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.

 

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.

 

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 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.

 

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!

 

May 11th, 2011
When Big Brands get it Wrong


Everyone remembers the Pepsi Challenge, right? The taste test where blindfolded participants were asked to name their favourite cola, and Pepsi won? It was an episode that made every global brand sit up and pay attention.

In April 1985, Coke launched a new flavour. What’s so bad about that you might ask? Well, not much fundamentally. But their real mistake was scrapping the old one. And this is where brand loyalty really finds its legs. Americans were in uproar. Campaigns were launched and protestors took to the streets.

After some serious head scratching, Coke took a fresh look at the market research, and realised the error of their ways. They’d spent decades building up brand loyalty and associations. By taking away original Coke, they were taking away more than a product — consumers didn’t just like the taste, they’d bought into an ideology. 79 days later the original Coke was back in production.

Coke doesn’t have the monopoly on bad business decisions, however. Check out this article from BBC Two for more examples of when big brands get it wrong: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13285504 inspired by the new series, ‘Business Nightmares’.

This new foray into corporate clangers might be an education on what not to do in business but equally, it sends a pretty strong message about what to do after you’ve screwed up. Perhaps most significantly, it drives home the real power of branding. As one fan put it: “My oldest daughter is 22. Her first word was Coke. Her second word was Mommy”…

 

May 4th, 2011
Take 5 with HTML 5

You’ve probably guessed by now that we like HTML5 here at Stripeyhorse Creative. In older posts we’ve talked of its relative ease of use, given Jason Beaird a nod for his views on website design, and blogged about the new HTML5 branding and logo design.

Now we want to share the more experimental side of HTML5 and show you some really interesting projects by Hakim, a web developer and creative programmer. Hakim has worked with some big name brands including Google, BBC, Nintendo and Wacom. You really have to get onto his website to play with the experiments, but shown above is just two: Sketch and Keylight.

It would be great to see some real world application of these experiments. He even created the logo and branding for a Canadian media production company using HTML Canvas options. Some new and interesting things may start to appear in new brands and websites thanks to the introduction of HTML5.

For now, play with these experiments and more on his website.

 

April 1st, 2011
Eine. Graphic Art

We love these images. Eine creates huge graphic pieces, his use of typography and bright colours really set him apart from other graphic street artists. He is one of the hardest working and most prolific street artists working today. One of his recent works VANDALISM, poses the brilliant question which Local Councils up and down the country are asking, should this work stay up? Has any of his work been done in Birmingham?

Via the website: http://verynearlyalmost.com/

To buy some of his work visit the website: http://www.nellyduff.com

 

March 15th, 2011
Birmingham — The Beat Begins

Since Birmingham lost the City of Culture bid, it’s fair to say there’s been a bit of naval gazing going on. Why did it happen? What’s Derry got that we haven’t? Where has all this belly button fluff come from??

But maybe we’ve been looking at this all wrong. Maybe, we should be looking at why we missed out. And maybe the answer is because, in actual fact, we’re doing okay thanks very much. We’re not so down on our luck! Birmingham’s got a lot to offer after all, and particularly from its creative industries.

It seems though, that the message isn’t quite getting out there. And we’re not the first city to be in this dilemma …

Dublin for many years was really missing a hardcore creative design scene. Pockets of creativity subtly hammered away, keeping Irish design afloat with an understated presence. Thanks to the initiative of a few bright sparks however, things slowly started to change, and the results for Dublin were phenomenal.

First, Ireland stopped looking for answers externally and started looking inwards, for homegrown talent. With this change in perspective came a new attitude, and a common goal –If They Can Do It We Can Too! Eventually, a design community that was once scattered became insular. It only took a few steps to change the whole dynamic — a few small steps which snowballed and resulted in Dublin as it is today, a hub of design creativity.

The biggest change, yet arguably the smallest step, came with the introduction of CANDY magazine. Launched in 2005, its intention was to showcase Irish creativity to a worldwide audience. Using its own contributions while simultaneously drawing on the creative expertise and skills of new members, growth was rapid. Before long a vast creative community emerged, a cohesive powerhouse of talent and with it, an unprecedented level of global awareness. And that wasn’t all…

More creative events and forums followed: Sweettalk initiated seminars where heroes of the design industry shared their inspirations, their experiences and their expertise. Moving forward to collaborate with major brands such as Sony, Habitat and other retail goliaths, Sweettalksupported the design industry and encouraged creatives to get involved. Synth Eastwood,50×50, Shock’d, and talks at Electric Picnic followed, offering a huge variety of opportunities for creatives to meet, relax, drink, socialize and learn, in a friendly, supportive environment. The result of all this? Dublin, creatively speaking, is on the map.

Ireland has always been known for its unique vibe, with live bands in traditional pubs creating the atmosphere it’s become famous for. A short walk along the River Liffey and through Temple Bar with its street performers and musicians will leave you with the sense that it truly is a creative place to be. But now, alongside that traditional creative essence, it’s achieved status as a hotbed of design creativity. Take Offset for examplea weekend attracting inspirational speakers every year, bringing together the creative community through knowledge, open debate and inspiring stories of success. With an annual calendar of events that would make industry giants like London and Manchester blush, Dublin it seems has stamped its presence on the global creative industry. So what can Birmingham learn from that success, if anything?

Historically, Birmingham was at the helm of a global industrial revolution, a world leader of industry and technology. Perhaps that’s why Birmingham is sometimes overlooked for other cities — because the word isn’t quite out that we’ve evolved, that we’ve moved with the times. Birmingham is at the forefront of digital media, creative design, branding, social media — you name it, we can do it. And what’s more, we do it well.

The fact is, Birmingham is the city of choice for hundreds of creative agencies. In a highly competitive industry, Birmingham design agencies have honed into a slick movement of cutting edge creatives, offering commercially viable solutions that satisfy demand and exceed expectations, locally, nationally and globally.

Word is spreading. But how do we speed up the drumbeat on that grapevine? And is that what we can learn from places like Dublin? Interestingly, social media sites are seeing a new movement from Irish creatives — a red and white badge added to individual profiles simply stating in icons ‘love Irish arts’. It’s a small action, but the symbolic gesture is much more significant.

It would be good to see a stronger community here in the Midlands. Perhaps a merging of two well-known creative centres — the Jewellery Quarter and the Custard Factory — could really raise the flag for Birmingham’s creative industry. The opportunities are limitless.

We didn’t win the City of Culture bid because we’re already too advanced, we’ve got too much going for us! Now we just need to put those small steps in place that will make us become the big creative presence we know we can be.


This is an article we wrote for Created in Birmingham.
Visit the Created in Birmingham website for events happening in and around the city: http://www.createdinbirmingham.com