Keep up with our latest news

The dreaded Facebook “Boost Post” button

The “Boost Post” button invites me to pay to share the post with others. But this video  is a good deterrent against paying Facebook for anything.
I watched that video after Jeff Hamada talked about The End of Facebook.

In one of the comments below Jeff’s post, James Davidson of We Heart said:
“…with around 30k [likes] we were seeing some posts getting just a thousand or so views. Ergo, we were drawn to the dreaded “Boost Post.” Funny thing is, it seemed to have an adverse effect on the posts that weren’t boosted — we dropped down to just a few hundred views for some of them.

“As we grew disenfranchised, we stopped boosting so much. Guess what? The views have been slowly creeping back up. An algorithm to capitalise on those stupid enough to feed the mouth that bites? I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Just something worth thinking about before spending too much time or money on your Facebook page.

Do you still need business cards?

In this day and age of advanced technology, social media and connectivity through smartphones, do we still need a business card?

It is easy to think you are connected or can easily reach others through the internet, but can you?. Company websites and networking sites, such as LinkedIn, do an effective job of gathering contact information and connecting people, however, a web address or a person’s LinkedIn account can easily be forgotten after a meeting. Regardless of all the technology available today, there is still a great need for a personal touch, a business card, something to hold and store for later.

Why business cards are still important
Your contacts expect business cards. Today we are all overwhelmed with emails and requests. Your business card be a creative reminder of who you are.

Business cards attract attention and showcase personality
A creative or custom designed card portrays more than just a name and phone number, it is also your brand personality. Make your card stand out by using Design Station’s graphic design service to create visual appeal. As designers, we thrive on creativity. Taking a unique approach, is something we do frequently.

How is Media Changing?

The printing industry has seen tremendous change in the past years and will see even more change in the next years. Digital imaging, desktop publishing, large-format offset printing, ink jet production printing and computers are a few examples of advances since the 1970s. Although the technology has changed and the competition is fierce, some aspects of the printing business remain unchanged: customer service, the demand for quality and adhering to the particular ethics and laws regulating putting ink on paper.

Newspapers have lost readers and advertising to the internet. Book and music shops have closed for good. Sales of DVDs and CDs have plummeted. The television industry has so far resisted big disruption but that has not stopped doomsayers predicting a flight of advertising and viewers.

The surge in smartphones, tablet computers and broadband speeds has encouraged more people to pay for content they can carry around with them. According to eMarketer, a research firm, this year Americans will spend more time online or using computerised media than watching television. “All-access” services, such as Netflix (for film and TV) or Spotify (for music), which give unlimited content on mobile devices for a monthly fee, are prompting people to spend more on digital products.

After years of wreaking havoc, the internet is now helping media companies to grow. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), a professional-services firm, reckons that revenues for online media and entertainment will increase by around 13% a year for the next five years. Even in music, which took the biggest hit from the internet, downloads are something to sing about. For the first time in over a decade global music-industry revenues grew last year, by about 0.2%, according to the IFPI, a trade group. Online sales just about made up for the drop in physical ones for the first time. Subscription services, such as Spotify and Deezer, let people stream songs over the internet either for a subscription or free with adverts. Online radio is also growing.

Revenue from couch potatoes are also stabilising thanks to downloads, rentals and streaming services—to the relief of Hollywood studios. Kiosks that dispense rentable films were once scorned for undermining DVD sales. Now those sites are boosting profits at media firms by buying the rights to stream content online. Television and film companies are selling rights to broadcast content after it debuts but before it is repeated on TV.

The most obvious change in the past few years is the decline of “physical” products, such as CDs, DVDs and print newspapers. In 2008 nearly nine-tenths of consumer cash went on them; by 2017 it will be a little over half, with digital grabbing the rest. Electronic content has some advantages, in particular lower distribution costs. However, consumers expect to pay less for electronic products and are renting instead of buying.

Media firms used to make a fortune selling “bundles”. Songs are grouped into albums; newspapers are packages of articles and advertising. The internet lets people pick what they want. Firms that can keep on bundling have done better. Pay-TV has preserved bundling by not putting current programs online while they air on screen.

