Bonded Rescues: Two Years Later

Our bonded rescues, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, still depend on each other as brothers. Though they are growing into different cats.

The invisible cord of their partnership remains strong. They can’t be separated for more than a matter of hours. Then they will seek to reunite.

bonded rescues

In the picture above, I watched one of my favorite things they do. Road work was going on outside the window, with the added novelty of a beeping truck. Lou and Bud alternated looking out the window, then facing each other for a Cat Conference.

Bud was sitting close for the best view. I tried not to laugh out loud at the antics his ears were doing as he watched the activity below. It wasn’t always the radar dish tilting of finding the source of a sound.

It alternated with expressions of surprise and confusion. I explain how their ears are part of their facial expression in The Gears of Their Ears.

Lou seemed to be taking in what Bud was “saying.” So they were both getting the benefit of Bud’s observations. This obvious teamwork had been the first thing I noticed about them, as I describe in Welcome, MC Hammer and Fresh Prince!

true partnership

In my previous post, Burden of Leadership, it would seem that Lou Costello brings a lot to our Civilization. Which he does. What about Bud Abbott?

For one thing, he’s good for Lou. Where did Lou get all that social savvy from? Likely from those intense early connections between himself and his brother. When I consider this, I realize Lou actually isn’t working alone. It might be his skill at this role, even as a teen cat, is how he has Bud in his corner.

I rescued them, for their fourth and final time, as a package deal. Because I wanted them to stay together.

targeting a need

Bud can be a source of conflict, as I detail in The Alpha Brain Challenge. But while he exasperates Rhiannon, who has plenty of Fortitude, he’s become a sweet big brother to Morgen. Which is helping him recognize how he can improve his relationship with Rhia.

Bud is also a happy team player in the important work of wearing out baby Morgen. At six months old, she’s surfing a growth spurt that gives her considerable energy. Bud and Lou wear her out, while wearing themselves out, too.

This leaves Rhiannon and Tristan free to explore their own friendship and makes Bud less obnoxious about playing with her. Lately, he will let her play her favorite laser game without interrupting.

big brother

This Bud contribution is important to Mr. WayofCats. He found Morgen’s need for play to be more than he can handle when his sleep is disrupted. At such times, I let her romp in Kitten Country.

This is when I notice Bud and Morgen’s friendship the most. He won’t come in until she has made her way all the way up the stairs. She likes to sleep at the top of the little cat tree, and he has chosen a middle shelf on the big cat tree, so he can easily keep an eye on her.

Bud’s swiftness makes him a favorite target when she wants to play chase. They share the love of ambush. Bud is happy to be “surprised” by her.

getting there

I always felt Bud would improve with maturation. Of course, as a cat far out on the Alpha end of the Cat Type Distribution curve, that might take a while. Alphas stay kittens the longest.

The shift in activities has been good for him. He gets worn out faster and sooner with Morgen’s help. This leaves less of that restless energy that drives him to annoy.

There have been instances of Lou scolding Bud, which has never happened before. I think Lou sees Bud getting into trouble, and is trying to get through to him. He’s probably the best one to do so.

So, on many fronts, Bud is making advancements.

different pursuits

Compared to when they were kittens, they might seem to spend more time apart. Instead of sleeping together on one cat shelf, they have a tendency to pick different spots in the room. Lou has patrol responsibilities. Bud hangs near Morgen when she is upstairs.

But while they are not always together like they used to be, they have increased the intensity of the time they do spend together. When Lou is on patrol, Bud does not always accompany him. But he will wait at the threshold for his return.

More and more, I find Bud sleeping near Tristan and Rhiannon. I guess they have decided he is “good when he’s sleeping.” That’s another encouraging sign.

bonded pair pluses

Adopting two cats who already get along is a real advantage. From Introductions to lack of loneliness, two friends are a gift that keeps on giving.

This is why rescue organizations are trying, more than ever, to keep bonded pairs together. It’s a classic case of Cat Math.

When it comes to multiple cats, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about the variables.

