Functionality In A Well Designed Website

Having a great looking website is great at attracting custom and traffic to your site, but if it is not coupled with great functionality, it can be essentially useless. There are almost limitless ideas that can be incorporated into websites, be it a personal website or a big business.

Read more

functionality in web design

5 Top Tips For Creating Effective Leaflets

When you see some of the leaflets which you are handed on an almost daily basis as you walk through town; there’s no surprise that a lot of them simply aren’t effective and most likely fail to generate much new business and many enquiries at all. If you’re going to spend time and money designing and printing leaflets to advertise and promote your business, brand or product…make sure they look great!

Read more

slide3

Concious Design Choices

Being a designer isn’t necessarily about having certain skills or talents, or even practicing until you have the ability, it is simply about changing your perspective slightly when it comes to looking at the world around you. To design, you also need to be able to deconstruct the world around you, like the techie who used to pick apart old electronics as a kid. Once you start looking at your surroundings as a series of conscious design choices you see that you can often split things into the aesthetic and the functional.

Read more

slide2

You give a little, you get a lot

Giving someone a gift is a great feeling. Seeing their face when you hand over an unexpected present is priceless;so imagine if you could reward your clients and customers in this way too. Well, believe it or not, you can do and furthermore, it doesn’t cost the earth. The plus side too, is that you can personalise your gifts with your company’s brand and open your market to potential new clients and customers.

Read more

Abstract big speech bubble

Recent Updates

Design Classics: Swiss Icons

Swiss design is considered to be among the strongest in the world.  With a great history of engineering and precision, it is natural that contemporary Swiss design is markedly simple and unpretentious often leading the way in minimalist aesthetic.  Below are three selected designs and brands that are stalwarts of the made in Switzerland appeal and important design icons.

The Swiss Railway Clock was designed by Hans Hilfiker (15 September 1901 – 2 March 1993) in 1944.  This piece of post war engineering embraced the latest technology, each clock taking an electronic signal from a centralised master clock to ensure universal synchronisation.  It also referenced the conductor’s baton in the distinctive red second hand with a circular head.  The clock is regarded as a national icon and is still very much in use around the Schweizerische Bundesbahn, or Swiss Federal Railway.  It was also licensed by Mondaine in 1986 owe market themselves on the affordable luxury of their watches.  Penman Watch and Jewellery are a UK biased watch retailer and restorer and have an extensive collection of Mondaine watches.

The Swiss Army Knife has been produced by the Swiss manufactures Victorinox and Wenger since the turn of the 20th Century.  The knife was immediately noted for its practicality and dependability.  It was both safe and convenient to carry and capable of executing a great many tasks.  The red sided knife, with several pull out blades and tools, that we are used to is very similar to the original military issue ‘soldiers knife’ however, other versions of that knife have varied considerably in look.  Many of their new knives are contain a greater range of less essential tools and even electronic components such as USB storage. Swiss Army Tools have a comprehensive selection of Swiss Army Knives including knives tailored to use at sea and by rescue operatives.

Freitag Bags are the most recent of the featured Swiss design classics.  Freitag bags are often very colourful and also very hard wearing due to the material they are manufactured from.  An example of the up-cycling, the bags are all constructed out of reclaimed tarpaulins that once covered the sides of lorries and are decorated with the livery of the various companies.  The original designs and texts are cropped in abstract fashion giving the bags a bright modish finish.  The company HQ is even housed inside an assemblage of converted shipping containers.  Freitag operate their own online store and also stock various retailers and their own stores.  Information is available at the Freitag Website.

There are of course a great many other famous and impressive Swiss designs and products exported around the world.  In addition there is an impressive built history in Switzerland.  Both architecture and engineering find a refined expression in the beautiful and pragmatic alpine country.

Keep Reading →

How to Realise Your Ambition as an Inventor

iStock_000010857241XSmallProduct design is a hugely popular, yet often disregarded part of the modern world. The art of product design fundamentally comes down to dreaming up an imaginative new idea. Typically this is often the hardest part of pursuing a prospective career as an inventor, as the actual design or manufacture tends to fall into place following an inspired plan. Many people fall at this initial hurdle, yet don’t be afraid to take your time with this stage, and equally feel free to experiment with a few diverse angles. A good idea is the foundation for any invention, so it’s integral that you get it right. Find a problem in the market that needs solving, and very often pursuing such an opportunity will be sure to set you on a lucrative pathway.

