Helix Industries

Another example of website design in Christchurch by Activate Design, with this newly launched website for Helix Industries.

An enjoyable project for us as it was a bit of an eye-opener to see the diverse range of tools, engine parts, components, moulds and more, that this company can produce. This website is also a good example of how we can assist with our Content Writing Services, if you're not sure how to best market your businesses unique abilities in a concise and effective way, for the web.

Helix is a Christchurch-based specialist in advanced engineering, who can cater to a wide range of requirements as well as being able to freight Internationally.

Helix Industries Website Design

 

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Posted in Graphic Design

Noble Wilde

New website design for www.noblewilde.co.nz

The Noble Wilde website showcases their fabulous collection of mens and womens clothing and accessories, and their unique wool blends.

A great example of professional images really adding that x-factor to a website. Catalogue images are shown in a unique feature gallery.

Noble Wilde Website Design

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Posted in Graphic Design

Decontamination Medix

New website design for www.decontaminationmedix.co.nz

Decontamination medix website designIt was wonderful to meet Jason Pickering from Decontamination Medix in person, and discover his passion for the health of New Zealanders, relating to quite valid concerns about the health of NZ homes.

We were glad to have had the opportunity to create this website, as well as offer our content writing services for the site, increasing awareness about maintaining healthy homes in our unique New Zealand environment.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Browser Caching - something you should know about.

WHAT IS CACHING?

Most websites you visit will be saved in the ‘cache’, so that the next time you visit that site, your browser shows you the saved version of that website from your last visit. A very clever way of storing things for later use - BUT it means you don’t always see the current version of the website you are viewing!

internet browser caching importance Wikipedia offers this extended explanation;

"In computer science, a cache is a component that transparently stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster. The data that is stored within a cache might be values that have been computed earlier or duplicates of original values that are stored elsewhere.

If requested data is contained in the cache (cache hit), this request can be served by simply reading the cache, which is comparatively faster. Otherwise (cache miss), the data has to be recomputed or fetched from its original storage location, which is comparatively slower. Hence, the greater the number of requests that can be served from the cache, the faster the overall system performance becomes."

CACHING IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW BECAUSE...

A lot of our clients use our WEP EDIT PRO Content Management System (CMS), which is a system we have developed at Activate Design as an alternative to the many CMS systems publicly available today - specifically created to be user-friendly, as so many of the currently available systems are not. (Most CMS systems are programmer-friendly, not user-friendly.)

Caching is important to know for when you're making changes to your website in the Admin Panel of your site, then viewing your website - and your changes don't show up! This is likely to be because you are viewing the Cache version of your website. This is something that can cause endless frustration unless you know what is happening.

internet browser why does it cache Why do things get Cached?

1. Caching saves time - a site can be loaded very quickly from the cache, rather than from it's source. Very handy if you are looking at the same websites regularly.

2. Caching reduces bandwidth and traffic - reducing congestion on Internet sources by showing viewers the cached version of a site they have previously visited.

Where is the Cache stored?

There are many ways in which a Cache is implemented, and it can depend on the settings of many of your browsing tools, from server to your browser itself. The Cache could be implemented by one of the following;

  • Caching in memory
  • Caching in files
  • Caching in the database
  • Caching in cookies

HOW DO I VIEW THE ACTUAL VERSION OF A WEBSITE - NOT THE CACHE VERSION?

website browser clear cache

To view the current version of a webpage you are visiting do a 'Force Refresh' or 'Hard Refresh' in your browser.

This will tell the browser to pull up the latest version of that website, direct from it's source, rather than just show you it's cache version.

How do I do a hard refresh?

PC : hold down 'shift' and 'F5'.

Mac : hold down 'control' and 'apple' and click refresh.

I hope this has been an interesting and informative look at Caching, both for those who use our WEB EDIT PRO Content Management System, and for anyone learning more about browsing the internet.

Take a look at our Portfolio Page to see Activate Design's most recent website creations, and Contact Us if you would like to find out more about how we can create an effective new website for you!

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Posted in Graphic Design

Around NZ Rentals

New website design and development for http://aroundnzrentals.co.nz

Newly launched website utilising a unique booking system and features that allow you to easily see the vehicles' suitability to your needs and book at your convenience.

around nz

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Graphic Design

Frustrated by Website Service Spam?!

