Connecting Groups With Websites

We were recently contacted by a Christchurch-based creative organisation who were struggling with online resources that were limiting member access, updates and involvement. Here is their story and the solution that gave them everything they needed, simply and cost-effectively.

Is it okay that I only have a Blog for my Business or Organisation?

This is the question were were asked initially. The organisation was only using a Blog to reach all members of their group. This was working well for a time, except that the link to the blog needed to be manually emailed to every person each time a new Blog was added. If there was any update to the information contained in the Blog, all members had to be emailed again.

Emailing the link to the Blog was also risking the possibility of the member's email account being blacklisted, especially as the member list increases. Large amounts of bulk email being sent from one email address raises warning flags and may result in your email as been marked as a spam source.

In this case also, the link to the Blog - it's actual address - was very long and complicated. Once the group members had visited the Blog and deleted the email, they found they could not find the Blog again! Without easy access to an online reference of the groups events, members simply could not find out what was going on, and could not contact anyone except by phone/email to find out. This was putting a lot of pressure on the one person who was the main contact at that time.

Having a business Blog is a fantastic way of reaching your target audience, as well as attracting attention from the wider public. The trick of it is - where is your blog located? Is it easy for new and existing members or customers to find it online? Or do you need to email a blog link direct to each contact, every time you post a new blog? Would it make more sense to have your Blog available through your website, making it is simple to locate while drawing people to visit your website more often? And when they visit, you have more opportunity to advertise and advise on additional information, events and more.

Beautiful young woman reading from her ipad while enjoying her cappuccino at a coffee shopThe Solution For This Organisation Was A Website

By creating a cost-effective website for this organisation, we created for them a permanent home for their group.

The website provided the following advantages for all members:

  • A Website is easy to find: Members of the organisation could always find the website to check anytime for updates and changes to events. The website became a great and easy reference to direct potential members too, for more information.
  • It's so simple to contact people through a website: Members and non-members could easily contact the right people through the website contact form, and using clearly layed-out contact details supplied on the website. This is perfect for a website for a craft organisation or non-profit organisation to keep in touch online, without lots of phone calls back and forth.
  • Social Media traffic has a permanent place to call home. With a website, people who heard about this group from their Facebook page and Blog now had a place where they can go to find ALL of the information they want. Have you ever tried to find contact details and opening hours on a Facebook page? It's not fun.
  • The website content and images are editable by the group. The website was created in our unique cms (content management system) which is straightforward and simple to edit for all users. Having a website they could edit meant that the members could update their own information without incurring extra costs for changes. We also provided assistance with our Content Writing Service, to have well written and effective targeted content to ensure good initial rankings. Images and content could be changed independently, and the number of pages they could add to reflect their growing organisation was unlimited. In addition we offer Photography Services wherever required.
  • Members can choose who has admin access. This meant they can decide within the group who will be responsible for updating the website - ie. information and events. This could be several people not just one, rather than everybody - to keep things manageable.
  • Additional functionality could be added anytime. As the group came to rely on having a website, and to reference it for each event, it was the next logical step to add Calendar functionality. The organisation came to us for a way of listing upcoming events in a simple way, and we discussed the option of linking a Google Calendar into their website, but ended up creating a new calendar that is unique to them, directly on their new website.
  • A website that can be viewed on all devices. We coded the website 'responsive' to cater to the new generation of members who used their mobile phones and iPads to go online, rather than a desktop computer. What is a responsive website? A responsive website is a website that has been coded using a 'responsive framework'. A responsive website will automatically restructure it's layout and text size based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. This means that regardless of the device they are using, members of the group and outside viewers will have the best possible experience viewing the site. This is great if you want to show someone your new site while out and about or at meetings, on your mobile device.

If you have a small craft group, non-profit organisation or are a sole trader or business and you are relying on Facebook, Twitter, a Blog or other social media just to keep in touch, then you are probably not reaching all of your members, or letting the general public know about you to encourage future members!

Contact Us to find out about the process of having an editable content management system to open up your organisation more effectively to all.

We also offer Graphic Design and Printing Services for all your complimentary print requirements such as members forms, docket books, letterheads, membership cards, business cards, promotional bookmarks and postcards, posters and more.