Book publishers are also adapting. Thanks to the rise of tablets, e-book sales have climbed. Total spending on books is not likely to rise. But the growing share of e-books—around 14% globally this year—means fatter profits for publishers as printing, distribution and storage costs fall. Around 40% of sales will be e-books in three years, predicts Brian Murray, the boss of HarperCollins, a big publisher.

The internet is at last contributing to media-industry bottom lines. But it will not restore the newspaper or music businesses to their previous size. The economics have changed for good.

Some media firms need to get bigger and trim costs. Penguin and Random House, two publishers, merged earlier this year in order to compete with Amazon, which now publishes books as well as selling them. Universal Music bought EMI, another label, last year. The rounds of sackings at media businesses are as long-running as popular cable-TV dramas.

What will happen as the internet’s influence increases? Journalists write more articles for smaller salaries in shrinking newsrooms. Musicians complain that streaming pays too little. But authors do better. Royalties from e-books are about 25% of net receipts, compared with an average of around 16% in print. Careers can take off faster. E.L. James’s bondage-buster, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, turned up online before being published on paper. Many musicians get more exposure online than they would have had in a record shop, where space was tight, says Martin Mills of Beggars Group, a British music company.

New technology can also provide opportunities for media firms. The value of archives is growing in the internet age: owners can profit from older programmes that are rarely broadcast. Netflix and other online-video firms are snapping up old films and drama series. When a musician releases a new album or goes on tour, old songs are streamed more too, says Daniel Glass, who runs a music label.

The internet can also help firms become cleverer. Concerts have become the lifeblood of the music industry and make up more than half of revenues. Acts used to go on tour to sell albums. Now they put out albums so they can make their living on the road. Bands will probably get cleverer at using streaming data to decide where to perform. Publishers are releasing books electronically to test sales before putting them in print, and to adjust prices to drive demand. Experiments that were once impossibly expensive now cost peanuts.

The trade of dollars for digital cents doesn’t always hurt.

(Thanks to

Facebook Advertising Tips for Your Small Business

For a small company, word of mouth can be amazing and bring in plenty of customers, but dont stop there. Consumers can be easily reached through the plethora of social media outlets now available. By doing just a few simple things and budgeting for a little extra spending, you can build a larger and more loyal customer base. Firstly you need to understand who your target audience is and the best way for  you to reach them.

Facebook is one of my favorite platforms for social advertising. There are lot of options to choose from, so you have a chance to work out your goals and come up with the perfect way to achieve them. If you are looking for more likes on your page, you can optimise your ads to do just that. If you want to direct users to your website, you have that option too. Often it is easier to convert users to likers which then helps build a relationship and can be easier to guide them to your website.

A great option Facebook has for advertising is the ability to direct users to tabs on your page. An easy way to gain likes is to direct users to a tab with an offer. This means that immediately after liking your page, they will receive access to a special offer or promotion that you set up.

Another reason Facebook is great for target marketing is that it allows you to be specific with your advertising. If you need to target 40-year-olds looking for a product in your area, you can do that. If you need to target 30 year old women, you can do that, too. The possibilities are endless and you can try as many strategies as you like until you see which works best for you.

Creating your budget is very user friendly. What you see is what you get. You decide whether to have a daily budget or lifetime budget. You choose whether to have Facebook bid automatically for ad space, or you set your own bid amount based on suggestions for your target audience. You can always go back and change it you are never locked in.

Once your ad campaign is set up, make sure you track the results. Evaluate your spending and see whether it is worth the results you are getting. The dashboard on your page makes it easy to see how many people are clicking on your ad and liking your page. It is easy to see if you are spending too much for mediocre results.

Have you tried Facebook advertising for your business? Do you have any other tips?

2014 Pantone Colour of the Year

Pantone officially declared Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Colour of the Year.

“While the 2013 colour of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

The colour of the year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

Information from

Why does my logo look like that one?

How is it possible that two logos are unintentionally similar?