11 Important Qualities That Every Good Web Designer Possesses

How to Become a Web Designer: Your Go-to Guide to Kick-start Your Career

A company website is one of the most important tools that businesses can use to promote their products and services and even make sales. Even if your website is not meant for business purposes, it is important for it to be easy and engaging for your online visitors to use. Choosing the right web designer is a major investment for your business. These qualities will help you make the right choice.

Industry experience

good web designer should have experience designing websites for clients in the industry you are dealing with. This is an assurance that the professional is familiar with your type of industry and will help you get the best website for your business. Even though the experience will vary from one web designer to another, even one who has handled one project with a company like yours, then he/she has a hint of what your business entails. While web designers who do not have an understanding of your industry can help you design your website, the planning will take longer, with lots of editing to be done during the process.

Knowledge, techniques, and strategies

Irrespective of the designer that you hire, it is crucial to know about their knowledge level, the techniques, and overall strategy they use when creating a website. If a web design expert has difficulty explaining any of these qualities, then you will definitely have a difficult time working with them. The best professionals will know what they are doing and they will be ready to tell you what they know, how they work, and the methods they will use to improve your website.

Expansive portfolio

Hiring web designers who are just starting up is okay. However, it is also a gamble. New designers may be talented; however, they do not have experience or a track record. Experienced professionals will have a detailed portfolio to showcase their past projects. With this, you are able to get a collection of different website links to showcase the expertise of the designer. These work samples can also help you choose a design that suits your business.

Competitive pricing

You should consider how much a web designer charges for their website design services. This is important because the cost of designing a website varies greatly depending on a number of factors, such as location. To find the best price, you should set a budget before you begin looking for the best designers. With a set budget, you will be able to narrow down on web designers that you can afford.

A clear and organized development process

Excellent designers have created countless websites over time. As a result, they have developed clear processes that they have constantly refined with time. They can easily see any pitfalls or mistakes and take the necessary steps to avoid them. Since they have handled several websites in the past, they will give you an estimate of the time they will need to finish building your website. Their website development process must be available and well documented for you to analyze.

Variety of services

Apart from creating websites, most web design companies will offer additional services. Some companies will have employees who offer content creation, SEO, social media campaigns, and much more. All these services complement the needs of your newly created website. With a company that you can rely on whenever you need these services, you will not have to hire another company after your website has been created.

Good communicators

Expert website designers will take their time to explain web technologies and terminology in simple terms for clients to understand. They will not assume that you understand this complicated jargon. If a professional is unable to communicate intricate concepts and terms to you, they will not be able to communicate your company’s message. Be sure to get expert designers who are excellent communicators.

Well-versed web technologies and internet

Top 6 Basic Elements of Web Design - DreamHost

Excellent web designers are proficient and knowledgeable about web designing tools and web technologies. Such professionals are active participants in seminars, online groups, forums, and webinars. This helps them to boost their knowledge and continuously upgrade their skills because they get to interact with other designers and learn from them.

Reasonable contract

Before a website designer starts working on your project, you will be required to sign an agreement. It is crucial that you carefully read this contract before signing on the dotted line. If you have a problem interpreting the contract terms and conditions, you can have a lawyer check it out to ensure that your interests are protected. A contract is important, especially when the website is not designed to your exact specifications.

Flexibility

Irrespective of the programming language that you major in, the fact is that the code is usually unpredictable. Web designers should have the flexibility to alter the scope or contexts of a project. Web designers should be able and eager to adapt and deal with problems as they arise. Different businesses or individuals will have different needs and wants when they need a website. A good designer should be able to meet the different needs of different clients with ease.

