Choosing the Right Business Card Size and Design for Your Company

The design of a business card says a lot about a company - and the cardholder. Cheap materials and a careless artwork won’t do much for your image, but with the right design elements, your business card can do a lot more than provide your contact information; it can subtly yet intentionally convey the principal qualities of your business, whether it is reliability, quality workmanship or another underlying trait.

business cardsFortunately, the process of designing a business card can be both fun and informative. It’s a time to reflect on the values of your business and the qualities that will drive its success. With the right design, your business card will serve as a lasting reminder of your professionalism and attention to detail.

You shouldn’t rush through developing your business cards. Some steps, such as choosing the right business card dimensions, might be a bit more involved than you think. This article will introduce some key design tips that can take your business cards to the next level.

1. Choose the Right Standard Business Card Size

It may sound redundant to choose the “right standard” size, but the “standard” size of business cards varies from region to region. And imagine if you were handed a business card that was way larger or smaller than you expected. Wouldn’t that seem a bit faux pas?

In most countries, the standard card size is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. There are, of course, plenty of nonstandard designs that aim to attract attention, but these dimensions are always a safe bet.

To compare the standard sizes of different countries, check out this article on DesignersToolbox.com.

2. Use the Right File Type

 Some business owners aren’t as tech-savvy as others, so they may not understand the difference between a vectored and an un-vectored image, but customers will notice the difference as soon as they see your business card.

Saving your card as a JPEG, for example, can cause fuzziness on the edges of images and text. The same is true for PNGs. The text, therefore, should be outlined or embedded. Also, remember to remove colour scheme blogs and guidelines from the card. Forgetting to do so will look careless to customers.

The best designs are PDF-based vectors, which leave crisper lines and a more sleek appearance overall.

3. Choose the Right Colour Scheme 

It’s recommended that designs feature complementary colours. Of course, a simple black and white can be powerful, but complementary colours can add some life to your cards without compromising artistic quality.

 These colours are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. Some examples include green and red or orange and blue. Be sure to avoid a disorganised mesh of bold and bright colours, and focus on keeping your colour scheme consistent—not only on your business cards but also on your logo, website and social media accounts.

To learn more about choosing business card colours, visit Hongkiat.com.

4. Use the Back for Un-Critical Information, or Keep It Blank

What info do you really need customers to remember? Your company’s name, phone number and email address are often vital. But as for that other info, like your list of services, consider printing it on the back or eliminating it entirely.

A simple, clean layout almost always trumps a complex design. Keeping it simple can help you get the most out of business cards. For more tips on designing your business card layout, check out this article on Entrepreneur.com.

No two businesses are exactly alike. Even those within the same industry may have different values or advantages. That said, your business card should be unique to your company; it should convey your values and professionalism in a clean, organised design.

Contact the team at Activate Design to start designing your business cards now!

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Posted in Branding

Websites: Making An Educated Decision

A recent online article inspired me to share our website services, in the form of our unique content management system, designed and developed with client-use in mind, right here at Activate Design.

The recent article I write of featured internet consultant, Johny O’Donnell, who is looking at the gap between companies offering website and online marketing services and the customers who understand them. His views are all about protecting small businesses by educating them on their options, and on how to navigate the world of online marketing. Johny is currently running seminars educating people on online marketing in Nelson.

Yes, we do see a gap in information, for those within and outside of the industry of technology, and that is why at Activate Design we take the time to walk you through your options, ensuring that you are website savvy and aware of the best website design choices and website development options available to most benefit your unique business.

We understand that you need all the information so you can make the most educated decision concerning the valuable online presence of your business, and we're here to offer just that.

Johny mentions business 'sob stories' about businesses who have got caught in technology situations they were not expecting. We have ourselves come to the aid of many businesses large and small, who have been overcharged with website hosting, had their websites hacked in open-source cms systems (content management systems), have lost their websites due to closed technology businesses and more. If you want to know if you are being fairly charged or if you have a concern regarding your website, then please take the time to contact us through our online form, or phone us on 0800 30 8996. We'll be happy to assist.

Website_lessons2A common problem for small businesses is the lack of control they have over their websites. They have a site, it's professional, it's informative, but it costs them money every time they need to change something, even something as simple as an updated address.

At Activate Design we have transferred many existing websites into our unique content management system, giving our clients control over their own content and images without requiring the intervention and costs they have previously accepted as part of the process.

At Activate Design we hold to the priorities of ensuring that our website customers understand what they are paying for, and just as importantly – have control over their websites with our custom cms system options.