Flooded by emails offering print and website services?

Yeah, us too.

Most of these emails say they have been to your website, analysed it, and can offer to re-design the website, provide an SEO Service and offer additional services.

However, if these emails were for real, if these companies had actually been onto our website in particular, and “analysed it”, they would know that we are a web design company, that we create websites and offer SEO ourselves along with a host of other professional services.

So I must conclude, and feel obliged to warn you, many of these companies are not going to your site first and though they may actually offer these services, they seem to be going about it the wrong way. I don’t know about you but these tactics of sending out bulk spam-like emails are not okay with me.

spamwiches Now I get about 10-12 of these messages every week, offers of SEO and website re-design, as well as ‘photo cutouts’ and print services, and I wanted to assure our blog surfers that we do participate in this type of bothersome marketing.

If you would like a Website created; take a look at our Portfolio Page to see the quality of websites that we produce, then give us a call on 0800 308 8996 or use our Contact Form to send us a message.

We would be happy to come to you to discuss your needs, or you are welcome to come to us for website re-design or a brand new online presence that we can design and build for you.

If you’re out of town be assured we have a lot of experience in designing for companies all around New Zealand and can meet with you via Skype, and alternative communication.

We are a Christchurch-based company, offering great service and transparent prices. If you are looking for quotes on Website Design, Development and Website Hosting, you will be pleased with our competitive pricing and the range of Services we offer, from our ActiveMail Newsletter System, to iPhone and iPad applications and a range of Printed Media.

Don't bother with spam marketing, contact us - the Creative Team at Activate Design.

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Posted in Graphic Design

How Much Should I Be Paying For Website Hosting?

WHAT IS THE REASONABLE PRICING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING IN NEW ZEALAND?

WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I BE PAYING FOR WEBSITE HOSTING?

Most people need managed hosting, and we provide it at very affordable rates for managed hosting, often more that 50% cheaper than some of our competitors.

Hosting prices are based on server space and bandwidth.. the smaller and simpler the site the cheaper the package is.

Important aspects of website hosting to consider ;

  • Will my site be hosted on a New Zealand server?
  • Will there be top notch security to prevent website hacking?
  • Will there secure, reliable back-ups in place?
  • Does the hosting company offer on-going website support or once my site is live is that it?
  • Will there be good access of communication between my hosting company and myself?
  • Will the server provide fast performance for a fast loading website?
  • Will the hosting company care about my needs or am I just another partition on a server?

If you’re looking to hosting with an overseas company, you may have to compromise on many of these points above. Overseas hosting may offer a cheaper alternative but you may find that you are just another number, a website space to be crammed onto a server amongst hundreds of other sites, much like chickens kept in battery cages, something we feel strongly against.

Hosting your site on an overseas server will also likely mean slower loading time and slower website speed overall. Something to be aware of is that there are New Zealand hosting companies who host their websites on overseas servers, so if you don’t know where your website will be hosted – ask!

At Activate Design we offer more "free range" hosting, as opposed to your "battery hen" type hosting. We host all of our websites right here in New Zealand with Servers based in Auckland and Christchurch from respected companies who assure ultra-modern facilities with full redundancy in connectivity, power and cooling, as well as a priority to maintaining the highest levels of server security.

We look after you. And that’s an important part of who we are, being accessible and knowledgable to offer website support for all your potential requirements.

We have automated systems that manage your hosting and domain names, allowing you to manage your invoices, domains, and to process payments conveniently, all in our online system. We’re also right here in Christchurch, and at the end of the phone if there’s anything you need assistance with, or send us a support ticket for faster action from out team.

WHAT IS WEBSITE HOSTING EXACTLY?

Here is a brief layout of just exactly what website hosting is, and the basic steps involved in having a website created for your company, before hosting becomes a factor.

A definition of Websites, Website Hosting and Domain names

A Website is your place on the internet. It needs to be run in a program and there are many to choose from. At Activate Design one of our most popular programs is our WEP system. This is a unique website system that we have designed and developed to be user-friendly, specifically so our clients can access and edit their own sites with ease and simplicity, and at their own convenience.

WEBSITE HOSTING is the physical place where you website is located. While your live website is available on the internet it needs be hosted somewhere, on a server. Servers cost money, so the hosting costs money, and that cost is dependent on the size of your website and the type of website you require whether it be a simple CMS website or an eCommerce site where you wish to sell your goods and services online.

