Style Over Content in Web Design

Webdesign is a personal thing, no doubt about it. if you’re building a site for yourself (and don’t care whether anyone sees it or not) then you’re quite within your rights to make it exactly the way that you like. Some cases almost DEMAND that you do this – your individuality as a person, business or artist is what makes people interested in you in the first place. Going against the norms and presenting your information in an unconventional way can actually help to re-inforce your brand and bolster the impression that your fans have already got from you.

On the other hand, if your business isn’t based around a strong brand or image, you need to be a lot more logical or factual in your website’s layout. If you sell drill bits, nobody wants to have to fight to find what they need through a sea of cool imagery that would look more at home in a fashion magazine. Brands can be built over time – start with the branding quite small, and make it bigger as the brand grows. The most successful brands in the world don’t even need text as part of their advertising – just the logo and a picture will often do. You’re not going to get there overnight though.

If you’re building a website for yourself you can play around til you’re happy. However, if you’re paying a web or graphic design company to do it for you it’s going to be quicker and cheaper if you make your mind up from the start.

Let’s look at a few cases.

Bands

I take bands as my first example. All bands are different, and each have a different image or message that they want to portray. Firstly, of course, this comes from the music, but after that the band’s image is mostly visual. This begins in their stage performances which are then captured on video and goes on into still photography and the way that this is all presented on a website, album cover or magazine advert. In the case of a website, this should reflect your band’s image. If you’re essentially anti-design, go for something simple and clean. If you’re into the hipster thing you’ll want Instagram full-screen images and fancy fonts up the wazzoo. If you’re trying to create mystique, make it mysterious. if you’re trying to sell corporate entertainment, make the site a little more businesslike.

Designers

As a commercial, working designer with a style of their own, you’re going to be hired for this speciality style that you’ve developed over time and made all your own. If people find you on the internet your website really needs to reflect your house style. Designers are often hired by people with money who don’t understand design at all – you’ve got one chance to wow them and look like you’re worth the money that you charge. If you’re top-drawer, this amount could be substantial. If you’re not a web designer (although many top designers now are) your site needs to reflect all of this.

On the other hand, If you’re a jack of all trades things need to be a bit more middle of the road. If the style of the site is too stylised in one direction people are going to think that’s all you can do. If it’s too quirky or mysterious customers might think that you’re a flaky hipster or insane artist who will have trouble sticking to basic deadlines for relatively straightforward jobs.

Businesses

Some businesses benefit from artistic and design-centric sites. This is usually the case with big brands – D&G or Rayban are good examples. While these companies do sell product, it’s almost more about the image that the company portrays. By buying the product, you’re buying into the image, so having a strongly stylised site that reflects this brand image is very important in these type of cases.

On the other hand, if you’re selling unbranded goods this aspect needs to be played down quite a bit. It’s likely that you’ll sell a more diverse range of products and so the theme of your website design needs to be a little more homogenised.

Think carefully and the path of true righteousness will appear.

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The credit-crunch in print

shutterstock_133098821We’re a fair way into the credit crunch now – so much so that people seem to have stopped talking about it, even though its effects are still being felt everyday by customers, business owners and borrowers all around the world. There are many that believe that this was actually GOOD for the on line printing industry. When work is short, many companies get some promotional work done to try and drum up some business. well placed digital banner printing is a good example, and can help bring in some trade in these tough times. Other print services are just as useful though – stickers printing, posters, leaflet printing – all can help the small business to drum up trade.

We spoke to Aura Print in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and asked them about how the recession has affected them and their customers. They said:

“It’s been quite difficult to measure how the credit crunch has affected business. Because of our ongoing SEO work and refinement of our business model we’ve seen steady growth despite the recession. That said, it’s hard to know how much better we might have done had the economy been in a stronger position. We deal with a lot of small business and start-ups and there doesn’t seem to be a reduction in the number of people starting small businesses or promoting existing ones using discounted flyers and custom vinyl banner printing, so it’s fair to assume that the tough times don’t deter entrepreneurship, and seem to encourage existing companies to do more promotion to keep things ticking along. With keen pricing and a quality service and product we can often win this type of work, so it’s a win-win. The customer gets a real boost and we continue to grow and expand our customer base year on year.’

So there you go! Despite the recession, if you are clever with your numbers you can still start the business of your dreams and print is still one of the best ways to announce your company to the world and make sure that you are getting the attention that you deserve from day 1 (or even before then!)

What would we recommend for a small local business? Ok, we love a list, so here goes!

  • Find a prominent spot and get a huge banner up there. Pay for the space if necessary. A good roadside position can be seen thousands of times a day.
  • Get some quality leaflets designed and printed. Get 20k distributed professionally in your area, door to door.
  • Get a good website design and start some SEO – this will cost, but is worth it. It’s what your competitors are doing!

Well, what are you waiting for?

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Down to a Price, Not Up to a Standard!

When you’re scouring the internet for a company to build your website it easy to end up looking and basing your decision based solely on cost. This isn’t always a good idea, and here’s why.

