Get Online: The Problem With Free Websites

Get Online: The Problem With Free Websites

Get Online for Free

Every now and then we see another genius internet business plan - "Lets give away free websites!" The idea is a simple one: Lure people in by offering them free websites so you can quickly grow a large base of hosting customers that are locked into paying you. Often we've been asked what we think about the strategy of 'free websites.' Especially since we are also a hosting company, would it not make business sense for us to offer free websites as well?

From our point of view, giving away something for nothing has never been a good business strategy. We are only interested in businesses who are serious about success and I don't know of a single successful website business that started out as a 'free template.' The old saying 'there are no free lunches' is as relevant online as ever. You need to ask yourself: Why is it free? What are they really wanting in return? If you can't answer those questions then rest assured you are giving them something, you just don't know what it is yet.

If you signup for a free website template you will compromise on a combination of the following:

• Generic template layout. When you are choosing a website template, how many other people are choosing exactly the same site? They might be called 'custom websites' but there is often very little that is custom about them, apart from choosing a background colour and uploading your logo into the banner. That isn't 'custom.' Internet users are increasingly savvy and can smell an el-cheapo website a mile away - not good if you want to be taken seriously.

• Inability to add new functionality; membership areas, image display sliders, product features, video, interactive elements etc.

• Little control over the layout. You'd better really like that template because there is no changing it down the track, unless you want to start over.

• Most search engines ignore them! What is the point in having a website if you have no traffic and can't do a SEO campaign to get any traffic because you are on a free template structure?

• You don't own the site. You can't host it elsewhere. You can't back it up. You can't upgrade it.

• Hidden on going costs. Be very careful how much the on-going hosting costs are going to be. Whenever I look at free website companies it's often very difficult to actually find out how much the hosting costs are! They don't tell you, or they offer you 12 months free and then it will just be a small monthly cost. You need to know what it's going to cost and shop around to see if that price is actually a fair price considering the point above.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to free websites. In the end it is your choice and many people simply do not know enough about websites to make an informed decision. They simply see a working website, not too different from their competitors, and it's free! They saved themselves maybe $1000. Many of these people come to us a year or two later saying: 'The free website idea was a silly thing to do - I just didn't really know.. I thought since it was free that it couldn't hurt.'  If you are serious about the success of your business then forget about $5 logos and free websites. Or give the free thing a go and we'll talk to you in a years time.

Posted in Website Design

Branding Colours and Graphic Design for Christchurch New Zealand

Branding Colours and Graphic Design for Christchurch New Zealand

Changing the colour of your branding can be a bold step. But you need to first ask yourself if you want to select a new colour or modify the existing look by adding a colour. This is based on the principal of whether or not you want customers to associate the old with the new, keeping with your traditional look or launching into a new business persona.

For example; you could have an existing car company that uses yellow in it’s logo and stationary - do you want to update the colour and refresh your brand by moving to a yellow and blue combination? Or completely start over and go with a green? Making this choice will be making a statement about your business. Are you wanting to blast off in a new direction and make a bold new decision about the look of your company, or keep with your existing look and feel while updating and letting your clients know you are changing with the times?

Branding is something we are here to assist with, but not a business decision that that should be taken lightly. We advise you to think very carefully about the colours that best represent you and the products and services you offer, and we will use our expertise to assist this decision and update your identity through design and creative innovation.

If you are a product-based company, do your products have colour and brand connection? This is an area where your consumers will make unconscious choices on which brands they buy, based on colour effectively communicating with a brand. An example of this would be if you were a toothpaste producer - your consumers would expect a blue or a green colour, perhaps with a highlight of yellow or orange. They would not react well to brown, red or black packaging as those colours do not associate well with toothpaste in the minds of consumers. This is a tricky situation, in which your product needs to stand out from it’s competition, but also must maintain a colour - brand connection.

In a similar fashion you would not use blue or green to package a bread product - but there are always exceptions to the rule. As we control the process from design to print, we understand the print processes that are involved in creating your brand and packaging, and as such we can assist with innovations in design, colour and investing some new life into your business and the image you wish to portray to your consumers.

Contact us to discuss investing new life into your company, products, branding and printed stationary and signage. We are graphic designers, web designers, and print specialists with years of experience in helping new zealand business grow.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design

Graphic Design and Website Design for Successful Business in Christchurch!

