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Padlocking your brand

So you’ve built a great brand, reputation and following for your product or service – how do you keep it secure?

All design is covered in the UK under copyright law, however this only covers and protects your logo etc in terms of being copied or adapted by other designers within the UK. Intellectual Property (IP) is a minefield these days with so much information being available in the public domain – and a more laid-back attitude that has arisen from an increase in designers that have not come into the industry through the traditional path. For this reason, more and more businesses are looking for additional ways to secure their IP. There are a number of ways you can do this, and the ideal solution will depend on your product/service and what you are looking to protect.

We would always advise you to get advice from an IP law Professional. We have previously used Harrison Clark Rickerbys for a recent client.

Copyright

Copyright is what protects an individual design and its designer. For instance, your brochure would be copyright to the original designer or agency that created it for you under the majority of circumstances.

All designs are automatically covered by copyright within the UK, although we would always advise keeping all proof of your designs, time and date stamped and mailed to yourself unopened until the occasion arises. Proof can start right from the client briefing stage, so be sure to document and identify any files you are provided with as well as your initial sketches and any prototypes. The copyright will remain with the designer unless agreed by a legal agreement (either through employment contract or through the client agreement). Kissed Off only release copyright under very specific circumstances (and this is covered under our terms and conditions), and then it has to be issued in a certain way. We take copyright very seriously both on behalf of our design work and on our client’s behalf.

Trademark

Trademark protects you from others using your logo to promote their own services and other nefarious purposes.

To apply for a trademark, you have to go through the IPO – we would recommend using an excellent IP legal service to do this in the most cost effective and secure manner. Mistakes in trademarks applications can be costly. The IPO only deals directly with UK trademarks, and for global coverage you would need to apply to each country individually. There is a period of public consultation and you should allow 3 months for the whole process as well as considering whether to trademark your name and/or your logo.

Patent

Patent protects an individual product or product element and it must be proved to be unique from other products already on the market.

A patent is on the design of a product as a tangible item. It must be unique to other items already on the market – whether they are patented or not. For instance, you couldn’t patent a victoria sponge as the recipe is widespread and has historical usage. A patent application requires technical drawings that prove the design belongs to you, and can also include a product sample. There is also an application form for you to describe what makes your design unique. This will prevent others from creating the product the same as yours, but may not stop people from finding an alternative solution to the same problem. We would advise taking legal advice before starting and during your application.

What else can I do to protect my brand?

We would also advise our clients to get accounts started on all social media as soon as they have decided on a name for their product or brand. You can also work towards getting authenticated status for many platforms.

We also advise to do regular Google image checks for any images that are exclusively their copyright to check for any abuse on other websites and social media.

This guidance is offered for information only, and not intended as legal advice. We would always advise that a client seeks qualified legal counsel.

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Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success (book)

As part of our continued improvement for our Authors, you can now purchase their books directly on Amazon.

The first book to be listed this way is Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly. This is an essential guide to Twitter for any new and small business owner covering how to get the most out of Twitter.

Buy it now or read more on Amazon

 

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Our First Publishing Experience

Eating for Energy by Yuri Elkaim (iPDF only eBook)

It’s nearly that time of year again!! It seems to come round nearly as quickly as my own birthday!

In honour of the forthcoming anniversary, I’ve decided to repost a guest blog I wrote for Stoned Press back in April about the beginnings of Kissed Off.

Our First Publishing Experience

New beginnings

I started freelancing online initially due to being made part time due to my employer being in financial difficulty due to the recession. I aimed to build up a graphic design business that would give me a route out of traditional employment.

My second freelance job however sent me off in a new direction – a series of cookery eBooks for a Canadian author.

I had never before published an eBook, but as the client wanted them in PDF format it was essentially no different to other graphic design projects I had previously carried out. Initially the project was for one book, but this quickly stretched out to 12 books for his first product range – as well as a further large book on cookery that contained a three figure number of pages (a typical eBook is around 40 pages).