As designers we are exposed to the same surroundings and influences. The same styles, colours and patterns surround us and we often work on similar projects, therefore, it is assumed ideas will often look alike. Some may say ideas are “stolen or plagiarised” however, more often than not, this may not be the case.

Here are some examples I came across:


Carrier & Ford

Cooperative Program & Colgate Palmolive

Toyota and Jincheng (Chinese car company)

Quark & Scottish Arts Council

BYD (Chinese car company) & BMW

Web design trends for 2014

Many trends that were spotted in 2013 are still around today and will undoubtedly become extremely popular throughout 2014. The reason why they are called trends and not fads is because trends tend to stick around for a few years while fads are here for a short time. In saying that, what kind of new(ish) web design trends we can look for and be inspired by for 2014?

Apple reignited “flat design” with the release of iOS7. However, Apple has taken flat design to a whole new level by removing almost all design elements (drop shadows, gradients, outlines etc.). For a long time Apple has been a major trendsetter, and what Apple does, the rest of the world seems to follow. iOS7 has been out for a while and already there are a flood of sites coming online every day with new “flat” designs. I expect this trend to continue well past 2014.

Simple content is destined to dominate in 2014 and beyond as we design our websites. Simplified content means short paragraphs of content making it easy to read and keep the viewers attention. Over the years, our attention spans have become shorter, so as designers we have compensated for that by putting content in short bursts instead of long narratives. Not many areas on websites these days (except blog posts) have more than about 250 characters. It is easier and faster to read for those who like to scan the page.

Simple colour schemes are also here to stay. Simple meaning using only one or two colours. The use of a more simple color scheme seems to go hand in hand with flat design. Many websites being launched now are using very little colour, or even forgoing colour all together. White, black, and everything in between are popular schemes now, and adding just a hint of another colour, such as red, adds drama and impact – all things garnish attention when used in the right way.

Using just Arial or Times new Roman on your website is a thing of the past. Thousands of web friendly fonts have been created so that your corporate font can some be a part of your website. It is also great to see more designers experimenting with different fonts. “Fonts with personality” are those that feel like they can stand on their own. They are not your standard serif or san-serif font (ahem, Helvetica). As designers we are starting to find different fonts to add to our portfolio which are  enhancing our designs with a little more personality and uniqueness.

Now that responsive web design is becoming more common, we are starting to see websites more functional for our mobile lifestyles. Designers are increasingly working on keeping their sites working properly on mobile devices. Developers are taking it a step further including integration with social media, email subscription areas, long scrolling sites and fast loading sites, all helping to make the mobile web a more user friendly place.

We’ve become comfortable with scrolling through a website to read and find information, and now with websites using more design techniques such as increased white space and responsive Web design, long scrolling sites are starting to appear again. Several years ago, it was common to have long scrolling sites that where slammed with content. Well, now we are seeing long scrolling websites but the content is more organized and in a much easier format to digest.

Large static hero images on website home pages are now quite popular. Hero areas are quickly replacing sliders as the new attention-grabbers and are becoming increasingly creative and elaborate.

Thomas Cook Travel latest re-brand

World renowned tour operator, Thomas Cook, has opted for a new ‘Sunny Heart’ logo, ditching the globe logo it first used in 1880, as the company continues recovering from being close to collapse. The 172-year-old firm unveiled the new design alongside a new positioning statement – ‘Let’s Go’ – replacing its famous motto ‘Don’t just book it, Thomas Cook it.’

The re-brand is part of a complete overhaul by new CEO Harriet Green, who was recruited last year to save the company. The tour operator had been battered by weak consumer confidence in Europe and disruption to holiday destinations such as Egypt. Thomas Cook was eventually forced to cut 2,600 jobs and shut approximately 195 travel agencies as part a survival plan.

The changes mark a new chapter in a history dating back to 1841, when former Baptist preacher Thomas Cook began running tours for members of the anti-alcohol temperance movement.

