Hugo Charitable Trust

Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Reports
Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Reports
Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Reports
Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Report
Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Reports
Hugo Charitable Trust Annual Report
Hugo Charitable Trust Website
Hugo Charitable Trust Website

The Hugo Charitable Trust are an incredible organisation who select a multitude of charities to donate to each year. Millions of dollars are donated by Hugo to good causes throughout New Zealand. Total Brand have worked with the team at Hugo to produce Annual Reports for the past few years. The reports are also added to their website along with annual updates.

Visit website:

Fiordland Beer Co

Fiordland Beer Co Seasonal Brew
Fiordland Lager Beer Tap Label
Fiordland Beer Co Logo

Fiordland Beer Co Logo

Fiordland Beer Co, based in Te Anau takes great pride in the local landscapes that inspire their craft brews. The dark, majestic mountain ranges and lush fern laden forests inspired the labelling for their tap beer range, which will soon be available in cans.

Southern Lakes Sanctuary

Southern Lakes Sanctuary Website

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary is a highly ambitious, landscape-scale predator eradication project encompassing the Queenstown-lakes region. Total Brand developed a simple and effective logo, reflecting the colours of the southern lakes, with a singing bellbird representing the shared vision of “a deafening dawn chorus” and lake and mountains behind. The website features striking images of the local wildlife which will be protected by the work of the SLS.

Visit website:

Whakatipu Reforestation Trust

Whakatipu Reforestation Trust Queenstown Airport Mural
Whakatipu Reforestation Trust Queenstown Airport Mural
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust Logo
New Whakatipu Reforestation Trust Logo

Nov 21 – Total Brand engaged with local illustrator Ronnie Baker to complete a large scale wall mural, generously donated by Queenstown Airport to the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust. The mural features a call for donations, information about the important work the trust does in the community and of course a rich variety of local plants and animals. Hopefully the wall will be engaging with travels from far and wide for years to come. The mural also includes a revision to the trust’s logo to reflect the new spelling of Whakatipu.

Plant a native tree

Wakatipu Reforestation Trust Website
Wakatipu Reforestation Trust Website
WRT Plant Hunt Sheets
WRT Plant Hunt Sheets

June 20 – The Wakatipu Reforestation Trust required a new website in order to drive donations and engagement from their supporters. Total Brand worked with the trust to create a fresh new design with inviting photography and colour scheme. We have also worked on a series of Plant Hunt sheets for their education work along with updates to documents and presentations.

Visit the website:

The Produce Box

The Produce Box E-commerce

When a global pandemic hits and the country is thrown into a strictly enforced nationwide lockdown, some may say there’s not much you can do but sit it out. Not so, as shown by this example.

When lockdown pretty much dried up orders from the hotel and restaurant sector, Crispnz made a quick decision to cater to a new market. The Produce Box launched within a few weeks to provide for the domestic market, delivering fresh fruit, vegetables and home essentials to people throughout Otago and Southland.

A fully responsive e-commerce site was created featuring hundreds of items, offering free delivery on all orders over a minimum threshold. E-newsletters were also created to keep in touch with the new client base.

Visit website:

Pure Glenorchy

Pure Glenorchy Scenic Tours
Pure Glenorchy Scenic Tours

Pure Glenorchy provide scenic film location and Lord Of The Rings tours and charters around Queenstown and Glenorchy.

They required a new, responsive website to drive engagement and bookings and to support the future growth and expansion of the business. A bold new colour scheme and imagery of the jaw dropping scenery has been used throughout the new site to draw people in.

The site also caters to the growing Chinese tour market with separate translated pages.

Visit website:

Why omnivores prevail

History has proven that long term survival depends upon being able to adapt quickly in the face of change.

‘The year of change’, could be an apt title for 2020. Looking back on my previous post, ‘Staying relevant in a changing world‘ the primary concern at the beginning of the year was the longer term issues of pollution and climate change. I didn’t quite see the pandemic coming, which was already looming on the horizon at the time.

Depending on where you are in the world, COVID-19 has had either a disruptive or all destructive effect on business as usual.

Here in New Zealand, where an early lockdown was heavily enforced, the health effects of the pandemic have been light. However, with borders completely closed to international travel, it’s easy to imagine the negative impacts on the tourism industry and all other businesses dependant upon it. The ripple from this impact is still making its mark.

Elsewhere in the world, the story is similar; with various waves of lockdowns and general disruption to daily life, movement between cities and countries, all affecting how businesses operate.

Speaking with many of my own clients, a clear pattern has emerged in terms of what makes for a more resilient business…

Being able to adapt – when one market suddenly dries up, being nimble and able to pivot to cater for another market is essential. This is often easier said than done, especially with larger and more established businesses, which is often why smaller, opportunist businesses can disrupt a market quickly.

Spreading risk – the old ‘don’t have all your eggs in one basket’ adage is as true as ever. If all of your revenue is tied up with one client, within one market, then your level of risk is hight. Having a diverse spread of clients, occupying different sectors means you have a better chance of survival when times are tough.