Set and meet deadlines

WildWeb, Website Design Durban, Social Media Marketing, Web Application  Development

You want a designer who will tell you the time they need to create your website and make sure that they meet the set deadlines. However, the project can take a longer time than stated and this makes everyone involved in it frustrated. Good …

10 Top Principles of Effective Web Design

Top 10 Principles of Effective Web Design | by Company Website Design |  Medium

Like the phrase ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, effective web design is judged by the users of the website and not the website owners. There are many factors that affect the usability of a website, and it is not just about form (how good it looks), but also function (how easy is it to use).  Websites that are not well designed tend to perform poorly and have sub-optimal Google Analytics metrics (e.g. high bounce rates, low time on site, low pages per visit and low conversions). So what makes good web design? Below we explore the top 10 web design principles that will make your website aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, engaging, and effective.

Elements of an Effective Web Design & How it Effects Performance

1. Purpose

Good web design always caters to the needs of the user. Are your web visitors looking for information, entertainment, some type of interaction, or to transact with your business? Each page of your website needs to have a clear purpose, and to fulfill a specific need for your website users in the most effective way possible.

2. Communication

People on the web tend to want information quickly, so it is important to communicate clearly, and make your information easy to read and digest. Some effective tactics to include in your web design include: organising information using headlines and sub headlines, using bullet points instead of long windy sentences, and cutting the waffle.

3. Typefaces

In general, Sans Serif fonts such as Arial and Verdana are easier to read online (Sans Serif fonts are contemporary looking fonts without decorative finishes). The ideal font size for reading easily online is 16px and stick to a maximum of 3 typefaces in a maximum of 3 point sizes to keep your design streamlined. 

4. Colours

A well thought out colour palette can go a long way to enhance the user experience. Complementary colours create balance and harmony. Using contrasting colours for the text and background will make reading easier on the eye. Vibrant colours create emotion and should be used sparingly (e.g. for buttons and call to actions). Last but not least, white space/ negative space is very effective at giving your website a modern and uncluttered look.

5. Images

A picture can speak a thousand words, and choosing the right images for your website can help with brand positioning and connecting with your target audience. If you don’t have high quality professional photos on hand, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website. Also consider using infographics, videos and graphics as these can be much more effective at communicating than even the most well written piece of text.

6. Navigation

Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and move around your website. Some tactics for effective navigation include a logical page hierarchy, using bread crumbs, designing clickable buttons, and following the ‘three click rule’ which means users will be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.

7. Grid based layouts

Placing content randomly on your web page can end up with a haphazard appearance that is messy. Grid based layouts arrange content into sections, columns and boxes that line up and feel balanced, which leads to a better looking website design.

8. “F” Pattern design

Eye tracking studies have identified that people scan computer screens in an “F” pattern. Most of what people see is in the top and left of the screen and the right side of the screen is rarely seen. Rather than trying to force the viewer’s visual flow, effectively designed websites will work with a reader’s natural behaviour and display information in order of importance (left to right, and top to bottom). 

9. Load time

Everybody hates a website that takes ages to load.  Tips to make page load times more effective include optimising image sizes (size and scale), combining code into a central CSS or JavaScript file (this reduces HTTP requests) and minify HTML, CSS, JavaScript (compressed to speed up their load time).

10: Mobile friendly

It is now commonplace to access websites from multiple devices with multiple screen sizes, so it is important to consider if your website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile friendly, you can either rebuild it in a responsive layout (this means your website will adjust to different screen widths) or you can build a dedicated mobile site (a separate website optimised specifically for mobile users).  It is easy to create a beautiful and functional website, simply by keeping these design elements in mind. Have you got a website design that needs reviewing or optimising? Or perhaps, you are planning a website and you are looking to get the design right from the ground up. Either way, these principles of effective web design can help your website be more engaging, useful, and memorable for visitors.

What are you waiting for? Contact us for more information.…

10 Principles of Good Web Design

Good web design involves more than an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

In fact, a range of professionals with different areas of expertise is engaged in each major decision – when it is done right. We have outlined the 10 basic principles of good web design to address what we consider to be the most critical points in creating a site that brings in high numbers of conversions.