A DOMAIN NAME is the address of your site. If you think of your website like a car, then the hosting is the carpark where it is located, and the domain name is the signpost directing people to your parking space. Website Hosting and a Domain name are both part of having a website.

The hosting of your website and the domain name may be more convenient if they are managed by the same company, as we do. We have our uniquely developed ActiveHost system which automatically notifies you when your domain name is coming up for renewal, and also sends out your hosting invoices automatically.

We offer the convenience of being able to log-in to our ActiveHost system so you can view your invoices and domains online, check the availability of new domains and purchase them if you wish, and pay at your convenience.

Next is a brief summary of the steps that are involved in having a website created, just to give you some idea of what need to be done in creating a website, and things to think about before undertaking the process.

Website Steps To Creation;

  1. WEBSITE QUOTE - we talk to you in brief about what kind of site you need, what you need it to do and the audience it will be aimed at. We then propose a site that would suit you. We have developed our own CMS (Content Management System) which is the background system that runs a website, and we have created this to meet the needs of clients who need a user-friendly website that will allow them to make changes to their website themselves with ease and efficiency.
  2. WEBSITE CONSULTATION- this may include time for the consultations on exactly what you need from a website and how it is to look and to function. This may include more than one meeting to discuss your ongoing requirements.
  3. DOMAIN NAME– if you do not already have a domain name that suits you company name and the business you offer, we can assist you to pick one, or two, or more! You need a main domain name to direct users to your site, but you can also have additional domain names that also point to your website as required. For example, you may wish to have; kiwiknifesharpeining.co.nz – as your main domain.But you also may wish to have additional domains, for example; kiwiknife.co.nz / kiwiknives.com / kiwisharpeningservices.net.nz – which can all be signposts to direct website surfers to your website.Additional domain names can be added at any time, but one domain must be registered to you to direct people to your webiste when it goes live.
  4. GRAPHIC DESIGN for your Website – once we have a target and know the style and look that would suit your business, our designers will attack a project with gusto, creating backgrounds and buttons, header bars and the overall style and imagery of your website.
  5. WEBSITE WRITTEN CONTENT– any content for your website can be written by our clever wordsmiths, who will usually meet with you in person and take notes on your business in a comfortable interview-like situation, finding out about you and what you do and writing it in a way that will appeal to your client base while targeting online search engines to ensure optimal web traffic will find you.Copywriting is usually an additional service on request, and not included in the overall cost of building a website unless discussed previously.
  6. PUTTING THE WEBSITE TOGETHER– programmers take all the design and content information and put them together adding functionality and consistency. Our programmers seamlessly make the buttons work, align the navigation, add any additional functionality as requested, and get the website to a finished stage.
  7. WEBSITE GOES LIVE - Once the website has been put together we ask you to review your new website and let us know of any changes you would like before the site goes live.

How much should I pay for website hosting?

We have heard stories of people being grossly overcharged for their website hosting, so we just wanted to ensure we are transparent on the subject of the hosting charges you would expect to pay for having a website online.

In all website hosting companies there will be a variety of hosting packages available, some may say free hosting – but that does not necessarily mean free!

Be wary of companies offering "free hosting" or "free domains", there is no such thing. It could be a matter of that cost being applied to you under a different guise or having a website that is undermined by annoying pop-up advertising that most web surfers will steer well clear of.

It could be that the cost of hosting has been built into the cost of the website build, but this gets a bit fuzzy when you realise that a website build will take a fixed amount of time to complete, but the hosting will continue indefinately... it seems strange to combine the two - and how do you know what you’re really paying for?

Website hosting fees should be separate. There should be a cost for building the site. Then there may be additional costs for content writing if requested, or any functionality above and beyond what was initially discussed and quoted for - which will be clearly laid out and agreed to by you before being undertaken. Then there will be the cost of a domain name which, with us, you are able to register it yourself through our easy to use ActiveHost system.

Registering a domain name means it then belongs to you, and if you wish to keep it you need to register it annually, or for multiple years as convenient. If a domain lapses there may be a small window with which you can re-register it, otherwise it will be available to be registered by anyone else and you will not be able to reclaim it unless by negotiation with the new owner.