Posted in Graphic Design, Printing, Website Design

Christchurch Website Design Process

The Process of Having a Website Created

Having a website created can be a daunting concept for some people, so I have tried here to simplify the process for those who have not had a website or online presence before; a beginners guide to websites, website design and web hosting. We create Christchurch websites and websites for the Canterbury region, as we are a website company based in Christchurch. We can also work with you to create a website for companies New Zealand wide, utilising the many forms of communication available to keep in touch and arrange online meetings.

STAGE 1 - INITIAL MEETING. What to expect when discussing the initial concept ;

Website Basic Concept : By all means if you have an idea of the design concept for your website make some notes to bring to the first meeting. It’s a great idea to have a look at other websites to see what you like and don’t like about whats around. Note down any features that catch your eye, even colours that stand out. Having an idea of what you want gives us a head start at meeting your requirements, and can speed up the planning process.

Website Content : At a first meeting we are finding out the products and services you have to offer and how to advertise them online in the best possible light. We are working out the aspects of what you do and perhaps sketching out some major topics which would later become separate pages on a website. Splitting information up into chapters or tabs is a good way to clarify what you do, and is much less confusing for your clients as they can jump to a particular topic rather than have to scan through all your information to find what they need.

Your Online Target Audience : We need to find out who your target audience are, and the best way to showcase your products and services in a way that best advertises your ability to meet their needs. Your online target market will directly influence the design and the language of your website, and the look and feel of the design and content management is how we achieve this.

Are you aiming at families with children? Industry professionals? Companies in the Canterbury region or the rest of New Zealand? Are you aiming your web content to those who already know about your area of industry, or introducing your profession or product as a new concept that needs a higher level of introduction and explanation? Corporate or industrial, professional or casual, these factors will play a part in making sure your website appeals to the right kind of target market.

Time Frame And Budget : At this first meeting we would be asking about your time frame and your budget. Do you have any events coming up for which you need your site to be ready for? Are you involved in any convention or event where you would want to be handing out your website address to gain new business? This could extend into our printing service whereby you may need business cards or flyers printed for a specific event. Having a time frame and a budget is a good thing to think about when extending your business into an online platform.

Domains, Website Hosting and Email : Firstly, a domain name. Do you have one? If not we would need to discuss an appropriate name for your site to get the process started. A domain name is an essential part of having a website as it is the signpost that directs people to your site. Having a domain name involves an annual registration fee of around $30.00, which we can arrange for you. Planning forward for when your website is ready to go online, we will offer you secure website hosting service, on our own New Zealand based server, with the ability to offer you secure email accounts to match your website at our website design christchurch company.

STAGE 2 - QUOTE After running through these initial concepts and working out the best way to meet your business needs, we would provide you with a quote, which will be emailed to you with a break-down of the costs involved. On approval of the quote and a 50% deposit we would proceed with your project.

STAGE 3 - DESIGN With great enthusiasm for a new web project we dive into your website preparation. We put the new site up on a temporary domain for viewing only, without all the working parts such as roll-over button changes or click-through links just yet. Typically we place ‘placeholder’ text and images, to indicate the layout and style of the design, and we can temporarily add an ‘under construction’ page to your real domain, so you won’t miss out on clients finding you in the meantime. When the initial stages of layout come together we welcome you to view the concept creation in its temporary domain location.

Be Involved In The Process : At your own pace you can be involved in the website design process, let us know of any changes of layout and design as the site evolves, and providing us with your context text and any images you wish to include, and we're convenient to contact for website design in Christchurch. We can source images for you, and also offer a copy writing service if you want us to apply our skills in this area. Writing copy for web is a service we offer if you are unsure how to promote yourself in writing. We can chat with you over the phone or arrange a meeting to gain the knowledge of what you do, and turn that into clever, detailed information for your customers to gain insight into your business. Usually splitting this offer into chapters or ‘tabs’ on your website, to give customers easy access to the information they require. The design phase of your site usually takes several weeks, dependent on the size and requirements of your site.

