iPhone 6s shortlist of new features

There are tons of rumors about what’s in store for the new iPhone being announced by Apple tomorrow.  Here’s the shortlist you care about from truly reliable sources…

 

Pricing structure will stay the same

$199, $299, etc…

 

New Color: Rose Gold

 

Improved Camera

12 Megapixels!  Compared to 8 in the current 6 & 6 Plus.

 

Force Touch

This adds one more dimension to your interaction with your phone.  Now the force you use when touching the display will have a different impact on your experience.  Imagine playing a game and speeding up the harder you press the throttle…delete buttons can now require a little more force so they’re not accidentally tapped, and maybe even protect your privacy by requiring passcodes that detect how hard you’re pressing on the screen!

 

A little thicker — but not really

0.2mm thicker to be exact.  Pretty much unnoticeable.

 

There will of course be much more – but these are the highlights to expect.  We’ll be following the Apple Event tomorrow, 9/9/15, for the official announcements…Along with the rest of the world!

 

Google’s many logos

Google changes their logo the way your doctor’s office changes the magazines in the waiting room.  They’re different, but not really.

Here they are…in all of their primary color glory.

 

 

 

1998

 

1998

2000

 

2010

 

2013

 

 

Today!

GoogleLogo2015_svg

 

 

And there you have it.  The many (similar) faces of Google.  What do you think of this latest one?

How to approach your logo design?

“Symbolize and summarize”

-Saul Bass, Renowned Logo Designer

 

Logo design is truly an art.  Taking a company, an idea, a concept, a passion and representing it with a single image is no small task.  It requires a true understanding of what is at the heart of the organization and the skill to translate that into a universally recognizable image that will evoke emotion in everyone that sees it…..but not just any emotion……the right emotion!

Logo design does come down to just this: emotion.  Your logo should grab people, excite them, welcome them, or ignite whichever feeling you desire.  Some logos are meant to create excitement, others happiness, and some even want to evoke sadness.  Whatever the goal, it is your designers responsibility to understand it well and keep it at the core of the design process.  Here are some ways to make sure your logo has the desired impact…

 

What is your desired reaction?

The first step of evoking the right emotion in people is deciding what the right emotion is.  When people see your logo do you want them to feel Excited?  Happy?  Cared For?   It’s not enough to just say that your company represents all of these things – I’m sure it does!  But what makes you stand out?  What is different about you?  Why should your potential customers choose you over your competitor?  When you have that answer, THAT is the emotion you want to evoke.

 

How do you create this emotion?

Once you have determined what is the right emotion / feeling / reaction you want to convey through your logo, you can move on to actually creating it.  This is where it gets fun.  First, look for inspiration.  This doesn’t mean copy someone else’s logo; it means look at other logos that make you feel the way you want your customers to feel and get some ideas of what they have in common.  In general, laid back casual feelings will have more earthy tones & colors and softer, rounded edges (or no edges at all.)  Exciting logos will create movement.

While logos that want to make people feel cared for and convey trustworthiness will often have strong larger than life representations

 

There is a phycology behind this that your designer should be aware of and capable of brining to your logo. What’s important here is that you have a frame of reference for what is relevant.  The Starbucks logo wouldn’t work for a tech company (it’s too warm & welcoming) and the Apple logo won’t work for a coffee shop (not very warm & welcoming!)

How colorful should it be?

Not at all.  Of course logo design is artistic and there is no right or wrong, but this a very useful rule of thumb.  Design your logo in black & white!  If your logo can’t translate well to black and white, it will be very limited in its uses.  This rule came about during the days of printed media, faxes, etc. when black print was the only option very often.  While that’s not the case anymore, the rule still stands strong.  A logo that can be represented by a single color (such as black) with negative space making up the rest (white) your logo will be endlessly versatile.  Your designer should not need to rely on a huge color palette to create the desired effect.

 

This does not mean your logo cannot have color.  Color is not a bad thing.  But it should be able to easily translate into black and white.  Be sure, however, that your colors are there for a purpose.  Just because your logo includes a banana in it doesn’t mean the banana needs to be yellow.  Just because there is a rose doesn’t mean it needs to be red.  Logos are not literal representations, they are art.  Use color for a purpose.  Different colors convey different emotions.  Red conveys the strongest emotions: Love, Passion & Anger.  Green is calm and soothing.  Blue is trusting and secure (it has a wide range depending on the shade.)  The science of colors is a completely separate article in itself.  The key here is don’t use color just to use color.  Make it count.