Size matters – there’s a reason why businesses down-size during recessions. Unfortunately for the staff involved, the cost savings of operating with less people often outweigh the ongoing risk of retention. With or without a government subsidy programme, sometimes businesses have to make the tough decision of letting people go, with the hope that they can rehire when the outlook improves. Small businesses with lower overheads are better placed to tough it out.

Seeking opportunities – being able to turn a crisis into a potential opportunity is an important business skill. Although a global pandemic may seem like a dark time to be looking for business deals, there are many genuine opportunities being presented. Healthcare, safety, digital communications, food deliveries, transport, news & media… the list of services that are required more than ever is huge.

It will be interesting looking back on 2020 – hopefully from a safer world. I can bet that many businesses will be forever changed, hopefully with future risk and resilience in mind.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re safe and well. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything, whether it’s a new business opportunity or just to check in and say hello.

Kia Kaha (stay strong)

Whakatipu Wildlife Trust

Whakatipu Wildlife Trust logo refresh
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust logo (before and after)
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust Website
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust Website
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust Carabiner Mug
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust Carabiner Mug
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust T-shirt
Whakatipu Wildlife Trust T-shirt

The Whakatipu Wildlife Trust required a refresh to their existing logo in order to correct some colour inaccuracies and to simplify the elements for ease of reproduction. Total Brand provided a new logo and style guide, which was applied to documents and a new website. A secondary logo was developed for use on merchandise, including popular carabiner mugs and clothing.

Visit the website:

Planit Bnb

Planit Bnb logo v2.0

Planit Bnb icons
Planit Bnb App Design

Planit Bnb have taken the Queenstown Startup scene by storm, with a brand new business concept, providing Airbnb and Holiday Home guests with custom itineraries and activity bookings. The business is going from strength to strength and will be one to watch in 2019. Total Brand have worked with the Planit Bnb team to produce a fresh and vibrant brand, user focused website and various print materials to drive the business forward.

Visit website:

Staying relevant in a changing world

The modern world is always changing; however it is the increasing pace of change that is quite staggering.

Depending on the type of business or industry in which you operate, changes may be gradual or drastic. In today’s society of social media, instant communication and community activism, no one and no business wants to be on the wrong side of the crowd.

Generally speaking, if you operate a well managed business, that keeps your clients happy, pays the bills and doesn’t destroy the planet in the process, then you should be fine! 

That may sound straightforward, but just look at some of the most successful brands in the world; Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and McDonalds. In many ways these businesses satisfy and provide for both customers and shareholders, but at what cost? 

What has become apparent over the past ten years, and will be a key focus of 2019 is that ‘business as usual’ just isn’t good enough any more. 

Each and every one of us, businesses large and small included, must take a good look at how we are operating, and what impact our actions are having on the world around us. 

The public, clients and consumers are all waking up to the fact that all businesses have a role to play in getting humanity out of the single biggest mess we’ve ever faced; Climate Change. 

Therein lies a great opportunity. 

You can shrug it off, turn a blind eye, or walk the plank to oblivion, but for those who decide to take on the mission, great opportunity awaits. 

Being seen as a leader of positive change in any market can only be a good thing. Being brave enough to confess your sins, lay bare your environmental impacts and to take remedial action will be applauded by all. 

See it as you will; a fad, current trend, PR opportunity or marketing strategy – believe me when I tell you that this problem isn’t going away any time soon.

One thing that will become clear however, will be the line in the sand between those who accept the challenge and do their best for the cause, and those who continue on the wrong path or choose to look the other way.

Business practices must change, and yes, there will be hurdles, but the outcome won’t just be about financial success, but future stability and resilience for us all. 

OK, enough talk, what can we DO?

  • Packaging – unless you haven’t notice, the tide is turning on plastic packaging (and the waves are full of it) – there is no reason why you shouldn’t be using sustainable alternatives. The first question is “do you need packaging at all?” 
  • Marketing materials – gone are the days of mass printing 50,000 leaflets, only to throw the unused 30,000 in the skip. Digital printing allows much more accurate print runs, suited to your needs. Only need 300? Only print 300. You can also make sure that printed materials are on recycled or FSC certified paper. You may be able to go one step further and cut out print altogether – there are plenty of alternative options for digital marketing. 
  • Sourcing – have a quick think about where your products originate. If they are grown in Patagonia, customised in China then printed in Thailand, you’ve got quite the PR disaster on your hands. Think about sourcing eco friendly, locally produced products for your business; less air miles, better paid staff and great for the local economy. 
  • Transport – we all have to get around somehow, so whether you have 100 staff or just 1; switching to the bus, train or fleet of electric vehicles is the way to go. Make sure you’re ahead of the curve – that sign-written EV will turn heads. 
  • Power – I’ve yet to encounter a business that doesn’t consume electricity, so switching to a renewable provider is by far one of the easiest things you can do to make a positive change. Make sure you tell all of your customers about it too, and encourage them to do the same.
  • Community – with the power of social media behind them, communities are growing stronger by the day. Whether tree planting, beach clean ups or community activism is your game, the community will thank you greatly for getting involved.

If you are in the Queenstown Lakes area then I highly recommend you support the work of the following organisations:

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandHow should you best address the environmental concerns of your clients? Let’s talk.