Graphic Design and Website Design for Successful Business in Christchurch!

We want to help small to medium sized businesses open their doors to compete with corporate identities. We have both the technology and the design skills, coupled with our positive and friendly team attitude, to work with you in successfully marketing your products and services in the great ocean of opportunity that is - the internet.

We are Graphic Designers, Website Developers, Print Specialists. Some of us are practically technical geniuses! - and can create iPhone Applications and iPad Applications to give you the edge to stay ahead of modern trends. Why limit your business and your potential points of contact to just a business card?

Yes, the business card is still an essential tool which we believe will never be outdated, but it’s still only a prompt, a teaser, a handy little must-have item to encourage your potential clients and current contacts to dig a little deeper. Beyond the business card is your online presence - and if you’re not there, if you’re not instantly accessible, that will be it for some people. They will find someone who is.

We’re impatient people us modern folk, and businesses today must cater to that need and step up to accommodate modern clientele and their modern expectations. You must be instantly accessible, offer clear concise information about what you do, what you offer, when you are open and what hours you are open, and how to contact you - both through email and direct contact if needed.

A website allows your business to be accessible 24/7 - removing the usual limitations of traditional business. Yes, you certainly may not answer your phone in the small hours, but your website will be dutifully working for you - offering information, showing the quality of your products and services and promoting, promoting, promoting.

Give us a call - peruse the rest of our website! Our doors are open and we are here to open your doors to the world - through website design and website development, graphic design, logo design, branding, printing, social media (including creating a facebook or other social media presence), and we even offer secure and fast website hosting.

We are all that you need to promote yourself and all that you could want to make the experience an enjoyable one. Contact us today to discuss your many options and let us help you put out the welcome mat.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Printing, Website Design

Window shopping on websites

Window shopping on websites

For a customer, website shopping is like going to a store. They will browse for a bit, skim the first bit of written information available, and grab whatever catches their eye - perhaps dashing into a changing room for a quick try.

This is much like browsing websites in that your potential customer will skim your page, flick over your text for the highlights of information they find relevant, and perhaps click on any links that catch their eye and perhaps dash through to your linked pages for more information.

This means you need a clear main website page with easily accessible information, clear readily available information - or highlights of your information where a person can glean the more important factors and sale points of how you can benefit them. Next you need graphics to portray the quality of what you provide, with clearly labelled links to show easy access through to more detailed information and perhaps further imagery - keeping all information clear and concise on your website.

At Activate Design we live and breathe the principals of good website design. We have a fantastic mix of experts in our web development team ; with graphic designers, web developers, printing experts and iPad and iPhone App developers, we can create a website for you that you’ll be proud of. We also can handle your printed stationary in the form of business cards, business stationary and any other printing needs. It's what we do. It's what we love. Contact us today!

Posted in Website Design

What do you mean you don't have a website?

What do you mean you don't have a website?

If you own a business in today’s modern, technology-driven world, people expect you to have a website. Simple fact.

A business without a website is the exception and in our techno-conscious society we can be put-out by not having instant access to a companies’ information, quickly and efficiently, from their website. I’ll tell you that it frustrates me when I am stopped in my tracks while internet surfing to compare product prices, by a company that either has no website to speak of, or does not have relevant, up-to-date information on their products and services. Those companies are simply missing out as consumers bypass them on their way to find companies with open and instant information.

It can seem a major challenge to have a website created, for those who are unfamiliar with the process, and that’s where we rise to the challenge of assisting the move into creating an online presence for businesses and individuals alike. We can work with you to create a website; an internet catalog or e-commerce site. An e-commerce site being, by definition, a website developed to allow businesses to sell products over the internet to customers, whereas an internet catalogue could simply be an online portfolio to advertise what you have to offer.

At Activate Design we specialise in Website Design and Website Development, working alongside you, the client, to create something both visually attention-grabbing and functional. We can turn our skills to logo design or a re-creation of your existing logo, to give your company a spring-board start in 2012 with a fresh look and a tighter focus on how you wish to be perceived by your customers and industry competitors alike. We don't just do websites! Come and see us for your printing needs as we are a versatile company that can arrange both Offset and Digital printing, can assist with finding the right solution for your business stationary needs – from business cards to letterheads, compliments slips, and promotional material. We can take you through the process right from design and creation, to printing and finishing.