If we manage your domain name this will not happen. We will not allow your domain it to expire without you being notified well in advance as we closely monitor all of the domain names in our care, and our automated system means you are notified well in advance of domain expiry. Lastly there is the hosting fees, dependent on your website size and type, and these fees will be ongoing for as long as you wish your website to be live on the internet.

Website hosting should be based on the type of website best suited for your needs.

Basic categories of website available

  • A simple view-only website This is a website for viewing, for providing information and can be edited by us as required.
  • A CMS Website A CMS or Content Management System website, is one that you can edit yourself when and how you see fit. We provide training on the use of our unique wep-site system so you can have control over your own website content.
  • An E-Commerce Website This is a website in which you can edit the site, and can sell your goods and services online. If your site gains more products and grows in size you can easily purchase more space on our server to allow for further website growth.

For a detailed list of our website and hosting packages visit our website hosting page or contact us to discuss your needs.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Update Your Browser!

- Well, Why Should I?

Your browser works fine, internet speed is okay, your emails are readily accessible, credit card transactions process fine and the sites you visit work as expected, so why would you need to update your browser?

Website design and functionality is great to work with, design and build … until we get to the stage of trying to make the website function consistently across a wide range of different browsers!

There are so many new features available to website designers and programmers and we like to utilise all the creative potential for website design that we can, to ensure we are creating modern websites, stylish websites, fast loading websites, creatively unique, appealing and cleverly designed websites.

If you are using an older browser you simply may not be seeing the new effects and features that are available on modern websites. If your old, outdated browser does not understand the code it should be displaying, it will just ignore it and show you what it does understand, it may display as broken pages or links that won't work.

The simple truth is that different browsers work differently. They perform differently in searches, speed and performance and you can choose whichever browser you like best... just keep it updated would you please?

Advantages of updating your website browser regularly;

  • More Security
  • Better Privacy Settings
  • Faster Browsing Speeds
  • Continuous Updates Made Available
  • Browser Extension and Application Add-ons
  • Cross Platform Browsers – to adapt to Mobile and Android devices

What you will miss out on by not updating your browser;

  • Features, Enhancements and Nuances of new website design
  • You are accepting potential security risks and bugs
  • Older browsers become unsupported

We create fantasitic websites, brilliant websites, stylish websites and modern websites all for the enjoyment of you, the web surfer. But we can’t be sure you are getting the whole experience if you are using an out dated web browser version!

So don’t miss out on enhanced website surfing pleasure – updated your browser today, right now! And look to update your browser every six months to a year.

How do I update my website browser version?

WINDOWS USERS:

If you use Window, to update your website browser visit; windows.microsoft.com

If you use Firefox it will normally auto-update, but to ensure you’re using the latest version visit; www.mozilla.org//firefox

If Chrome is your style, this normally auto-updates as well, but to check visit; www.google.com/chrome

MAC USERS:

If you use Safari, visit this link to download the latest website browser version; www.apple.com

Firefox usually auto-updates unless you’ve told it not to. To check if you’re running the latest visit; www.mozilla.org/firefox

Chrome also auto-updates but to check for the latest version visit; www.google.com/chrome

If you’re browser is not listed, visit www.google.com and type in “update my browser” – then enter the name of the browser you use.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Website Landing Pages

The main goal in having a website is good communication. Good communication through website design is what we do here at Activate Design, based in Christchurch. We understand that communication is the main reason for having a website at all. Your customers need to connect to you, and you to them, and in today’s society websites are the first place a client will look for a business or service they require. Our job is to ensure your online presence remains in perfect working order, to offer upgrades, S.E.O., and a variety of website support services to ensure you get the most from your website.

We have a great team of Canterbury web designers, graphic designers and web developers who specialise in their own areas of website design and creation, and we combine our knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Content Management, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Graphic Design and Content Writing, to create informative and professional websites for customers in the Canterbury region, and a variety of business from North Island to South Island wide.

The elements of great website design go beyond the pages that make up the basic layout of a website. A lot more web traffic directed to your site can come through “Landing Pages”.

Landing pages are pages of content consisting of keyword-rich text, that provide additional entry points to your site. What makes these pages different from the rest of your existing website is that they can stretch out and grow like branches on a tree, without cluttering up your website layout. Most “landing pages” are not accessible through a site, or if they are they would usually be linked via a text link in your content, rather than tabs on your site navigation. This is simply because they are written in such a way as to be aimed at the search engines, rather than educating your clients - which is a secondary function.