This project would directly lead to 6 new clients, and over 250 books later we are now a fully registered UK publisher with books in all formats and on all platforms all over the world.

How did I do this?

Firstly, all 7 contacts complement me on turning around projects quickly (some even with CRAZY deadlines), efficiently while creating great graphic design and meeting the client’s brief. This led directly to word of mouth recommendations to their contacts (accounting for at least another 3 clients and more leads in progress).

Communication

Communication is key in maintaining customer relationships. If there is a barrier to completing a project or action, keep the customer informed. Never hesitate to send an email saying “I’m working on this but…” or “I’m still chasing our supplier for this on your behalf.” This simple action lets your customer know you have their interests at heart.

Communication works in both directions, so respond promptly to any questions and dispel any misconceptions quickly. We often end up educating the client in pretty complex subjects – so another key is to Keep It Simple. Watch out for any terminology that may be familiar to you but completely foreign to the client.

Efficiency

What can I do that makes my client’s life easier? Checking links, making sure content is logical and more are all part of what we do. If we can’t do something in the above due to time constraints, we make the client aware. This way they can either delegate the task internally or sub contract out to a third party.

Going one step beyond

We often go beyond our client’s expectations of our service. Either by taking their project to the next level, suggest improvements or even new ideas for future titles.
By taking that next step we become memorable. This is the key to being recommended to others your client may network with. We all network – family, friends, or in business we rely on networks to build trust and to gain initial impressions.

Moving forward what challenges did I face as a new publisher?

As a hybrid publisher, I have spent the first two years of business breaking ice (as it felt on the bad days) and building a new road (on the good days). There is no one in my area with the same business to discuss best practice with, or indeed within the UK.

In our first two years we have:

  • Registered as a UK publisher
  • Become a Limited business
  • Started offering low print runs to compete against Amazon’s CreateSpace program and other print-on-demand services.
  • Created truly interactive titles that go beyond the PDF basic format
  • Had our first best sellers- #1 on Clickbank
  • Produced books and eBooks for all major formats and vastly different subject matters.
  • Published our first audiobook
  • Exhibited at trade shows (both successfully and un-successfully)
  • Joined and left networking groups (not all groups have quantifiable business for someone who is as unique as I was).
  • Become an expert in Social Media
  • Created several online bookstores on a range of platforms (paid and unpaid… you can see which we decided on at store.kissedoff.co.uk/?b=guest)

We have made mistakes along the way, but I like to think we have saved our clients making the same mistake.  Most of our clients come to us from having a bad experience of book conversions, printers, marketers and more. We are now passionate about helping first time authors so the joy of having your first book published doesn’t have to be tarnished with the bad experiences that many of our authors had sadly had previous to finding us.

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How can an eBook market your business?

Concept stage

It seems everyone is now offering a free “eBook” about their service or area of expertise. These vary from a simple Word document through to an iPad app (and all points in-between). These range from a great use of the platform through to someone obviously producing it because they feel they HAVE to. However, with the right approach, an eBook CAN successfully market your business.

Types of business

Most businesses can benefit from an eBook to build an “expert” reputation, however I want to focus this post on those who can EASILY benefit from an eBook.

The visual business

So you’ve got hundreds of pins (and hopefully followers) on Pinterest – filled with your work, projects and products. An eBook can be a great way of drawing together visual media into one manageable package for distribution. A great way for reaching out to those who DON’T follow you on Pinterest, an eBook is more lasting than a tweet, instagram, snapchat etc and becomes a great way of informing your potential client. This could be an essential tool in your briefing process – “Is there a particular project or style you liked?”, “Could we apply this approach to your sector?” and so much more. It also becomes a great catalogue – include links to your online shop, your client’s products etc. and because its DIGITAL it can be quickly updated without the COST IMPACT of traditional printing.