We have put a great deal of time into the design and development of unique content management systems, creating and evolving something unique that is more importantly client-friendly. We also provide ongoing technical and support to our clients to ensure they have assistance as needed.

At Activate Design we also make a point of providing information on all aspects online media, including the process of website design and development. I have included links to information below, including a selection of blogs featuring topics such as making the most of online media and how to create subscriber lists and newsletters for your company.

Checkout the links below for more website related information:

 

It's important when looking at having an online presence created for your company, that the team you use are knowledgable and flexible, that they can create a website for you that will be competitive in your industry, and that it will works they way you want it too. We suggest that you view website portfolios for previous work, and also have a look around the internet and see what you like. Take a look at what stands out for you so you can have an informed option on how you want to present your company.

Website_lessons_layoutWe have a whole range of functionality that can be added to your website either initially during development, or later on to complement your growing business. Options for additional functionality could include a product or events database, a Blog, a booking form or link to a booking system that you use, a payment gateway to turn your cms website into an eCommerce website.

Whatever functionality that you want for your website our in-house designers and programmers can create for you. No matter what information you would like to know about our friendly team can advise on, and we'd love the opportunity to navigate and educate you through this process. Join our growing number of satisfied clients with professional and functional website that will work 24/7 for you, advertising your business.

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Posted in Branding

No future for business on Facebook?

FACEBOOK IS ALL ABOUT CONNECTIVITY AND ALWAYS WILL BE. But will businesses continue to have a part in that connection? Or will they be sidelined to pull the focus back to more personal posts on friends and family as looks to be the case.

According to a recent article by Sam Biddle, Facebook is ending the free marketing ride for businesses. This looks to be happening gradually, by reducing the 'organic page reach' for business posts to only a small percentage of their followers, while offering only paid advertising to ensure your followers will actually get to see your updates.

There are split views over this, because of course most of us do not want to be sifting through advertising to view the personal posts that matter to us, yet for those small organisations, such as artists and craftspeople, the investment of their time and their reliance on Facebook posts to generate interest in their business, is what helps them get by.

Three Darts in a BullseyeFor a lot of businesses Facebook has become the number one place for marketing, and the complete reliance on a free media that is so changeable - in both it's conditions and in how it operates - is a mistake.

Remember to direct people to the most important target - your website.

Facebook, like a variety of other Social Media sites, has been until recently a free source of marketing and a great opportunity for businesses of all types to promote themselves. Now, we need to increase our marketing awareness and see Facebook for exactly what it is. An opportunity, and most of all - A Portal.

 

Making Facebook and Social Media your Business Portal

By all means keep using Facebook for your business, keep adding things and keep updating your news, but in doing so you should be pulling people back to your main business marketing investment - your website.

My best advice would be to treat Facebook like a teaser. Say you've done something really cool - your business may have started a new product line or completed an outstanding project - put a couple of pictures on Facebook, and enough information to tease people into following a link back to your website for the full story.

It's your website that you want to lead people to, because it's through your website that you can:

  • Provide more information on your current news and projects
  • Offer your contact details, including a form to make it easier to contact you
  • Provide a map right to your door
  • Offer a wider range of products and services
  • Increase your range of products and services - if you have a good content management system that you can edit easily and independently
  • Provide information that showcases your business as experienced and legitimate.
  • Make your website your best business one stop shop, unchanging in it's location and online accessibility for anytime day or night (and if responsive - on any online viewing platform including iPad and iPhone)
  • Reflect and enhance your brand in what should be a professionally designed site that is easy to navigate, and straightforward in the information it provides

 

Use your Facebook page to start a marketing database

By including "subscribe to our newsletter" functionality on your website, and adding this link intermittently to your Facebook posts, you can turn your Facebook followers into a list of interested people that WANT to hear from you regularly.

This will make using Facebook far more worthwhile, as you never know how much longer you will be able to post for free as a business at all, with online media that offers no guarantees. Your loyal Facebook followers will leap at the chance to hear from you in a regular newsletter, rather than remain hoping to be in the 1 - 2% that will actually be able to see your posts.

Follow this link or Contact Us for more information on our ActiveMail Email Marketing System, where we can enable visitors to "subscribe" to your newsletter list, and where you can create beautifully designed email newsletters for your contacts. ActiveMail also offers the ability to view real-time statistics for each of your newsletter campaigns so you can see what works and what does not, helping to evolve your marketing strategy to benefit your audience.

