August 2nd, 2011
Adobe Edge

With the advent of HTML 5, which we talked about here before, there is a lot of really cool things happening in website design and development. In order to keep up with trends Adobe have created Adobe Edge.

Edge is a new web motion and interaction design tool that allows web designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

Edge will be updated regularly to add new functionality, stay ahead of evolving web standards, and incorporate user feedback to provide the best functionality and experience possible.

Edge has great potential and it should take over Flash for simple to medium projects. However, a lot of people are saying they wouldn’t be surprised if it kills-off Flash in the long run.

 

August 1st, 2011
Design studio mate

Say hello to our new design studio mate. I think we have just named him Frank.

Huge thanks to Lisa and all at Inkygoodness. We will give him a good home.

 

July 20th, 2011
Totem Love at Zellig!

graphic art at zellig in the Custard Factory

We are really looking forward to the Character Totem homecoming show tomorrow night (27th of July 2011) in Zellig at the Custard Factory. We got to have a quick look yesterday morning before set up was finished and it is already looking great! We have never seen so much colour in one exhibition.

It promises to be a great night with live music, live drawing, stalls and beer! What more can you ask for?

The show itself is brought to us by Inkygoodness, after a successful trip to Berlin, they wanted to bring it home. The Inkygoodness mission is to showcase new and emerging talent in illustration, character design and lowbrow art. They have been organising shows since 2008, having a number of events across the UK. Most recently Berlin; debuting their first international exhibition as part of the Pictoplasma Character Walk earlier this year.

Tomorrow night will also be the launch of Issue 7 of AMMO magazine. So make sure you come down, join in and have a drink!

Check out more from Inkygoodness on their website: http://inkygoodness.com

 

July 20th, 2011
Letterpress Poster Design

Really nice video on the creation of a Letterpress poster.

 

July 18th, 2011
Motion Graphics

Really great Motion Graphics piece by Patrick Clair.

An infographic dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code.

 

July 15th, 2011
Poster Design and Graphics

We just love these posters for Coppélia. This is just a selection of 27 poster designs submitted to Pointe Blank, a new collaborative project created by Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Designers and Artists were invited to create original artwork based on the story of the ballet Coppélia. Great selection of posters, from pure typographic pieces to detailed illustrations. The posters were then put on display in an exhibition. It’s great to see this kind of thing happening and we look forward to more.

 

July 13th, 2011
HTML5. The new website standard

We’ve posted about HTML5 on here before. But what exactly is it? HTML5 is to become the new web standard, it greatly reduces the amount of code web-designers have to use when creating and structuring pages. Perhaps the biggest benefit to HTML5 is the fact that it can handle Video and Audio in the browser, so there’ll be no need for extra plug-ins.

With the inclusion of video in the browser this may do away with the need for Adobe Flash. Apple have already refused to use Flash plug-ins in its iOS, they say its due to the amount of resources it takes up. HTML5 should bring us rich media content to all our devices.

So there are plenty of new and exciting possibilities with HTML5. And with animation techniques also being introduced it’s hard to think that Adobe Flash will be around much longer in its current state. I imagine they will change the output settings, from the standard SWF to something more like Swiffy.

Swiffy is a Google Labs project created by Pieter Senster, who was an intern working on a small project to convert SWF files to HTML5. From this Swiffy was born and Pieter was hired to work on the project full time. Although at this point in time it is still in its infancy it will convert most SWF files, it has however got problems with some Flash content.

You can check out some demos of Swiffy in action on the Google Labs website here: http://swiffy.googlelabs.com/gallery.html

We tried it on our musical Stripeyhorse at homepage and it does work. The music worked too in Safari and Chrome but when we tried it on an iOS devise unfortunately it didn’t, However, Google have already said it doen’t support all kinds of sound files.

With the introduction of HTML5 I imagine a lot of websites are going to start using it and pushing it to its limits. I can see a lot of websites going down the route of the early flash adopters. When in the mid 90′s it seemed every website was Flash based even when it was very unnecessary to be. But we’re looking forward to seeing the developments and the crazy websites which will be published using HTML5.

