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Information from an article I wrote today to share with small business owners throughout the 5 boroughs in NYC and hopefully help in some ways –

The Simplest, Cheapest, Most Effective Way to Build Your Small Business Brand –

It is harder for a small business, store, restaurant, bar or service to build its brand in the community than for larger businesses for no other reason than budget differences. Since the advent of print on demand platforms available today, building a small business brand using small budgets, or by small stages is possible for nearly every business type.
“As I was making products on my Zazzle store using my artwork, I thought one day to make several thousand products using only specialty solid colors and simple patterns, stripes and sparkling glitter surfaces,” said Diane C Phillips, owner of the CricketDiane store on Zazzle.
“When anyone needs to make a customized design to build a brand or anything else using a solid color, they can use these or any of other store owner’s offerings for it,” she said. This allows a series of products to be made with a small business’ logo but one at a time as the budget allows in order to build their brand economically and effectively.”
There is a fairly quick and easy method for using Zazzle and other online print on demand platforms such as CafePress to create these small business brand building items from cellphone cases with the store logo and slogan on them to ipad cases to business cards and cloth shopping bags, tshirts and a multitude of other items.
These are the five steps needed to produce a designer logo branded item using the Zazzle platform –
1. Using a clean logo for your business, with an entirely white background around it, scan the logo into your computer at the highest possible resolution size available on your printer. (This resolution size option is one of the things found when the scanner window pops up on your computer before pushing the scan icon button.)
2. Go to the Zazzle platform and choose the products with a solid color background, pattern or sparkle making sure to pick the item you would like to see with your logo, such as an ipad mini case, cellphone case or shopping bag. The Custom Palette Store and in a specific section, the CricketDiane Store on Zazzle have them, but there are two other options also. One is to put the color name into the search engine although not everyone is using the same words for it, or to use the Zazzle editor to choose a background color under the last word in the list, “background”. The advanced feature at the bottom of the colors group allows you to pick a more specific color, but write down the color code in the small window or you may never find it again when you want to make more logo / brand items for your business.
3. Using a product on Zazzle which already is designed with your color choice on it in plain color, pattern, stripe or sparkle – click on the hover-over below the main picture of the product where it says “Customize”. The window will open into the editor allowing you to click “Add Images” where you can upload your logo from your computer. It helps to size your logo from the file scanned by your printer using any image viewer that allows it to be made a bit bigger, but make sure when you zoom into it, the color areas are clean and not pixelated (which means trashy looking.) After uploading the logo using Zazzle’s Add Image Window, it is available to place on the product item over the background any seller offers, including those with solid color, nifty patterns, sparkly, templates or any others already shown on the product. On the editor under where it says, Add Images and Add Text, there is a small gear looking icon. When you click on that, it allows a check mark to make any white background transparent provided your logo in the images list is “highlighted” – meaning to highlight your logo file in the list, then click the gear icon and check where it says make white background transparent. Then, the logo should immediately appear free of its own white background and show the color or pattern behind it. A slogan can be added, phone number or name of the person who will be carrying your business branded item around, or whatever you’d like using the Add Text Button. The font can be changed using the little “f” icon near where the gear icon is and the color box there allows a change in the color, the size field for the letters is changeable there too.
4. Once you have a design that you like with its logo and whatever else it will say, you can save it, or post it for sale or in a shopping cart to buy later, or put it on your own Zazzle store to offer to your customers online, or email it to yourself or buy one to 500 copies of it just like that right that moment. These online print on demand platforms commonly offer volume discounts when items are purchased at the same time, but they often have sales on product types as well which is a good opportunity to try one and see how it works for the least amount of money invested. There are dry erase boards that can show your brand in your store or church or gym or wherever else it is seen, posters of course and many interesting options. One can be bought at a time until an array of brand building marketing tools are in your hands to bring your business’ brand to life, or a special set can be built for a specific spectacular promotion or campaign. A group of logo oriented items showcasing your business can be made to take with you to an event, conference, class, town meeting, picnic, convention, local chamber happening, or when being interviewed by press or magazine or girl scouts or ball team or whatever will work. It can build your brand while doing little beyond having your cellphone or ipad in your hand with your business’ logo and slogan on it, or your managers run about the community using them.
5. If you decide that this works in a positive way for your business, build more pieces in your brand marketing arsenal by simply going back to Zazzle, CafePress or other online print on demand platforms and using the same background color code or through the same seller’s products, and make more as your business is ready for them. At the bottom of the page on Zazzle as well as on other print on demand platforms, there is a group of other products you might like as well which often show more products by that and other sellers having the same or similar color or patterned background. This allows an expanded group of products that can have your logo shown off beautifully and seen by potential customers wherever you go or wherever you place them. Note that it is easiest to write down the background color code you chose originally, and the font name you chose, or the name of the seller, and the name of the product title you chose in the first place in order to come back and use it again. However, on Zazzle invoices (and probably other platforms too), the name of the item is used or the item number can lead back to where you originally found it for another effort.
This process allows a small expenditure at a time to create a huge visual impact for branding in a method that is staggered rather than having to wipe out thousands of dollars at a time to get a few buttons or posters made. Any small business needing more extensive brand recognition across the community can use the new online print on demand products styled platforms to reach that audience with much smaller investments at a time.
“As much as I would love everyone to enjoy my artwork, the fact is that the more small businesses are able to build their brands in the community, the better off everyone is,” said Diane. “If you build your brand this way, it can be done in the simplest, cheapest way possible while having a big impact. Then hopefully, some of those profits will continue to support art and artists and what creatives like me can do for the community.”

CricketDiane, Diane C Phillips is a hybrid New Yorker living in Staten Island now with a propensity to create, develop, build, generate solutions, invent and do art as part of her business including her online presence at Zazzle, WordPress, Pinterest, Twitter, Polyvore, (soon to be Etsy), YouTube and other online platforms.
CricketDiane Store on Zazzle –

The section of the CricketDiane store with color only backgrounds (sections with sparkly glitter backgrounds are scattered throughout the pink and purple sections among others) –

Custom Design Palette with color backgrounds, patterns, stripes, polka dots, sparkly glitter –