Why Web Design Is Like Parallel Parking

May 7th, 2013 in Bespoke, Design, Marketing Branding Design marketing SEO

James and I were over in Belfast last week meeting with a client. Instead of boring you with a field report, though, I thought you’d find this video more interesting. Filmed in Belfast, but nothing to do with us, we only watched it for the first time when we got back home. Put the kettle on, grab a tea or coffee, and settle in: this one takes a while.

You have to feel sorry for the poor woman (and let’s not make a point about her gender, lads – we’re all above that). She’s obviously just found herself in that zone where nothing you do quite works. We’ve all been there, and nothing’s worse than being watched while you’re in that kind of mood. It only makes things worse!

But you also have to kind of admire her. Not for her parking skills, maybe, but certainly for her persistence and refusal just to give up.

We were in Belfast about a website – of course. We build these things all day every day, for all kinds of different clients selling all sorts of different products to all kinds of different people. The one thing all these sites have in common, though, is the need to keep working on them. Whether it’s an e-commerce site or a blogging site, a straight brochure design or something more bespoke, there’s a simple rule of thumb that works for every site we build: keeping going back, don’t give up.

Sites are like anything else. The first draft might not work. You might put it up and not get the traffic you like. It might work brilliantly for a year or two and then suddenly no longer suit your business. The trick is to understand that a website is always a work in progress.

The powerful thing about the internet is that it’s always changing, constantly updated with the latest information. That means that your website should be tinkered with almost daily – and that it’s worth persevering to ensure you get things just right.

Growing your business and your website together doesn’t just make sense – it’s easy once you get the persistence bug. Change your colour scheme with each marketing campaign; tweak your copy so that search engines direct users to your site more regularly; tweak the design so that it looks its best on every platform. Keep going back, don’t give up.

So, like the lady parking that car, you should keep at it. The Image+ team promise not to turn up at your offices and make a YouTube video about it – but over the years we’ve become adept at helping ease your website into the right space.

Why Clearing Snow Is Like Designing A Brand

March 26th, 2013 in Design Branding Design

There’s something about unseasonal snow that maybe makes you look at it a bit differently. We’re well into March here in the UK, and yet we’ve just had an extremely late – and extremely large – dumping of snow across the Midlands and the North. Naturally, that’s hit Image+’s Coventry HQ.

shovel[1]

It’s not just us who have been affected, either: I was walking – skating, really – down the street at the weekend, and spotted a Peter Savage manhole cover peeking through the white stuff. Peter Savage are one of our clients, so spotting their name on a patch of cleared snow led me to thinking: how is branding like clearing snow?

In the same way as getting out the shovel and clearing your driveway, designing a brand involves an awful lot of work: your company might mean many different things to you, and certainly to your entire staff base. How do you go about making a path through all that to a simple, easily recognised brand?

Underneath all that accumulation of ideas, visions and impressions lie the foundation slabs of your business. Devising a brand – whether that means designing a logo, a colour profile, or establishing detailed branding guidelines – is about shovelling away everything you don’t need and unearthing the essentials that you do.

A brand summarises your company and encapsulates its essence: it might promote confidence or trust, project creativity or reliability; it could be bold or subtle, contemporary or traditional. Whatever the core values and virtues of your organisation, your brand has to embody them. A brand unifies a company’s offering, allows customers to connect with you, and offers the most powerful platform you’ll have to make your pitch. Its absolutely key, then, that you do your branding right – if you do a bad job of clearing that driveway, someone’s going to slip up.

At Image+, we’re more than used to chatting with our clients, coming to understand their business, and designing with them a brand that speaks to their customers in just the right voice. Fonts, colours, shapes and slogans can all, when carefully chosen, combine to speak volumes. Your customer might only glance at your logo, or cast their eye over your brochure, but the right branding will tell them an awful lot – and start your sales pitch – before they’ve read, or you’ve spoken, a single word.

Which brings us back to that manhole: with all the snow cleared away, there was Peter Savage’s logo for all to see.