Designing and planning a product can be as simple as sketching out a few blueprints, mapping out the entire visuals on a CAD program or simply containing all the details in your mind, but if possible you’ll probably want to make a prototype yourself before pursuing with your launch. No such product manufacture plan is going to involve the exact same stages, as the field is so varied that almost anything can be involved. If your product is going to be plastic based for example, and let’s face it that’s extremely likely, then a relevant product design company is a great place to start. Many such companies can also assist with the earlier stages of design, so they can give you a little inspiration too.  

Similarly, if you’re going to be doing some manufacturing stages yourself, as will be probable if you’re starting small or have a limited budget, then component services can provide you with all of the parts you might need. These might range from torsion springs for use in small hinges, to simple washers that are almost ubiquitous in mechanical designs. If you haven’t the time or inclination to learn how to put your product design idea into practice on your own, you could also consider hiring a freelancer to complete a project on your behalf. There’s no right or wrong way to go about these things, so do whatever suits you best.  

A new design will always need some exposure to attain ultimate success, and you can go about this in numerous ways. Most people will dream about conquering a popular source of opportunities like Dragon’s Den, but this is by no means the only way to proceed with a marketing strategy. You can conduct a lot of these activities on a far less noticeable scale, but collecting feedback and offering samples is just as effective as going for a more high profile exposure. Talk to some proven experts and you’ll be sure to pick up some relevant tips.

Many people dream of creating their own products, yet never have the drive to push forward with these ideas. Yet coming up with a workable and innovative solution for a problem is a hugely rewarding experience, and all it takes is a single idea to get you started. Try not to stifle your creativity, and you might well surprise yourself with where your inventions can take you.

Keep Reading →

Design Genius: The Best Examples from the World of Design

Designing a product, place or concept is all about creativity, and the ability to be open minded. The aesthetic make up of something is incredibly important to attract people but design runs much deeper than the appearance of something; it is about practicality, usefulness and the ability to improve life.

 

Brilliant design is something that should be recognised and celebrated because it takes just one moment for an ingenious concept to be born, but it also takes years of hard work to physically implement. Institutions such as the London Design Museum and awards ceremonies such as Design Week exist because the recognition of truly inspirational design is important. Good design should facilitate, inspire and entertain people, as well as be future friendly, and not impinge on the earth’s delicate environment. Below we explore some examples of excellent design and discover what a Design Genius really means.

 

Fashion

Burberry is one of Britain’s most successful and precious exports: it has won prestigious fashion awards and is a FTSE 100 company. Founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, the company made fine tailoring from the outset and throughout their 156 year journey Burberry have gone from strength to strength. Although they started out focussing on practical clothing for outdoor professionals, they employed check patterns as early as 1910, which has become iconic symbolism of the brand. A Burberry coat is recognisable from meters away due to the sleek checked designs and the quality is such that an item can last a lifetime.

 

Packaging

It’s imperative for packaging to be just right as it’s the first impression of a product. Nick Cave & The Bad Seed’s “Push the Sky Away” a Super Deluxe album was a packaging and presentation triumph. The ingenious box set, manufactured by custom packaging experts Think Tank Media comprised a CD, two heavyweight vinyls, a 7 inch vinyl of an exclusive track, and a beautiful hardback book, which replicated Nick Cave’s musical notebook, which explored the journey of the album’s creation. Packaging like this creates not just a brand, but a story that consumers can feel involved with.

Keep Reading →

Finding & Maintaining Creativity

CaptureOne thing that anybody in a creative industry knows is that inspiration can be a fickle mistress. Sometimes you overflow with ideas that you can’t get down quick enough; at other times you stare at a blank screen or page as if it’s your deadly enemy.

On those bad days, you may want to simply say, “Oh well, it’s not happening today,” and put your feet up instead; but if your paycheck depends on finding inspiration and creativity day after day that simply is not an option. So what can you do?

Creativity isn’t simply something that comes and go at a whim; it’s something that can be learned and developed, and creativity training specialists can offer some great advice and techniques for ensuring a steady flow of inspiration.

Upping Your Elvis, a company who specialise in developing creative leaders, gave some very useful tips on a recent blog post at www.uppingyourelvis.com. Instead of choosing between staring blankly at your screen or simply giving up, you can use the five tips in the article to generate ideas, to kickstart your creativity and get your inspiration back.

