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Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

10 reasons why your website sends people away (or sucks basically)

Monday, June 27th, 2011

websitessuckIf you’ve ever wondered why you’re not getting the level of enquires you wanted, conversions you dreamed of or general business success from your website then here’s 10 hard hitting pointers as to why.

1. It’s ugly and old.
Granted beauty is in the eye of the beholder but has the design of your website fallen out of the ugly tree, hit every branch on the way down and then been beaten with an ugly stick? You have 3 seconds to make a first impression on a visitor and it’s the overall design/colours/style they see first. People are harsh judges and you wont get a second chance.

2. Your site colours cause blindness.
We’ve seen sites where we needed medical attention for temporary blindness caused by the severity of the colours used. For example; bright pink might be your favourite colour but the majority of the word disagrees so use it sparingly. Also light text on dark backgrounds strains the eyes.

3. It’s a mess.
A mess can mean a number of things such as multiple font types and multiple font sizes, things in different places, images all over the place, multiple colours applied to different texts, random patches of bold, italics, underlined all over the place. You might have a wonderful design but if the content is a mess then that’s the weakest link and it will be a ‘Goodbye’ from the visitor.

4. Pointless splash pages.
Do you remember luminous socks? Yeah, they went out of fashion about the same time as splash pages. A splash page is that sort of ‘pre’ page you sometimes get which is sort of a teaser to the main site. It’s often a flash animation that you have to wait to load. Waste of time folks, most people have scampered before it’s even loaded.

5. It’s busy busy busy.
6 Columns of text, 20 choices to make, moving boxes here, flashing boxes there every inch of the landing page is screaming for your visitors attention at the same time…. you get the idea don’t you…it’s a fail!

6. The copy is drivel and way too long.
When entertaining at home would you tell your guests your life story before they’ve even got through the door and gotten comfortable with the surroundings? The same is said for your website. Don’t bore your visitors with paragraphs of information before they can get acquainted. Give them enough to get them interested, and then the option to read more. Some will want to read more and some wont so cater for both types of visitor. Use a copywriter to write text that will engage with your visitors and just the right amount.

7. You’re making your visitors think.
Is the way you channel the visitors to the right information difficult & cumbersome for them? Are the most important things right in front of them (and this is the important things to your potential customers not to you, most don’t care what you think is important)? Can people find their way around easily enough? Do they know where they are at all times? Are you holding their hands or are they fumbling around? Don’t make them have to think.

8. Contact Details.
Your visitors may not know who you are, there’s a lot of scammers out there are people are quick to judge and be cautious. Don’t give them a reason to flee by withholding your contact details, especially your address. Simply having just a contact form or email address is a major fail on a website. There should be a landline number (not just a mobile), your full trading address and if you’re a Ltd company your registered office address as well.

9. Don’t ask – Don’t get.
Are you asking your visitors to buy, to contact you, or do ’something’? This is called a ‘call to action’ if you’re net asking (or telling even) people to do something then they aren’t going to do it and might become ambivalent and go elsewhere.

10. You’re not listening.
You don’t listen to what your customers do and don’t like and you don’t act upon this valuable feedback. Maybe you aren’t listening to the advice given by those around you? We all handle criticism differently but take it all on board, embrace it and do something with it as it could mean the difference between failure or success.

So there you go. Do you think your website is as perfect as it can be? Room for improvement? Does it need a little TLC? Do get in touch with us if you’d like our honest opinion on your website and you’d value what we’d say, be it good or bad.

We love to hear your comments so please do leave them below.

Frickin’ Elephants Help Effective Communication

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011


When it comes to good communication it’s not so much about sending the right message as it is getting the right response. The right message assumes you and the other person will respond in the same way. A person’s understanding shows up before you do, and that is the reality of the message you send. It’s not what you say; it’s what people hear. And, while you might not be able to control what people see or hear, you can do a better job trying to anticipate it.

I heard a story about a grandpa helping his four-year-old grandson learn to read. The boy pointed to a picture in a zoo book and said, “Look, Grandpa! It’s a frickin’ elephant.” The grandpa took a deep breath and asked, “What did you call it?”

His grandson repeated himself.

“It’s a frickin’ elephant, Grandpa! It says so on the picture!”

And, so it did. When the grandpa looked down at the picture, it read,

“A F R I C A N Elephant.”

It’s not what you say; It’s what people hear

When looking at logos and any of your marketing materials it’s importnat to ask serious questions about the message that’s being portrayed to those that will see  them.  Here’s 4 quick pointer questions for you to consider.

  • Does this graphic support or compete with the intended experience for your audience?
  • Does this logo (or any marketing material) help accomplish the desired objective or not?
  • Does it have potential to attract or repel?
  • Does it add to or take away credibility?

When it comes to your website you only have 3 seconds to communicate that right message to your visitors, that’s less time than  it takes to read this sentence.

What’s your message and how is it being heard?
Do you think about what you might say will be taken by others and how it might affect them or do you just think about what you have to say and go and do it?