So Facebook are changing their rules, again. So they're changing their costs and their fees, again. So they're changing what you can do and how you can do it, without consulting you or perhaps without your knowledge, AGAIN.

But what does it matter to you if you're using this free social media platform to invite people back to the online home of your business, your most important business asset and the main port of contact and reference for your customers - YOUR WEBSITE!

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Posted in Branding

Knowing Your Website Options

YES WE CAN MAKE IT WORK ~ JUST LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Would you like an easy to edit website? Our websites are unique. We use a CMS (content management system) that has been developed by us, specifically to make it easier for our customers to edit their own websites. This makes keeping your website up to date easy and saves you money!

Would you like a website that is not locked into one host provider? Our WEP-2 system can be transferred to another host provider on request. We certainly recommend that you host with us, as our systems are optimised for high performance of the websites that we develop. Our NZ-based hosting service includes daily and weekly offsite backups. For WEP-2 websites there is no locked-in hosting.

Would you like website training and support for your site? Training on how to use our simple CMS system is included with each website. We provide ongoing support through our Support Ticket system, and are here 9 -5 to take your calls.

Would you like lots of optional website features? We can create the functionality that will best benefit your business. Here are some ideas for website feature functionality that can be quoted on and added on when you need it:

  • Blog Modules
  • Calendars
  • Booking System Integrations
  • Wholesale Customers Modules
  • Product Databases
  • Responsive Website Coding
  • Login File Storage Areas
  • Quote and Invoice Functionality
  • Upgrades to E-Commerce

We have unlimited options for website functionality and are always designing and developing new features to suit our client's needs.

Would you like your current website to be easily editable? For a selection of new customers that come to us, their needs are simply focused on being able to edit their existing websites themselves.

Some businesses just want:

  • The ability to edit their website without incurring extra costs.
  • The process of editing their website to be simple, without having to navigate cms systems that cater to programmers and html adepts.
  • The option to expand their website, adding new pages and functionality to evolve alongside their business expansion - without incurring exorbitant costs for a whole new website for each additional function.
  • The option of an updated and refreshed website design at a later time.
  • Automatic system upgrades as they become available, for a long-term website investment.

For the people that come to us wanting a website for their business, we simply say: "YES WE CAN MAKE IT WORK ~ JUST LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT"

Contact us today for a phone chat, or if you are in the Christchurch or Queenstown central areas, contact us to book a meeting and let's discuss what features and functionality would best suit your business, and how we can create exactly what you want.

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Posted in Website Design

3 Web Design Software That Will Be More Important in 2014

The days of text-only websites and spacer GIFs are long behind us. Today, websites are far more than sources of information; with graphic design, advanced coding and portable capabilities, websites are irreplaceable parts of every effective marketing strategy.

It’s rare to find a successful business today that doesn’t have a professional website. After all, every company could benefit from global exposure. But no matter what your industry, there are three elements that really define the quality of a webpage: looks, functionality and adjustability.

That may not be the latest secret in the digital world, but what many people don’t know is how new web design software are making professional sites easier than ever to create. This article will introduce a few software that will help developers save time and produce more advanced sites in 2014.

1. Xara Web Designer MX

It’s fairly common knowledge that WordPress offers a simple platform for novice designers. The content-management system (CMS) and versatile plugins make WP pages easy to develop and edit.

But WordPress, however useful it may be, still has its disadvantages. The biggest, perhaps, is its limited ability to design cutting-edge websites.

That’s where Xara Web Designer MX comes in. Like WordPress, Xara Web Designer MX offers a CMS platform but with advanced design capabilities, including:

 

  • Automatic image optimisation by resampling to 96dpi and saving as a PNG, eliminating the need of separate image-editing software
  • Advanced functionality, like pop-up images and mouse rollovers
  • Layer-based design that makes sophisticated websites easier to create
  • Thirty-three templates with customisable designs and colour schemes

As more start-ups take a swing at digital design, platforms like Xara Web Designer MX will only become more popular in 2014. Who knows? Maybe it will replace WordPress as the go-to software for novice developers.

For more information about the Xara Web Designer MX, visit ExpertReviews.co.uk.

2. CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor

The free version of CoffeeCup HTML Editor lacks a few features of the commercial software, but unless you’re a professional programmer, you probably won’t notice.

Although we don’t encourage the duplication of other sites, CoffeeCup HTML Editor makes it easy for businesses to examine and tweak the layout and content of an existing webpage. This could save loads of time in the layout-planning stage.