 

Detailed?  Or not so much?

Not so much.  Again, this is of course a matter of opinion, but there’s good reason for our opinion – we promise!  While the ability to create large, detailed images has become much easier in recent years through design software, the way in which we see these logos has actually gotten smaller.  Logos are viewed on computers screens now – often as profile pictures on a social media page.  Or a favicon (the small logo inside the address bar on your browser).  These are TINY!  And that’s on a computer screen.  Now imagine all of this on a phone or tablet.  Even tinier!  The shape and outline of your logo should be recognizable even at these sizes.  Keep the detail to a minimum.  A single shape or silhouette can speak volumes!

 

Ok, just tell me what my logo should be!

A tree.  No a tree with wires for roots.  No, a tree with wires for roots and a single leaf falling off.  No, a tree with wires for roots, a single leaf falling off, and a hand catching the leaf!  Did any of those work?  If not, read on…

We can’t just guess what should be included in your logo.  It all comes down to everything you read above to decide what image(s) convey the right message.  But what we can tell you is don’t be shy to think abstractly.  Think of a creative way to represent the first letter of your company name.  Think about what you really DO at your core.

So you’re a personal trainer.  Yes, you train, you help clients build muscle, lose weight, etc.  But what you DO is change lives.  What you DO is teach people how to take care of themselves.  What images convey those core aspects of what you bring to people?

You make gourmet food items.  Yes, you cook.   You bake.  You mix.  You package.  We got it.  But what you DO is give people food that they experience – not just eat.  What you DO is take the ordinary (eggs, sugar, biscuits…) and make it extraordinary (Tiramisu)

So think hard about what you really do.  How you impact people, animals, the environment, whatever and send that message.  And very importantly, make sure you’re working with a designer that’s willing to take the time to figure out what you truly DO before creating a single sketch.

What great tips did we leave out?  What did you learn during the process of designing your logo?

Cosplay inspired website tips

There’s more to Cosplay than just costumes.  And we wouldn’t be respectable Nerds if we didn’t find ways to force Cosplay into as many conversations as possible.  So, here’s the latest attempt…4 lessons for your website you can learn from Cosplay:

Stand Out!

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Cosplay is all about standing out.  Cosplay isn’t a place or a convention – it’s a practice and a state of mind.  Much like the internet, there are tons of other people vying for the spotlight and the only way you’re going to get a little bit shining on you is to stand out!  Be creative.  Approach what might be a common idea a little differently.

You could go to a convention and see 100 Spidermen (Spidermans?) but sometimes one of them stands out.  They did something a little unique within their costume.  They focused on a different aspect of Spiderman.  Maybe they even dressed up as one small part of Spiderman (like his hand) and went into exquisite detail in that area.

The same is true for your website.  It’s unlikely that you’re attempting to do something that nobody else has ever done before.  But it’s your approach, your spin, your flavor that will make all the difference.  Figure out what your approach is.  What are you focusing on that others are not.  What areas can you give extra attention to that other websites don’t?  What makes going to your site more fun or enjoyable than the next guy?  Standing out makes sure you are not easily forgotten.

Be Social

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Cosplay has a portion of alone time (planning, creating, testing & refining costumes) and so should your website.  But the end result is intended to be shared!  Same thing with your website.  When you have something you’re proud of, share it!  Be social.  There are endless platforms online to share your website and your related experiences.  Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so many more.

This isn’t about pushing your idea or your website on people that aren’t interested.  It’s about being part of a community.  People want to share.  They want to see what you created and they want to share what they created.  Sharing not only spreads your idea but creates inspiration for your next idea.  The best Cosplay costume ever created will never go viral if it’s just hanging in a closet somewhere.

Pay Attention to Detail

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Having a great idea and a great concept are wonderful.  But to have anything worthwhile, the execution needs to follow.  When creating a costume, sometimes people get so lost in the grand idea that the details are left out.  The details make the costume.  And the details make the website.

