November 5, 2013
It’s not often that we are asked to access the child in us in the course of a day’s work but the new website for Kids Clubs Directory demanded just that! The design of this site, with its fun ‘clublets’ and attractive brightly coloured layout, was the result of a careful balancing act between appealing to adult/parent site visitors and advertising members but also creating an eye-catching ‘childlike’ look and feel to express the intent of the site to offer an activity directory for children.
This innovative new directory site is aimed at parents looking for one off and on-going activities for their children and its enormous breadth and diversity of options meant that our challenge would be centred around making the site as intuitive, simple and straight forward to use as possible for both visitors and members alike.
To achieve this clear-sightedness in the site, by definition, meant that a huge amount of data would need to be processed efficiently and in a number of ways. As a result the programming and build of the site was a complex project with layers of architecture and automation to facilitate as much as possible internally, reducing the load on the site administrator and simplifying the front end processes.
Our client, Rachel Harris – Director of Kids Clubs Directory, wrote a lovely letter after the site was launched…
I just wanted to thank you for all your hard work in putting my website together. The website has been a great success with the clubs and activities that it represents.
I was particularly impressed at the way that you grasped an understanding of my business needs and the complexity of the website it required. You came up with some fantastic enhancements which will really make a difference to the way the business develops.
…Your commitment to producing the website was exceptional. I always felt that you were keen to give me your best work and it was pleasure to do business with you. I’m looking forward to Phase 2 and will be in touch in due course…
With Kind Regards
November 4, 2013
While thumbing through a recent paper over the weekend we came across some interesting and staggering statistics on Google and the growth of the web since 1998. We were so surprised we thought we would share them with you in our own infographic style…
October 16, 2013
We recently designed, developed and launched a new website for our client ESS LLP. Although the overall site plan is a simple one the challenge lay in accommodating all the necessary variables. As the company has more than one focus or ‘arm’ the website needed to accommodate the potential requirements of several very different groups of visitors and express a range of stand alone key messages while staying firmly on brand and retaining the simplicity required by the client.
We approached this project by planning the site in two halves, both relatively similar but accessed independently from icons on the home page. The two halves of the site, ESS LLP – Energy Saving and Contracting and ESS LLP – installing and servicing Nuaire Ventilation are not interlinked and so act as separate and independent resources. In addition, an icon linking to a pre-existing site (Oleonix Solutions) was also added to drive traffic to that area of the client business.
This solution to the challenge of bringing multiple areas of the diverse client business together in one website, whilst maintaining their individuality has worked very well and the client is delighted by the result.
Predictions from those in the know suggest that the rise in real time, social related marketing heralds a distinct decline in the traditional scheduled ‘marketing campaign’. This new style of fluid relationship marketing will change the face of the traditional spend on marketing and alter the landscape of accepted channels of communication. Customers interact with websites, on social platforms and with offline content at their own pace, when it’s relevant to them, the challenge for marketers is to be there when the consumer is ready, not when the business is.
So what else is new?
The increasing fluidity of the marketing mix is affecting Search Engine Optimisation too. Looking ahead, SEO will become less and less about the technical aspect of on page promotion and more about really good, valid, original content that can be socially consumed and shared.
Lines between SEO, social media and content are continuing to blur more and more as time passes and focus shifts from on page SEO to the mix of off page SEO options.
While we understand that the focus of online marketing is all about the content, it shouldn’t be forgotten that a picture paints a 1,000 words. Sites like Instagram and Pinterest have it sussed but the expansion of social sharing is a huge opportunity to make sure that your pictoral content is working as hard as everything else you do.
Along with everything else you need to consider there’s now a new term for making sure you are seen as a good company to do business with. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘Reputation Management’.
Reputation Management, as you might imagine from the name is the practice of managing your business reputation both on and offline as a provider of goods and/or services. We’ve all seen reviews of businesses online that make you determined never to use that particular provider….ever…but just how do you legislate for that one, ‘impossible to please’ customer who just won’t give you the chance to resolve the issue? Well the answer is you can’t, but you can turn it into an opportunity to demonstrate just how good your customer service actually is via a range of media and with a selection of effective tools.
October 15, 2013
We were recently approached by local catering equipment hire company Crystal Hire Ltd, who asked us to help them update and modernise their company brand as part of a business wide brand development project. The project, going forward, will encompass web, printed collateral, stationery and email marketing, livery and signage. However, the brand itself was our first priority.
We were delighted to be asked to help with this project and rose to the challenge by working with the client to create a detailed and target specific brief for the new brand. Parameters regarding colour, font and style were soon established and the final selection was swiftly narrowed down during a meeting in which we were able to make amends and adjustments on the spot until a winning version was refined!
The new brand is clearly an evolution of the old one but is elegant, modern and clean with a dramatic twist provided by the peacock blue key colour which will look striking against the client’s black livery as well as on more standard white backgrounds for stationery and email.
The remainder of the project is still a work in progress so watch this space for new updates!
October 7, 2013
You may remember a recent blog of ours showcasing our latest work for Prior’s Field School to design promotional stationery for the Art Festival, which gave people the opportunity to sign up and try new crafts for a day. Trying something new always gets my vote, which is why I couldn’t resist signing up for a class. I chose an introduction to silversmithing, I mean it can’t be that hard, right? Wrong!
The day started off quite nicely, a cup of tea and a tour round the school to get acquainted with surroundings (and the obligatory health and safety briefing). Then off to work we go.