Speaking of which, this is a great time of year to get your promotional printing and products out there and start promoting yourself! Think about creating a calendar that will advertise your business for you all year, or greeting cards to say thank you for business in 2011 and to generate new business that will launch you toward more sales and get you known!

The possibilities are endless once the creative minds at Activate Design get a chance to do what we do best – we are the idea factory for promoting your skills, products and services, so contact us today – this week – NOW! And get your business on the right track for 2012.

Posted in Website Design

Graphic Design info on CMYK, Spot Colours and RGB.

Graphic Design info on CMYK, Spot Colours and RGB.

Further to the previous blog detailing basic setup for designing your own business cards and DIY print setup, here is some simple yet useful information about choosing and using colour in your designs; for your company logo, or for printing in general.

Digital printing is done in CMYK; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. (Blue is ‘B’ so that is why black is ‘K’). Generally, whatever you need printed, be it letterheads, business cards, compliments slips, brochures and flyers or most other business stationary or printed material will be printed Digitally. The exception will be if you want to do very large quantities, say if you needed x 2000 or x 5000 brochures - Offset printing in this case is far more cost effective than Digital, as Offset “plates” are made of your design and can be re-used. This is also the reason why repeat print runs are better printed Offset - by repeat runs I mean printing that does not change in design, and is printed regularly, ie. brochures or rackcards.

Offset printing is traditionally the better quality print process. These days it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference as more modern digital technology becomes available. At Activate Design we print using both processes, but we still print most of our business cards Offset for several reasons; 1. Print quality is better. 2. With this process we can print on a thicker card than can be done on a Digital machine. And 3. We print our Offset business cards on a “ganged print run”, which means we print multiple cards on one sheet and print all at the same time, making it much more cost effective for you, the client. Sometimes this sheet can also include ‘double-cards’ - folded business cards, or even bookmarks and postcards - anything that requires that thicker more sturdy card stock, and the brilliant quality that is achieved on an Offset printing press.

All of this printing, both Digital and Offset, is CMYK. However - Offset printing can either be done as spot colours only, or as a single or multiple spot colour in addition to CMYK inks.

These are the questions you need to ask yourself before designing a logo or any printed stationary if you are wondering whether to use Spot Colours (ie. a specific Pantone Colour). Do you absolutely need the specific colour that you choose? Or will an approximation of that colour suffice? Bear in mind spot colours will cost more and I’ll tell you why...

Here's how it works ; on an Offset printing press the four CMYK colours are set in the machine and they look a bit like the plastic paint trays you would use for painting a wall at home. If we add a Spot colour (Pantone Colour) to the printer, then we are adding a fourth paint tray to the process. The Spot colour is added from a tin very much like the paint samples you would get from your local decor shop. There is a tin of “ink” for every Pantone colour available - but printers would not stock them all of course, if unavailable they would need to be ordered in - adding process time to your job. Offset presses differ but some can add more than one spot colour as they have a tray each for C,M,Y and K, plus one or more extra trays to add your spot colour or colours. Adding the spot colour itself is a bit of a process, the trays must be cleaned and emptied after each print run is complete. A spot colour can add a significant cost onto the job, but in some cases it is well worth it.

I recall one gym that had a very vibrant green as their company colour. They wanted to “own” this colour, and they did - by choosing a specific spot colour and having their large brochure run done with this Offset process it certainly created a dynamic and recognisable colour scheme for their business. I believe they ran their job using their spot colour and black only - which is another option for printing and would lower the cost from using CMYK - by using a single Spot colour and black, they made their job a "two colour" job. So this is some other options to keep in mind - could limit your colour palette thus making your job a "one colour", "two colour" or "three colour" job?

With using Spot colours, the trouble can then occur if you need some other quick printing done, say, just a hundred business cards. Can you match the colour? You would not print just one hundred cards on an Offset press using a spot colour as the quantity is too small so you would need to print Digitally. On a Pantone chart, it does say next to each colour whether that colour is achieveable in CMYK - some are, many are not, and it does also depend on the skill of the printer who may need to adjust the print settings of his or her digital machine to match your spot colour exactly. And that does not mean it will be able to be matched exactly on a digital machine the next time you need your cards or stationary printed! Digital machines are changable and almost impossible to have 100% the same each time you print as they are affected by paper stock, condition of the paper (ie. moisture content, temperature it was stored in, age of the paper), temperature of the room where the printer is running, and various other factors too numerous to mention.