We really like this website: http://nizoapp.com/ The site is for a new app called Nizo. Every element animates onto screen smoothly as the user scrolls down. All of it done with Java script, so no Flash required. It’s a very clever site, allowing the user to then grab and move any object on screen. It’s this kind of website which gets us excited about HTML5.

website design using HTML5


Other readings and links to HTML5 websites:

http://pixelclouds.com/2011/03/16/25-brilliant-websites-designed-with-html5-css3/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/05/title/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/01/html5-branding-and-logo-design/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/01/html-5/

 

July 12th, 2011
Motion Graphics

Very nice graphics piece by Adam Grabowski. Created for a motion graphics showcase at the School of Visual Arts, in this clip Adam pays homage to the early days of the moving image. How? By creating animation machines from everyday household items.

Found via the website: http://www.zillamag.com

 

July 11th, 2011
Censorship!

advertising and branding agency

We just think these images are great. As part of the branding and advertising campaign for Reporters Without Borders the advertising agency Ogilvy developed this idea.

To illustrate just how censorship gives the viewer only half the story and to illustrate how censorship is wrong they took everyday situations of political figures and with the addition of the censor pixellation gave each one a clever twist.

For more information check out the Reporters Without Borders website here.

 

July 8th, 2011
Graphic Design Course

Here is a brilliant motion graphics piece. It beautifully illustrates what the college does, who their target market is, and speaks to them through different media. Motion graphics, stop motion and live footage are all combined to create a captivating piece.

 

June 30th, 2011
More charity work and branding


As part of our New Year resolution we wanted to work with more charities, and we have done just that.

First up was Woodview Community Centre. We were contacted to create a branding package for them, developing a new logo which had to reach across their whole brand and the larger community.

Next we worked closely with Craftspace to create a new brand identity and web presence for Shelanu, a craft social enterprise for refugee and migrant women.

We greatly enjoyed working on both these projects, and wish both of them the very best of luck in the future.

To see the Woodview case study go here you can also view the logo/branding and website design.

For Shelanu we created their logo and branding and website design which can be viewed here: http://www.shelanucollective.co.uk/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/02/we-are-social/

http://www.stripeyhorsecreative.com/blog/2011/01/2407/

 

June 16th, 2011
Branding: When Good Guys Go Bad

Take one young mother struggling to pay her son’s school fees, a lucrative casino (is there any other kind?) and a tattoo parlour. The result: ‘GoldenPalace.com’ tattooed across said mum’s forehead for the princely sum of $15,000 (roughly £9244.50). Check it out here: http://j.mp/maGWOG

GoldenPalace.com undoubtedly gained some global attention from this stunt: some might argue that the tattooed woman was mad to agree to it; others would argue she was manipulated by a global brand. Either way, it seems a tad unethical. A bit like a US confectionary brand we’ve been reading a lot about over the last year or so…

We love chocolate. But it’s fair to say that the actions of Kraft’s Irene Rosenfeld have made us think twice about where we want our Stripey pound to end up.

Rosenfeld, who Forbes names as the second most powerful woman in the world, led the hostile takeover of Cadburys in 2010. Since then, and despite promises to the contrary, hundreds of Cadburys workers have been made redundant, with talk of manufacturing plants moving abroad.

Rosenfeld has repeatedly snubbed requests to appear before British MP’s to answer questions about why she backtracked on her assurances. Now, those MP’s are pushing through legislation to prevent similar takeovers happening again.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Kraft debacle is that Cadburys, a unique piece of British history, is systemically being dismantled by a superbrand with little regard to its historical and cultural significance. Not only that but rumour has it Kraft also aims to tamper with the sacred recipes of our beloved Cadbury’s chocolate! Thanks to Rosenfeld, the Kraft brand is certainly leaving a bad taste in a few mouths, and they’re not the only ones.

Take the fashion industry for example. In particular Nike, which certainly hasn’t escaped the spotlight in previous years. Having admitted to using child labour in the past, Nike has, according to The Global Alliance ‘acted in good faith, and developed a serious and reasonable remediation plan’. Although not every quarter is convinced, it’s clear to see they’ve made an effort to change.

WWF however, were so disturbed by the unethical activities of other fashion brands that they came up with a novel idea to counteract it.