With landing pages, you can have as many as you like - we would recommend each page be kept to a single topic and elaborated on from there. To understand how this works it is helpful to know how search engines work; Search Engines are constantly evolving - and by that I mean, being upgraded. The people behind the code are learning from experience and applying smarter techniques to the functionality of their search engine programs. Many of the techniques to alert search engines to your website content that have worked in the past do not work today, such as alternative spelling of words. Search Engines have evolved to more complex strategies - and we are constantly evolving our own processes to ensure we use techniques that ensure a search engine recognises what it is you provide, and can connect you to the people who are searching for you online. This constant evolution of how we streamline your content means we are ahead of the market in website development. Someone who was good at S.E.O. years ago may not be up with the play in today’s evolution of processes.

By adding multiple landing pages to your website, you are increasing the chances that a search engine will find you and recognise that you are what a web surfer is looking for, to make the connection. The effectiveness of landing pages will depend on the content, and here at Activate Design we have experienced copy writers who recognise that just being a good writer is not enough, but being a good writer combined with a knowledge of S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimisation), means we write effective, keyword-rich, targeted content that will greatly enhance your ratings with search engines and visibility to web surfers. To do this we can speak with you over the phone to gain some insight into your company, meet with you at your convenience, or simply research what it is that you do to write some unique, clever content for your site.

To further explain landing pages, I will use the example of a store that makes and sells leather boots. If we created a website for them it may have a home page, then linked to this would be the main pages for say, product information, contact information, and company information. That may be all that is needed for the site to effectively communicate what they do, and to showcase the products and services they provide, keeping the menus clear and not cluttered, and the site clean and tidy. However, there may not be a lot of combined content on these pages, so to attract more traffic to the site we could offer the addition of landing pages.

Using this example we could do a landing page on the leather used to make the boots - including lots of keywords related to leather, caring for leather, the process of creating leather, and adding anything that people may be searching for that would link them to that site. We could do another page on shoe laces, and another on shoe soles, adding the keywords related to that topic and extending the net that will draw in potential online clients.

Writing keyword content is not just about adding keywords.

Search engines have evolved to such an extent that we could not write repetitive keyword-rich text, or repetitive text at all, in fact your site would be penalised for this.

For example ;

“We use a variety of leather to produce leather boots. Our leather is a rich leather worked by hand using leather tools and leather products, and we use many kinds of leather and leather solvents to achieve this.”

In browsing this text, search engines would recognise the keyword ‘leather’ is in there, but also that the content is less informative and more repetitive. If you write keyword rich context it has to make sense. Search engines cannot read and understand the text, they do not know what the words mean, but among other methods they work on statistics such as “bounce rates”. A bounce rate is how many people click on your site and then click (or bounce) right back out again, which gives an indication as to whether your content or article has any worth. Using the example of the text above, browsers would recognise this as repitive jargon and click right out again, so the bounce rate would become very high, and reflect negatively on your site. If your keyword rich content was more informative, balanced with keywords and commonly searched-for terms, the bounce rate would be far less. The amount of time a browser spends on your page reading your text, and whether or not they click through to your main website, all matter and are recorded. These are the statistics that search engines will include in their evaluation of your website and the rating it gives you, directly affecting the online traffic that finds, peruses and uses your website.

As mentioned earlier, landing pages can be hidden from all access, other than being the initial site that internet users will click through to after being directed by a search engine. From that page they can click through to your website, and will not be able access that landing page again, except via Google or another search engine - unless you specifically want to give them access to these pages from your site, which may be best achieved using text links rather than adding pages to your menu and complicating your site. Landing pages allow your site to remain simple and clear, then like the branches of a tree, landing pages can be added indefinately, and work best when targeted to a specific topic, as in the example for leather.

Landing pages can be added over an extended period and don’t have to be done all at once. We could do a new landing page for your site every week or month, we are happy to work within your time frame and budget.

Contact us to add landing pages to your site and to write clever content for website and any advertising material you need. Give us the opportunity to ensure you make the most of your online presence, we are here to assist in keeping your site up-to-date and interesting, and encourage you to give us a call for any quotes, queries or website-enhancing advice.

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Posted in Graphic Design

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.

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