Thinking about how someone will use your website, what their thought process might be, what they have seen elsewhere that they don’t want to see on your site, and more are just some of the details to consider when crafting your website.  You have no doubt been to many similar websites but for one reason or another, one of them (or a small handful of them) stand out to you and you keep going back to them.  That’s what the details do.  They go unnoticed by users, but they leave that “special something” impression that keeps people coming back.  Don’t overlook the details.

Keep it fresh

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This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a successful website.  A website is like any other piece of advertising or marketing; it needs to stay updated and fresh.  You don’t see the same commercials year after year for the same products.  When you walk into a store to shop for something, it most likely doesn’t look exactly the same as it did years ago.  Things have to stay fresh to be interesting.  Look and feel, items available, cultural references, etc. all need to stay updated.

The same is certainly true for your website.  Once you get a website up and running it’s easy to take a big sigh of relief and feel like you’re done.  And you should.  But that sigh of relief can’t last forever.  The website you put up will be new to your visitors and it will still feel fresh for a little while.  But eventually it will start to get outdated.  If your site has content on it such as blog posts, those need to be kept up and stay relevant.  If your site sells products, they should stay relevant as well in terms of pricing, terminology, descriptions, pictures, etc.  Even the general look and feel need to be refreshed occasionally.  You are a user of the internet and you visit websites every day.  Without noticing it, you’re getting a feel for what the latest website design trends are.  You’re seeing sites that are more image based, larger fonts, etc.  If you land on a site that seems to have a style from from a long time ago, the likelihood of you staying on that site (or especially purchasing something on it) is very low.  There is an underlying concern that you’re on a website that is not up to date which might mean not secure, not accurate, and possibly not even in business or monitored any more.

Keeping content updated and the occasional refreshing of your design is how to instill confidence in your visitors.  A properly built website can have the design slightly updated & refreshed without complete reprogramming so be sure your developer is building your site in a way that is scalable for your future.

There you go.  Take a tip from Cosplay and make your website just as interesting & attention grabbing!

What other Cosplay inspired tips do you have?

 

Apple by decade: a visual guide

Apple products are ubiquitous today.  Their impressiveness is lost on us because of how gradually each product has improved.  But speed up time a little bit, and the advances that this company makes every 10 years start to look much more remarkable.  We’ll start at the very beginning…1976

1976

Apple 1

300px-Apple_I_Computer

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold their car and their calculator (respectively) to finance the building of this, the first ever Apple product.


1980

Apple III

 

300px-Apple3

Steve Wozniak once endearingly stated about the Apple III: “[it] had 100% hardware failures!”


1990

Macintosh Classic & LC

 Apple_macintosh_lcII
The “LC” stands for “Low-cost Color”.  While the “LC” moniker stuck around for a few years, it quickly became obsolete.  I mean come on, a charger costs 60 bucks!


2000

iBook g3 “clamshell”

300px-BlueberryiBook

The iBook G3 was the first mainstream laptop to incorporate wireless networking capabilities that would ultimately server as the model for the industry standard technology.


 

2010

iMac & iphone 4

 

IMac_vector.svg

170px-IPhone_4_Mock_No_Shadow_PSD

Ok, so I listed 2 products for the intro of this decade.  But I had to.  In fact if you knew what I left out, you’d be shocked (iPad, Macbook Pro, Apple TV and more!)  Here’s why I had to list 2…

As you scroll through the decades, the advances every 10 years seem almost reasonable.  Then you jump from 2000 to 2010 and the advancement is just mind-fricking-boggling.  Right!?  From the G3 Clamshell, in just 10 years, they launched, perfected, then improved the most incredible technology that we’re using today.  Phones, tablets and the most beautiful and powerful computers we use.

The 2000’s were an incredible decade for Apple.  They were doing great things, but this decade made them part of history.  We’re only half way through this decade, but it’s already off to a great start.  We can’t wait to see what the advent of 2020 holds for Apple – and all of us!

What do you think it will be?  Tell us below and we’ll see who’s right!

Checklist for planning your new website

Deciding on the right type of website for your business can be tough.  There’s the design, the content of the site, to blog or not to blog, and so much more.  But sit back, take a breath, and relax.  The beauty of websites is that they’re not set in stone.  You start out with a basic foundation and allow it to evolve.  Trust me, you don’t need to make all the decisions.  Once you have a website up, your visitors will start to tell you what needs to change.