So basically here it is ; if you want a specific colour for your logo - can it be achieved in CMYK? Will you be printing quantities large enough to justify Offset printing using a Spot/Pantone colour? I recommend you get quotes on printing potential print runs before you set your heart on a specific colour, or decide if you will be happy with an approximation of that colour - remember, with Digital printing it may be spot-on first time but for future print runs it may alter slightly - will that be an issue for you?

When you are setting up your file and you’ve decided to use CMYK - ensure your colours are CMYK in the file. If you have used a Pantone colour - which is common when choosing a colour - make sure you convert that colour to CMYK in your swatches panel. If you give a printer a file with a Pantone colour in it, they will sometimes charge you to convert that colour to CMYK - with or without your knowledge.

If you wish to print your work on an Offset Press - ensure your colour is set as a Pantone Colour. With Pantone colours there is also the option to have the colour as a “coated” or “uncoated” colour. This is in reference to the paper type you will be printing on which will have an effect on how the colour will turn out. Uncoated paper tends to absorb more of the ink, making the colour appear darker, whereas the ink tends to sit more on top with Coated papers, making the ink appear brighter in comparison. Do you know which paper you prefer? Uncoated is like the refil paper most of us use day to day, whereas Coated paper is more like the glossy stuff of magazines or travel brochures. If you choose to print your work with us, we will happily talk you through these things whether you wish to prepare the file for print yourself or not. If you are using any other printer, it would be wise to contact them and ask them how they would like the file setup, ask them how much bleed is required (if any) and whether you should use Coated or Uncoated Pantone colours - depending on which stock they will use to print your job.

And finally RGB - this spectrum of colours has a wider range of colours than does CMYK - BUT! Not all of these can be produced on a printer at all. RGB is really for viewing on a monitor only, so use these for websites or wallpaper - anything that does not require printing. If you are designing an image in RGB you may get a shock at how dull your colours will appear once you convert them to CMYK, and the design may need a lot of tweaking to get back to how you invisaged it - much better to design for print in CMYK and avoid surprises.

Most printers will be able to offer you a “Printed Proof”, which is a first printed copy of what your whole run will look like. They will likely want to show you this on the same day as the job will be printed, and this will usually only be if the job is to be printed Digitally (there is too much setup on an Offset press to be able to run a proof first). This is recommended if you are colour conscious with your design.

I hope this intro to CMYK, Spot Colours and RGB has been useful. Please feel free to contact me for any questions, and as designers and printers ourselves, we are always willing to take the worry out of designing and printing by talking you through your options and doing our creative best with your current business logo, business stationary, or printed marketing material - making use of our top notch team of graphic designers, website developers and hosting professionals, web designers, software developers, web programmers, and production personages.

Posted in Graphic Design, Printing

Graphic Design Business Cards

Graphic Design Business Cards

So you’ve decided to design your own business cards. This happens for many reasons - you may be a student wanting to cut costs, you may have an existing design that you can update and get printed without needing a professional designer, or you may be a designer yourself, merely requiring the digital or offset print services that we supply. If you have your own design then we are more then happy just to help you through the next process of deciding which direction to go with printing your business cards - or letterheads, compliments slips, brochures, envelopes and more, and we can arrange your printing for you. We will take your design file, run it through our pre-press checks, add it to a ganged-print offset run or slip it into the que for smooth digital printing and deliver to you a printed product you can be proud of.

So if you are a budding graphic designer, a computer-savvy business-person or just a somebody doing it themselves in the true kiwi way - here are some tips and advice on designing your own business card including layout design, file setup and print-ready exporting; enjoy.

Standard business card size has always been 90 x 55 millimetres. A new size that has become print standard is 86 x 55 millimetres. This new size allows cards to fit better into wallets, so it’s very popular - but either size will do. I should say here that if you have your own printer you would be best to ask them the setup and specifications they require for a print file. Every printer can be a little bit different, and some may charge to change your file to their specs, and charge you without letting you know you could have prevented this fee by changing the file yourself - or asking beforehand, as I recommend. Here I will list the standard requirements that any non-trained designer should be able to do. Nothing fancy, just simple file setup.

