This spring, Michelle quit her job to launch her own start-up. She teamed up with Helena Hagströmer and together they launched Hagstromer Macksey — a creative operations consultancy. In essence, they help online retailers with strategy, planning and production of content. “Don't worry if it takes a few months to get everything up and running”, I advised. They signed their first deal after 5 days.
My small role is helping out with technology and design. I have a few guiding principles when it comes to designing for small companies in the early stages:
- Done is better than perfect.
- Consistency beats perfection.
- Credibility is created from a series of consistent, positive experiences. You show up on time to the meeting. You have business cards (despite no-one actually using them). You have a web site that matches the business cards. You have an active Instagram account. You follow up after meetings (the style of the email footer matches the business cards). You appear in business press — the message matches what you said in the meeting. Etc etc. All these little interactions create credibility over time. After 10 positive interactions or so you may just get hired.
With this in mind, we got to work.
We tried a few different logo ideas and landed on something simple, but usable. Easy to work with in different formats. Modern but timeless. Recognizable enough.
We implemented the logo and color scheme in different formats and it worked really well. We combined it with Apple's San Fransisco font (great font, default font stack on Macs which serves us well on the web, available for free). Here's how it looked in an early pitch deck:
Then it was time to create the business cards. I found a printing studio that didn't hate me for knowing nothing about print. I showed them my Sketch file and they helped me get the settings right.
Helena and Michelle set up the usual social media accounts, but focused especially on Instagram, since it's an extra important channel for online retailers. They quickly created an interesting feed and found a visual language. They post Instagram stories almost every day.
We launched a web site on day one. Michelle and Helena wrote the content and I designed and programmed it during an 8 hour delay at Faro Airport.
We set up G Suite for the organization. It may seem like a boring detail but it adds to the credibility of the company. Being able to send proper meeting invites and share documents makes the company look more professional and established.
We've taken a bunch of photos for Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, press releases etc. The company's visual style is quickly beginning to take shape.
On launch day, Michelle and Helena sent out a press release. Some of the most relevant business press in Sweden picked it up and ran stories about the new company.