Spruce up your Banner!
Written by Tracy Smith of Cinnamon Jewellery
Setting up your Folksy shop is pretty exciting. Making your items, photographing and listing them to create your new online venture takes a lot of time and effort. You want to create a whole look and feel to your shop that reflects the items you sell and expresses your personality so buyers feel that they are dealing with a real person and not just a computer! You want buyers to see you as professional and successful – someone who knows what they’re doing and does it well.
With the ever-growing online market place you need to think beyond just making beautiful stuff for people to buy, you need to create an identity. I’ve read a lot about the importance of “branding” or creating a whole identity for your shop and the items you sell and to be honest thinking about it too hard makes me want to run away and eat chocolate. An easy way to explain branding is to think of Marks and Spencer : what comes to mind? Underwear that lasts more than three washes, rather lovely food, jumpers in slightly odd colours? To me and most other people M&S represents good quality, you know something bought there is going to be well made and a lot of their products are instantly recognizable. I don’t know about you but I can spot an old lady in a Marks and Spencer anorak a mile off.
Closer to home, a good example of branding and creating an identity, is Folksy shop PussyGalore
Shirley makes and sells sock cats, each one is different but they are all beautifully made, photographed and packaged. When you see one of her sock cats you instantly know it’s a PussyGalore sock cat. Her whole shop has an identity and she has cleverly incorporated the labels and tags she uses in her packaging into her banner. Together with her avatar and consistent look to her photos she has created a “brand”.
Your shop banner goes a long way in helping you achieve an identity or brand. Matching your avatar and business cards to your banner also helps to complete the whole look and feel of your business. That sometimes overlooked oblong at the top of your Folksy shop home page is the perfect place to start and deserves a bit of time and thought. When you think about it your banner is probably the first thing a buyer notices when they land on your home page so it makes sense to use that space wisely to create a good first impression. Use your banner like a bricks and mortar shop uses their sign outside the door – to let people know who you are and what you sell.
Stating the obvious
It might sound a bit obvious, but make sure your shop name is on your banner! It helps! You can also add a tagline – a few words describing what you sell. Choose a font that people can actually read and doesn’t make your banner look as though a drunken spider with a missing leg has crawled across it. If you add a tagline try to use the same font as your shop name to keep it consistent.
Choosing a style of banner that suits your shop is important too. There are so many different styles : minimalist, feminine, text only, colourful, vintage, cartoon and kitsch to name but a few, matching the look of your banner to the type of items you sell all helps to pull the whole look together.
The colours you use in your banner are important too. They need to reflect the whole look of your shop and items you sell without being too garish or clashing, which can make it difficult to read the text. Purple and red might be your favourite colour combo for a Saturday night out but it doesn’t necessarily look good in your banner!
Use your photos
Using photos of your shop items is a good idea and lots of sellers do this. It instantly lets people know what you make and sell and when done well looks very effective and professional.
I browsed Folksy and found four shops that have very different style banners. They all sell different things and all have banners that reflect their shop identity. I asked the sellers why they had chosen their particular style of banner.
Fiona T’s banner is made up of a photograph of one of the designs featured in her shop. You can immediately see what kind of items are sold in the shop, it’s clean and simple.
“I wanted a banner that represented my work – it’s simple, uncluttered and shows my work up close, in detail. I chose the ninja because it’s a bit different, and makes a bold contrast against the calico background. I personally prefer banners that are clean and simple, not too busy, and are easy on the eye.”
Abbigale’s banner reflects her love of colour, pattern and texture. It’s bright and the font is easy to read.
“I wanted a banner that didn’t show anything specific because I change my mind like the wind and what I’m making this month might be different to next month! These are my favourite colours so that was easy and I wanted something that said ‘stylish and professional’. It was important to use white because I wanted the banner to look clean and bright as the space is only small. I asked a fellow Folksier to create it for me. We went through various designs before I was happy!”
Kerry of hellomonkey is a logo, graphic and web designer so maybe has an unfair advantage! Her banner perfectly reflects her style.
“I went for a clean and subtle design, trying to emulate my print designs which are generally soft in colour. The typewriter appears as it is on a couple of my most popular prints.”
Nikki of NR Jewellery Design cleverly made her own banner. It perfectly reflects her style.
“I wanted to show some of my work in my banner and also include my logo, but other than that it is just how it ended up after playing in Gimp!”
So, do you think your banner is up to scratch? If not next time I will be covering how to go about getting a professional-looking custom made banner of your dreams!
Author Profile: Tracy Smith, Cinammon Jewellery