Protect Our Winters NZ

Protect Our Winters NZ is the newly formed New Zealand branch of this international charity, working within the snowsports community to enact positive climate action. Total Brand are working closely with POW to support their cause here in NZ. The POW website is fresh, clean and positive, with various calls to action throughout, social feeds, news and projects. The website is built to grow with the organisation, which is still in its infancy, but with huge ambitions.

Total Brand encourage anyone who enjoys or benefits from winter to get on board!

Visit website:

Black Rabbit Kitchen & Bar

The Black Rabbit Kitchen & Bar is a small and vibrant spot to catch up with friends and family to enjoy great kiwi fare. Based in Bannockburn, Central Otago, they required a website that would appeal to locals as well as reaching out to visitors to the area. The site uses a bold colour scheme to match their branding and to reflect their young and enthusiastic team.

Visit website:

Wakatipu Joinery

Wakatipu Joinery is run by the passionate joinery and master carpenter Tony Emanuel. Based in Queenstown, he caters for bespoke projects throughout the region, preferring to work his craft on custom fit-outs and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. His website is a showcase for his recent work and services offered, with a natural colour scheme and clean layout, letting the work take centre stage. Total Brand also provided photography services to capture the quality of Tony’s latest projects.

Visit website:

Arcona Developments

Arcona Developments are a growing new housing developer based in Ireland. They specialise in residential projects and social housing to cater for the growing need within this sector. Total Brand created a sharp, professional logo with an architectural influence and graphical reference to the ‘arc’ which forms a structural backbone to the wordmark. The website is clean and to the point, focusing on the team’s professionalism, experience and projects.

Visit website:

Carbon Safety Solutions

Carbon Safety Solutions are based on Vancouver Island, offering a range of safety consultation services to clients throughout British Columbia. Total Brand developed their logo, which incorporates graphic elements of a carbon atom, which inspired the company name and business model.

Summit Flooring

Summit Flooring, based in Queenstown, are a small business with big ambitions, taking on some of New Zealand’s largest flooring suppliers with their line of quality imported flooring products. Their website serves as their storefront as they primarily sell wholesale to builders, architects and installers for residential and commercial projects. The site features an earthy colour scheme with clearly laid out product galleries, featured projects and plenty of calls to action to drive enquiries.

Visit website:

Lake Hayes Predator Free

Lake Hayes Predator Free are a group of passionate volunteers working to rid their local area of invasive predator species such as stoats, rats and possums. The goal of the project is to protect the native birdlife and other New Zealand fauna at risk from predation. Lake Hayes is home to one of New Zealand’s densest populations of breeding Australasian Crested Grebe, which forms the focus of the group’s logo. Total Brand have supported the group with various branding and the management of their social media channels. Find out how you can support the group’s efforts below.

Find out more

Sustainable Queenstown

Sustainable Queenstown are a community driven impact initiative, championing sustainable projects that really make a difference to the environment. Total Brand offered their support to get their message online and see a bright future ahead for the sustainable movement here in Queenstown.

Give Us 5 is a campaign by Sustainable Queenstown to encourage engagement from local businesses and members of the community. Sustainable Queenstown wanted the campaign to be friendly, open and positive to get people involved. The various issues the organisation tackles range from plastic waste to water quality, which can often be seen as dull and boring – Give Us 5 is all about focusing on small, positive and significant contributions to big issues.

Visit website:


ClearShine offer commercial floor cleaning services in Queenstown and throughout Central Otago. Total Brand provided a refresh to their existing branding, modernising the font and updating their tagline to reflect the current business focus. Their website and marketing materials have also been updated to reflect the new branding.

Visit website:

Prestige Marquees

Prestige Marquees offer quality marquee and accessory hire for weddings and events in the Queenstown Lakes region. Total Brand created a logo and brand that speaks of style and professionalism. They are all about getting the hard work done so you can enjoy your dream event, stress free.

Visit website:

Archi Tectura

Archi Tectura Ltd provide architectural design and drafting services for clients throughout New Zealand. Total Brand created this clean and professional website to promote their work and services offered. Bold colouring, sans serif typography and clean lines communicate the client’s architectural focus.

Visit website:

Arrowtown Design

Arrowtown Design required marketing support to promote their Interior Design services to the local area. This stylish rack card was produced to introduce the business to new clients. A promotional campaign was also carried out on social media and an e-newsletter sent to existing customers, resulting in return business.

Good Connection

Good Connection Icon

Good Connection Website

Good Connection Brochure Good Connection Brochure Good Connection Brochure

Good Connection is a social media and shopping platform that generates funds for good causes while you use the service. This unique approach allows users to raise money for the charity or cause that they are passionate about, on a social platform they are already familiar with.

Total Brand have helped to realise the Good Connection vision, with branding, promotional materials, website and mobile app design and more. Join the movement – sign up now at

Wolf Awareness

Wolf Awareness Logo

Total Brand were delighted to work with Wolf Awareness on their rebrand and website relaunch. The charity, which aims to educate and inform the public about ongoing issues of wolf management in Canada, carries out important research and campaigns tirelessly for the protection of wolves.

