Let's get started!

preferred reply

Logo Footer

Office: 205 Durham Street (top floor)
Christchurch CBD 8011
PO Box 3871, Christchurch, NZ

Enquiries: 0800 30 8996
(03) 964 5305 - Reception

Web Support:
(03) 961 1106 - Support


Facebook X Instagram Vimeo
Activate Design Limited

Professional email addresses for business

search engine list on smart phone

If you’re serious about starting or growing your business, you need a professional email address that is attached to your domain.

When someone searches for your email address, you don’t want them to find something like yourname@gmail.com. It looks unprofessional.

Instead, you’ll want to provide them a business email address that is attached to your website’s domain name. For example, if your company’s website is yourbusiness.com, your business email address might be something like one of the following:

  • name@yourbusiness.co.nz


  • [first initial][last name]@yourbusines.co.nz


  • [first name].[last name]@yourbusiness.co.nz

    email image concept letter with @ symbol


Benefits of Having a Business Email Address

As already mentioned, a business email address is a sign of professionalism. In addition to that, a domain-hosted email address can provide a host of other benefits. 


If your business has several employees, a consistent email address format is essential.  It establishes trust with customers, vendors, contractors, etc., and makes it easier for them to understand who they’re communicating with.

Imagine a customer has filed a customer service ticket, and they get a response from sportsplayer123@gmail.com claiming to be a customer service agent for your company. 

Instantly, a sense of distrust and unprofessionalism is established. 

Furthermore, if your business has multiple departments with several employees in each, you can create email accounts for entire departments such as contact@yourbusiness.co.nz or service@yourbusiness.com.


Let’s say Nikki owns a business: Mountain Climbing Guided Tours; and her website domain is mountainclimbinguidedtours.co.nz.

Now imagine her email address is nikki@mountainclimbinguidedtours.co.nz.

Pretty long right?

But with domain email hosting, she has complete control over the email address destination. To shorten the address she could simply abbreviate the address to nikki@mountaintours.co.nz or even shorter, nikki@mcgt.co.nz.

Business Systems & Growth

Let’s say you hire a new employee. 

Imagine how much easier it would be for team members to communicate with their new colleague if all email addresses followed the same format, rather than having to learn everyone’s own unique address. 

Not to mention, some software applications & integrations require a business domain email address to use.

Advertise Your Website

Having a business email address is one of the simplest ways to advertise your website. Unless you decide to change the formatting, a business email address is commonly formatted as @yourdomain.co.nz or @yourdomain.com. 

Thus, if you are reaching out to potential customers or vendors, having your domain name present in the email address will make it that much easier for them to locate your website online. 

Changing Providers

Let’s say you begin your email hosting services with Google. But suddenly, you’re unhappy with the service, costs, etc. 

If you decide to change email hosting providers, you can still maintain the same company email addresses. 

But if you decide to change providers with an email such as yourbusiness@gmail.com, you’ll have to change your email address. This might require you to update customers & vendors of your new address, and spend time updating subscriptions or other business-related items with your new address. It’s simply a hassle.

Email & Technical support, Dedicated Email Hosting, and Peace of Mind 

Here at Activate Design, we can host your professional domain email address on our secure, New Zealand-based server. 

If you have a website hosted with us, then email hosting using the same domain becomes complimentary. How easy is that? 

Keep your website, emails and domain management all in one place and we have friendly, knowledgeable staff here to help with setup, queries, ongoing support and assistance to ensure your brand is supported by secure, professional hosting services.

We offer excellent support, providing assistance with email setups for a variety of email clients, including outlook, mac mail, webmail and more.

Our support site also has guides on troubleshooting and how to use our website content management system, with which you can update your own website content and images independently.

Visit our ActiveHost Support Site for more information on website hosting and costs, to contact us for assistance, or if you’re an existing customer you can log in to view and pay your hosting invoices, renew your domain names with credit card or internet banking, send support tickets for your website, and order new hosting or domain services.

Posted in Branding

How To Build a Great Web Design Team

Solving jigsaw puzzleBuilding The A Team: The Top Attributes of a Great Web Team

The other day I found myself sitting with my workmates over morning tea and I thought to myself that we’re pretty lucky to have a strong team of clever and creative people that get along with each other. Some other teams might not be so lucky and so I got to thinking about what key characteristics make for a valuable in-house web design team. What makes some web design teams better than others? We all know that the best web design teams are based on a strong creative and strategic foundation. But on top of the creativity there needs to be an understanding of a greater, common goal. Good teams have a strong understanding of their client’s needs and the ability to transform good concepts into reality.