The one touch business

For those who will probably only work with their clients 1-3 times, an eBook can be a great way to educate a client who may not understand the intricacies of your business. For example, an estate agent could take the reader through the process of selling their first home – legalities, checklists, essential actions, accepting an offer or asking for more. This type of eBook is great for the legal sector, weddings (for most 😀 … and divorce), pensions and investments, wills and probate, instruction services (driving, piloting, seamanship), estate and letting services and educational services.

The expert business

An eBook is a great way for building an expert reputation using your inherent knowledge of your sector, the services you offer and how they benefit your potential client. This is particularly the case for the professional services industry – architects, engineers, doctors, specialists and accountants. An expert reputation will help you to grow your business, both through your marketing but also by word of mouth where others can recommend you using your eBook to introduce you to potential clients you may not be aware of.

The lifestyle business

From cars to five star hotels, these are the businesses that people aspire to as a lifestyle choice. An eBook in its truest form can utilise many of the latest technologies to really showcase your brand to its best – from video through to interactive diagrams, there is a visual way to show your product to it’s best.

A well-designed eBook can help you market your business better – whether you choose to give it away, or if you decide to offer it as part of a bigger service. We can help you produce an eBook to promote your business from as little as £75.

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Is Creative Cloud 2014 just a rebadge?

Ask any designer/photographer/illustrator/programmer about Adobe Creative Cloud and they WILL have an opinion.

Sadly, many of these are still based on preconceptions about Cloud without trying the software for themselves. I’m not paid by Adobe, don’t “drink Kool-aid” nor are any of the other insults I’ve received about my pro Creative Cloud views true. I’m aware I’m putting my head above the parapet by posting my view of Creative Cloud on here. My views are based on having been a member since Creative Cloud started. In that time, I’ve had several versions of the software while still paying a static price, regular updates, inclusive hosting for 5 sites with Business Catalyst… the list goes on and on.

So what difference has Creative Cloud 2014 realistically made?

As a long time user of Creative Cloud (and most Adobe versions before that), I’ve become accustomed to the gradual increments between versions and more so with the Creative Cloud subscription updates. Bearing in mind Adobe’s focus on productivity, has the 2014 release made a big difference?…

InDesign

The first thing I’ve noticed in InDesign Creative Cloud 2014 is the difference in producing ePub files. Gone is the clunky dialog box conversion, now its as simple as exporting an interactive PDF – for both fixed and flowing ePub formats. It makes life much easier for the digital publisher, and feels infinitely more professional. This has already sped up my workflow, and previews directly into your chosen reader for checking saving you precious clicks.

Other key feature updates include;

  • tables: Improved manipulation of tables including click and drag columns for easy shifting of data – much better than having to cut columns out manually etc. and useful for training programs with multiples of chart data.
  • seamless updates: your plugins, setup and workspaces will automatically transfer to your updated versions of InDesign
  • colour groups: you can now group swatches, which is useful at concept stage to manage colour ways etc.

There are also some minor tweaks to the search engine enabling the user to “Find Previous” as well as next.

Photoshop

As it celebrates it’s birthday, Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014 has a number of new features. My favourite of which is the new smart guides. While these have been available for some time in InDesign and Illustrator, they have finally made the transition to Photoshop. This means suddenly we can easily space elements evenly on the fly, and makes life much quicker than using align and distribute buttons to achieve the same effect.

Another useful time saver for illustrators and designers is the ability to package linked files within your Photoshop document. This saves time not only in finding the files in the first place, but the ability to use linked files prevents having to repeatedly change multiple documents when one source file changes. Anything that saves me time I consider a blessing, as I can concentrate more on what I enjoy doing. It also saves the awful aaargh moment when the client decides to change the product design after all the marketing collateral has been completed.

Now, we can even use Layer Comps in a smart object to create new effects. Typekit even works in Photoshop now too for unparalleled ease between programs. This, together with added blur functionality and focus based selection, a feature page editor can easily put together a spread title that would have meant intricate selection marking previously.