Find out more and lend your support at

Thyme to Plant

Thyme to Plant is a landscaping and hardscaping business based in Lake Tahoe, California. They required a logo that stood out from the competition and associated the business with the local fauna. The Jeffrey Pine was chosen as it is the dominant tree species in the area. The detailed illustration was balanced with slender type and colour scheme. Two colours have been used, green and brown, with tints of each to add depth.

Fishnish Food Bar

Fishnish Food Bar is a ‘hole in the wall’ cafe on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. Situated on the pier alongside the ferry terminal, they wanted a logo that told a story of their location. The circle, representing a life ring, surrounds a depiction of the view as seen from the cafe, where the land meets the water. The ferry is present, along with a White-tailed Sea Eagle, both major drivers of tourism on the island.

Pause for thought; welcoming 2018

2017 has been an eventful year no matter which way you look at it, and I’m sure 2018 will be no different. Whatever the year ahead has in store for you and your business, it’s important to take a moment to stop, take stock of the past year’s events and to plan for the months ahead.

The year that was

I sincerely hope that 2017 was a good one for your business, but I’m sure that it brought with it new challenges, struggles and surprises. It can be easy to shrug these off, brush down your shoulders and get on with things; but make sure you take with you the lessons learned.

What worked for your business in 2017? This is just as important a question as what didn’t work in 2017? Industries, like economies are always changing and adapting, so the way your business responds must too. Did your customers want a certain product or service more this year or did they change habits, attitude or focus?

Trend or cultural shift?

Technology as always has been a driving factor for change over the past year. The chances are you ‘upgraded’ to a new, bigger, faster smartphone this year and almost forgot that your owned a laptop (your digital camera is already hopelessly lost in a drawer of old chargers and cables).

People are on the move more than ever these days and they need quick and easy access to the information they seek on their mobile phones. Whether your customers are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Google Maps OR your very own website; they need to be able to find the information they require within a tap and a swipe.

Planning ahead

What direction is your business moving in? The answer to this question will be inevitably linked to the events of 2017 and the way your customers’ needs are changing. However, you can also make personal or company-wide decisions on where your business is headed in 2018. Perhaps it’s time for a change of focus, or time to commit to new growth and expansion.

Whatever goals you set for your business in 2018, they will need planning and support. Be sure to identify the areas of your business that require additional resource and attention in order to achieve your goals.

Don’t be left behind

Change can be difficult (and sometimes inconvenient), but is it very often a good thing. When it comes to your branding, communications and marketing, the right change can keep things fresh, current and relative to your customers.

A new promotional campaign or product launch can generate excitement, interest and awareness in a stagnant market. Think about how you can generate positive excitement for your business in the coming year.

If nothing else, 2018 should be about embracing new technology and making it work for your business.

Let’s not forget the planet…

The past year dealt some serious blows to global efforts on climate change and sustainability. When the world’s most powerful man openly asks for more global warming to fend off a wee bit of snow, we know we’re all in trouble.

Luckily the general consensus of the world’s population is that we don’t want to turn our little blue planet into a giant oil slick. There are some incredible efforts being made by organisations, businesses and individuals to protect, heal and restore our environment.

Whether you make a token gesture in 2018 to reduce waste, recycle more or plant an entire forest; I’d encourage you to do whatever you can. It’s not only good for the planet, but also increasingly good for business.

Here’s to a productive and successful year ahead!

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandDo you need to bounce some ideas around or discuss your marketing plan for 2018? Feel free to get in touch.


Drillserv is a new business based in Qatar providing drilling services for construction, utilities and infrastructure development. They required a clean and professional suite of promotional materials to advertise their services to prospective clients in the region.

Visit website:

CAD Survey Services

CAD Survey Services, based in Glasgow, specialise in building survey and CAD services. This was visualised in their new branding, which forms a 3D building from the letters CSS.


Siteserv provide temporary shelter, offices and support equipment for events and construction sites in Qatar. Fresh, clear branding and service focused communications are key to promoting this new business to prospective clients.

Visit website:

Dead Famous Cities

Dead Famous Cities is another online portal for the illustrative works of Glaswegian artist Adrian McMurchie. The site features a full e-commerce platform selling prints, fabrics, coasters, jewellery and more.

Visit website:


Khora is a community of highly experienced and well regarded business men and women, offering a different approach to business guidance. The team run workshops, seminars and one-to-one masterclasses to open minds to new ways of thinking in tough, competitive markets.

Visit website:


Hydroserv specialise in Dewatering and Water Engineering Solutions throughout the UAE, Qatar, Oman and beyond. Growing at a fast pace, the company required a full corporate brochure and new website to communicate their array of services to new and potential clients.

Visit website:

Paisley Musical and Operatic Society

Made in Dagenham Poster Hairspray Poster

Westside Story PosterThe King and I Poster

On Time Electrical

On Time Electrical offer professional and timely electrical services to clients throughout the Queenstown lakes area. Total Brand set them up with an inviting brand and website in order to promote their services.

Visit website:

Adrian McMurchie – The Glasgow Illustrator

I have long been a fan of Adrian McMurchie’s work and was delighted to develop his new e-commerce website…

Visit website:

Westburn Medical Practice




Banff Beer Club

Banff Beer Club t-shirt

Banff Beer Club Beermat

Banff Beer Club meet every week at The Banff Ave Brewing Co to sample and discuss beers from all over the world. They wanted an identity they could get behind and promote on t-shirts, beer mats or pint glasses. A combination of the Brew Co’s ‘Alberta Stein’, Cascade Mountain ‘head’ and Banff Snail mascot fitted the bill nicely.