I guess for us at Activate Design, constructing our solid web design team is based on how we identify talent in an individual and whether or not they can fit in with our style. With so many new graduates eager for a job, how do you identify who is worth considering?

The number one thing I consider is what I’m looking for. But in terms of tangible requirements, I look at the following:

  1. Portfolio: For me, a web designer’s portfolio should not only look great but it should be informative. I want to know exactly the role the person played in the project. I want to see a high level of creativity but a diverse level of skill is also paramount.
  1. Blog: So many people underestimate the power of the blog to showcase their work. When a designer has a blog that is frequently updated, this shows me that they’re passionate about their craft so much so that they’re willing to spend unpaid time writing about it. A blog is also an excellent way to view a person’s communication skills.
  1. Presence: I look for someone who has done a bit of high profile work, who has perhaps published articles, or has even written books. These are all good signs of a talented and dedicated professional, but they’re not the most important aspect. This kind of work shows me that this person is driven and ambitious which are traits that I admire.

After someone has passed these first tests, I need to figure out whether they’re going to be a good fit in our already established team.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to determine whether or not someone is going to fit in your team on the first or second meeting. Often, you can only get a full read on these things until you actually work together, but there are some things to consider in your first few conversations.

  1. Professionalism. This is simply mindboggling. Some people have shown up late for meetings or have failed to turn up at all. Calls go missed and unreturned or cell phones go off during the interview. You’d be surprised how far a little bit of professionalism can take you when you’re looking for a job.
  1. Eager to Learn. I take notes of the questions the web designer asks me during an interview. If they don’t have any questions at all, this raises a red flag for me. When someone asks me how we do things it shows me that they want to understand and collaborate. It shows me that they want to learn, too. I like someone with confidence but when you come in pretending to know everything about web design, it just makes me cringe.
  1. Logistics. I tend to ask future collaborators about their working hours and availability. I’m very open to working with people from all over the world, but I’m aware of time zone restrictions. We’ll look at “Fluid Teams” a little later on.

Eyes Wide Open

At Activate Design, we’ve established a strong team with a clear vision and core values. Doing so establishes a high-performing in-house team with a focus. It also gives any internal and external team contributors good insight into how we manage our team. Developing this particular characteristic takes much more work than just writing down a statement and some bullet points. This kind of dedication takes focused planning and collaboration from all members of the team so don’t expect to have a clear vision for your team overnight.

We believe there should be a team leader that sets the vision and core values and helps to implement them in the work space. This leader must also train and mentor team members whose poor performance could possibly affect the overall health of the entire team. The best place to start is by developing a keen understanding of your agency’s purpose and strategic business goals. The vision and values you develop should be something that everyone on your team contributes to so that each individual feels like they are a part of the decision, instead of just following along.

Talent Quest

In order to create the best team you’ve got to hire talented contributors with defined roles and accountabilities. We know that finding people who are creative, versatile, passionate and strategic is like looking for the Holy Grail sometimes. We find that the best people possess an entrepreneurial spirit where they own their role and they hold themselves accountable for the work they produce. Acquiring top talent can be tough and even the best firms make mistakes hiring people who look great on paper but are terrible in a team environment. All I can advise you to do is careful research on your candidates and be honest about the level of work you expect and the level of quality you expect the person to maintain, before you hire them.

It’s not Lip Service but…

It is vital that you communicate each member’s value. Create an environment where each member of your team feels like they’re included and that their opinions matter to the business. Not only will this breed shared trust, passion and loyalty, but you’re more likely to hold onto valuable team members by showing them some appreciation. Implementing performance appraisals is a great way to offer constructive feedback and to receive some yourself!

Talk to Me

I’d say that no matter how much talent a web designer has, if they don’t have the ability to communicate, that talent is worth much to me. Every in-house team is going to encounter speed bumps that require individual contributors to work together in working past them. With creative people, there will be times when your team face major roadblocks, but knowing how to effectively communicate through these issues will help make your team stronger.

These bumps and blocks are simply little miscommunications and conflicts that occur within corporate environments and creative groups the world over. It’s completely natural to experience them. Some conflicts can be good! Trust me! Good conflicts are resolutions from bad conflicts that help grow a team and get them thinking in new, innovative ways.

A lot of communication within a team is either unheard or misinterpreted. These types of miscommunications arise when people don’t have clearly defined roles, so we recommend instilling a soft hierarchy within your team so people know where they stand.

Water, Water, Everywhere…

As I mentioned before, with the globalisation of business, more and more design firms are turning to Fluid Teams. Basically, fluid teams are groups of experts that reshuffle regularly. These groups assemble and disintegrate with ease, and the individuals involved can either be in the same country or dispersed across the globe. These teams are also known as ‘distributed teams’ which are teams that don’t share a physical workspace.