STAGE 4 - DEVELOPMENT Once we have a layout and style that best communicates to your potential and existing clients your unique business identity, then our website developer integrates your design into a content management system (C.M.S.). We get graphic aspects of your site working so all the navigation buttons work and any moving banners or video content and links are active, and it’s all put together into a polished working website. At this stage we add any email accounts that you have requested.

STAGE 5 - CONTENT LOADING Once the site is on a working platform, we load the graphic aspects of your site - text and images, into the C.M.S. and schedule a ‘switch over’ date to smoothly transition your site to our live hosting service, or your chosen provider.

COMPLETION At this final stage we invoice you for the remainder of the agreed quote for your website. We recommend a scheduled meeting for some training on how to log-in and edit your unique content (which some our sites can be built to allow), and get your familiar with the content management system. Alternatively we can manage your content and any future updates for you, if you prefer just to phone or email us with future alterations. This service will incur small fees charged on a time basis only.

SUMMARY These days if you don’t have an online presence you are missing out a lot of potential business. At Activate we want to give you the chance to connect to those who are looking for you online, because people will go online first to find a business or service they require. It is faster, easier, and all around more convenient to find what you are looking for online by web surfing, than it is to look on a map or in a phone book. So here’s a quick summary of main points to think about, before contacting us to assist with your website creation :

  • What are your unique products and services that you wish to market online?
  • Who are your target market?
  • Do you have an idea of time frame?
  • Do you have a budget?
  • What domain name would best signpost your website?
  • Would you like us to manage the registration of your domain name?
  • Would you like us to host your website?
  • Would you like an email account or accounts to accompany your website?
  • When would it suit you to arrange an initial meeting?
From there on we will provide a quote, create a design concept, manage any changes required, develop the site foundation, then add the content and the email or hosting services as requested, and you are up and running!

For more information or to arrange a meeting and begin the process or having a website designed in Christchurch, please feel free to give us a call, or send us an email. Your may wish to view our online website portfolio, to gain an idea of the our unique design quality and creativity. Call us today to make an appointment to meet with the team at our Christchurch Website Design Company.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Printing, Website Design

ActiveMail - our simple email marketing system.

ActiveMail - our simple email marketing system

Send beautifully designed email newsletters to your customers by utilising our clear and simple email marketing software system.

In choosing this service we can create a unique template or templates for your company, including your logo and brand, company colours, and any features to ensure your newsletter is recognized as your own. Then with the click of a few buttons you can create your own unique newsletter, easily add links to your website or links to your email contact, and add images to suit.

Another unique feature of ActiveMail is that your newsletters can be saved as drafts. This means you can have newsletters on the go until you are ready to send them, perhaps building them up slowly with products of interest or events as they happen.

Once you have chosen to send your newsletter you can utilize the powerful analytic tools of this program. These tools allow you to see many statistics of each email campaign, for example, how many people have opened your email, how many have followed links and which links were most popular, as well as being able to see how many unsubscribed, and how many forwarded your email to a friend. This statistical information can be very handy in knowing which areas of your business are generating the most interest, which products or services are the most popular and what people are recommending or would like more information about.

This feedback our newsletter system can offer you will help focus your company, your website content, and your business structure to meet the needs and interests of your client base, all the while encouraging their input and welcoming their responses to what is offered, and perhaps most importantly - keeping the lines of communication open. An accessible company is a very desirable one to work with. A company you never hear from usually leads to loss of sales and clients looking elsewhere. Email marketing will encourage brand loyalty to you and your company through better communication.

Keep in contact with your client base today by giving us a call to discuss creating a beautiful email template for you through out ActiveMail system. You will be pleasantly surprised just how easy it is to create informative, stylish and beautifully presented newsletters offering your services to the world.

ActiveMail was originally created as a solution to the many and varied email campaign systems available today, some of which can be very difficult and frustrating to use, with ugly templates and hard-to-decipher navigation. Yes there are many email systems on the market but none as easy to manage or clearly accessible as ActiveMail, our unique email marketing software system.

ActiveMail make the process of sending targeted email campaigns to your clients, one that is easy and enjoyable. Contact us about ActiveMail today.

Posted in Branding, Graphic Design, Printing, Website 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

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