The switch to the new logo follows a year-long trial in Scandinavia, which the firm said met with a positive response from Danes, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. Swedish ad agency Happy, came up with the design. Neither Happy nor Thomas Cook would reveal how much it paid for the new logo, with a spokesman saying only that the cost was ‘minimal’.

While the Sunny Heart idea came from the Swedish ad agency, industry sources said the final version had to be tweaked by the firm’s own marketing team. The design was made ‘a little plumper’ compared to the original and has also been ‘irradiated’ by adding a sparkle of light.

Thomas Cook marketing and ecommerce director Mike Hoban said, “The gold sunny heart logo had been created to evoke warmth and emotion and worked for all types of holiday, even skiing. The type in metallic grey reflects a high tech, digital Thomas Cook.”

After a successful year in the Nordic countries, the sunny heart is now the unifying symbol for the whole Thomas Cook Group, in more than 70 countries. This is the first time in Thomas Cook’s 172-year history that all its companies will have a unifying identity.



Late 19th century

In 1914, a fifth continent was added to the surrounding ribbons


1928 a fifth ribbon was added, and the brand name changed from Cooks Tours to Cook’s Travel Service


The globe was replaced in 1930 with TC&S for Thomas Cook and Son


These two designs were used between the mid-1930s until after the second world war


Cooks was used between the 50s and 70s


The “flame red” Thomas Cook logo was introduced in 1974


Updated in 1989 to the logo most of us know


The “sea and sun” yellow and blue was launched in 2001






Print is virtually unstoppable

Print designers rejoice! In an age where life is increasingly moving from the physical to the ‘cloud’, it’s easy to be worried that the need for printed marketing and promotions materials is quickly disappearing. But thanks to a new study by Millward Brown (a leading research firm working with some of the world’s biggest brands), print communication has found some rock-solid validity. Working with Bangor University, Millward Brown conducted a series of tests examining how the brain processes physical marketing materials, compared to digital materials presented on a screen. Using MRI scanning, they were able to look directly at participants’ brain activity while being exposed to the different media, tracking the brain regions most involved in processing the messages. The results were conclusive—the ‘real’ experience of physical media is better at forming memories and generating emotion, helping to develop more positive brand associations.

So, lets get printing!

Source: BJ Ball

World’s thinnest keyboard unveiled

The company behind the wireless Beats headphones and Nike Running gadget has unveiled the world’s thinnest keyboard, with a flexible, wireless touchscreen just half a millimetre thick.

Cambridge-based CSR, which specialises in wireless technology, showcased a prototype of the product at the IFA consumer electronics event in Berlin, but it will be 12 months before it will be available to buy.

Paul Williamson, CSR’s director of low power wireless products, said the final form factor depended on how manufacturers bring the keyboard to market, although its primary use is likely to be as a lightweight, complementary external keyboard for tablet devices. “This is a working prototype and a glimpse forward rather than something people will be buying this year,” he said.

“We might see lots of shapes and sizes, some as small as iPad Mini or a larger, more rigid form for a desktop PC, which could be curved, in any colour way, transparent or fitted with a leather folio.”

Developed in partnership with Cambridge Inkjet Technology, the interface for the product is printed out and can be customised. That could mean printing bespoke keyboards in different languages with ease, or customised keyboards for functions such as video editing and for customers who would like personalised patterns or messages on their own keyboard.

The keyboard’s touchscreen could also be used under a piece of paper to transcribe notes made with a pen and sync them to a computer.

CSR’s research has led to wireless products that enable music streaming in the popular Beats headphones, the performance-tracking tool the Nike+ SportWatch and the Jambox speaker.

Founded in 1999, CSR is one of a cluster of successful, research-focused tech companies clustered around Cambridge and “Silicon Fen” who have recently discussed introducing a “Made in Cambridge” badge to promote their products.

“The audio experience you’re getting from Beats headphones exists because we developed it, put it out there and now it is used on a global scale,” said Williamson.

“People don’t recognise that that kind of innovation is developed by a small number of very bright people here, and the pool of engineering talent and expertise here deserves a bit more credit than the app economy drive in the periphery of London.”

Source: the guardian