Brainstorming (number two on their list) and mind mapping can be very useful tools to finding an idea, or to pin one down that’s being somewhat elusive. It’s something that you can do by yourself, or as a group with colleagues and associates, and while you can choose the low-tech option of pen and paper or a whiteboard, there are also plenty of computer solutions like the free online site bubbl.us. This allows you to create a mindmap online without even signing in, and the interface is easy and intuitive.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that creativity is all in the mind; you are a complete organism and your body affects your brain in multiple ways. If you’re in a slump mentally, it may be because you’re in a slump physically. Eat well, drink plenty of water, and get your body moving – there are some ten minute workouts which will be easy to fit into your routine on the NHS Live Well site at www.nhs.uk/Livewell. Once your blood is pumping faster through your body, it’ll flow through your brain faster too, stimulating the inspiration you need.

As we are all individuals, there is no single key to inspiration and creativity that will work for everyone, so the best advice is to pay attention to yourself. By observing the factors present when you’re at a creative peak, and by experimenting to find the best methods to get you out of a slump, you’ll be able to create your own inspiration when you need it.

Keep Reading →

3 Top Tips For CD Packaging

There is an old adage that taught us: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, however, in a world where there are hundreds of competitors for any one specific product, this does not hold true. According to many marketing experts, consumers generally tend to automatically go for a product where the packaging is most intriguing or attractive. So, how should you think on the outside of the box and make your CD packaging stand out?

44
Simplicity
According to Nick Tomino and his article ‘Gigwalk Product Design: The Power of Simplicity’, available at www.perceptive.ly/post/44550619050/gigwalk-product-design-the-power-of-simplicty, the majority of the products we love and use in our everyday lives today have one major characteristic in common: simplicity. For instance, Apple’s “Home” Button for the iPhone, and Google’s single “Search” bar are the two products that immediately come to mind when thinking about this phenomenon. Time and time again, simplicity of product design wins, especially in technology. So, make your CD’s design simple! Remember that simplicity or minimalism, as the name suggests is the art of reducing many elements while maximizing the output. So, go for a minimalistic approach and create something really simple but yet very expressive and aesthetic!

Colours
There are no doubts that colour is a strong influencing factor in design and in the world around us. Each colour has its own meaning to us based on our culture, and personality, thus colours can strongly influence us in subconscious and natural ways. Brant Wilson in his recent article, which you can read at www.dzineblog.com/2011/01/38-bright-color-web-design-inspirations.html, argues that some individuals may trust a company more simply by their brand colours. Also, he states that certain emotions and feelings can be evoked simply by seeing colours, such as danger for red or tranquillity for blue. Therefore, when designing CD packaging, use warm and bright colours like orange or yellow, as it can help you to evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy! Also, it will make your CD’s packaging look more interesting and exclusive!

Text
Your text plays a major part in making attractive and memorable CD packaging simply by playing with your album’s title and band’s name. Less can often be more in these circumstances, so it’s important to remain concise and punchy to have a lasting effect.  According to CD packaging specialist www.keyproduction.co.uk , the great thing about this is that it is very cost-effective. For example, you don’t have to hire a photographer or a Photoshop expert to make this. All you need is a little designing and Photoshop skills! Back this up with a memorable album title and you’ve given yourself the best possible chance of people paying attention to your CD packaging and grabbing a copy of your album! Their years of experience in the industry mean that they know what works, so it’s well worth checking out their service if you’re looking to make your CD stand out from the crowd.

Composition
Blending all the above elements together successfully is the key to your composition. After all, there’s no point having brilliant text, images and a simple design if the message is mixed, or even worse, lost. That means carefully considering how each element is going to be placed on your cover so that it’s best displayed through or on the CD case. Think of it as your own personal polaroid, a chance to show your best picture to the world, and that means adhering to photographic and artistic rules to present the best picture you possibly can. Check out the ever resourceful www.digitalcameraworld.com to see exactly why adhering to photographic rules can be a major advantage in making your album cover look as professional and glossy as possible.

It can be hard to makes waves in a hyper-competitive market such as this, but the main thing to remember is to be creative! Use bright colours, catchy phrases, and interesting, well shot images to achieve your goal.

Keep Reading →