Hutchinson Reed

Hutchinson Reed are a new publishing house, currently promoting the launch of The Wealth Game – an ordinary person’s companion by author Peter Alcaraz. This simple one page site includes company information, book promotion, purchasing options and contact details.

Visit website:

Southsea Lifestyle

Southsea Lifestyle is a brand new publication, distributed free throughout Southsea. To support the launch of the new magazine Total Brand created this simple, one page website, which provides information to advertisers and links to social media. The site will be expanded as the publications grows.

Visit website:

Real Bread Campaign

Real Bread Campaign Poster

Real Bread Campaign Poster

We produced this spoof poster for the Real Bread Campaign‘s True Loaf magazine. The poster will adorn the back page of the publication to encourage people to join the campaign.

Find out more about their work here:

The Balancing Act

‘The Balancing Act’ was originally published on Fed by Photos as part as a guest blog series about being self employed.

It can be a tough old world living life as the self employed. Whether you’re a plumber, designer, travel writer or jet-setting wildlife photographer, the trials of earning ‘non-standard’ income while pursuing your goals are much the same.

I’ve always tried to dream BIG with anything I’ve done. It’s a good strategy, as, by the time life’s realities whittle away at your aspirations, you’re usually left with something much more mundane and somewhat more achievable.

Part of life’s dream for me is being able to do what I love (being creative), getting paid to do so AND explore different corners of the world at the same time. As with many of the self employed it’s all about the ‘work / life balance’.

I’m currently setting up shop in my third country in as many years, which has been a struggle at times, but a great learning process to boot. ‘Starting over’ several times has taught me what makes the difference between bare bones survival and being truly successful. Where I currently sit on that scale is another matter of course!

Chasing your dreams is a fine line to tread in any profession, so hopefully one or more of the points below can help you to achieve yours. These tips can be applied to new starts and long established businesses alike to freshen up your approach.

The Offering

Before picking up the phone, sending that email or running out the door to the next business meeting – pause for a moment. Put yourself in your ‘potential client’s’ shoes and take a good look at what is being offered. Rushing into things isn’t going to get you anywhere and can often have negative results, so taking the time to self analyze your business proposition can save you a lot of heartache.

Your proposition may be as simple as inviting an editor to chat through your portfolio over coffee. Sounds simple enough; but editors, as with anyone in business, are busy people with a discerning eye. Within seconds they’ll have scrutinised your branding, presentation, tone of voice and can whip up your portfolio, social media profile and business connections. Two slurps from a mug of tea later and your proposition will either be in the trash or whizzing it’s way back to you to confirm your meeting.

It may seem harsh, but the time and money you’ve put in building to this moment could all be in vain if everything isn’t tip-top, so one last look over things is well worth your while.

Opportunities are EVERYWHERE

I honestly don’t know any self employed person who works 9 till 5. Flexible hours and a four day week may be part of your new life plan, but in reality you really can’t switch off fully from your pursuits. Unless you have a defined list of clients who provide you with enough steady income to stop you worrying about the future (if that’s you then congratulations, you needn’t bother reading on!), you must remain aware to the business opportunities around you.

To give an example, a few months ago I watched a news story on CNN about a climber ascending the frozen ice of Niagara Falls for the first time in history. It made for awe inspiring watching and I couldn’t help but look him up online. Seeing an opportunity I got in touch and have since launched his new website. One more happy client.

Whichever field you are in there are chances to reach out, get in touch and interact with new clients; in newspapers, magazines, online and on the street. Training yourself to tune in and pick up on these opportunities is vital.

When Things Go Pete Tong

Recently I just couldn’t catch a break. Every lead I had went cold, current projects were in turmoil and I found myself asking what on earth I was doing with my life. Dark times indeed.

Thankfully I have a short attention span when it comes to personal angst, but things can of course go awry and being self-employed means there isn’t the same support structure to get you through the fog. Here are a few solutions that have helped me in the past.

1) Switch Off – Staring at your empty inbox, vacant word doc or out-of-focus photoshoot for hours on end isn’t going to help matters. In fact, you’re going to start feeling worse very quickly. So, switch off, get out and breathe in some fresh air – it’s good for you (depending on where you live). The chances are, with some time away, you’ll think up a great new plan to get your project / prospects / life back on target.

2) Remember why you’re doing this – It can be hard at times to remember you DO control how many hours you work or who you work for or that your neighbour can’t stand working ‘for the man’. You are in control and if it doesn’t feel like it then maybe it’s time to make some changes. I once made the decision to let a troublesome client go at the expense of good income. It was money well spent in my opinion – balance returned instantly.

3) You are not alone! Being self employed needn’t mean you go it alone. Building a trusted network of friends, colleagues and gurus that you can lean on when times are tough will prove invaluable. There are 7 billion people out there so it shouldn’t be difficult finding a few you can depend upon.