Before you start getting all creative, set your page up to the right size. Make your page size the size of the business card plus the bleed that is needed around the outside edge of the file. If you want your business card to have a white background, it is still recommended to do this. So for a 90 x 55mm card, make your page size 93 x 58mm. This adds just 1.5 millimetres of bleed onto each edge of the card, but printers need this extra so when they trim they are trimming within the margin of your card design - there is no way they could trim your cards neatly if they had to trim exactly on the edge of your card! You would either loose to much of your design, or you would see white edges where the design finishes - not good either way. If you would like an 86 x 55mm card, make your page size 89 x 58mm.

Next I would suggest making a box that is the ‘trim size’ of your card - 90 x 55mm or 86 x 55mm, and placing this onto your page in the centre. Then you can see exactly where the edges of your business card will be. If the box will be in the way - use the guides on the page to mark where this size is, then delete the box. The important thing with knowing the trim size of your business card - or any design for print - is that you do not place any text too close to the edge. “Keep all text 3mm in from the trim edge” is a good rule to go by. The same applies for graphics - but in many cases you may want the picture to bleed off the edge of your card, so in that case you would ensure your picture is stretched right to the edge of your page and into that bleed area.

After all that you’re ready to go - but the basic principals of setting a page up correctly before you start is a sound one and could save you many, many hassles later on - and even save you money from the print companies who may wish to charge you to fix a file with or without notifying your first.

Design, design, design! There are many sources of inspiration online should you wish to go searching, or if you have your own company logo or brand colours or design - use those. Ensure any logos you use are good enough quality for print - files from the net or pictures taken from websites and online will often not be good enough for print - this is because screen resolution (the quality of an image to view online - 72dpi) is so much less than print resolution (min. 300 dpi), that web images for print rarely work. If you’re not sure don’t worry - we check all our files before proceeding to print.

Once you have a design you’re happy with and have ensured nothing is too close to the edge to be cut-off, then you’re about ready to export the file or save the file for print. Save your current file! I hope it was saved at the beginning but if not - save now! Next step; Convert your fonts. IF, and that’s a big if - the software you’re using has this ability - then select “convert fonts to paths” or it could be “convert fonts to outlines” - which is the same thing. This is usually found in a drop-down menu. Basically this converts all your fonts into graphic ‘bits’ or images. They are no longer fonts, and this means they cannot be edited like fonts anymore so don’t save over your original file!!!! If you wish to save this file, add ‘ctp’ (converted to paths) onto the end of your file name, or simply write ‘paths’ in the file name. We convert our fonts because each computer has different fonts, some the same, sure, but if the printer’s computer doesn’t have a specific fancy font you’ve used, it may by default convert your font to a standard font with none the wiser until you receive your printed business card and realise that’s not what you wanted! Argh! Terribly disapointing so let’s avoid that.

I am aware at this point that some home publishing software may not have this convert fonts option - let your printer know if this is the case. Even better - if you can include a screen capture or print-out of what your file should look like then you will know you’ve done everything you can to get the print design you want and are expecting.

Export or save (depending on your software options) your file as a PDF. This is standard print file type. Try to avoid JPEG or JPG file types - this file type compresses the file, lowering the quality. PDF is best, and this advice is simply from my own 10 years experience in the industry. Open your file to check it - PDF’s open in Adobe Acrobat (a great program to have handy!), and you can check that the file size that exported includes the bleed, as it should have. Your business card file should be 93 x 58mm or 89 x 58mm.

Send the file to us - or to an experienced professional print broker of your choice - and best of luck!

In future blogs I will go into some related topics for designing your own, such as; whether or not to use Pantone Colours, CMYK colours or RGB colours, and explaining Vector and Bitmap file types and Digital vs Offset printing. Meanwhile if you have any questions or things you want me to write about for your information, please feel free to drop us an email.

If this is all a bit much we would love to design something wonderful and creative that suits your own business and marketing needs - get in touch and we will arrange a meeting to discuss your ideas and flood you with our own. Likewise if you need a website or a website update, website hosting, iPhone applications or iPad apps, or any other digital or offset printing, die-cutting, custom printing or marketing products, talk to us we can help. Graphic design is what we do!