Whether or not you have a Fluid Team or an in-house team, all of the factors I’ve described above apply to both. We believe that the best thing you can do to create the best team for your business is to assign the right people to the right role. This is what’s known as the “One Thing Concept”. You want to be able to get to your team members’ core competencies. Most designers see themselves as good at a variety of jobs; it’s true, to be a good designer you must be a bit of a Jack of All Trades. But you need to find the one thing that they excel at. The one task that they kick ass at. Once you determine the magic power of every single member of your team you’ll have a greater idea of what you can accomplish.

Do As I Say and As I Do

I think the ultimate way to design the best web design team you’re after is to lead by example. If your team members or employees see you working hard and putting all of your effort into your projects, they’re going to the same. When people are surrounded by others who are dedicated and passionate they tend to subscribe to the same mentality. So give it your all and your team will too!

Posted in Branding

Websites That Exceed Expectations

To exceed the expectations of your audience, you must first provide what they expect.

Every person who browses online, journeying from website to website, expects to see certain things common to every site. These expectations are so ingrained in us now that when they are present we don't even think about them. However, when they are not there, it can be both surprising and frustrating.

When we visit a website we don't want to think. For example, we expect to be able to see the website navigation in certain areas - along the top or down the left-hand side. If a website designer has tried to be innovative by only putting the navigation along the bottom, the pause that visitors to the site must take to think about finding the navigation bar can and will cause some frustration. And there are so many of these little expectations that website designers and developers must keep in mind to meet, before we begin to exceed the expectations of an online audience. Confused? Don't worry, as experienced website designers and developers - we've got it covered.

As follows is an example where we have worked with a client to find out the needs of their target audience. We were then able to effectively tailor the website content, layout and functionality to cater to and exceed the expectations of their customers.

wigram brewing website designAs follows are some of the reasons why this website - which is not one of our newest - continues to work so well because of what it offers to meet and exceed customer expectations:
THE HOME PAGE provides instant legitimacy for the business. It does this with dates the company was established and a clear, concise description of what they do. It works because it’s short. One or two paragraphs is all most people will read on a website to judge if this is where they want to be.
IMAGES of good quality and representative of your business, brand, and products. Images such as those on the Wigram Brewing website that show your products, awards, the people who work in the business and the business process in action, as well as recongnisable logos and branding, all give a visual impression that is delivered more effectively than written content.
NEWS of the latest company events, updates and information. Want to know what a business is up to? When their next event is or what the latest product will be released? On the Wigram Brewing website it's right there on the home page under "Latest News". As with all of the websites we create in our in-house developed content management system, this website is simple and straightforward for our client to edit, enabling them to easily keep this news section up to date with text and images at their own convenience.   wigram brewing products
PRODUCT selection, quality and range availability. The Wigram Website home page has small images of all the products. These images can also be click on to take a visitor through to more information. This small feature specifically targets those who know what they’re looking for, enabling them to recongnise the label they're after and find it immediately without having to read through the site. The result is instant access to information with as few a clicks as possible.
NAVIGATION that is simple, straightforward and predictable.? Do the customers want information about specific products? Do they want to purchase online? Will they view the awards section to help them with their product selection? Do they want to find stockists in their area? Will they want historical company information or customer testimonials or to contact this company direct? Whatever the customers may want, Wigram Brewing has anticipated the expectations of their target market and provided for their needs in a way that is clear and professional to exceed expectations. Another good point to remember with websites is "the less clicks the better". Meaning that the less clicks your viewers have to make to find what they want, the easier it is for them and the happier with your brand they will be.   wigram brewing news signup form
NEWSLETTER signup form. Visitors to a website may or may not find what they want from a website, however this website still offers them something for nothing through a Newsletter Signup Form. By collecting this information Wigram Brewing Co. can provide more of the information their customers want, and they themselves have a chance to reach out to existing and potential customers with news, new products, events, information and more. It's also important to note that the newsletter signup is very simple, asking only for name and email address. This is not as off-putting as would be a request for more personal details. Also, there’s also no push to subscribe, no message of “you must signup now!”, which can also be off-putting. Wigram Brewing are simply saying – do you want this? If so, here it is.   Providing features that meet your customers expectations in a way that is professional, stylish and modern, while enhancing your brand, is the best impression that you can make as a business.

At Activate Design we take the time in the planning, design and development of your website to show your customers that you care enough to make your website appealing, professional and simple to use, putting them first. We can also work with you to create effective, website audience-targeted content.

