Design & Technology Blog   

A Branding Toolkit Sets Identity Standards Across Corporate Messaging

Branding Toolkit Creates Coheseveness

Does your organization have a branding toolkit that sets the standards for a consistent brand interaction?

A branding toolkit explains and demonstrates identity standards and provides specific details on brand messaging styles in order to create cross-marketing and cross-messaging consistency and cohesiveness. A branding toolkit is typically used as an internal company document that each department and employee involved with marketing and communication should be aware of.

The toolkit sets guidelines for internal and external marketing and communication by

  • detailing acceptable use of identity colors and color palettes
  • detailing specific color codes for print and the Web
  • detailing acceptable typography (use of font styles and sizes for print and Web),
  • detailing acceptable placement and size of logos and other trademarks,
  • detailing acceptable layout options for business cards and letterheads,
  • detailing acceptable practice of using envelopes, folders and other stationary,
  • detailing acceptable use of photography (types of images, file sizes), and
  • detailing acceptable phrasing and/or spelling of key words that could be written in different ways (for instance, “website” or “Web site”).

A company or an organization that has developed a branding toolkit or a brand guide is in a strong position of protecting its established distinctive brand identity across media and across different customer interaction points.

© 2011. Meri Kuusi-Shields / Interaria. All rights reserved.

Did You Know Google Operates Over 150 Topic Blogs About Google?

Following Google’s twists and turns is quite a sprawling experience.  Google lists over 150 official Google blogs in its Blog directory at The blogs vary from Google’s European Public Policy Blog (“Google’s views on government, policy, and politics in Europe”) to Google’s Student Blog (“Google news and updates especially for student”), and from Google Fiber Blog (“The latest news from the Google Fiber team”) to Google TV Ads Blog (“The latest news from the Google TV Ads team”). If this wasn’t enough, there is of course more: Google just added a new blog into its large Google blog family: Google+ Platform Blog. So far the blog has announced that Google+ now features games. In the future – likely – this blog will guide developers with their attempts to create any market share from the Google+. Google gives out a lot of information and an idea of information transparency, yet, its search engine algorithms remain a top secret with selected hints to the public.

The Challenge of Fighting Computer Viruses

Computer security expert Mikko Hyppönen takes a vivid look into the work of detecting and tracing computer viruses in an international map that doesn’t respect borders or specific jurisdictions. Hyppönen sees protecting the Internet from viruses as the greatest challenge of our time. He reminds us of a scary scenario: productivity without computers.

Social Media / Facebook Tip: Creating Photo Albums From Facebook

Do you have many great photos in your Facebook page? This video shows how to use Facebook photos for creating photo albums.

News on Osama Bin Laden’s Death Starts on Twitter

Twitter knew it first: Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff to former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was the first to report the news on Osama Bin Laden’s death to the world, and this took place on Twitter. Source:

Native Mobile Apps << and/or >> Optimizing Media Content For Cross-Device Use

This image by Twitter summarizes the various mobile device platforms and draws vividly that the smartphone and tablet environment is something each company should take seriously when considering how they want to best serve the growing number of mobile device users. Twitter has developed native apps for each relevant smartphone and tablet in the US market taking a strong argument for native app development. Another or an additional route is to optimize web media to display optimally in mobile devices without requirements (or encouragement) to download iOS or Google Android apps. For instance, Facebook considers its website to display optimally on an iPad and has not (so far) developed a native app. Many newspapers and online magazines on the other hand are fully engaging in iPad app based online magazine production but still figuring out how to handle raising advertising money and subscriptions on this new platform.

How to position in the growing mobile market of smartphones and tablets? There are currently many options for a company to choose from, and here is just the surface:

  1. Develop website only, optimized for mobile devices but not displayed in any mobile specific ways.
  2. Develop website + iPhone version prompted upon visiting a site via iPhone (not app).
  3. Develop website + iPhone app.
  4. Develop website + iPhone version prompted upon visiting a site via iPhone (not app) + iPhone app.
  5. Develop website + iPhone app + iPad app.
  6. Develop website + iPhone version prompted upon visiting a site via iPhone (not app) + iPhone app + iPad app.
  7. Develop website + iPhone app + Android mobile app.
  8. Develop website + iPhone app + iPad app + Android mobile app.

This list would continue with any other alternative scenario by combining variables above. Dallas iOS app developer Interaria will be reviewing specific examples of mobile media within this framework during this week.

Building Micro-Donation Communities Through Social Media. – Two Great Examples: Kickstarter and Kiva

Social media is more than just trying to lure people to your website; at best, it is about sharing information, building and joining to reference groups, discovering and building new networks, and giving a sense of purpose. These values go hand in hand with aid work, non-profit thinking, and fundraising efforts and hence are worthy of looking deeper. In this new social media era, fundraising websites that understand the spirit of social media are in a powerful position.

Interaria overviews in this article two fund-raising sites, Kickstarter and Kiva, that target the social media savvy audience and encourage participation, even with small “micro” donations. Both sites skillfully utilize social media genre with icon based navigation systems, integrated Facebook log in systems, emphasis on the self (member profile), and interactivity. These modern sites mimic user experiences from LinkedIn and Facebook making a member feel instantly familiar and comfortable, and ultimately lowering the bar for making donations. These sites are much more than payment gateways; they are designed to give a human face for each cause and they highlight donators as integral part of the community, building a sense of belonging and purpose.