In 2007, WWF undertook a study of businesses and their ethics, with some shocking results. Right at the bottom of the list was Tod’s, a luxury Italian leather company, who scored the lowest marks across every aspect of the survey. Another surprising report arose from Garnier, who were found guilty of racial discrimination after attempting to ban non-white women from promoting its shampoo in French stores.

WWF, after realising the power of celebrity endorsement behind these big brands, came up with the great idea of a ‘star charter’. The charter encourages celebrities to consider the ethics of the firms they endorse. And if the success of PETA is anything to go by, then the ‘star charter’ for big brands could be the one to watch. That’s assuming that the stars endorsing the brands are ethical themselves…

Maybe the real question is not how good or bad brands are, but whether their ethics make any difference whatsoever to their popularity. And if it doesn’t, what does that say about us as consumers?

Interested in reading more? Take a look at these articles:

http://j.mp/lW9TU9
http://j.mp/miCKbg
http://j.mp/mnm86M

http://j.mp/l73XhG

 

June 9th, 2011
Crafty Branding

Craft: A word that might once have conjured up images of frilly pillows, scrapbooks and cross-stitched cats playing with balls of wool. But, as we recently learnt, not anymore.

Thanks to the Birmingham based charity Craftspace, we’ve spent the last five weeks working with a brand new social enterprise called Shelanu. Designing their branding package with a logo, website and marketing materials meant we were lucky enough to watch their delicately handmade jewellery take shape, which is special in itself. But what makes this group really important is the people who belong to it.

The enterprise is made up of migrant and refugee women. Together, they’re a diverse cultural collective, creating intricate, ornate jewellery inspired by their experiences in Birmingham. To celebrate and share that creativity, Shelanu is exhibiting at the prestigious Bovey Tracy Craft Fair at the end of this week. And with these guys, Bovey Tracy better watch out! Not only are they a talented group, they’re also vibrant, energetic and fun loving – all the qualities apparent in their sparkling jewellery design.

We think you’ll be seeing a lot more from Shelanu – check out their website for more information at www.shelanucollective.co.uk. And if you’re interested in learning about more up and coming craft projects take a look at www.craftspace.co.uk. They’re one of the few charities that have succeeded in winning Arts Council funding and they’re not wasting time in putting it to good use.

 

June 8th, 2011
Superbrands: It’s a Battle of Hearts of Minds

Lately, we seem to be hearing a lot about brands being a bit like religions: Apple store openings have been likened to evangelical prayer meetings. And only recently we learnt that our brains recognise our favourite brands the same way we recognise close friends and relatives.

So if brands are becoming such an integral part of how we function as human beings, what exactly are these superbrands doing to achieve this?  Alex Riley is the man with the answers, as he goes on the trail of the world’s biggest brands and comes up with some fascinating insights.

Perhaps most obviously, the one thing superbrands seem to have in common is longevity. But that aside, the forefathers of these global brands display a startling ability to market their businesses at a time when even the term ‘marketing’ had yet to be coined. Their brand strategies were way ahead and whether you’re a big fan of fast food and soft drinks or a fully fledged fruitarian – 1.5billion servings of Coke a day can’t be wrong.

Riley’s documentary also surprisingly illustrates what a pivotal time for developing brand loyalty World War II was: Heinz became known as an affordable and nutritious staple food during rationing while Coke shipped its bottles to troops overseas for a dime a bottle.

Then there’s Red Bull, which is one of the most unique branding models around. Forget sponsorship – Red Bull weren’t playing second fiddle to anyone. They own their own sporting teams for Formula 1, they also own Salzburg football team and even invented the now famous Red Bull Air Races.

They’re all impressive examples. But ethical? That’s for you to decide. With Coke aiming to double their marketing share by targeting teenagers, and Red Bull erasing the historical culture of their football team, some might argue that they’re ruthless industry machines. But then business ethics are a whole different blog post…

If you didn’t catch it the first time, check out Alex Riley’s ‘Secrets of the Superbrands’ here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011fjbp

 

June 6th, 2011
Apple Loves Dieter Rams

You’d be forgiven for not knowing firsthand who Dieter Rams is. But with Apple about to make an announcement on its latest designs, it’s clear he has a very important fan: someone who put the queues outside Apple stores and created the kind of brand loyalty that makes their openings seem like evangelical congregations.