All this is before we come to the 3D printing capabilities that are now included in Photoshop, including direct sending to online 3D providers! Now we can take a 2D logo design and turn it directly into its own marketing product. Want it in ceramic? Fine… Want it in gold? Feel free!

The key to all these great features is PRODUCTIVITY! Every routine has been streamlined to make us able to work faster instead of twiddling thumbs waiting for our computers to catch up.

Muse

In this Creative Cloud release, Muse comes of age and becomes a fully fledged application. It’s UI now matches the other Adobe Creative Cloud titles, and has added drag and drop functionality in its Plan view (a wireframe view for initial site layout and mapping). Many of the features will appear unchanged to previous versions of Muse, but what is new both for Muse and for Creative Cloud is the Asset Library that is due to become available to Creative Cloud subscribers. This will provide Muse users with base designs to work from, new widgets, stock imagery and more!

The Asset Library

One of the big announcements was the curation of a free to use Asset Library as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. As I mentioned, this has benefits for Muse users, but will also benefit print designers too! It’s not launched yet as there tends to be a phased introduction – as with Typekit.

These are just the things I’ve had chance to play with in the first week of Creative Cloud 2014! I’m looking forward to writing some updates as and when I get to try more.

There will always be doubters of the subscription model, mainly while people labour under the idea they have bought the software previously. Either way you are only buying a licence to use the software, and I would rather pay monthly and have continuous support (and Adobe’s have been good in my experience) than spend in one lump sum that only covers me for one or two versions of the software.

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Book Launch: Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly

Ever wondered what it is like to start a business? Have you asked yourself what do I need to do? What characteristics are needed?  How can I start a business when I have no money or experience? Does Twitter work as part of a marketing strategy for your business? How is it going to help me get my business out there? 

Well in this book, Samantha shows you how she started a business with no money and went from lone parent on social welfare to a top influencer and leader in her field. She will give her tips for Twitter and how to use it effectively using simple language and with a clear message that when you assist others it will come back to you. How to build relationships and nurture them.
And most importantly how to be yourself and use your personality to succeed!

You will be taken through starting out in business, networking and advice before moving onto creating your Twitter account and beyond!

Samantha used our Blog to Book package to bring her book to print! This great package uses your existing blog to create an amazing paperback book!

The first books will be dispatched on approximately 12th June 2014 (provisional date, actual despatch will be notified). Those with pre-orders will be dispatched first. The book will be available on Amazon, however Amazon RRP will be more expensive.

Samantha Kelly is an Ireland-based business woman who has appeared on Dragon’s Den as well as a host of media programs. Following the sale of her first successful business, she has now launched Tweeting Goddess to help those wanting to use Twitter to grow their business.

Buy this book through us here for only £7.99 +P&P or in digital format for £4.00

Tweet Your Way to Success
Tweet Your Way to Success by Samantha Kelly
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Success as Samantha Kelly launches her first book!

Pre-order: Tweet Your Way to Success

Coming at the end of the month is Samantha Kelly’s (aka Tweeting Goddess) first book! Her debut title is on how to use Twitter and social media for your business. From starting up your business to how to turn your business around, Ms Kelly’s book covers both the highs and lows of social media and business.

Tweet Your Way to Success is suitable for social media and computer novices. Those who already use social media but have found it is not benefitting their business will also find useful tips to improve. It contains not only Ms Kelly’s own Twitter stories, but also those of her network of how they have benefitted from Twitter in their own businesses.

It also has a section on starting your own business. Building on Samantha’s experience is a great platform for any new entrepreneur. A former Dragons Den applicant, Samantha has built up several successful businesses. These were in a range of fields, having built up her experience since her first business.

So make sure you use Twitter effectively to build up your business to success, through improved sales, new contacts and just through talking to your peers. And you can even do it in your PJs!

Please note: Price has yet to be confirmed and book may not be available for upto two weeks. Pre-order option only registers interest and does not constitute an order of the product. You will be notified as soon as product is ready to order.

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5 Things I Love About What I Do

In any business or career there are always highs and lows, the trick is to concentrate on the highs. There are things I love about what I do, and I want to share these with you.

#1 – The smell of print

This may seem odd in this day of digital publishing, but I still love the smell of print. Even if its a Blurb or CreateSpace book – nothing beats that just printed smell and the sensation of achievement when I first hold that book (or whatever else) in my hands and turn the first page.

#2 – The Client’s response

As we are starting at the end of the process, I also love seeing my client’s faces when they hold their final product for the first time. Recently, I had the most overjoyed reaction to a lovely book “Girls Who Do It” by Sophie Reynolds (Available on Amazon ), and it made me realise that what I do is not the important thing, but how I do it and what it gives my clients. A book can mark the achievement of a lifelong dream, so the sense of achievement is no longer contained to me, but also extends to my clients and their co-authors and family.

#3 – A good Client relationship

The best design comes from a good healthy client/designer relationship. My best work has been for those who not only trust me in my knowledge, but also in my respect for theirs. Some of my clients have become friends with whom we have shared interests and even lifetime goals.

#4 – The thrill of the first proof

This point is where many a design (or designer) has become unstuck. However I have received some my best praise at that initial proof stage – whether through promptness of turnaround or assessment of brief, the first proof is a crucial first step in the client/designer relationship.

#5 – The concept

Following the initial client meeting(s), the concept stage is the most free part of the process. Sometimes it is daunting to start with that blank sheet, especially if the client has given you little direction, but sometimes the best solution is to start doodling. Rough frameworks, areas of content, lists of visual priorities are all good to break that blank page fear.

So when things get difficult, focus on the positives – make lists, doodle and make mistakes – this is how we expand our creativity. If you are the client,… learn to trust your designer as long as he/she listens to you also – only then will the best design occur.

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How can a USB TwistKey support your business

At every trade show we attend, stands were inundated with free USB sticks to give away. These either contain some custom content or supplied blank. We offer an alternative – the USB TwistKey, which makes your USB a much more tactile and versatile media.

So how does this little box improve on the free USB stick? Firstly, its great at securing your stick from damage – whether that be in the bottom of your handbag or briefcase, or for mailing through our postal system. Secondly, they feel like little books (I love all things miniature) and can be printed on all faces. This gives you more space to display your message before someone even puts your USB in their computer (and you can even add Augmented Reality now if you want).

But this is not why I think the USB TwistKey is amazing… its because of what it offers to business and individuals who run seminar and training sessions. While at the Adobe event last June, I realised that 99% of the audience were utilising technology to “record” their day. Instead of using Evernote and other note taking technologies that won’t talk to each other, how great would it be to be able to run an interactive fillable PDF with coursework that is consistent across your audience! The content remains valuable and perpetuates your brand on your clients desk for months and years to come. Better still, with the advances in technology, how great would it be if we could get all these PDFs talking to each other so group learning is so much easier within the theatre setup.

So if you’ve got a project or product that you think would benefit from a TwistKey, why not talk to us today!

USB TwistKey at Festival of Innovation, Malvern

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How quick can we do an eBook?

The answer for Kissed Off Publications is in one night! We created an eBook especially for the second day of Festival of Innovation. We featured a local musician for the soundtrack and even an audio snippet of one of our client testimonials for our service!

The key is in preparation. We already had a design style in mind as well as all our media prepped to go. We now have an iBook we can send to clients introducing our packages, workflow and additional services. Looking forward to uploading it for free download from iTunes soon. In the meantime, you can contact us for a copy either by email or download from www.kissedoffcreations.co.uk or www.kissedoffpublications.co.uk

This could be your eBook. You already have content on websites, in brochures or even proposals to clients. We can help you repurpose this content into a great eBook that promotes your business. We can even enable it to be updatable by you (dependent on format), include audio and video media, or even product animations!