1. Less is More – Simplicity Rules

Simple web design in Austin, TX

Many sites are over-designed, with too many elements on the page, distracting visitors from the purpose of the site. In effective web design, simplicity rules. Not only does a clean, fresh design make the site easier to navigate, but the aesthetics are more appealing and will stand the test of time. It is unnecessary, as well as distracting, to load a site with design features that don’t serve a purpose. What is the purpose of your company website? To direct new business directly into the lap of your enterprise, in volume, keep your design simple so your users can find their way naturally and easily.

2. Innovative but Not Distracting

Use whitespace for better design and user experience

An impressive design involves creativity and natural talent. Professionals in the design industry understand how to use whitespace. Whitespace, or negative space, is the area of the page that is “empty,” found between graphic elements, images, and text. An innovative use of design elements and whitespace creates a less distracting, more appealing design, and guides visitors where you want them to go. Consider the iconic logos of Apple and Google — unforgettable. Simple, clean design, surrounded by whitespace makes a website more effective. Cheaper, lower quality products often have busy, noisy, ad-oriented designs, and website visitors automatically consider a distracting site to be promoting a lower quality product.

3. Aesthetically Appealing – To the RIGHT Users

You have a specific market segment that is your target customer (or client). The design must be crafted explicitly to appeal to that niche. Research into buyer habits can reveal the type of image, colors, and other design features that are appealing to those you want to reach. Each “buyer persona” has specific likes and dislikes, and research into likes/dislikes are essential. High numbers of site visitors are useless if they are not those who will eventually convert — and buy.

4. Respectful, Honest, and Engaging

Social media has had a significant impact upon communication, both written and spoken. Visitors want to be engaged in a very “human” way. Even the largest multinational corporations have been forced to put a human face on what they do. Every word, phrase, and headline must be respectful of the user, honest, and have some engaging quality that makes it intriguing. As an example, “put your roof to work” would be more likely to get a response than “find a solar installer.” The basic concept is that people want honesty, and appreciate it. Your company may participate in various charity events, or donate time to causes you care about – let them know who you are. Become real.

5. Designed for Usability and Functionality

In website design, usability and functionality must drive each decision – outstripping any other design consideration. To achieve a clear, easy, and ultimately, direct path to conversions, both design and technical issues come into play. Every link must function fast, and every button and call to action must be positioned correctly, demanding as little effort as possible for the visitor to move forward to the next step.

6. Cohesive in Design, Down to the Details

Your enterprise has a unique personality, as an entity. That personality is demonstrated in your service, your history, how you conceive of your mission, and by the actions of every member of your team. Communicating the unique qualities of your business through design involves making every element, down to the details, a reflection of that personality. There are no minor details in a design – every piece must fit together seamlessly, and create a cohesive appearance that serves to support the appeal of your brand.

7. Easily Understood

Web design with clear communication

Site visitors must be able to easily understand every word, phrase, and headline without any confusion. One unusual or less commonly used word or phrase will drive them off. Industry-specific terms that are not in common usage will hinder your appeal. Dense, complex content won’t work. Calls to action that are unclear or hard to find will be skipped – and you have one more lost customer. All site content and each visual element must be laid out clearly and cleanly, with all critical conversion points visible above the fold (not requiring scrolling to find). Any deviation merely creates a barrier to conversion.

8. Design Elements Inspire Users to go Deep

Your homepage must have an initial appeal in design and usability. Every design feature is then developed with the specific purpose to inspire the visitor to find out more – and go deeper into your site, and in the end, convert and become a customer. It takes rare skills to achieve this purpose, as well as experience and insight into user behaviors. Nothing should be left to chance – your design should naturally lead them to where you want them to go.

9. Visual Elements Placed to Focus User Attention

The exact placement of visual elements is a major factor in a successful web design. All design features create an open, inviting path to conversions. Design elements can be explicit, such as arrows, or very subtle. …

9 PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WEB DESIGN

PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN

An effective website design should fulfill its intended function by conveying its particular message whilst simultaneously engaging the visitor. Several factors such as consistency, colours, typography, imagery, simplicity and functionality all contribute to good website design.