Who is this fan? Jony Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design.

For Ive, Rams is a huge inspiration, remaining “utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right and so accessible”. Coming from the heady pantheons of Apple’s elite, that’s praise indeed. But what exactly did Dieter Rams do to deserve such praise?

Best known for his range of Braun gadgets, Rams creates “bold, pure, perfectly-proportioned, coherent and effortless” product design, according to Jony Ives. Product design that is “perfectly considered and completely appropriate”. Now, as the subject of a new book, Rams writes for the first time about Apple – one of the few companies that, in his words, understands ‘the power of good design’.

Interestingly, Rams believes that such success is borne out of a close relationship between entrepreneur and head of design – something he experienced at Braun and that Jony Ive has with Steve Jobs. For the creative industries, this is a valuable insight – the best projects are always the ones that grow from long term relationships, with mutual respect and understanding of long term goals.

A lone voice with its unique product design, Apple’s success is likened by Rams to the ration queues experienced during World War II. And with new products on the way, we’d better prepare for the peal of those sirens.

Check out this link for the original article: http://j.mp/mSrp4d

 

June 2nd, 2011
De-Nile: Not just a river in Egypt

The power of language – brilliantly used by political protestors in Egypt. Also an interesting point raised by Neil Taylor of The Writer.

Neil reckons ‘business ideas live in words as well as images’ – a view we’d support as branding experts.

From Aborigines to the Ten Commandments, he illustrates how the right brand language can influence, direct, encourage and get results – both negative and positive! (For an example of how not to use brand language, watch a few episodes of The Office…)

Neil also raises some interesting differences between the brand language of Microsoft and Apple that are worth a look, courtesy of Wordle.

It’s an interesting topic, showing that branding isn’t just about visual identity. It’s about culture, character, personality and talking to your target market in the best possible way.

Check out his fascinating talk at http://www.economistconferences.co.uk/video/big-rethink-2011/5491

 

May 30th, 2011
Smile! You’re on TBS!

How do you revitalise a business without completely rebuilding it from the bottom up? Yep, a rebrand and luckily for us, TBS is around to give you the perfect example.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly who we’re talking about. If we say an American TV channel famed for sitcom reruns and comedy movies hopefully it becomes clearer.

TBS’s ‘smile’ logo has been in use since 2004 but while the TV network has become a powerhouse of success, it seems their branding wasn’t quite keeping up with the times. Cue Ferroconcrete, a Los Angeles based branding and design agency.

They’ve taken the existing smile logo and morphed it into an animated brand identity with ‘mega personality’. Ferroconcrete credit the new smile logo with an ‘arsenal of expressions and gestures”. Apparently, “he waves, jumps, and bows as he charms, goofs and mimics’. Twinned with a vibrant colour range the result is a bold, fresh brand identity that really communicates what TBS is about.

Ferroncrete also know that no top  notch rebrand would be complete without a full complement of makeover tools. Integrating a new typeface, ‘Katarine’, gives the new brand a friendly accessibility combined with a contemporary feel. The overall effect is a huge personality – it’s fun, entertaining and stylish.

But enough about what we think – check out the article here: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/funny_smile.php

 

May 25th, 2011
Super Brands!

BBC Three aired another installment of Secrets of the Superbrands last night. With some fascinating insights into how fashion brands get us to buy their clothes.

Nike for instance, spends a whopping £1.8bn per year marketing what is already a genuine ‘superbrand’.

Then there’s Adidas, whose Gary Aspden (their global head of entertainment promotions) seems to have singlehandedly created incredible brand loyalty. How? By giving free stuff to upcoming “grime” stars who, now they’ve made it big, legitimately promote Adidas to the younger generation and wider fanbase.

Perhaps more significant were the findings of Professor Gemma Calvert of Neurosense.

It’s well known that great branding triggers emotive responses, but Calvert’s results went one step further. Her research entailed monitoring neurological reactions to cheap handbags versus expensive ones, with some interesting results.

Calvert showed that while cheap brands elicited no response, expensive brands triggered feelings associated with ‘reward, craving and addiction’ – all the activities found in the ‘pleasure centre’ of the brain.

Why is this significant? Because owning such objects sends a signal to others that we are genetically superior – we have accumulated enough material wealth to lavish thousands on high end fashion brands.