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Printing

Graphic Design businesses in New Zealand

Graphic Design businesses in New Zealand

If there was ever a time that we, as Kiwi’s, feel a pride in our country, in our lifestyle and our people, it is now. So right now, use that feeling; that force of pride, to re-orient your business toward success.

There has never been a better time than now.

At Activate Design we have revelled in the sucess that New Zealand has seen, witnessed the struggles and the sheer amount of work that has been put in through so many arenas ; both sporting and marketing, image and organisation, management and creativity - these things that have had to come to a new level of quality to show New Zealand is the beautiful country we know it to be - for those many, many visitors that have come to see where we are lucky enough to live. And it’s been through this marketing of our country that many of us have come to realise how amazing we are, how awesome are the things we have to offer - places to go, people to meet - and that it is simply through time and effort that we can PUT THE POLISH ON WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE CAN DO and present ourselves to the world in the same light.

We want to continue this snowball of enthusiasm. We passionately want to use that feeling that the World Cup has instilled in each of us as we have brought that home into our own business, and through us into your own companies - and we know we need to do this now. So here is the call for action - come to see us now, today, this week, make contact, take those first steps to grabbing some of the abundance of New Zealand pride and let us inject it into your own marketing and business image while the feeling is fresh. While the world is watching.

We are graphic designers, marketing experts, logo designers and website developers. We have the motivation and we have the skill to grab this opportunity that New Zealanders have been given and pass it on to you. We want to make your business shine the way our team has shone. We know that New Zealand has world class service providers and best of the best products and services to offer but we need to shine the light and tell the world, tell those who visit our country - and there will be a lot more coming to see our beautiful country now!

What we have done through hosting the World Cup is effectively market our country to any and all potential visitors, and this is exactly what you need to do with your business. You need to shine the light on what you do - is your website up to scratch? Do you have one? Does it rise to the challenge that we have risen to as a country and show the quality of what you do? Is your brand recognisable? Is it sharp and clean and representitive of your business identity?

We want to see New Zealand businesses grabbing the marketing ball and running with it - right down to the small stuff. NOW is the time to come and see us to re-brand or smarten up that existing brand, to get that website up and running with style and flair, to get that range of print stationary to show your brand and identity in a classy way - not a mis-match of styles and colours. We can both design and arrange the printing of your business needs from business cards to letterheads, printed pens, pads, compliments slips, bookmarks, christmas cards, invitations, promotional posters and flyers, brochures, all these print tools we can use to advertise and reinforce your brand so we can ensure you offer the same level of quality to your customers, and inspire other businesses to rise to the same level. Our skills extend into social media, websites, web hosting, iPhone applications and iPad applications and we welcome your queries and interest in this area to see how these modern marketing tools can be used to your benefit.

hope you can sense the passion that we have, here at Activate Design, to bring some success to our fellow Kiwis. We hope you see the sense of urgency that comes from this unique opportunity, to springboard from this recently gained success and recognition and ensure that YOU are seen, that YOU benefit from standing up with a polished brand and identity in what you do - standing shoulder to shoulder with the successful, proud, business people of New Zealand.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Printing, Website Design

From concept to design to print!

From concept to design to print!

Need to get some printing done? It can be hard to know where to go, what to print onto, how to print, who to trust, and how to ensure you get what you need for the best quality and sharpest price available. There are so many options and so many methods to get an idea from the screen to the page, and we’d like to help.

Not only do we, at Activate Design - design, build and host websites - we design for print! If it’s letterheads, compliments slips, docket books, t-shirts, coasters, menus or even the humble business card that you require - we’re the ones to introduce you to the process and get the printing you need, done right. We can manage your promotional stationary from logo conception right through to final printing right here in Christchurch and around the country. We can source and produce speciality items such a pens and balloons for printing onto, or perhaps you would like a run of plastic business cards, or transparent cards, rather than the traditional paper-based media? We are forever looking for new challenges and ways to assist New Zealand companies in promoting themselves and we stand above other print companies in our ability to do so with our wider range of skills and services on offer.

We understand the processes involved, and most importantly, we understand when designing a company brand, company logo, or concept for print - that there are limitations to what may look amazing on-screen, and how that logo or brand may need to be manipulated to look just as amazing for print. Issues such as how many colours are used, what colours you need to achieve, and the print processes that will best achieve this; or how to maintain the evenness of a colour throughout many different print runs, on potentially many different printers; and perhaps how to produce your specific design on a very large scale - such as banners and posters, and then to produce the same concept on a small media - such as pens or drink bottles. Design must be flexible, and so must we, when working with you to conceptualise and create a brand or design that markets you.

