18 March 2013

The Importance of Internal Communications

Good internal communication produces engaged employees. Engaged employees are highly motivated and will go the extra mile, making a measurable difference to results and the value perceived by your clients.

Failure to communicate will result in the exact opposite happening. And this could have a serious detrimental effect on, not just the effectiveness of your organisation, but also your customer satisfaction, profits and market share.

In order to achieve employee engagement you have to keep employees informed and engaged through regular and effective internal communications.

At AnsteyDesign we work with both employers and consultants to help them develop great communication strategies that work. Contact us today to find out more:
hello@ansteydesign.com

24 November 2011

Lenticular Printing

Lenticular Printing brings flat, static images to life. This is achieved through the creation of an optical illusion. 


A plastic sheet, known as a 'lenticular sheet' is covered with thousands of rows of tiny lenses and overlaid on a blended image. Each lens on the lenticular sheet will magnify a small area of the image you see. 


For the optical illusion to work multiple images must be interlaced together.These images are then sliced into strips and blended together to form one single image. The size of the strips created depends on the type of lenticular lens and the printing resolution used.


As mentioned above, each lens on the lenticular sheet magnifies just a small area of the image beneath it. As you change the position of the lenticular image (or your head) the viewing angle of the lens changes. This results in a different area of the image being magnified and displayed. 


There are several effects which can be achieved through lenticular printing:


a simple merge between two images
a sequence of images with a flip book effect
or a 3D effect (when the lenses are turned vertically).


For more information on lenticular printing, or if you would like your marketing materials created using this fascinating medium contact us at: hello@ansteydesign.co.uk


AnsteyDesign Ltd
www.ansteydesign.co.uk

30 September 2011

The Quick Response Code


Since the birth of the Internet Mankind has entered what is often referred to as ‘The Digital Age’. And with it comes new technologies and opportunities for businesses to exploit for growth and marketing.

One recent piece of technology that has hit our shores is the Quick Response Code (or QR Code for short). New to Europe and the States they’ve actually been around since the 90’s in Japan, where they were invented.

So, what is a QR Code?
Putting it simply they look and function like a barcode, except you use a Smart Phone to read them. By pointing the phone’s camera at the code, and with the help of a special app, all of the data contained within the QR Code is released. This data is then displayed on your phone’s screen.

What data can a QR Code display?
As its name suggests, a QR Code can be used to provide people with quick access to; your website, contact details, instant messages, online advertising campaigns, online galleries, additional information, and well just about any form of digital marketing you can think of. 

They’re really that simple and, when used through well thought out, intelligent marketing campaigns, the potential benefits for your business is huge.

And to finish…
Currently just under 50% of the UK population are Smart Phones users. This figure is increasing year on year and it is easy to see how featuring a QR code in your marketing materials could benefit your business. Not only do they provide people with quick access to information that you want them to see, but they are a great way for you to connect with potential customers and show that you are a thought leader.

For help with any aspect of your marketing contact AnsteyDesign Ltd at

01420 542 671
www.ansteydesign.co.uk

18 August 2011

Why the Professional Graphic Designer is not dead


Once upon a time… graphic design was a profession dominated by the dark room, vacuum frames and type setting machines. To be a designer you had to be an artist in your own right. Today, however, the dark room remains, well pretty dark, the vacuum frames lie broken and the type setting machines are lost. All have been replaced by the advent of the computer, Quark Xpress and Adobe Creative Suite.

In today’s world anyone can be a designer, provided they have a computer and the right software. And therein lies a problem. Graphic Design is about creativity, design awareness (what colours work together, how many fonts to use, which fonts not to use, what makes a good page layout, etc, etc, etc), having an eye for detail, spotting things other people don’t, and, increasingly, great computer skills. With more and more people purporting to be designers, simply because they have the right facilities, the value of the professional graphic designer has become diluted.  Too often the phrase ‘I got my brother/sister/mother/secretary/cat to put my flyer together as they’re good with computers’ is uttered. 