For more information about CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor, visit TechRadar.com.

3. Firebug

So, your website is just about ready, but it doesn’t quite work or look exactly how you’d like. Firebug can help here by taking care of vital yet sophisticated design techniques, including:

  • CSS coding
  • JavaScript debugging
  • Style adjustments
  • Cookie management
  • Load-time analysis

Web experts stand to gain just as much from using Firebug as newbies. It’s truly a powerful extension that can improve visitor experience and enhance website aesthetics and functionality.

Deciding to Go It Alone or Hire a Professional Web Designer

This is a decision that almost every modern business will face, and the right option really depends on your goals. A professional site, as you no doubt have heard, can be an incredible asset, expanding market reach, providing customers easy access to your services and, ultimately, driving more sales.

As an added bonus, professional designers can offer a mobile responsive website. You can follow this link to learn the benefits of developing a mobile website.

In either case, the right web design software can take your site to the next level. Some of these programs are free and easy to use; others cost money. For detailed reviews and cost analyses of website software, check out this article on TopTenReviews.com.

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Posted in Website Design

Christchurch Content Writing Service

At Activate Design, we offer a Content Writing Service for customers who are having a website created with us, or for whom we are producing print material such as brochures, posters and flyers.

As a content writer at Activate Design myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed recent opportunities to provide content writing services to a variety of businesses throughout New Zealand, assisting in the process of creative website development with direct and concise content for new websites, and for purposes of refreshing and expanding website content to coincide with a website recreation, update or relaunch with a fresh new website design.

Recently completed content has been produced by us for a variety of businesses undertaking website development and print marketing, including builders, painters and decorators, property management organisations, bio-security and decontamination specialists, interior designers, home loan experts, sign writers, architects,glass repairers and more.

As a writer it is a genuine pleasure and a welcome challenge to learn about such a variety businesses. During a meeting it does not take long to chat with a client about the most important aspects of their business to determine the main marketing aspects and areas of strength for showcasing on a website.

Written content for websites usually includes text for the following pages;

  • Home page - overview of business and what they offer.
  • About page - about the development of the business and the team.
  • Services page - key factors about the services offered.
  • Products page - key factors about the products offered.
  • History page - establishment and history of the business, which could include product development, personal histories of key staff, historical locations and more.
  • Gallery page - inclusive of keyworded content in association with each image
  • Contact page - to add a map, photos of premises, opening hours and all contact information.

Content Writing ServiceStudies have been done into the browsing habits of web users and it is generally understood that when a viewer lands on a website they will have made up their mind about the website suitability, in relation to their interests, in just a twentieth of the second.

What this means to a website development company is that each site must clearly display the nature of the business it represents, and offer attractive easily accessible information and written content such as clear headings and shorter sentences, to entice a viewer to read on.

Websites are not libraries. They are on the surface - quick-reference material for those on the go, while also containing more in-depth information for interested viewers.

A websites more indepth information, such as how the business was established and relevant experience of key staff, is also invaluable in providing validity for a business. For example, if a viewer is looking for an established company to manage the development and manufacture of a product, they will be looking for a website page on business history. This page should then provide the necessary information to validate the companies industry expertise. Whereas other viewers may simply be looking for an address and some quick contact information.

Personally, I often look up sites such as art stores to find their open-hours - and how frustrating it is when they're not listed! Make sure you list all possible information on your site so that your website is working for you 24/7 as a reference, a point of contact, and a proof of your validity as a professional in your industry.

I enjoy the challenge of writing content because for the most part, the workings, history, and products and services of business people that I meet are all an expedition into the unknown. I believe this introductory perspective is as great an advantage as it is a challenge, in that the content produced from learning about a business for the first time is then perhaps more clearly explained and defined than it otherwise would be if the writer were overly familiar with the company products and history.

The perspective of the writing can sometimes differ to suit what is best for a particular business. Sometimes the written perspective works best as being in the first person, for example "welcome to the Blue Shoe Company, we offer your our exquisite shoes in a variety of designs". At other times a third person perspective seems to work better with a particular website, for example "Blue Shoe Company offer products with a unique style and flair". WIth a third person style I like to include quotes from the management and staff, to ensure the site does speak direct to it's audience. Testimonials are also a great thing to include in your website content!

