A few things to make a ‘flashy’ website – flash web tips

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Website Design | 3 comments

When designing your new website or overhauling the old one, why not decide on a couple of exciting new ideas such as incorporating a few animations, banners, menus and or buttons? You don’t have to go overboard, but giving your site a little zing won’t do you any harm. So to get the ball rolling, here are a couple of pointers to send you off in the right direction: Gather ideas. Use another exciting site or original layout as a point of reference. Honestly? With the type of help that you will be able to glean from the internet, you are spoilt for choice and there will be absolutely no excuse not to be using the latest web design ideas that will impress. Have somebody redo your content. If you’ve got the same company profile and product categories from 10 years ago, it’s time to spice it up a little. If you’re not a professional writer, get your content rewritten by a copywriter! Loading is important – make sure your website users aren’t waiting around for your website to load.  People get bored, and will then move onto your competition. Your graphics must be relevant to what product you are promoting. If you’re selling power tools, make sure people can see the tools on the home page of your website (not a company logo or a crew of people). Make it nice and mellow – colour schemes don’t only apply to your living room, but your site can also benefit from colours that are easy to read and not irritating to the website user. If you are going the DIY route, there are a few website builders you could use. Make sure you don’t get conned into paying a once-off fee and don’t have any access to back-up support (you may need somebody to fix a catalogue or other elements of your web design, so get the service you need if you are paying for the program). Please follow and like...

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Web design – get deals by word of mouth marketing

Posted by on Feb 21, 2011 in Website Design |

They say that you should join a golf club to increase your business. Networking isn’t (and shouldn’t be) restricted to formal business functions – in order to continuously increase your client base, make sure that people you come in contact with (through sport, golf or any other social activity) know what you do and why you are the best at it. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of doing business and getting known. Should your company excel in supreme service, then it does not matter whether you are a large business or a one-man-band, your reputation will follow you wherever you go. Designing websites, however, can be a bit different. People usually say “Wow, you’ve got a great website”, not “Wow, who designed your website?”. Although web designers may miss out on this marketing opportunity, you could always make sure that people know the website was your work by asking for a “Designed by” link at the bottom of the page. You could also ask the client to give your details to anyone who needs design work done. Offer great after sales service Designing websites is one thing, but the after sales service is another animal entirely. Doing a phenomenal job, incorporating good navigation principles, fabulous banners, logos, supreme headings and amazing content is not enough; a little bit of the added extra, bringing the personal and human element of service par excellence into the equation, will give you a strong and powerful website before you know it. Consider the brand of your client, how they engage with people and the ethics and service of the company you are designing for and try to incorporate these personal elements into the website design. There are certain businesses that hardly have to advertise at all. For example, we are all familiar with the reams of properties being advertised in the papers; so much advertising and effort goes into selling a property, but what makes the difference, above all else, is if you are recommended by a friend or a friend’s friend. So – never underestimate the power of the spoken word. A good name, outstanding service, especially after sales service (what, may I ask,  is so difficult about sending a follow up email or a call after you get paid your commission or fee) and of course, a supremely professionally designed website make for a winning formula. Please follow and like...

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Creating a Polaroid effect for your pictures in Photoshop

Posted by on Jan 27, 2011 in Website Design |

Pictures of places and people look great when they’ve been modified to look like they’ve been taken with a Polaroid camera (with the borders around the edges). Here’s how you can create a cool Polaroid effect for your images: Create a new document in Photoshop – 600 x 600 pixels. Choose a colour for your background (preferably white). Use the Rectangle tool on the left hand side of the page to draw the Polaroid border. Simply draw a rectangle in the document by dragging the box down. Fill it with white. Select the move tool and move the image into the white border. If the image is too wide for the Polaroid border, click on Edit, then Free Transform, and with both Alt and Shift selected, select the corner of the picture and move it inwards. The image will now be placed within the white borders (leave more white space at the bottom of the picture in case you want to insert a caption later). You’ll notice that the picture lacks some depth, in order to correct this, you’ll need to add a slight stroke or a border to your image. On the left hand side of the page, right-click on the image Layer and select the Stroke box at the bottom of the Style menu. The default is often a red colour – change that black and reduce the size to 1 pixel and bring the capacity down to 50%. You will notice that the picture still looks a bit flat, so check the Gradient Overlay box in the Styles menu. The default colour is black to white (you can change this by clicking on the middle of the bar and changing it to an offset white). The “Stops” on each side of the bar should also be changed to white. Apply a Drop Shadow by selecting this box in the Styles menu. By default, the shadow has its cast on the right and bottom sides of the image. Change the angle to 60 degrees and increase the size to 15 pixels (you can play around with these numbers, depending on what your picture looks like). The final step is to add a stroke to the picture. Select Stroke in the Styles menu (once again, the default colour will be red, change that to black) and bring the capacity down to 30%. In order to add text underneath the photo, select the Type tool and draw a box. Using a font that resembles handwriting is a great idea for a picture that looks like a Polaroid! Please follow and like...