So where does this leave us, the professional graphic designers? Well, in short, just because everyone can do it, doesn’t mean that everyone can do it well… while others are busy using too many fonts or applying multitudes of colours we can use the same technology to highlight our skills and ability. You may find that a client chooses not to pay for your services in favour of designing their own logo, but in truth it is the clients who are willing to pay for your services that you want to attract. After all they are the ones who can clearly understand the different between good design and simple layout and they will appreciate the effort and value you put in far more.

Above all, graphic design is art; and has always been so.

FB – AnsteyDesign’s live in blogger

9 August 2011

Hell, it's not Rocket Science you know!


It’s not Rocket Science!
I’m going to write three words in a second and I want you to try and stay with me. Usually when I say these words the result is a vacant stare or blind panic but it’s just the fear of the unknown, a bit like when you were a kid and you were scared of the dark.

Ok, here goes – search engine optimisation. Still with me? Good, let’s say it again, together this time – search engine optimisation. Now we’ve taken the first step you’ll need to know what it is because the phase, by itself, doesn’t mean much. In it’s 'simplest sense' it means getting your website to the top of a relevant Google search (no point being top of a Google search for Baked Beans if your site is about Hot Air Balloons... Oh hang on!).

Now, there are a lot and I mean A LOT of companies out there who claim that they can get your website to the top of Google for a fairly modest fee. Sadly if they were doing it in a way which wouldn’t eventually get your website black listed and banned by the search engines then that modest fee wouldn't be modest at all and the person calling you would probably be a fair bit nicer (and less pushy).

So, here's a little recap (and expansion) on a blog I wrote a while back about search engine optimisation.

To start, let’s be blunt - there is no silver bullet when it comes to search engine optimisation. The only way you can get you’re site higher up on Google, Bing or any of the other search engines is through hard work. Still with me? Good because it really isn't rocket science. Ok, so there are elements which require HTML coding but if you have a decent website designer then this is something they can handle for you. The key things you need to be concerned about are:

1.     Keeping your website’s copy fresh and up-to-date. This can be done using a simple, low cost, content management system like the one AnsteyDesign offers.

2.     Utilising social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In. If you use a web browser such as Firefox you can run all of your social networking accounts through one application called ‘Yoonoo’ making this aspect of SEO much easier to manage.

3.     Writing monthly blogs. If you set up a blogger account (like this one) it’s possible to bespoke the design to make it more relevant to you, it is also possible to make money from your blog account...

4.     Visiting online forums and posting comments. The online forums you visit need to be relevant to your industry and you need to have something useful to say. Some sites will require you to ‘login’ before you can comment and others won’t let you post links until you have made a certain number of comments.

5.     Issuing online PR statements. There are several useful free websites on the Internet that let you select the industry you are in and then target your PR statement at your preferred individual type. It’s a great way of getting your message across!

6.     Creating linking agreements with relevant websites. As with the online forums, the best links are the ones that are relevant to your industry. It’s also good to have lots of internal links throughout your website so that the search engines know that your site is being properly utilised.

7.     Asking your clients to rate your business on review sites. The latest belief is that search engines are putting a lot of stock into online business ratings as it shows which are good businesses and which are bad. However, I’m told that they can tell which ratings are ‘fakes’, so there’s no point writing ten 5 star ratings yourself!

8.     Getting journalists to write articles about you. Perhaps the trickiest as journalists are not easy to get hold of. Your best bet, perhaps, is to call them up and make advertising deal with them.

Now, this might all sound like a lot of work and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t (some companies employ people to do it full time!). But it needn’t be a burden, not if you do a little every day. It’s possible for you to focus on just a few key areas such as keeping your website copy up-to-date, social networking and writing monthly blogs although, of course, the results won’t be as good as if you did everything consistently.