First, think about the general ‘feel’ of your site.

Every website has a feel to it.  Some are very professional, some are warm & welcoming, some are whimsical, and everything in between.  The feel of your website should match the feel of your business overall.  What is the message you’re trying to send?  Are you a photographer trying to demonstrate your artistry?  Are you an attorney conveying a very professional and educated image?  Or are you a realtor trying to reflect a very personal and engaging feel.  The general theme you decide on will carry through your site; from the colors to the images to the font choices.  Deciding on the general feel your site is going to convey is a critical first step.

 

What is the purpose of your website?

This might sound simple, but it’s important to know what the overall purpose is so each part of your site can be geared towards that goal.  Are you selling a product?  A service?  Trying to collect information?  Trying to motivate people to take action?  Determine what your overall purpose is and this will inform each division you have to make when it comes to your website.  If there’s a part of your website that doesn’t contribute to this ultimate goal, it’s taking away from it.

 

Do you need a mobile / responsive website?

I’ll make this one easy for you — Yes you do.  I could list the statistics here of how many people access the internet through mobile devices, but by the time you read this, it would already be higher.  Just know that it’s getting closer and closer to 100% every day.  Quickly.  Not only that, but search engines are now ranking websites lower if they don’t have a mobile version.  That alone is reason enough to ensure you have a responsive website.

Virato_Multiscreen

What additional features do you need?

Websites range from very simple to very complex.  Think about it; your local Laundromat probably has a website that’s a single page with some basic information (phone number, address, etc.)  That’s a website.  Google is also a website.  But it’s has a ton of complexity and sub-domains (basically, sub-websites) to it.  So a “website” ranges in features and complexity.  A few key things to think about:

  • Do you need a shopping cart?  Will you want people to purchase something from a catalog of products on your website?

  • Do you need some sort of ‘portal’?  This is a portion of a site where users can log in with their own username/password to access areas that are specific to them.

  • Do you need to be able to manage and change the website yourself?  There are many platforms that handle this sort of site.  But know that building a single page website with 1 picture and 1 paragraph of text is different from creating a single page website where you can easily control the 1 picture and the 1 paragraph of text.  In the long run, a site that you have the ability to manage saves you time and money.

  • Do you need the site to link to any other online resources?  Common things would be linking to a Google Calendar, MLS listings, Social Media, etc.  If you have an online resource that you currently use and want some of the content from those resources to be displayed on your site, this will need to be built and configured on your site.

  • Do you need a blog?  And follow up question – do you need a blog that goes beyond the basic look and feel?  When you go to a huge blogging website like Buzzfeed or Mashable, these are not ‘standard’ blogs.  These blog pages have had hundreds or thousands of hours put into the design and development of the blog pages.  That’s what makes them stand out.  So think about your blog and how much of a focus it will be on your site.

What is your budget?

Of course budget has to be a factor.  But here’s where it’s important to make the right decision…..  Have you ever looked for a businesses website to get some information on them and couldn’t find it?  Probably.  It’s happened to all of us.  Think about the impression that leaves.  It’s not great — but at the same time, you still figure some businesses just don’t have websites.  Now, have you ever looked for a businesses website and found it — and it was HORRIBLE?  Yes.  This has also happened to all of us.  Now think about the impression that left.  You see a horrible website and carry that impression over to the business.  “Who would have a website like this?” you think (and so do I).  This is important to remember. First impressions are nearly impossible to erase.

Now I understand that hearing the advice that no website is better than a poor website may sound strange coming from a web development company, but it is simply the truth.  You don’t want a website that looks and feels cut-rate.  And we don’t want to be the team to give you one either.  When looking at budget, explore other options.  Maybe you don’t have the budget you need for the ‘right’ website today.  But can you allot an amount each month towards its development?  Find a website company that will work with you on the budget that makes sense.  And remember – websites are just like anything else in life – you get what you pay for.

 

There are of course more questions to ask.  The key is knowing your brand and finding a team to work with that will guide you through the process.

What other questions do you have about making your website a reality?