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The makings of a great logo

Posted by on Nov 19, 2010 in Website Design |

Some logos are imprinted in our memories forever whether it is with web design or normal print  – not just because it represents an international brand, but because the logo was designed so well that any designer will stop and think: why didn’t I design that logo first? Logos are the core of a company’s brand identity and most brands try to stick to one logo for as long as possible (changing logos can be confusing for consumers if not handled correctly), placing an enormous sense of responsibility on the logo designer. Here are some of the elements that all great logos have: Elements of a great logo Scalable: This logo has to fit on a billboard as well as a business card. Make sure you can shrink the logo without losing any intended meaning or effects. Applicable: Research the industry your company is in and make sure the logo is consistent with the market, but that the logo isn’t similar to the company’s competitors. Colours: Although brand identity and colours go hand-in-hand, make sure the logo is just as effective if colour isn’t used. Memorable: The logo needs to be easily recognised amongst consumers so that it comes to mind when thinking of the company’s products or services. Logos may seem like a relatively small job, but it can often take quite a few designs before you’ve got a happy client. Designing a great logo Ask the client for a complete brief that includes examples of what they like. You may be surprised to find out that the client had a completely different idea of what their logo should entail than the one you were mapping out in your mind. Sketch a few examples. Don’t start designing in Photoshop before you’ve done a few logos on paper first. Show the client the top five. Give the customer a few variations and options so they can choose which logo they like (this may save you some time-consuming re-design’s). Please follow and like...

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Website design is a continuously evolving industry

Posted by on Nov 10, 2010 in Website Design |

Website design is a continuously evolving industry. What was cool 5 years ago may now appear to be something that has spawned from the middle ages and one can easily get stuck in a time warp if you aren’t looking out for new web design trends in the market. Besides more functionality, websites are looking cleaner, crisper and more aesthetically appealing. While many websites saw funky, hip-looking colours and shadowing last year, this year designers are going for a less-is-more approach while still focusing on new resources and technology to make their designs stand out. Here are some of the noteworthy trends in the web design industry: Interactive tools Website applications are becoming smarter, enabling designers and developers to collaborate in order to give website visitors a more unique experience. On e-commerce sites, the products that the visitor was interested in last time they visited the site will be displayed when they come back, immediately drawing them into the site. Looking global while staying local In the past, it was mainly large brands that focused on providing podcasts, webinars, links to Twitter pages and more. Nowadays, web designers are including a range of social media icons on the website from the get-go and they are allocating spaces for YouTube videos and slide shows on normal pages for small clients as well. Clients, whether they run a business from home or they are part of a huge international organisation, are aware of how their websites can incite a feeling of trust and authority and they are expecting designers to give them all the tools they need to make them appear larger than life. Imitating print An exciting trend in the web design industry is the shift to magazine-looking blogs and websites. The influence of print design on webdesign has become apparent in the number of “blogazines”, where new blog posts have their own colour scheme and layout, similar to those of a magazine. Please follow and like...

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Upping your game as a graphic designer

Posted by on Nov 5, 2010 in Website Design |

Every year, a myriad of new graphic design technologies, applications and techniques flood the market. Many website and graphic design companies continue to hire new, young designers that have different ideas and education than what you may have had. The economic client, coupled with the fast-paced industry in which we work, requires you to consistently up your game and remain at the forefront of your potential clients’ minds. Tips to make sure you are not stagnating at work Be enthusiastic Most designers start off as passionate workers when they first finish design school and start working. Every day life and normal job stresses, however, can cause you to forget that you chose this line of work because you are skilled and talented in this arena. Enthusiasm is tangible and colleagues, clients and people you network with can feel it. Being passionate about your work is an attractive quality that draws people in and leads them to trust your judgement. Being enthusiastic about graphic design means that you not only take pride in what you do, but also devote time to learning about new things in your field. Being passionate about your work will also help motivate you for difficult projects. Be inquisitive Engage with other designers, listen to podcasts on the internet and read graphic design blogs. Not only will this open your mind to new techniques and technologies but it forces you to stay connected to trends and innovations in the industry. If you aren’t forced to try new things in your normal nine-to-five job, start a new project for a family member and make the project completely different from something you would design for your employer. Share a project Collaboration can go a long way in graphic design. Throwing ideas back and forth can help you think out of the box and possibly even realise a few solutions to problems you didn’t know you had. Please follow and like...

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