I believe in the discretionary nature of content writing as an esoteric service, provided for our clients with the intention of enabling them to speak directly to an online audience. Because of this belief I have not listed examples of websites for whom this service has been provided. However, if you are interested in looking at examples please contact me - Crystal at Activate Design, and I can advise on examples of completed content writing work, and discuss the provision of content writing for your business website or printed marketing material.

 

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Posted in Graphic Design

What are Infographics and How are They Used?

infographicimageInfographics are a method of representing data and processes visually using graphic design in a way that engages the viewer and enables them digest complex sets of information more easily. Graphic and web designers integrate infographics as a form of web content as part of online marketing strategies. Infographics have gained tremendous popularity in recent years due to their fun, engaging and creative ability to convey information, engage with wide audiences, and their tendency to go viral. Infographics are therefore a huge asset to web designers, bloggers and web content providers.

An effectively designed infographic should do the following:

  • Display relevant, accurate, often complex, and interesting information
  • Enable the viewer to absorb this information readily and enjoy doing so.
  • Be so compelling that the viewer is likely to share

What are the uses of infographics?

Here are some of the top uses of infographics:

Used as a tool for recruiting

Infographics can be used by designers or any applicant on their curriculum vitaes in order to effectively present their careers and their specific skill sets by utilising a personalised design style during job applications. The employers have also adopted the reversed version of these infographics by advertising a vacancy or presenting their company profile to prospective candidates.

These types of infographics will summarise the required skill set of an ideal candidate while also giving all the important facts and features of the company. Web designers should have a creative mind in order to make the job vacancy and the company as a whole appealing to all the prospective candidates.

Presenting survey data

Infographics are used to represent the results of a survey. The raw data in the form of numbers can often overwhelm readers. Infographics therefore organise and compress the data into a form that will make it easily digestible by the target audience.

Explaining how something works

Infographics are used to represent complex ideas in a simplified format. They can also be used to reveal the mechanics behind how an object or process works.

An infographics designer can reduce complex ideas, data, and processes to their core elements and represent the relationships between these components using simplistic design. Viewers can then visualise how each of the components come together as part of the bigger picture.

Draw comparisons

Infographics can visually display similarities and differences in data sets and / or processes or concepts, enabling the viewer to easily draw comparisons.

Interesting facts

Infographics can be used in order to make facts that may otherwise be boring, more fun and interesting. The simplicity and the visual appeal of infographics bring facts to life by creating an interesting interpretation and representation of the facts that can engage with large audiences.

Provide Information to consumers

It is no secret that a customer wants to make informed decisions when it comes to making purchases. It is therefore up to the businesses to provide information about their products and services in a simple, clear and concise format to their customer. Designers should therefore utilise infographics to do exactly that.

In summary

Infographics are an invaluable tool that can and should be used in your internet marketing strategy. They condense information into a visually appealing, and easily digestible document. They have a range of benefits and can be used through a large variety of niches.

You would be amazed at the types of infographics out there! Wired.com have compiled a list of the top 13 infographics of 2013, while the team at Creative Bloq have created a list of the top 80.

Contact us today to get started with your own infographics campaign!

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Posted in Graphic Design

This IS the Web Design Company you are looking for.

What impresses me about this company, as a humble employee, is the advice.

If you're already ranking well then there is no need to launch an SEO Campaign and we will can work with you to advise what will work for you - or what can be done at a later stage. We don't want you to come back to us with minimum results and say - "what did we do this for?"

The same applies if you're not ready to sell your products online. We can create a professionally designed effective online presence for your company. This initial cms website can start working towards establishing trust with your clients through providing valuable information and advice on your products and services. When you're ready to sell online we can make that happen.

We're here to work with you to ensure your website, your biggest form of marketing, effectively portrays your business. We will work with you to ensure you have a site that you can be proud to have representing your company 24/7.

Reduce Spam Prevent SpamSay "NO" to spam.

We get a lot of customers that ask us about emails and phone calls they've received to offer them SEO services, better rankings and website re-designs. That fact is - so do we!

On occasion we ask these companies; "do you know who we are and what we actually do?", simply because we do SEO and create websites ourselves. But in the blanket-marketing of contacts that we receive, the common theme seems to be that no, they don’t know what we do because they haven’t taken the time to find our what we do.

Blanket emails are a problem because they waste the time of the people receiving them. If you are thinking about having a website developed, redesigned, or to undertake an SEO campaign by a trusted New Zealand company who will not only do the work themselves with in-house designers and developers, but who will also host your website on a secure New Zealand-based server, give us a call.