A website in our content management system is easy to use, and our customers have the ability to add an unlimited amount of new pages as required. This means if there is more information or imagery that you find would benefit your target audience, you are not limited to your current pages. You can create website pages to suit your growing needs and satisfy your customer base.

Give us a call today on 0800 30 8996 to discuss ideas for exceeding the expectations of your online audience, making use of our experience and expertise toward enhancing your most valuable online presence.  

Posted in Branding

Strategies In iOS and Android Development

iOs and Android developmentDeveloping an app inevitably starts with decisions needing to be made between both Android and iOS operating systems; this involves weighing their inherent pros and cons in terms of development, distribution and intended use. Whenever looking at the options for developing apps, the best course of action is one that’s taken in steps that factor in a variety of decisions ranging from what operating systems are popular amongst your user audience, what development tools are available to you and what your long-term goals are.

Is it more beneficial to focus on a single operating system at first?

There’s no shame in choosing to focus time and money on getting an app working right the first time on one operating system; it allows for a single area of focus as opposed to trying to work out the details over two very different operating systems at once. The benefits of having an app built natively on a specific SDK should never be underestimated; you want your app to run flawlessly.

If you find that, based on what your options and budget are, starting with a single operating system is the best course of action, there are three questions you’ll need to answer:

  • Which operating system is easier for you to have your app developed on?
  • Which platform is more popular with your target audience?
  • What are your plans, if any, for offering your app on tablet computers?

Going with what’s immediately available to you in terms of development should provide a good idea as to which app will make the most sense to start with. Analysing mobile traffic on your sites and then choosing the most popular operating system can also tell you which version will be in greater demand.

If you wish to have your app exist either at the same time of launch or sometime soon after on tablet computers, then there’s a clearer answer: iOS is a much more attractive and serious option as the iPad has not only become the go-to device for tablet computers, but developing apps for both it and the iPhone is virtually the same thing. But this isn’t necessarily true for Android.

A major benefit from choosing one operating system first is that it gives you the opportunity to view not only the app with a fresh perspective when developing a build for the alternate operating system, but you can make sure that the app runs natively in its respective environment; this is true for both form and function.

Making sure an app looks and performs like it was made for the operating system should be a priority regardless of your development plans. Users don’t want to feel like they’re using a port that was made with something else in mind. The key facts to focus on are:

  • Which operating system is most popular with the users who’ll be interested in your app.
  • Quality over quantity: Make sure apps run well in their respective environments by focusing development on each system individually. Users will appreciate this in the long run.
  • If tablets play a heavy role in what your app will do, iOS is more than likely going to be most logical place to start.
  • Starting with one operating system can sharpen your focus and allow the same potential for future versions of the app.

Developing Cross Platform Apps

If there exists an appropriate reason to spend development time on both systems equally, there exist a few options to make this easier. Using code like JavaScript or HTML5 allows for an app that runs separate from the native language of an operating system. The catch is that such apps are often subject to being a step behind the updates and changes the operating system they’re running on will inevitably go through over time.

Popular development tools like PhoneGap work by taking advantage of the flexibility of running an app in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. While you can skip the process of needing to tend to the specific needs of an operating system’s SDK with this, you still miss out on the benefits of ensuring that an app is fully adapted and designed to utilise the intricacies of a native build.

Tools like Xamarin take a very different approach to cross-platform development. Instead of creating an app that works above the native build of an operating system via a different language, Xamarin’s tools divide your work equally between both Android and iOS SDKs, creating apps that work fully with native code. This is a plus; but to really take advantage of these tools it’s a good to have a working knowledge of both operating systems to get a sense for what’s going on ‘under the hood’ with Xamarin.

Thoughtful and Purposeful Development Decisions

The key to achieving success on both Android and iOS lies in thoughtful planning and decision making based on the preferences of your users, what development options are available to you and what your long term goals are. Thinking from the perspective of how the user will want to see your app and how that harmonises with your development capabilities is a valuable strategy.

For more information about app development, contact us here at Activate.

Posted in Branding

Choosing the Right Business Card Size and Design

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!


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 below, or phone us on 0800 30 8996. We'll be happy to assist.

website lessons cartoon graphicA 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.

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 cartoon graphic 2We 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.


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!


Posted in Branding

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.

lego stormtroopersSay "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. Contact us today!


Posted in Branding

The Importance of Professional Logo Design

Why is Professional Logo Design Important?

A logo is essential to any business, big or small, which serves as the foundation to branding and as a symbol that customers associate with the company.