It’s very difficult to work out how good the after sales service is going to be. Budget website builders will base their prices on simple sites that don’t take long to make up. They’ll probably be using WordPress (which is fine) but the emphasis on WordPress is that it’s a CMS – a system designed so that the end user can edit/add and solve problems as and when the need arises.

If you’re a business and you don’t want to spend your time fiddling with a website then I urge you to spend a little more on your website. There are companies that appear to be building the same type of sites as everyone else but charge three or four times the amount. Why is this? Well, they’ve factored in a better service – it’s that simple. You’re get a great site, sure, but you’ll also find that they are happy to spend more time talking to you during and after the build. At the end of the day, time is money – you’re going to need their time and they’ll need to be able to cover that cost. Don’t take it personally – it’s just business! Companies that charge a little more are probably more capable web designers too. If you need your site to have more bells and whistles in the future a company like Redwall Creative is more likely to be able to help you, and they rank very highly for website design wakefield, whereas a budget designer may lack the technical knowhow to help you with something more complicated than he’s used to doing.

So when is a budget site okay? Well, if you’re site only really needs to be a set-and-forget type of affair you can probably get away with a cheapie. You already know that once it’s up it’s not really going to need any changes (like a simple business card type site) and if this is the case you’re also probably going to be too fussy about the way that it looks. By all means, go for a cheapie.

The thing is, in this day and age, bow many people can say that about the website that they want? With all manner of people and businesses relying on a stable and well designed web presence, do you really want to entrust that to someone who’s perhaps only doing the job semi professionally? It’s worth saying right here and now: If you don’t really understand the internet, just trust me. You are not doing yourself any favours by getting something cheap. YOU may not care that is looks bad and doesn’t work very well, but the rest of the internet community certainly will. A good website is like a good suit – you will be judged on it. If you turn up to a job interview or a sales meeting in jeans and trainers, expect to be judged as such.

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Starting Out With Cycling!

Cycling is a great way to keep fit and have fun! If you’ve never had a bike before you might wonder what the best way is to get into cycling and enjoy it as much as you can. Well, we’re going to look at the best way to get started in cycling right now!

You might think that the first step would be deciding what kind of bike to buy. This depends on the type of cycling that you want to do though so maybe we should look at that first. When you start off cycling the last thing you want is to be having to pedal up and down big hills. The best way to avoid hills is to stick to the paths that run alongside Britain’s huge network of rivers and especially canals. These are all over the country and of course they are all pretty much on the flat!

The best type of bike for this is something with a bit of tread on the tyres. You wouldn’t want a racing bike with slicks as you would be slipping and sliding all over the place. At the same time, you don’t need a monstrous mountain bike with full suspension because you’re just not going to need it. The bikes to go for are known as hybrids. They are somewhere between racing bikes and mountain bikes and are ideal for nearly all forms of cycling that don’t require extreme speed or extreme off road capability. These bikes can be had for very reasonable prices and are made by most of the major names in cycling, plus plenty of manufacturers who you may never have heard of. Go to your local cycle shop (it’s important to support local shops!), get them to measure you properly and buy a bike that fits your budget – sorted!

Okay, what else might you need? Well, you’ll need a bike pump to inflate your tyres. Get a portable one AND a floor mounted model. The portable ones are great if you have a puncture when you’re out and about, but the floor mounted versions are much quicker if you can use them. Get a puncture repair kit too, or carry a couple of spare innertubes – they’re cheap and easy to carry. better than trying to repair a puncture in the rain! get some proper cycling shorts and shoes, a couple of bike bottles and you’re good to go.

Next you’ve got to actually get out on your bike! My advice is to cycle with friends and keep it fun – you’re not training for the Tour de France. get to your local canal network via road as quickly as you can and then just follow your nose! Take it steady and enjoy the scenery – that’s what cycling is all about. You might feel really tired very quickly on your first ride out, but be assured that this is quite normal. Your legs and bum will also probably ache for a few days but all of these effects will all but go away after your first few rides. You won’t need to be looking for courses in fitness to enjoy your riding, although companies like CMS do provide these if you want your fitness to reach true athlete levels later on down the line.

Before you know it you’ll be doing fabulous all day rides and having a great time all while increasing your fitness and general health. Enjoy your cycling!

 

 

 

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Wide Format Printing

Wide format printing is all about many products – posters, vinyl, stickers and many more, but the one item that is probably the most concentrated on is the PVC vinyl banner printing. Cheap banners are in wide circulation and their properties are already extremely well known. They are cost effective, long lasting and available in a variety of sizes and shapes, and in printed form (as opposed to using cut vinyl lettering) can contain any possible combination of text, colours and images you can possibly imagine. Banners are also easy to produce – simply print, cut out, hem and add eyelets to taste and you’ve got a banner that will stand up to any of the competition out there. Because of this, a lot of print companies are happy to make them, and many have at least one machine churning out banner prints all day long. Many will have two or more machines, and a few companies specialise in really large sizes – up to 5m in width – and have all the infrastructure necessary for such large machinery and finishing requirements. A lot of these will have an e-commerce website for online printing, like you might get from a web designer, so this makes purchasing even easier.