Clever Fundraising for Creative Projects, Upbeat Community Feel

Kickstarter is a social media driven website focusing on raising funds for independent projects mainly in the creative field but also for business start-ups. Creative projects can be browsed by location (New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Dallas…. etc) and category (art, dance, design, film & video… etc). The brand messaging implies that the target audience for the site is young urban educated adults who will most likely identify relevant regional, industry and lifestyle categories from the website.


1) Kickstarter utilizes Facebook Log In:
The site utilizes an optional Facebook log in lowering the bar for joining the community. Once the account has been created the member is not tied to use for instance the Facebook avatar but can further customize My Account page. Empowering other social media websites (for instance on Jan 2011 Flickr) with Facebook log in system has been a recent rapidly growing trend.

Kickstarter makes donating easy: Although Kickstarter doesn’t offer PayPal payments the aim is to make making payments as easy as possible. Donations are done either with Amazon payments out or with a standard credit card payment gateway.

Kickstarter promotes quality web design & web architecture: We love how well the site is designed and organized. Projects are easy to find and the navigation and user interfaces are intuitive. The site has a modern feel and the content is designed to display well on iPad and other tablets (the content is not provided as iOS apps at this point).

Kickstarter has a clever rapport to pledge for donations: We think this site has an excellent copy and the tone of voice. Each donation (“pledge”) level is structured with a promise of what one gets as a return. The return of favor varies depending the amount of pledge from a thank you note to a credit status as a co-producer or a VIP invitation to a film’s premiere.

Kickstarter supports interaction between the donor and the receiver. The starter of the project may send messages and post video about the progress. Message boards are available for leaving notes. The project starters often have a personalized approach in thanking donators and showing appreciation.

Kickstarter projects get funded only if they reach their fundraising goals. Kickstarter makes sure that donations go to deserving causes that have enough backed support to make them actually happen.

Face to Face Micro-Loans by the International Social Media Community

Kiva’s purpose is to raise micro-loans for individuals in third world countries or from indigenous surroundings. The loans are for very specific purposes, buying new equipment, buying grain for cattle, financing a new computer  – at least this is the image Kiva draws. Critics have been pointing out however, that the loans do not go directly to the people featured in profiles but they go in fact for member organizations in the designated countries that then distribute the loans. (Click here to read Harvard Business Review Blog on the matter of misleading marketing in the name of  a greater cause.) The causes are easy to search via a map interface and type. Understandably, Kiva doesn’t guarantee any loans so the spirit in that sense is of charity fundraising. Kiva does display a wealth of interesting statistics about the risks involved. Once the loan is returned to the lender, he/she can re-donate it for another cause.


1) Kiva utilizes Facebook Log In:
Just like Kickstarter, Kiva’s website utilizes an optional Facebook log in lowering the bar for joining the community. Empowering other social media websites (for instance on Jan 2011 Flickr) with Facebook log in system has been a recent rapidly growing trend.

2) Kiva utilizes PayPal as a payment gateway:
PayPal is today a preferred quick payment gateway. A quick payment method is quite crucial for a modern fundraising website.

3) Kiva’s lender profile icons (avatars) build community feel:
Kiva skillfully gives its site “facebook” feel by placing donators’ avatars below each case study. This familiar brand messaging style builds up both trust and community feel.

4) Kiva has similarities with LinkedIn:
Just like Kickstarter, Kiva encourages a member to invite friends to join Kiva by offering email address export configuration systems and an invitation letter template. A member familiar with LinkedIn knows fast what to do.

5) Kiva is in touch with the mind of a modern consumer:
Kiva offers a good amount of gift cards and merchandise for spreading the word and tapping with the modern brand image. Kiva is not only a good cause but also a fun gift to shop.

6) Kiva provides competitive data:
Just like Kickstarter, Kiva places statistics within a member’s profile by letting the member know where they rank statistically with regards to the number of loans given, friends invited and so forth. This can bring up an inner competitor and challenge to lend more.

5) Kiva utilizes Google Maps:
Although lenders might very well know where Armenia is located for instance, Kiva’s way of placing Google Maps encourage lending activity for projects across the globe. After Asia, one might want to click on South America, and after South America, one might want to give a micro-loan to Africa. Kiva’s way is to utilize common well understood features not for the sake of delivering crucial information but for the aim of building a story of global community of which one belongs to.

Summary: Kickstarter and Kiva have each a unique niche but their websites share a similar social media driven platform for modern fundraising:

1) Both sites utilize visual icon based “call-to-action” navigation structure typical to social media websites.

2) Both sites communicate clearly the outcome for each donation making donating simple, just like clicking a button.

3) Both sites have made registering and becoming a member as easy as possible by utilizing Facebook log in as an option.

4) Both sites highlight the donator/lender as an important actor with ability to control his/her profile and messages.

5) Both sites support interactivity and social media sharing.

About Interaria
Interaria is a Dallas based Web development company with emphasis on web application development, mobile app development, and social media consulting services. To contact us, please call 214-909-3900 or fill out our quick online form. Follow Interaria on Twitter.

Native iOS iPad App or Cross-Device Use? – Case of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

In the coming weeks Interaria – a Dallas iOS iPad app developer – will be focusing on discussing how media and content should, could and can be developed and optimized in the effort of aiming for an “optimal” user experience and interaction on iPhones and iPads. There are many frameworks and positions in this discussion. Ultimately the conversation is about developing iOS apps for iPhones and iPads (“native” apps) vs. creating web media and content that displays and functions well on cross-device use. Continue reading Native iOS iPad App or Cross-Device Use? – Case of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

SERP Zebra