We offer free no obligation quotes, and will find out about your business and the benefits you hope to achieve by having a strong and professional online presence. We’ll be able to offer suggestions and a solution to suit your needs and budget.

Don't get caught out by spam troopers

  • Ensure your design company do the work themselves, and don't outsource oversesas
  • Ensure your website will be hosted on a secure New Zealand based server
  • Ensure you will own your website and all content
  • Can you edit your website? It may be worth the extra cost in the long run to have a Content Management Website (CMS) this is simple for you to edit and keep updated.
  • Use a professional email address using your domain name, ie. admin@supertrooper.co.nz - this email address can forward to your usual email account, but looks a lot more professional on your website and printed stationary than an .xtra, .hotmail or .paradise account etc.
  • Find out if your design studio can be a one-stop shop for logo design and branding, website design, development and hosting, domain management and printing services to save you time and to ensure the continuity of your brand.

If you're thinking of having your website re-designed, would like advice on SEO or website hosting, or for any other queries relating to marketing your business, give the team at Activate Design a call today on 0800 30 8996, or email the team if convenient.

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Posted in Branding

Knowing what you want in a website

Website Information for New Projects

Can you change hosting when you choose? Or are you locked in to a plan? Do you own your website? What is a domain name and who owns the domain? There are so many things to know when deciding a website but really, it can be quite simple and I will try to explain it so;

 

Having a website created will involve these steps;

1. Spend time looking at other websites to see what you like. Have a look at websites in general, and websites in your industry.

See if there is anything that stands out for you, that you like, and any functionality that you would want on your own website. Doing this will give you a better idea of how your own website can surpass your competitors and give you a unique edge. This is something that any good creative agency would do anyway, but it gives you a chance to know what you want and be able to ask for exactly what you want.

Stepping Stones to Website Development

2. Talking to a creative design studio.

Meet with a representative from one or more design studios.

a. The Design Studio representative:

This person should have full knowledge of all I.T. innovation and be able to advise on the right website solution for you. Ensure they spark your enthusiasm about undertaking a website project because it is an investment that will need your input into the content, and your commitment to completion.

b. Future Costs for website changes: Keep in mind that there may be functionality on your website that you don't need right now, but that you may wish to include later. Ensure that these add-ons are possible with the website you will be getting, and what the cost of adding them on will be.

For example; you may wish to sell online in future, but for now a portfolio-type site would suit you best. How much to add a product database and payment functionality in future? You may wish to add small things at a later date, such as a link to a business Facebook page or a twitter feed, or you may want simple changes done such as removing or replacing an image or text.

You need to know how much your design agency will be charging you for any changes and additions once your website is up and running, and ensure you will receive a fair rate.

Strategy for Website Design

c. Website Hosting: Hosting is like paying for a carpark, it is paying for the space that a website takes up on a server. Ask how much will it hosting cost. Is it charged monthly or annually? It may be advisable to phone around if you're not sure what fair hosting prices should be.

Is your website going to be hosting on a secure New Zealand based server? If not, there could be delays in getting changes done if it's hosted somewhere overseas. It may also end up being much slower to load that a site that is hosted locally.

Can you move your website to another host provider when you choose, or are you locked into a contract? This may also be a deciding factor for what type of site you choose to go with as some websites have a centralised database and cannot be moved, but others are independent and can be moved easily. Check how much notice you need to give to move a site or cancel your hosting to allow yourself that flexibility.

A warning about ownership : a rare practice that you need to be very aware of is that some design agencies claim to own your written content and sometimes even images, if you have a site built with them. This means that even if you move your website they can take action against you if you continue to use what they see as their content. It's an unfair practice which is simply used to prevent you from ever moving your site, and it's a practice we strongly disagree with. Like your logo, your website is your investment and ownership of all content should belong to you. Limitations of shifting your hosting should only come down to the type of site that you have, thought they may include technical issues such as whether the new server that will host your website has the specifications to do so.

d. Domain Names: A domain name is like a signpost pointing to your website, for example our domain name is (activatedesign.co.nz). Your website won't be accessible without one, and it may be good to have all aspects of your website in one place.

Can the studio manage your domain name and how much do they charge for annual domain name renewal? A standard charge for a .co.nz domain name is $30+gst per year. Ensure you're getting a fair deal by phoning around if necessary.

This information should give you a starting point with which to know what questions to ask to ensure you're getting the best possible website for yourself. If you have any further questions you're welcome to contact us, or give us a call on 0800 30 8996.

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Posted in Website Design

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.

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