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Do you still need business cards?
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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?
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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 3dprintingindustry.com)

2014 Pantone Colour of the Year
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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 www.pantone.com

Web design trends for 2014
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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?

DESIGN
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.

CONTENT
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.

COLOUR
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.

FONTS
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.

RESPONSIVE
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.

SCROLLING
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.

HERO IMAGES
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.

2013 Colour of the Year
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Pantone officially declared Pantone 17-5641 Emerald Green as the 2013 Colour of the Year.

Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.

The Colour of the Year selection is a very long and detailed process. To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally scours the world looking for influences on colour. Including the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Other influences also come from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact colour, even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention.

For more than a decade, Pantone’s Colour of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

With a continued emphasis on ‘going green’ it is no wonder that the vibrant colour has become the latest trend and it will be interesting to see how the design community pairs this energetic shade.

 

Image courtesy of Pantone.

How loyal are you?
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Brand loyalty is how we escape decision fatigue.

Making choices is exhausting – mentally, emotionally and even physically. With the magnitude of online services and globalising markets, our options have multiplied rapidly, and it’s wearing us out. More than anything else, this is why we form brand loyalties. Once we believe that our values and choices align, we are happy to leave choices to the brand that has earned our trust, and shift some of the burden off our own shoulders.

Be trustworthy enough to take the load off. The brands that earn loyalty in 2013 are those that have earned it. By showing you’re aligned, and communicating in familiar language, you establish a trust that lets customers relax. “Go ahead,” you say, “we’ve got you covered.” If they can believe you, they’ll love you for it.

Will you be loyal to us?