Firstly, we had to decide if we wanted to make a ring or a bangle. I don’t think the instructor Mr Rood (who was excellent) expected trouble from his adult class, but he soon realised that for most students, a simple straight ring or bangle wasn’t going to satisfy the creative bunch who had arrived.
We then had to measure our finger / wrist to work out how much silver we needed to make our chosen piece of jewellery (using paper, which is far trickier than it sounds), including any extra we might need for design elements. We then cut the wire with piercing saws ensuring no rough edges. Then the hard work started, using a mandrel to shape the metal from straight wire to ring or bangle shaped. Some members of the class even decided to shape their pieces with twists and create extra loops to add a flourish to their design.
Once round, and overlapping (or a very small gap between the two ends), pieces were fluxed, so that when soldering the metal wasn’t scorched. A bit of silver solder and a hand blow torch was all that was needed to join the two ends together, though as we soon realised, it was much easier to achieve this with a ring than a bracelet. The pieces were then quenched in water and filed to remove any bumps or sharp edges to give them a more professional finish, then further filed with a fine file to remove any scratches.
Then the best bit, polishing to a sparkling piece of jewellery. All members of the class produced a piece of jewellery of a decent enough standard to wear. I’ve been wearing the ring I made every day since I made it, and was surprised at the achievements we all made in such a short space of time.
Thanks to Prior’s Field School for organising such an enjoyable weekend! I know that when I met up with other participants who had been in sculpture and sewing groups, they had just as good a time as I did. My only regret was not having signed up for a class or two on the Sunday….
If you fancy trying something new, keep an eye out for next year’s activities which should not be missed!
September 26, 2013
Josef Alber’s Interaction of Color was first published by Yale University in 1963 as a teaching aid for artists, designers, instructors and students. The handbook presented Alber’s unique ideas of colour experimentation.
With over a quarter of a million copies sold in its various editions since 1963, Interaction of Color still remains an essential educational resource and many of the ideas form the roots of day-to-day activity in the creative industry.
To mark the 50th anniversary of this masterpiece, a new interactive edition has been launched for iPad. Here at Mzuri we couldn’t wait to get out our iPads out and download the new app, and we’re pleased to say it does not disappoint. Full of innovative features, you can understand the book’s ideas, view the plates and gain a better understanding of how colour works, you can experiment yourself and even create and share your own designs.
Whilst Albers original text is very technical, due to the nature of the ideas which are difficult to put across in print, the app adds an element of creativity and interaction which for us design types makes it all the more visual and tactile.
The colour wheel, itself beautiful and a design delight, allows you to pull swatches from the colour palette, place them into a design and then lets you refine your selection. You can then export your favourite swatches complete with the RGB values and even open your plates and palettes in your preferred design software!
This new app is a fantastic and invaluable addition to our toolkit and the fact that Albers insight is now available at the touch of a screen and integrated with our software is a very exciting development that we can’t wait to put into use.
September 6, 2013
We have recently worked with Prior’s Field School to create artwork for an advert to promote their forthcoming Arts Festival, alongside posters and a postcard detailing event information… keep an eye out for them when you’re out and about!
On 26-29 September Prior’s Field School will be holding an arts festival. Festivities will be kicked off on Friday 26 September by an evening with Dame Diana Rigg where she will perform her one-woman show based on her book No Turn Unstoned. Following that art workshops will be running on the Saturday and Sunday. The events will take place in the new, state of the art, three-storey creative arts building and this event will mark its grand opening. Workshop places, supported by Watts Gallery, are offered on a first come first served basis and visitors can get a taste for a wide range of activities including life drawing, silversmithing, flower arranging, lace making and many more.
We know that the Arts Festival will be a popular event, so if you’re interested in finding out more, or booking tickets to the evening with Dame Diana Rigg or any of the workshops, you can find further information and tickets for the event here.
It looks to be an exciting weekend and we wish Prior’s Field School every success for the event!
August 22, 2013
We are delighted to announce the launch of our newest website designed for Charity Auctioneer Caroline Court.
Caroline was Christies first ever female auctioneer and has since developed an impressive career in auction houses around the globe. As this new venture focuses specifically on charity auctioneering Caroline wanted to develop a brand and website that was a little different from the norm for her industry.
Our initial project for Caroline was the development of her brand for which she had a clear idea in mind. We worked on several font based designs for Caroline and the final version was born out of her preference for clean sans serif fonts, calm and modern colours and an up to date style.
Once the brand was agreed we used Caroline’s own images to create a website design that focused on her experience, skill and flair as well as establishing her new brand in the industry and offering a source of information for visitors searching for a charity auctioneer. The site has started off simply but with careful planning and future proofing the way is clear for further developments as the business grows.
August 15, 2013
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We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Haslemere Chamber of Commerce website. The website has been designed to provide a platform for Chamber promotions, marketing and communication to a variety of stakeholders. The Chamber committee wanted the new site to give real benefit to members of the Chamber as well as encouraging new members businesses to join and providing a valuable resource to town residents, visitors and other interested parties.
The site design is based on elements of the existing Chamber brand and was developed to provide a modern, simple and clean website to showcase the vibrancy of the Chamber member businesses. The simplicity of the site is intended to act as a neutral background to the lively, dynamic and interactive content to be provided by members in terms of member controlled directory entries, News, Events, Offers and Jobs.
The website functionality itself, while straightforward, enables the Chamber committee a high degree of control over any content added by members and also allows for event ticket purchases to be made on the site, thus simplifying a previously cumbersome and time consuming process. In fact, the website has enabled the Chamber committee to streamline several previously time consuming processes, freeing up time to focus on other important aspects of the organisation.