4) Think BIG – working for yourself doesn’t mean you only need to earn one person’s salary. If you think small, then the chances are you’ll stay small. Growing your support network and pursuing bigger and better clients or projects will also grow your bottom line. Instead of thinking as a ‘one man band’, portraying yourself as a ‘small business’ can take things up a notch. There’s no one stopping you taking that extra step of contracting or taking on staff, so what are you waiting for?

Working from the Sofa

So you’ve hit a home run – after polishing your presentation, securing that meeting and wooing your client into reaching for their cheque book – it’s now time to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. This is where ‘being your own boss’ can take a nasty turn for the worse, as only you can set the deadlines and ensure you deliver. Setting tight deadlines and confirming these with a client is a great way to keep things moving if you are lacking motivation.

You may dream of typing away on your laptop while sipping a cocktail on the beach or racing from one photoshoot to the next, but of course, here comes that reality check. Personally, I’ve tried working in cafe’s, public libraries, down the park and from the sofa, which can work momentarily. However, nothing beats getting down to brass tacks in your own private working environment.

For me, having just moved into a new rental apartment, all this meant was a simple office desk, lamp and chair. Having your own, personalised space means you are in control. Calm ensues, and once you’ve blocked out those pesky distractions (tv, calls, email, funny cat videos etc.) you can finally get down to business.

Routine vs Mundane

Getting into a daily / weekly routine is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on-track. Get up early, put on your best tie and do whatever else you must to get in the right frame of mind. Make sure there is something every day that you NEED to get up for as the attraction of working  ‘flexible’ hours can be a little too much at times.

Hopefully you’ll be way too busy with work to even contemplate a lay-in, but there are always those days when things just don’t click. You’ve lost your stride and can’t stop bouncing that stress ball against the wall. When your nice new office desk is starting to look plain miserable, it’s time to head out.

Mixing up your day can keep things interesting so don’t feel too guilty about taking a business lunch, afternoon stroll or doing some ‘networking’ down the local. Time out in a new environment refreshes the mind so when you’re back at your desk you’re stride will be waiting.

Sharing the Wealth

Unless you’re Bill Gates, here I’m referring to personal knowledge, time and creative inspiration. Sharing or giving away something for free can reap huge rewards. The key is to be truly genuine with what you share – people will respect you for it, and respect is about as good as it gets in this game.

Chardon Flooring & Home Emporium

Chardon Stationery

Chardon Website

Chardon Flooring & Home Emporium is a new business specializing in premium flooring products and is also home to an array of up-cycled furniture and works from local artists. We worked with Big Blue Star Marketing to deliver the brand concept (chardon is french for thistle), stationery design and fully responsive website. The new store is based in Milngavie, near Glasgow.

Visit website:


We created this simple yet elegant website for Cadmeleon who specialize in commercial survey and CAD services. The site is fully responsive and has easy of navigation and legibility at its core.

Visit website:

The personal touch

People deal with people. It has been true since business began, back when we were trading grapes for beating sticks. It’s a simple fact, yet one that seems to be forgotten so often in today’s, digitally driven world.

How many emails have you received lately from an anonymous company selling you business lists, services or wholesale goods? Or from John Smith offering a magnificent deal, with no credibility to back it up?

I’m sure, or at least I hope that the vast majority of these communications are ignored, but there is a lesson to be learned here. What if John Smith included a profile photo, full contact details and links to his business portfolio? Realising that he is actually a real person, wouldn’t you give his email a second glance; hell, even a reply? Poor John might be worried about you otherwise.

No matter how big or small your business is, it can really pay to get back to basics and take the personal approach. Instead of emailing, pick up the phone and talk with your clients; there’s a lot more to talk about than just business. One to one contact doesn’t always apply of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t communicate to the masses in a similar fashion.

Websites, email, social media, photography and video are the modern tools of the trade. Ensuring they aren’t dull and faceless is as important as looking your client in the eye when you shake their hand. Putting a face to your business could transform it from ‘just another company’ to the ‘company I know and trust on a personal level’.

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandDo you need help in creating the perfect brand experience for your customers? Then please get in touch to start the conversation.

Banff Canmore Community Foundation

Total Brand worked in partnership with Lyuba Kirkova to build this vibrant and colourful new website for the Banff Canmore Community Foundation. The fully responsive website is built with easy navigation and access to information in mind, with an open, friendly and engaging approach.

Visit website:

Spirit in Work

Spirit in Work Brochure

Spirit in Work Brochure

What’s in a colour? Red

We’ve already explored the world of Blue brands, so here is a look at the colour Red. Even more so than Blue, the general perception is that there is only one true Red, but a quick look at the graphic above will clearly show otherwise.

Each coloured square represents some of the world’s biggest businesses, who use red as their primary colour. In an effort to stay unique and to avoid clashing with the competition, these businesses spend a lot of time, money and resources to ensure their branding is consistent throughout all of their marketing.

Mobile phone retailer Vodafone spent millions to ensure their new red branding was thoroughly precise; on everything from the web and mobile to printed brochures, store signage, vehicle livery and television advertising.