I wonder what open and candid feedback you might get if you were to show your communications (whether it be your website, newsletters to clients or internal messages) to others before sending them? Would the feedback you get back match that of the desired goal of the communication?

Is the communication you’re sending actually opening doors rather than closing them?

Your comments are really welcome, please leave them below.

New FunSongs website using fun illustrative design!

Monday, February 15th, 2010

funsongsWe launched our latest website today for our client FunSongs. Charles Goodger who runs FunSongs hired us to give the site a complete makeover and fun was on the menu!

By using illustrative design techniques we were able to get over the message that learning English is fun, something not always possible with educational based projects. The site selling action songs packages is primarily aimed at international schools teaching English as a second language.

Before & After               

FunSongs before makeover AFTER

The client is extremely pleased with the outcome and we’ve received much praise surrounding the design. We wish Charles and his team every success with the new site and FunSongs in the future. can be visited here

Business Stationery and Projecting Good Business Image

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

logosandbrandProjecting your business image in the right manner is imperative, not only does it show just what a professional business you are but also gives people easy access to your business information provided you get it right. This aspect of your business may well be the last thing that you think about. It’s importance is the same as any other aspect of your business because it provides people with a visual of your business because it showcases your company message or philosophy and also the business logo which gives people the idea of how your business works and its personality as well as allowing you to influence people into how they view your business.

One thing that you must not forget when designing your business stationery is that there are legal requirements relating to what information you add, see the quick list below for the information that must be included on your letterhead – the first two may or may not be applicable to you:

Company VAT number (if used for invoices)
Company registration number (if Limited company)
Registered office address (if Limited company)
Name of business or your name (if you are a sole trader)

Additionally consider the following:
Business address
Telephone numbers (including home numbers if applicable, this depends on how your company works)
Fax numbers
Email address

What to get printed?
Choosing exactly which type of stationery you are going to have depends on the nature of your business. However you may choose from the following to include your details on:

Business cards
Compliment slips
Invoices / Credit notes
Remittance advice
Marketing materials

Simply all of the stationery you use in day to day business, the list is certainly not endless and in the longer term as your business expands you may also choose to print your message on additional items like envelopes and postcards though keeping the costs down at an early stage in business is recommended!

What about printing?
Selecting a printer may be easier than you think. The designer that helped you finalise your company logo and branding may point you in the right direction or indeed maybe able to print off your stationery in-house, which will save you time searching for a reputable printer. An advantage to using your logo designer is that they can co-ordinate files and provide you with great advice on what information to include, fonts to use and of course font sizing.

Think rather carefully about quantities that you may find yourself using, and of course obtain proofs of every copy of your stationery before it is printed to go over any errors – mistakes on either side are costly and can easily be avoided. Finally, do remember to order your stationery before you use up the last pieces as it can really halt proceedings if you run out!

Corporate Identity – Communicating Confidence through Competitive Branding

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

logosandbrandOne thing that will truly help your business is building a corporate identity and competitive branding which will work hand in hand to get you recognised and build trust with your prospective clients. Managing and planning your business branding will effectively help your small business attract repeat business and new clients and so improving the success of your marketing projects.

The thing about business branding is its total overall effect through visual means, company philosophy and brand values. Your branding is significant and will have impact on how your target clientèle view your business and how you conduct your business and carry out your branding can gain you trustworthiness among potential customers.

Branding is not only about a logo but about how your business is perceived as a whole package so you need to think about how your company is presented. Your corporate identity is slightly different but equally as important as branding and should come before you think about logo and visual id, it is more about how your small business is made up and the decisions that your business makes. Defining corporate identity is the first step of building your brand and should be based on the nature and personality of your business.

You need to manage your branding perfectly and the first thing that you should consider is to work on a competitive branding project to eventually build it around your company and the way it works. You should aim at creating a brand that promises your clients something, delivers that something and gives them reason to trust you. Communicating confidence through your branding tells them you will deliver what you promise.

Branding your business can help aim your business toward the right type of client so when you think about how to market your business and whom you are targeting this should become the way that you attract the right type of person to your business. Ensure that your branding and your logo are clear and give a concise message and you will encourage people to come to you, also bringing with them loyalty or repeat business making it successful even in the current gloomy times.

Once you have decided on a brand, add your logo designs and company message to all your stationery and make sure you get a price from your designer for the whole package – not only simple logo design as its important to co-ordinate your branding project well and they most likely can help with the whole implementation project. It’s also important to reflect this branding on everything you do including your website, being consistent with your branding shows customers that you are proud and happy to display your name and logo everywhere, even adding it as a signature on all of your emails.

Ensure that the company you choose to design your professional branding and logo will supply you with a number of designs after the first brief so that you make the final decision. They also should quote you for adding your new brand to stationery and website and most will issue you with the option to setup a new website and can register and host everything for you too, so long as it’s competitive then there is no real reason not to take them up on this type of offer.

Looking like you are serious about business and that you have confidence in yourself will help reap rewards. Fail at this first hurdle and you could damage your chances of taking your business through the recession in one piece!