A logo is critical for brand-recognition. Think Coca-Cola. Everyone knows that particular colour red and that swirly script that is associated with one of the most well-branded soft drinks on the market.

CocaCola 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 recognise this brand at a glance.

This is the kind of brand recognition that is possible when you have a strong logo and bespoke branding strategy. 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.’”

Now, not every logo designer is the next Paul Rand; and it’s unlikely that your business is like NeXT.  At Activate Design, we feel that it’s best to work through various ideas & designs directly with you, ultimately creating a logo that is best for your business.


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 stationery. It must be unique to your brand and recognisable by your customers, and a signature of your products and services.

Activate logo design examples

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.

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

A logo is something that precedes 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 competitor, does not relate well to your company or if the fonts or style is outdated.

Is changing your logo a good idea?

If you have a strong logo then yes, you could use it indefinitely. BUT, it’s worth noting that many well-recognised companies have continued to evolve their logo with time. Companies such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola, Shell, McDonalds and Apple have refreshed and reimagined their brand to keep up with modern styles and ideas.

We offer re-branding services as well, to give your logo new life. Re-branding can be very effective, and you can choose to debut a completely new design or maintain aspects of your previous logo; perhaps a shape or colour that served as the focal point of the design. Ask us about design and brand refresh, to give your brand a makeover with a splash of modern creativity and professionalism.

Apple Logo Design evolutionLogo left: Apple logo 1976 Middle: Apple's logo 1976-1998 Logo right: Apple's current logo.


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 you choices and by listening to your feedback.

We do not outsource your design work.  Our experienced designers will meet with you 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 to design 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. Business 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.

If you’re looking for a  logo design company, contact us today to discuss a new logo, logo refresh, or full branding strategy for your business today.


Posted in Graphic Design, Logo Design, Branding

Send Your Newsletters With ActiveMail

ActiveMail is your simple newsletter solution for sending beautifully designed emails to your customers.


Do you need more regular contact with your clients?

  • Do you have list of clients that you don't keep in contact with?
  • Would you like an easy way to let your contacts know about your latest news?
  • Would you like to create your own separate clients lists in one system, to provide relevant information to the right group of people?
  • Would you like to promote your projects, products and experience.


At Activate Design we have a unique ActiveMail system that allows you to easily setup contact lists and create beautifully designed newsletters to send to your clients.

Our ActiveMail system will let your customers easily unsubscribe, should they wish to, without the worry of your newsletters sending spam or becoming an annoyance.

We can create an attractive Newsletter template for you so that every newsletter you create has your own unique ‘look’. See newsletter examples below;

Email Newsletter Examples




Once you have a template, creating your newsletter is very simple. Your unique template will have areas for your images and text to be inserted, and you may have more than one template to give you more options on how many articles you wish to send on each newsletter.

As per sample below, this shows editing of the main newsletter article, by simply clicking a small "edit" button in that area. The photos work the same.

You are able to see the final newsletter before you send it, and you are able to send as many test newsletters to yourself or workmates as you choose, to ensure you are happy with it before it goes out.

ActiveMail Email Newsletter Editor


Newsletters create loyalty. Having a newsletter that you can send out monthly, or when you have news or events to promote is a wonderful marketing tool and the best way of ensuring good communication between yourself and your customers.

With professional newsletters for your small or large business, you can keep your customers in touch with all things related to your business.

Here are some ideas for your newsletters;

  • Additional services
  • Free quotes or free upgrades
  • Resources related to your business
  • Articles of interest
  • Announcements such as moving premises
  • Upcoming events
  • Invitations

A newsletter is the perfect compliment to your website as it is the best way to give people a reason to return to your site. Your website should be your online one stop shop, providing all your information to new and existing customers 24-7, and if you are keeping it updated with new images and information, then you will be earning good rankings, and encouraging new people to visit.

Use your newsletters to entice people to visit your website, where they can see related products or services that they otherwise may not know about. 

  • Offering newsletter articles that draw people back to your website for "the full story"
  • Mentioning new events with a link back to your website to see more images
  • Having a link to your website to signup for a free trial or voucher
  • Talk about events or holidays that they can book for on your site

Get in touch with us to have your own newsletter system as a valuable tool for the promotion of your business, and for the interest of your customers. And remember, if you have a Facebook page then now is the time to invite your Facebook audience to sign up to your newsletter. That way, in the midst of the changing tide of how Facebook operates, you will always have that valuable list of customers who are genuinely interested about the products and services you provide.

Contact us if you would like to find out more information about ActiveMail newsletter system, or give us a call on 0800 30 8996.

Posted in Branding

Recent articles