Red is a powerful and evocative colour, associated with energy, danger, strength, passion and love. It’s not a colour to be taken lightly, as although it may be great for engagement or entertainment, it may also evoke memories of blood, anger or sex. In an extreme case, teachers in the UK have been advised not to use red pens when marking pupil’s work.


Answers (from top-left): Youtube, Coca-cola, Adobe, Google Plus, LG, McDonalds, Virgin, Vodafone

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandHaving trouble with your brand colours? Get in touch to discuss your project in more detail.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

Total Brand produced this t-shirt design, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. The design was entered as a finalist to their annual t-shirt competition.

What’s in a colour? Blue

There are a billion different brands out there, all competing for your visual attention; yet, there are only so many colours to go around. We’ve all heard the RYPGPOB rhyme (in one order or another), but there’s a lot more to simply choosing a primary or secondary colour when it comes to branding.

Big companies spend millions on ensuring they dominate their ‘brand space’, which includes the visible spectrum. The world would be rather dull if every second advertisement used the exact same shade of blue, so here is a look at just a few of the many variations out there.

See if you can guess which brand is represented by each blue in the graphic above.

From navy or royal blue to sky blue, cyan or aqua; there are thousands of variations, each with their own characteristics and emotional responses.

Blue has various associations; security, integrity, dependability, trust and serenity. Many of these are linked to the deeper shades of blue however; while cyan, aqua or sky blue may evoke memories of holidays, leisure, youth or energy.

So when it comes to thinking about which colour best represents your business or product, it pays off to give it some extra thought. Of course, Total Brand can do the thinking for you; get in touch to discuss your project with us.

Think you’ve seen all the blues? Check out this optical illusion.

Answers (from top left): Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Samsung, Visa, Skype, Vimeo.

The Sipping Shed

The Sipping Shed Website

The Sipping Shed is a new start-up business specialising in producing rare and fine blended Scotch Malt Whisky. The above composite image was created to bring the ‘shed’ to life; nestled in the heather, surrounded by frosty mountains, a warm glow emanating from the cracks of the doorway.

Their first product #VAT ONE has just launched and is for sale on their new e-commerce platform:


CleanO2 specialise in developing innovative Carbon Capture devices for residential and commercial heating appliances. Their current product, still under development, could well revolutionise the industry and lead the way to significant CO2 emission reductions. Total Brand produced this fresh and ‘airy’ website design to promote their concept.

Visit website:

Navy Blue

Navy Blue Poster

The Social Issue

The world of Social Media is well and truly here to stay. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram are now part of most people’s daily routines, forming part of their extended social network. Yet many small business are still struggling to get to grips with what it means to be ‘social’ online.

For a large number of business owners, the main hurdle is seeing the value in what Social Media represents. What financial gain does spending hours ‘clicking on Like buttons’ hold for your company? It’s a classic case of not understanding this new market properly, which could be to the detriment of your business.

In terms of advertising, the social media market is much like any other; be it the high street, television, or publishing. Just like traditional advertising platforms, it’s all about making sure your brand or product maintains customer visibility. The great thing about social media is that much of the ‘advertising’ can be done for free. However, there’s a catch; if you appear to use social media just to advertise or push product then you risk alienating your customers.

To get the most out of the social media experience, stop thinking about advertising and start thinking about having a real conversation with your customers. As an example; instead of simply selling shoes, share, post, comment and talk about what is in fashion this season; why your top selling hiking boots are great for exploring the outdoors or who popped in to the store last week. Turning the hard sell into an all encompassing conversation about your products, lifestyle and experience makes for a much more interesting read.

Slowly but surely your new online audience will come to expect the best commentary, shared content and product knowledge from your business. In short; you’ll not only have a growing audience, but an audience who trust your opinion and your brand. Trust, we all know is a key factor to generating sales. One way or another your social media activity will eventually lead to an increase in business.

Some may say that all this engagement may seem like a long way to go in order to sell a few pairs of shoes, but there is more to the story. Finally those faceless numbers behind your newspaper ad or print campaign have turned into real people you can not only converse with, but solve their problems, answer their questions and respond to their feedback. The old one way traffic of advertising has turned into a two way relationship between you and your customer. That can only be a good thing for both parties.

If your business is in need of a refresher course in social media or you need support with your online marketing, feel free to get in touch. Total Brand manage many social media accounts for our clients. We can grow your online presence while you focus on growing your business. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Daniel Sweeney - Total BrandDaniel Sweeney
Total Brand

Feature Woodwork

Will Gadd

Creating the brand for Red Bull sponsored athlete Will Gadd, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2014/2015 required a particular approach. Famed for his recent ascent of a frozen Niagara Falls and setting many more ice climbing world records, Will is one tough individual. This type based logo uses slanted, hand drawn lettering, sliced and broken with cracks and holes reminiscent of rock or ice.

Will Gadd Website

Will’s website continues the adventure theme but with a clean, professional look to reflect his commitment to the continual improvement of his sport, public speaking, guiding and training. The site is fully responsive, designed to work seamlessly on mobile devices, tablets and desktop computers.