Take care,

FB

27 January 2011

Great graphic designers



Walter Gropius

Admit it, how many of you are scratching your heads in bemusement? Walter Gropius? Whose he? What's he got to do with graphic design? Well (and I'm being honest here) he's strictly speaking an architect and therefore shouldn't be included on the list of top ten graphic designers. However his contribution to the world of Graphic Design is so great that it would be a travesty if he were not featured. His position at number six reflects not just own skills but also the power and influence of his movement. For those of you who haven't guessed (or don't know) Walter Gropius founded the German Design School - The Bauhaus in 1919. The legacy this institution left behind is all around us today in the form of Modernisim. Students still learn about it in University and are taught to mimic it's styles and techniques. 

Without Walter Gropius The Bauhaus wouldn't have existed and Graphic Design would be a paler shade of honeysuckle (this year's pantone colour). But who was Gropius? 

Well, Walter Gropius was born in Berlin on the 18th May 1883. Like his father and great-uncle before him he became an architect. This was despite the fact that he could not draw... he was therefore reliant on collaborators throughout his working life. When Gropius left school he went to work for Peter Behrens (who later joined him at The Bauhaus). It was while he was working for Behrens that he met Adolf Meyer and in 1910 Gropius and Meyer decided to leave Behrens’ company and set up their own practice. Gropius's career was interrupted in 1914 thanks to the outbreak of World War One. He was called up almost at once and served as a sergeant major on the Western Front.

Once the war was over Gropius was able to continue to progress his career. In 1915, however, his life changed forever. Henry vande Velde (master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts – Weimar) stepped down because of his Belgian nationality. It was on Velde’s recommendation that Gropius was offered the opportunity to succeed him. Gropius took up the appointment as master of the school in 1919 and began rapidly changing it into the Bauhaus.

Many famous students (and tutors) passed through the doors of the Bauhaus; Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky.

The Bauhaus ran until 1933 when Hitler rose to power and objected to how Gropius ran the institute. Gropius sensed that the time was near when he would need to leave Germany. This happened in 1934, when, with the help of the English architect Maxwell Fry, Gropius was able to leave Nazi Germany. He stayed on in Britain until 1937 when he left for America where he formed the Architect’s Collaborative.

Walter Gropius was a truly influential figure and even though he wasn't strictly a graphic designer the movement he led was one of the most powerful design movements this world has wittnessed.


FB - AnsteyDesign's live in blogger

10 December 2010

Great graphic designers

Paul Rand – ‘eye – bee – m’

In a way this statement, by Louis Danziger, best sums up Paul Rand:

“He almost singlehandedly convinced business that design was an effective tool. Anyone designing in the 1950s and 1960s owed much to Rand, who largely made it possible for us to work. He, more than anyone else, made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.”
 
That’s some praise indeed for the man who was forbidden, from an early age, to create images that could be worshipped as idols. Taking this into consideration Rand’s career of creating corporate icons for the likes of IBM, ABC and UPS seems highly unlikely. But that is exactly where he ended up – have you ever seen the eye – bee –m logo he created? The identity he created for IBM was, without a doubt, his defining corporate identity. It became not so much a piece of design but a basic design philosophy that permeated corporate consciousness and public awareness. Rand developed the IBM logo over three decades and the latest version is still in use today – as is several of his over corporate designs for ABC, Cummins Engine, and Westinghouse. Even UPS only changed their original Rand identity recently (controversially).

The core ideology that drove Rand’s career, and his lasting influence, was the modernist philosophy he so admired. He celebrated the works of artists from Paul C├ęzanne to Jan Tschichold, and constantly attempted to draw the connections between their creative output and significant applications in graphic design.

Rand believed so strongly in the modernist ideal that during his later career he became increasingly agitated by the rise of postmodernism. This came to ahead when, in 1992, he resigned from a position he held at Yale in protest at the appointment of postmodern and feminist designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville. He then encouraged his colleague, Armin Hofmann to do the same.

Paul Rand will always be known for his modernist approach to design and the major impact he had on making the design profession reputable. 

FB - AnsteyDesign's live in blogger