As design is what we’re here to do, come and see us for the printing that you need, we will gladly take on your projects and requirements, be they the printed page or on-screen outputs such as iPhones Applications, Web Developement and Hosting or getting your company into the Social Media scene.

When working with printing options - Digital printing is one common method of having excellent quality printing to you in a very short time-frame. This can be your letterheads and notepads, business cards and brochures. But what about larger quantities? For bigger output we will look at “Offset Printing” your work, to see if this more traditional method of printing would better suit what you require. Offset printing is suitable for larger quantities, and is the technology that makes most magazines and catalogues possible. Not to mention larger quanties of handouts, flyers and promotional material such as postcards and questionaires. Offset printing requires plates to be made, and these plates can be kept and re-used for many further print runs, much like the negatives that were created from your old camera films could be stored and re-used to produce further photographs. In this way offset printing may be the right choice for larger on-going print runs, such as company letterheads. Offset printing can often be a longer-turnaround process than Digital Print, but traditionally the quality is better, though arguably Digital Printing has certainly caught up.

With offset printing there is also the option to produce a “base print” - this is where we would print, for example, the background of your brochure, and any text or information that is not likely to change. The plates would be made for this job and kept for future runs, then another plate/s would be made to overprint these original background images with any information that may change, such as contact details or services you offer. This can be a wonderful cost-saving way to print, as you would print bulk-quantities of the “base-print” product, be it brochures, letterheads or flyers, etc. Then as needed, we would over--print these existing prints with your current information, as required. For flyers, it may be a monthly special offer that changes, or if letterheads, you may wish to use the same background image on a “base-print” but have the information change for different related companies or branches. These are some of the ways we can look at organising the printing requirements for your company.

Contact us for more information or to arrange a meeting where we can discuss progressing your ideas to print or online media... and adding a few ideas of our own to push your business out in front.

Posted in Graphic Design, Printing

Upgrade Your Logo Design

So it's probably time you upgraded your old logo. Right?

When logos are not designed with both the web and print media in mind, it can cause you a whole lot of issues with colour / resolution / print reproduction and digital reproduction - all kinds of headaches we know how to work around - or better yet - create a NEW brand with these issues in mind. At Activate Design we have the advantage of being in both the online media and print industry, to work with the boundaries of any media.

Let’s face it - your logo is under a whole lot more pressure these days. It needs to be able to be reproduced on such a variety of different media. It needs to work on your business card - there’s a start. But will you go Offset or Digital with your printing? Or both?! Spot colours work with Offset printing, where if you must have that exact shade of Agent 99 Red - then you’re going to get it. Digital can be hit and miss, but it can also be a cheaper way to go with some printing. Understanding the colour breakdown of what you want to accomplish can take us a looooong way to helping you choose the right colour.

How many colours? If you were producing full colour print for every advert then go all out, but if you’re small, you may want to think about costs of colour say, for printing onto bags, balloons or usb drives. Products where your logo must be small, simple, and easy to read even in on something as small and simple as a pen.

Websites, Social media sites - your logo has to have punch. It needs to be recognised in the 3 seconds it takes most people to skim over a page online. If it’s particularly interesting, you may get people stopping to check it out - fantastic! It’s got to show the theme or style of your business, it’s gotta shout out that you’re the last stop for that product or service that’s needed, tease them a little, and lead them to your own website. You don’t have a website?! See us urgently for web development to coincide with your company rebranding!! We can even host your website and organise your printing right here at Activate Design in Christchurch!

Have you thought how your logo would appear on an iPhone or iPad application? Is it straightforward enough not to lose it’s impact on a small hand-held device? It needs to be. Who knows where it may end up... Some of here at Activate practically live in cyber-space and there’s a lot of new stuff going on - a lot of new platforms for you to springboard a new improved company brand - including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, etc. etc.

Rebranding is a way to ensure your logo and identity keep up with todays print and media trends. Let us professionals give your business a new logo from which to spring forth. It is spring, after all. Challenge us to get Activated! on your project and generate new interest and new beginnings, for your company.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design