However, the real difference is made by printers that have an in-house design team and can offer custom banner printing of all kinds. Cheap vinyl banners are perfect for customers who can’t supply their own designs and need to provide instructions to a qualified designer who will do the hard work for them. This is a real boon to the customer and is a massive advantage to the print company. They can say ‘yes’ to any kind of print job – and let’s face it – in these hard times who can afford to turn any kind of work away? Custom printed banners are an excellent addition to any printers product roster, and let’s not forget that a designer who can do banners can probably do pretty much everything else as well! Posters, leaflets, flyers – it’s hard to believe that some printers have no design staff at all when you consider the advantages of having them in house.

Aura Print are an example of a discount banner printing company that employs specialist designers to work in-house and so have all the benefits that I’ve mentioned already. If you need to print a banner but can’t do the artwork yourself I heartily recommend that you give them a call. They can quickly process your order and usually have a design proof ready to see in twenty four hours – how’s that for speed!

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Create Your Own Environmental Blog!

Sure, we hear about the environmental issues on a global scale all the time. The news is filled with opinion, scientific fact and an unhealthy mixture of the two on a regular basis. We know abou the floods, the famines, the shrinking icecaps and the droughts. Globally, things are changing and we can see this now. But what about your local environment?

Some people live their whole lives in one area and rarely go anywhere else apart from a holiday somewhere warm now and again. The only weather that matters it the weather that they see every day. I suspect that this applies to quite a few of us these days. So why not create a weather blog about your town or village? It’s a great idea for many reasons:

1. Long term, it will add to the national weather record

2. You only need to see the weather outside your window

3. Local residents are likely to look at your blog

4. It can be a great hobby – educational AND interesting!

So what do you need to get started? Well, you’ll need some equipment to measure the weather in several ways. This sort of kit is readily available on the internet and it needn’t cost a fortune. You’ll need to measure rainfall, windspeed and sunlight for starters, and these bits of equipment are around, no problem. Then, once you’ve got the ability to gather this information you’ll need the actual blog to display it! If you’re really fancy, you could get a website designed from scratch by someone like web design wakefield, but this is going to cost you good money. A better option might be to go for one of the many free website facilities available. I’d cewrtainly recommend wordpress.com – it’s easy to create your own site here, and the WordPress back end is very well known so there’s plenty of help availbal eon the internet should you get stuck.

After that, it’s just a case of putting the daily info on your website. Over the course of a year you might want to take the data that you record and create some graphs so that people can look back over the year at a summary of the various elements. This sort of graph is easy to look at and is a great way to try and predict the weather for the coming year!

If I was you, i’d create a facebook page to go along with your site. You can always post updates on there so that people will see when you’ve posted new information, and if people share your posts you’ve got a great chance of getting more people to see your website as time goes by.

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Camp & Have Fun With Your Family

Tents At Dusk“Camping is truly one of the most amazing and unique types of vacations there are, and you will find yours so much more enjoyable if you make sure you are well prepared for it! Check out the following article for some very valuable advice on making your camping trip a total success!”

If you have little ones camping with you, pack a few art supplies. When you get to your site, show them how to do leaf rubbings. There are always a variety of leaves in all shapes and sizes, so trying them all out will take a while. The kids will be happy and you will have some peace and quiet while you relax and watch them. You can get suitable paper from specialist suppliers like Aura Print.

Don’t worry about over-packing for the kids. Camping can be dirty! Children seem to be magnetically attracted to dirt. As the day moves along, your children are going to get really messy. By packing a few extra changes of clothes, your children can be presentable at dinner. Always prepare!

Make sure that you know basic first aid before you go out on a camping trip. You will be prepared for any accidents that may occur and can survive until you reach professional medical care. Never forget to research. Are there any poisonous snakes, plants or any other things you should know before you head out?

When going camping, try to buy non-perishable items to eat. There are no refrigerators in the wild, so everything you bring has to be kept in good order. You can certainly bring a cooler to put food in, but the cooler will be added bulk on your trip. Therefore, make an effort to bring more non-perishable foods than perishable.

Purchase a multi-use tool to store with your camping gear. This tool should include an axe, hammer and saw. The multi-use tool will come in handy when you are searching for firewood, clearing a trail and setting up your tent. When purchasing a multi-use tool, get one of the good quality one for years of enjoyment.

Camping is great fun for kids if you plan things that they can do. If you are just sitting in the woods, they will end up bored. In today’s techno society, children may not be accustomed to the great outdoors. Consider introducing your kids to these things in advance of your trip so they know how to do them and view them as fun.

Camping in the wilderness alone is one of the most dangerous things that you can do. It is essential that you always bring at least one friend with you unless you are incredibly knowledgeable about the wilderness. Additionally, bringing several friends with multiple tents is the ideal situation, but this is not always possible.

Few things offer as much serenity and value than enjoying some one-on-one time with mother nature; hopefully this article has given you all the helpful advice you need to make your camping trip go smoothly and without incident. Keep these tips in mind as you pack for the outing and enjoy every minute of it!

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