductible. But don’t try and write off your new Gucci watch.
93. Business checking expenses. If you have anything more that free checking, it’s a deduction.
94. Business gifts. This is cool. If your mom watched the kids while you went off to do an interview or write an article, and you then bought her flowers or choccies, well, the gift is tax deductible. Very sweet.
95. Annual fees for business credit cards.
96. Physical therapy. Writing for eight hours a day can cause all sorts of problems, including the dreaded Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. I've been advised by many accountants that you can deduct the cost of that therapy. However, medical expenses are a complex beast, and usually need to be a percentage of your income. Check with your accountant for details.
97. Headache pills, eye drops and so on. If staring at the screen all day gives you a killer migraine, you can write off the cost of the meds to help you get through it and keep on working.
98. Wages. Say you pay your kid $20 a month to empty your office trash can, maybe as a way to earn an allowance. Well, you can deduct that expense.
99. Your dog. No kidding, if you can prove it's a guard dog and is protecting your equipment, you can write-off the doggie expenses.
100. Net operating loss. If your deductions outweigh your earnings, which often happens in your start-up year, you can use that loss to lower your taxes next year.

And one big final deduction you may want to think about:

101. Your TV cable or satellite bill. I can deduct it because I need it…I work in the movie business. It’s a very nice deduction, too. If you blog about soaps, movies, TV shows, or anything else in the entertainment field, this could be a nice write-off for you.

David Morin B.V.A.
Brand Artist