Category Archives: design

You Are The Company You Keep

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Working in a successful company is more than being good at what you do. Competition for work is high these days and to be the most successful you must aim at keeping your clients happy. It is a matter of both attracting and retaining clients.

In doing so, you must truly work at your networking skills. Remember to always be open and available to your clients. If they call you to ask a question, don’t just brush them off quickly but take the time to explain the answer. Your time is valuable, but so is keeping your client base happy. Do not charge them for your advice and if you do not know the answer to a question, find someone who does. Referrals are your best friend. They not only please your client, but it builds up your own credibility. By referring a client to someone else in your network it makes the client believe that you really know the industry.

On the other end of success you now just have to be good at what you do. Ask them plenty of questions and listen to the answers. Most people are not used to working with designers and often do not know what they want. Always provide updates for the client, even if they do not ask. The clients like to see what is going on, so show them examples and get their feedback.

My last tip of advice would simply be to be nice and remember to love their brand as much as they do. They need to see someone believe in what their doing and reassure them that they are making the right moves. People like to work with pleasant people; I believe that good energy is everything in the workplace and positive vibes go a long way with the projected ups and downs of a project. Therefore, if you aim to be energetic and polite in your work, you should always get the repeated business you deserve.

An Overview of Responsive Design

First, a little history. Responsive design is the fourth major evolution in web design.

The first generation of web design, circa 1994, was “full screen width because we can’t do any better”. In this era, you had to build sites to be very forgiving of a diverse and primitive browser landscape, one frequently lacking support for even the most basic HTML features.   <center> and <h1> were hot stuff!  Ironically, it tends to age pretty well, because there’s simply nothing there to age.

The second generation showed up in the late 1990s with table-based design. All of a sudden, you could wrap content in a table, or later, some carefully cantilevered div elements, and have it sit in a fixed-width column in the centre, of the screen. Finally! Some control! Unfortunately, this often led to layouts that were brutally inflexble… comical looking on a big screen, while still forcing people to scroll on small ones. Continue reading

3 Design Differences Not to Forget

Whether you are a designer yourself or a person of the design industry, here is a list of some terms that are beneficial for anyone in the design world to know and never forget.

1. Raster Images and Vector Images

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While vector images are made up of points and created in Adobe Illustrator, raster images are photographs made up of pixels, and typically edited in Photoshop. You will find that there is a loss of quality when resizing a raster image vs. a vector image.

2. CMYK and RGB

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CMYK is the standard colour mode for sending documents; anything sent to print. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. RGB is typically what our eyes see; it is used for screen output and stands for Red, Green, and Blue. When working in Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, you may choose to set your document’s colour mode as CMYK or RGB, but keep in mind that you can experience a loss of colour when converting from RGB to CMYK.

3. DPI and PPI

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Two terms pertaining to Resolution. DPI stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. 300DPI is the standard for printing images, but the higher the DPI, the higher the image quality. PPI is similar to raster images as it refers to ‘Pixels Per Inch’ and is also edited in the Photoshop software.

The Importance of Logo Design

Many designers dislike the thought of logo design. Just imagine the responsibility of incorporating a client’s ideologies into one single graphic. That is a challenging task. A Logo must provide a legible and recognizable face for your brand.

A brand should be the sum of everything, while a logo is more of a clue, or window into your brand. You must define your brand and then execute it. When looking at your logo options, there are a few things to consider. First, does it work vertically? Pay attention to the scale—it should be equally compelling whether it’s scaled to 10mm or 10 meters. How about without color, or viewed only in black and white? Are you implementing less than two fonts? Can you sketch it near-instantly?

Simplicity is key in logo design—too much detail will make it feel cluttered and vague. If it’s not easily recognizable, the whole point of the logo is lost. Ariel de Lisio, graphic designer for Negro Nouveau, states, “A great logo must be unique, with a clear and simple message. It should have personality, and create a reaction in the viewer. If you can’t say it in a simple way, it’s better not to say it.”

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My best advice for developing a successful logo is to focus on these technicalities. Pay close attention to what is trending and remember, don’t be so harsh on yourself because there is always going to be someone unhappy with your final choice.

Why Designers Need Human Contact

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I am the classic definition of an introvert, and anyone who knows me would agree. In my biased opinion, most designers, like myself, fall into that same category. It is a strange perception, but it is true. It’s just in our nature to be more in our heads and less in our words. And with the patterns of nature, working mostly behind the computer monitor, we are prone to only fall deeper into this habit.

But we speak of introversion like it is a bad thing. Introverts are more cautious and deliberate; they think things through and can make smarter decisions because of it. We are better at listening and take pride in our ability to sit still and focus. Introverts and/or designers, have absolutely no problem spending long periods of time in solitary work. I can sit down to work on a project and suddenly four hours have passed me by… designers, you know what I am talking about.

If it were not for my introverted personality, I would not be the designer I am today. In the office, this works to my advantage, but this trait is not exactly in my pride outside the workplace. It’s not so easy here in America—land of the loud and home of the talkative. Designers must find their balance. We cannot act like a victim to society because be were born with these quiet and reserved personalities. Shyness is a choice and in my opinion so is depression, (common in introverts). The healthiest, happiest people are the ones who can balance both an introverted and extroverted lifestyle.

So, to my fellow design freaks… go out and do something after work! Break the norm of staying in, reading a book, watching TV, and being alone. Those are all great things, trust me, I enjoy being by myself just as much as the next introvert. But, I enjoy my alone time ten times more, after a day or two away from it. I promise, once you find your balance between introvert and extrovert, you will be living a happier, healthier, and more successful life than ever before.

2013 Design Trends to Watch For

I enjoy seeing the new trends in web design that come and go. I compiled a list of the most common trends I have seen, read about or designed. Check them out:

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Responsive design (this means whether you look at a site on a 24-inch monitor or your iphone, the website will automatically adjust nicely to your size device.

Simplicity. You can notice this in the new Iphone IOS 7. All the design has gone from a 3-d feel to a very flat, clean and simple design.

Typography. You will notice huge type and fun ways of displaying type on sites.

Full size Images. Many websites are using photographs more and more in their sites, especially as backgrounds.

Fixed Headers. This means as you scroll, the header stays at the top.

Mobile Design. A very simplistic version of the main site, where you can easily navigate with your fingers.

Retina Display. Thanks to newer Apple monitors, phones and tablets their retna display can now fit twice as many pixels as the regular LCD screen. Which means higher, more beautiful resolution designs.

 

Longform Design

Lately, the design department has been rolling out lots of “longform” landing pages.

Longforms have been around for along time, you have probably seen some online, they are known for really bad design, with tons of content and generally look like a scam. They are basically one-page websites. Which is why they get so long, for example you have to put “about us”, “contact us”, “Reviews”, and “Buy Now” sub-pages all together on one page.

However, here in web-op we took longforms to a new level. We focus on making them beautifully designed. Adding more imagery to make the design more engaging, understandable and fun to read. We add lots of helpful content, not just about our products, but useful facts people need to know. We use infographics and comparison charts. We want viewers to enjoy scrolling through the long design. And ofcourse, if they make a purchase, that’s good too!

Here is one example from Gray Hair Away: