The best logo design

What is so important about a logo?

A logo is essential in any business, big or small, to provide a visual identity and as a recognisable symbol of your organisation.

A logo is critical for business success through brand-recognition. Think coca-cola. Everyone knows that particular colour red and that swirly script that we associate with one of the most well branded soft drinks on the market.

CokaCola Logo DesignHaving a strong logo and brand like this one means that we don’t have to think on a conscious level, “what does this represent?”, we can automatically locate this brand at a glance.

This is the kind of brand recognition that is possible when you have a strong brand to launch into the market place through signage and advertising. People will come to recognise your brand at a glance, and the more they see it, the more you will be remembered as the “go to” company for your particular product or service.

 

The Infamous $100,000 logo design

Next Logo DesignMany design companies will offer you a fixed price and one option for your logo. We do not. An infamous example of the ‘fixed price one option logo design’ is the NeXT Logo designed by Paul Rand at a cost to Steve Jobs of $100,000.

Steve Jobs has this memorable comment regarding working with Paul Rand; “I asked him if he would come up with a few options, and he said, ‘No, I will solve your problem for you and you will pay me. You don’t have to use the solution. If you want options go talk to other people.’”

Unfortunately there are still companies that work this way, which is fine if their concept works well for your company. But if not – then you have just paid a large sum for a logo that you will probably feel obliged to use because of your investment in both time and money.

 

How is creating a logo design with Activate Design different?

At Activate Design logos are our passion, and we would prefer to work with you to create a logo that exceeds your expectations. We do this by listening to you, by offering your choices and by listening to your feedback.

We do not outsource your design work.  Our experienced designers will meet with your to discuss your needs. We then research your market to create a unique concept that will make you stand out from the crowd. The research is important to us because you need to be different.

For example if we were doing a logo for your new soft drink company, it would be prudent to avoid a certain shade of red, and any similar swirly fonts that may relate to existing well known brands. Logo design is not just about creating something visually pleasing, it’s about doing the research to back it up. About providing a design solution that meets the ongoing marketing needs of your company and being able to provide the reasons why it will work not and for the long term.

 

What should a logo mean to me?

A logo is something that you should be proud to include on building and car signage, on company clothing and stationary. Your logo needs to be a unique and recognisable representation of you, and your products and services.

Activate logo design examplesBoth of these logos visually represent the business that they stand for.

For more examples of our logo designs, visit our Portfolio Page.

Shaggy Bones Bakery logo: representing a bakery specialising in all natural dog treats.

Advanced Applicators logo: representing a service driven company established to distribute and install a range of Passive Fire Protection products.

A logo is something that proceeds you in business. In this way your company logo will either be lifting your potential customers expectations of you or it may be working against you, projecting a negative image. The latter can often occur if your logo resembles a similar brand, if your logo does not relate well to your company, or if is unattractive or uses outdated fonts or simply and outdated design.

 

Is changing your logo a good idea?

If you have a strong logo then yes, you could use it indefinitely BUT, what is good to remember is that a high percentage of the most well recognised companies have evolved alongside their logo. Companies such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola, Shell, McDonalds and Apple have continued to refresh or recreate their brand to keep up with modern styles and ideas.

We offer re-branding, to give your logo new life. Re-branding can be very effective, and you can choose to launch a complete new design, or keep some aspect of your design so it is still recognisable; this may be a shape or colour that is consistent in your old and new logo designs. Ask us about design and brand refresh, to add new life to your company profile and launch your company from a fresh new platform of modern creativity and professionalism.

Apple Logo DesignLogo left: Apple logo 1976
Middle: Apple’s logo 1976-1998
Logo right: Apple’s current logo.

 

Contact us to discuss a new logo and brand, or a logo refresh for your company today.

 

 

Click here for our Logo Design Packages.

Click here to view our Logo Portfolio.

 

Effective Website Design

Here is some general information on what makes a website effective. This may be especially helpful for those of you who are using our unique WEP-Com Content Management System, enabling you to create your own pages, galleries, links and more.

So we know that there are infinite options available in how to layout a website, but to have an effective website that users will actually want to spend time viewing, here are a few tips to keep in mind ;

sign-post

CLEAR NAVIGATION

Many studies have been conducted on how people use the internet, how they view website pages, and what they choose to click on. Consistent results show that clear navigation makes the difference between an average website and a really good website.

 

Although you could have a snazzy website that looks like a spinning planet spitting out rocket-shaped pages of information – it would not be effective in that yes, people want to see something new, but in a familiar environment. If it’s too strange, if there’s no clear navigation to see what page you’re currently on, where the links to the other pages are, and indeed what website you’re even at – people will click on your website and then ‘bounce’ right back out again. Your websites’ ‘bounce rate’ then becomes very high, negatively impacting on your website ratings.

 

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE TO GIVE PURPOSE TO YOUR WEBSITE

Keep in mind what you are offering so that amongst all the information you are providing about your business, your staff, images, products, services and contact details, ensure there is a very clear and simple path for your customers to take in as few a steps (or clicks) as possible. Understanding why your clients choose to visit your site will help you cater your website to their needs. If they get in touch, always ask for feedback on how your site worked (or did not work) for them.

 

USE VERY OBVIOUS PAGE NAMES

Some of us like to get a bit fancy, so instead of “home page” we have “home base”, or possibly “home portal” or “starbase one” – cool, but in the fast-paced world of website-hopping, it should only take a fraction of a second to recognise a website’s page name for what it is. Pausing on a webpage trying to work out what page “home base” is supposed to be, is simply frustrating, and if a whole website is like that then very few viewers would take the time to actually browse your website. Are you using standard terms for your navigation? Can you simplify your terms for easier recognition?

 

compass

KEEP NAVIGATION IN THE SAME PLACE

Clear navigation is one thing, but what happens when you navigate away from the main page? Do you get lost in the website pages, not knowing how many pages there are or where it ends – or do you have the reassurance of the same navigation bar, or simple listed text links of all the pages, located in the same place on every page – giving you the peace of mind of knowing where you are at all times. Having the page you’re currently on highlighted in addition to fixed navigation on all pages will make navigating through your website much easier.

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE – THE LESS CLICKS THE BETTER

Websites must cater to the fact that most of us are ‘skimmers’ rather than ‘readers’ when it comes to browsing websites and we expect instantaneous results, whether that be clearly knowing what is where on a website, to being able to access pages in one-to-two clicks only. A site can be too clever, to it’s detriment.

 

Example : I can across a site recently that was selling clothing, I was looking for a nice t-shirt for a friend but first I had to click on ‘clothing’ then choose ‘mens’ or ‘womens’, then click on ‘t-shirts’, then select one of the many ‘brand options’ to get to view the range of t-shirts available in that brand only. When I did not find what I wanted I only had an option to go back to the home page and start again, or use my browsers ‘back’ button to choose another brand, view the t-shirts, go back, choose the next brand, etc.

 

Yes, it was clever, and it was organised, but it was too time consuming and I left feeling frustrated. What would have worked better would be to simplify the site into a two-click or three-click process, ie. clothing / t-shirts / and a gallery showing the full range, with some some sub-text under each product showing the brand, rather that clicking through to the brand first, thus reducing the number of clicks to access the product/information.

 

Is there a way you can simplify your current website? How many clicks does it take to get to the product/service you are offering? Can you navigate from anywhere in your site to exactly where you wish to go?



Contact us for any upgrades to your website design and layout, and View Our Portfolio for recent examples of the many successful websites our team has designed & created.

Yahoo Mail plagued by hackers and compromised security

 ACTIVATE DESIGN’S SOLUTION TO YOUR YAHOO MAIL FRUSTRATION.

 

mailguy smltallYahoo Mail fixes another compromise in security this week, and publicly admits there is a problem in the on-going issue of insecure yahoo email accounts getting hacked, passwords stolen, and spam being sent from hacked email accounts to all contacts, spreading malware and causing great annoyance to the thousands who keep receiving these spam emails, not to mention the account holders who receive a stream of return emails querying the emails sent from their account.

 

This dates back to a serious hack into the yahoo email accounts that occurred in early January, when a hacker uploaded a video to YouTube to show just how easy it is to compromise a Yahoo email account. Yahoo was quick to respond, confirming the flaw had been investigated and fixed.

 

Later in January a company called ‘Offensive Security’ let Yahoo know that their email service was still vulnerable to attack with flawed security. Yahoo again confirmed that these flaws had been fixed.

 

It was then discovered that the spam in question, that has been sent from compromised yahoo email accounts, had been circulating for about a month, stealing login details and bypassing Yahoo mail security.

 

Yahoo has again confirmed that these security breaches have been fixed, but should they be trusted? Are you prepared to use an email service, any email service, that is plagued by attacks and flawed security?

 

Can I change to a more professional email account? Yes, absolutely. A good  point to ponder when choosing to move to a new account provider is the professionalism of having a yahoo account for your business. For example, would a company called ‘City Solicitors’ use an email address that was citysolicitors@yahoo.com? No. Most definately not. Without realising it, some of these email services are actually undermining your business image and professionalism. So why risk it when ideally you can have an email account that is linked to your domain name?

 

email carriers

What is an example of a more professional email account? As an example, if you own the domain name, “cityflowers.co.nz”, then your own email address could be something like; orders@cityflowers.co.nz. At Activate we create email accounts that are hosted on our secure New Zealand-based server, allowing you to choose from a variety of email software options to manage your emails. Amongst the most popular software for emails today are Microsoft Outlook, MacMail & Thunderbird.

 

How much does a domain-name email cost? At Activate Design if you already have a website hosted by us, then email accounts are complimentary, and we can setup up to 15 accounts under one domain name. If you do not yet have a website with us, we can host your email account from just $5.00 +gst per month. Contact us for more information or to get started with a new email account today.

 

Can I get technical support for my software and security? We provide an online troubleshooting guide for email setups, and beyond that we advise those that rely one technology for their business to have an IT Specialist for your company, or to utilise one of the many IT Specialist call-out technician services available today, to assist with any technical issues such as email setups and keeping software and security updated on your computers.

 

emailservices tall

Why shift to a new email provider? Another reason to shift to your own, more professional domain email account is that Yahoo mail is not good for business because the spam filters are set so high that legitimate business enquiries are often unable to reach you.

What do I do with my existing Yahoo mail account? With your Yahoo email, Hotmail, or other personal email accounts, you can setup forwarders to go to your new domain email account, until those older accounts are no longer needed and can be closed.

 

Where do I get a domain name? If you do not yet have a domain name, contact our friendly team at Activate Design where we can register domain names on your behalf, or you are welcome to visit our dedicated hosting website www.ActiveHost.co.nz where you can search for the availability of domain names of your choice, with a variety of suffix available such as .com / .co.nz / .net.nz and more.

 

Simply follow the link above, then on the right-hand side under the ‘login’ section, enter the domain you would like and click “find” to check if it is available. You can purchase your domain right then and there if you wish, or contact us to purchase it for you.

 

How do I get a website? These days having an online presence is a must. The internet is now the first place most people will go to find a product or service, and increasingly this is being done on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Take a look at our Portfolio Page for examples of websites we have done recently, and for ideas on what we could design and create for you.

 

The next step: is to contact us to arrange a meeting, where we can discuss the options available, introduce you to our own uniquely developed Content Management System (CMS); created so that you can manage your own content and add images etc, with our easy to use client-friendly system. We can then provide a quote and proceed at your convenience.

 

Our team at Activate Design can: launch a new or update your existing online presence with CMS websites, Ecommerce websites, and other professional services like email accounts and our easy-to-use ActiveMail newsletter system, as well as iPhone and iPad applications. Our team consists of experienced graphic designers, developers, copywriters, programmers, SEO specialists, and a great sales team to advise you on expanding your company logo and brand into an online presence you will be proud to stand behind.

 

 

Website Design & Hosting – choosing who to trust.

Website Design & Hosting – choosing who to trust.

There are many companies offering website hosting but how do you know if they are up with the play? There are SO many risks in hosting that most clients simply are not aware of until they are stung.

When thinking about hosting your current website or having a new website created, you need to ensure you choose a company that knows what they’re are doing. By simply being aware that there are dodgy companies out there, and amateurs out there who may be short changing you by simply not knowing the optimal way of setting up and hosting a site, linking and renewing domain names, and being able to problem-solve and customise your online business, you can make a wiser decision on whom to choose for such an important aspect of your company – your website.

It is important to choose a company that is up to date with modern technology and who can communicate with you clearly in your initial website creation, as well as any on-going website support and changes you may need – and there may be a lot, especially if you need an eCommerce website to enable you to sell and update products online.

How do you tell if a company has the graphic design skills to match their level of technical website development knowledge?

If it’s style that is crucial to you, take a look at the online portfolio that showcases what a company can do for you. If you’re looking to update the look of your current site to encourage more repeat visitors to your site and more traffic, then viewing online portfolios is an excellent way to gauge the quality of a designers’ skill. View our online portfolio.

How do you know you have your own individual and unique server space and not hidden away as a sub-domain of another account? Rogue hosting companies do this sort of thing and it has terrible consequences for the client.

A website can be hosted as a ‘sub domain’ – this means it doesn’t have it’s own space on a server but slots in under another server’s space, called a ‘sub domain’. This is perfectly alright if the websites are related or for the same company, but if your website is hosted as a sub-domain you will not be getting the online ratings that your site should be getting as it’s own domain – this means the search engines will be showing you not as a first page option on a search, but as a 4th of 5th, or even further down the end of the lists of options shown to an internet surfer who may be looking for a company just like yours.

Hosting your website as a sub domain may save the hosting company money but cost the website owner long-term through a loss in search engine rankings.

How do you know your website is even hosted in New Zealand and do you know what it means if you are not?

We host our websites on a secure New Zealand based server. The location of the server that your site is hosted on is crucial to the speed at which your site performs, and these days search engines are smart enough to see find discrepancies, such as products made in new Zealand, but hosted from a site overseas, and this could have a negative impact on your rankings.

Contact us at Activate Design to discuss all your website design and website enhancing requirements today.