Visit website:

Bison Belong

Bison Belong Tshirt

Bison Belong Poster

Total Brand were commissioned to produce an engaging visual to adorn t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts, promoting the historic return of wild Bison to Banff National Park. The graphic has since been shared between First Nation tribes throughout North America as a symbol of protection and hope for the Bison. Support the movement here:

Bison Belong t-shirts

Bison Belong t-shirt First Nations

Scottish Football Supporters Association

SFSA website

SFSA 24 page report

Total Brand worked with the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA), a new organization representing the voice of fans in Scotland, to create their new identity, responsive website and several printed reports. We also oversee the management of their Social Media accounts to ensure that branding is consistent throughout all communication channels.

Visit website:

HDD Global Exchange

Manhattan Diner & Deli

Manhattan Website

Manhattan Menus

Manhattan Signage and Interior

Manhattan Diner & Deli provides an authentic New York dining experience in the heart of East Kilbride, Glasgow. We worked in partnership with Big Blue Star Marketing to produce the identity, brand concept, interior and exterior signage, menus and print materials, responsive website, social media channels and advertising.

Visit website:

Totem Property Management

Totem Website

Totem Property Business Card

Totem Property Management provide personal home management for clients in Queenstown and the Southern Lakes region. The founder’s mix of north american and kiwi backgrounds is reflected in the branding, the focus of which being a Kea totem.

Visit website:

Why your brand is so important to your business

Don’t underestimate the importance of branding

Over the past twelve years working within the graphic design industry I’ve encountered a multitude of clients, each with their own niche and specific set of design requirements. In the most part, graphic design is seen as a necessary tool used to communicate key messages to customers, be it a sales pitch, company profile or special offer.

It is easy to understand why the owners of small businesses might not spend much time thinking about their brand or how their business is perceived. With so many demands on time: business development, sales, customer management, promotion, accounting and the day to day running of a business, analysing your company’s brand may seem like the least of your worries.

Yet no matter what type of business you are in and how many clients you interact with, your brand is already out there. How clear your brand communication is may be a different matter, but each and every interaction your business makes will leave some kind of impression. Branding is all about making the most of that impression. 

Let’s think about that for a moment. What kind of impression does your business have on your clients? Of course you would like to think they have a positive relationship with your business and are happy to continue working with you. Now try putting yourself in your client’s shoes. How often they use your product or service may vary, but just how memorable and accessible is your brand?

For example, let’s say ‘Jane’ buys printer supplies every few months and it’s time to place an order. Jane runs a busy café and doesn’t have a lot of time on her hands, so when it comes to remembering who she purchases her printer supplies from you can imagine there are a plethora of supplier names, logos and colour schemes spinning around her head. If that supplier doesn’t leap out at her, Jane is only seconds away from a Google search and a lost business relationship.

In the most simple of terms, branding is about being memorable.

Fast food: McDonald’s
Groceries: Tesco
Brake Lights: Halfords

These big brands are easy to remember, not only because they are everywhere you look, but they spend a fortune on clear and consistent branding. Things get much more interesting when you look at the small to medium business sector. This is where the real brand battles are being fought.

Who cuts your hair, unclogs the drains, services your car or supplies the office coffee? If the quick answer is ‘the guys with the green logo’, then that business may just have won a small victory over the competition.

If you feel it’s time you gave your company’s brand some attention then get in touch. We’ll take care of your brand while you’re taking care of business.

Daniel Sweeney
Total Brand

Cool Music Co

Pacific Safety

Pacific Safety Website

Pacific Safety Brochure

Adventure Training Consultants

B2 Voice

Sacred Haven

Sacred Haven provide a range of holistic healing therapies from their tranquil centre in the seaside town of Bundoran, Co Donegal.

CO2 Estates

CO2 Estates Website

Visit website:

Portbeg Holiday Homes

Zephyr Lodge

The Colours of our Scarves

Supporters Direct Scotland worked with the world renowned football photographer Stuart Roy Clarke to produce this touring exhibition. Capturing the shared passion, excitement, lows and highs experienced by the fans of Scottish Football as part of Supporters Direct Scotland’s Anti Sectarian programme the exhibition has a positive and unifying message.

» Visit

Collateral: Logo, Brochure, Posters, Exhibition, Van

Forth Dimension Hair

Big Blue Star Marketing

Diamond & Co

I Adore Accessories

Callum Wood Photography

Sophia Weddings

Escape Images

Wild Arabia

Sponsored by National Geographic Al Arabiya and Dolphin Energy, Wild Arabia is one of the largest collaborative environmental awareness campaigns in the Arab World. Featuring 100 stunning photographs from National Geographic Al Arabiya, the project showcases Arabia’s wildlife to the world through exhibitions, events and their flagship website.

» Visit

Collateral: Logo, Website, Brochure

Alba Mobility

Highland Tiger

Eagle Eye Photography

Vision Financial Planning



Willy Wallace Hostel

Rewilding Childhood

Wild Wonders of Europe

With over 60 photographers being sent on assignments to the 48 countries of Europe, Wild Wonders of Europe has been a hugely ambitious and successful project. Total Brand worked closely with Wild Wonders to get the branding just right. Two versions of the website then followed (pre and post launch) and the project has been unstoppable ever since.

» Visit

Collateral: Logo, Website, E-newsletter

Forth Region Scouts

Ten Rapid

Love 2 Recycle

Use Me Again