It’s not all smooth sailing for these super-brands though. Nike still finds itself fending off questions about their use of child labour in poor countries, while Burberry was forced to re-launch after its well recognised check pattern became mainstream for the masses.

Check out the article in full here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13502371

 

May 24th, 2011
5 Handy Hints and Tips to Get the most from your Website – Part II

Today’s blog is all about how to win clients and build profitability – not just by looking fantastic, but by working hard behind-the scenes. So take a look through and if you have any questions, give us a call!

Search Engine Optimisation

A blog is great for helping with SEO – keep it regularly updated with interesting, relevant articles and incorporate keywords for maximum effect! It’s these industry- specific words that help you rise organically when users look for your product or service. But beware of link farms – Google knows if you’re cheating. Take a look at this blog for some simple SEO tips courtesy of Hubspot: http://j.mp/ivtqY7.

Analytics

A fantastic tool for monitoring traffic, Google Analytics is free to download and provides you with a wealth of information! See where your users come from, evaluate how effective your marketing campaigns are and see how many hits you get month by month. With all this information on hand, you’ll learn exactly how to drive traffic to your site, and keep it there!

Eye Mapping

A clever technique dating all the way back to the 1800’s, eye mapping helps you understand where your users eye goes in the 7 seconds they spend on your home page! That’s right – just 7 seconds! Use eye mapping to give you a head start. Make sure your taglines hook, your logo impresses and your copy is captivating!

Converting traffic to sales

This is an easy one: if you look like you care about your business, your users will too. Make sure your website looks professional and appeals to your target market. Keep your copy concise and focus interest on your product or service. Want to know more? Check out these tips from BestRank: http://j.mp/kJn2mv

Don’t be Flash!

Google won’t read Flash so use it with care – too much on your site will mean you lose out on rankings. The right amount however, can really set you apart. In fact, we’re a bit partial to Flash ourselves – as you can see from the musical horse on our home page!

For some more free tips on how to maximise your online marketing take a look at this online article from The Telegraph: http://j.mp/j9jL3Y. It provides some great links to free advice and tools to keep your business a success!

If you’d like any further information, just give us a call on 07581 677 103 or drop us a line at hello@stripeyhorsecreative.com. We’re always happy to help!

 

May 23rd, 2011
Top Five Tips to getting the most from your website…

We’ve been pretty busy here at Stripeyhorse Creative, creating a branding package for an exciting new social enterprise and helping some Birmingham-based charities with their online marketing and print design. But we still found time to enjoy the Royal Wedding!

We also decided to put together some handy hints to help you dust the cobwebs from your online presence. Check whether you’re at the head of the pack, with the following top tips!

Image

The average user spends 7 seconds on your home page before clicking away. With such a short amount of time, it’s important to make sure your website creates a fantastic impression! Don’t be afraid of being bright, bold and different. More importantly, differentiate yourself from the competition!

Layout

How’s your website looking at a glance – is everything in the right place? An attractive, aesthetic layout means your site is easy on the eye and inviting. Combine colour, font and copy to create a dynamic user experience. And if you can help it, avoid pop up banners or too much flash – they’ll make your users click away in the blink of an eye!

Navigation

Make sure your site creates a great experience by maintaining excellent functionality. Have a visible, accessible navigation bar. Once you’ve succeeded in driving traffic to your site, don’t lose at the last hurdle because of broken links! These simple techniques will mean users can navigate your site with ease, paying attention to everything you offer!

Copywriting

Think about how the way you sound helps you connect with your target market. Is your tone of voice conversational or corporate? Which do you think users will respond most positively to? And always double check your spelling and grammar, especially on your home page!

Have a Blog!

Putting interesting articles or images on your blog will stimulate interest and help to drive traffic to your site! Linking your blog to other forms of social media will also help raise awareness and visibility. Incorporating keywords will aid organic SEO! In a nutshell, blogging is a supertool for your website!

Remember, your website should work as a tool, helping your business grow and become more profitable. If you have any questions give us a call or drop us an email.

Watch out for more juicy tips in our next blog, where we’ll be giving you advice to make sure your website is working as hard as it can for you and your business, from behind-the-scenes!