When designing a website there are many key factors that will contribute to how it is perceived. A well designed website can help build trust and guide visitors to take action. Creating a great user experience involves making sure your website design is optimised for usability (form and aesthetics) and how it easy is it to use (functionality).

Below are some guidelines that will help you when considering your next web project.

Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky
Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky

1. WEBSITE PURPOSE

Your website needs to accommodate the needs of the user. Having a simple clear intention on all pages will help the user interact with what you have to offer. What is the purpose of your website? Are you imparting practical information like a ‘How to guide’? Is it an entertainment website like sports coverage or are you selling a product to the user? There are many different purposes that websites may have but there are core purposes common to all websites;

  1. Describing Expertise
  2. Building Your Reputation
  3. Generating Leads
  4. Sales and After Care

2. SIMPLICITY

Simplicity is the best way to go when considering the user experience and the usability of your website. Below are ways to achieve simplicity through design.

Colour

Colour has the power to communicate messages and evoke emotional responses. Finding a colour palette that fits your brand will allow you to influence your customer’s behaviour towards your brand. Keep the colour selection limited to less than 5 colours. Complementary colours work very well. Pleasing colour combinations increase customer engagement and make the user feel good.

Type

Typography has an important role to play on your website. It commands attention and works as the visual interpretation of the brands voice. Typefaces should be legible and only use a maximum of 3 different fonts on the website.

Imagery

Imagery is every visual aspect used within communications. This includes still photography, illustration, video and all forms of graphics. All imagery should be expressive and capture the spirit of the company and act as the embodiment of their brand personality. Most of the initial information we consume on websites is visual and as a first impression it is important that high quality images are used to form an impression of professionalism and credibility in the visitors mind.

3. NAVIGATION

Navigation is the way finding system used on websites where visitors interact and find what they are looking for. Website navigation is key to retaining visitors. If the websites navigation is confusing visitors will give up and find what they need elsewhere. Keeping navigation simple, intuitive and consistent on every page is key.

Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky
F-Shaped layout - digital design by Feelingpeaky Ltf

4. F-SHAPED PATTERN READING

The F- based pattern is the most common way visitors scan text on a website. Eye tracking studies have found that most of what people see is in the top and left area of the screen. The F’ shaped layout mimics our natural pattern of reading in the West (left to right and top to bottom). An effective designed website will work with a readers natural pattern of scanning the page.

5. VISUAL HIERARCHY

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements is order of importance. This is done either by size, colour, imagery, contrast, typographically, whitespace, texture and style. One of the most important functions of visual hierarchy is to establish a focal point; this shows visitors where the most important information is.

Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky
Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky

6. CONTENT

An effective web design has both great design and great content. Using compelling language great content can attract and influence visitors by converting them into customers.

7. GRID BASED LAYOUT

Grids help to structure your design and keep your content organised. The grid helps to align elements on the page and keep it clean. The grid based layout arranges content into a clean rigid grid structure with columns, sections that line up and feel balanced and impose order and results in an aesthetically pleasing website.

Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky
Importance of load time by Feelingpeaky Ltd

8. LOAD TIME

Waiting for a website to load will lose visitors. Nearly half of web visitors expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less and they will potentially leave a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. Optimising image sizes will help load your site faster.

9. MOBILE FRIENDLY

More people are using their phones or other devices to browse the web. It is important to consider building your website with a responsive layout where your website can adjust to different screens.

Principles of good web design by Feelingpeaky

Our team will breathe life into your website and tell your story We are a ‘family’ team of creative practitioners in the areas of design, marcoms and technology. Get in touch to find out more.…

25 inspiring examples of industrial design

Whether it’s a mobile phone, a vacuum cleaner or a chair, the very best examples of industrial design seamlessly blend form and function to make products truly desirable.

As its name implies, this discipline is about all balancing creative, conceptual, freeform thinking with the practical, industrial constraints of actually getting something made, which requires knowledge of production processes, materials and technology.

Over the years, some designers’ mastery of this crucial balance has elevated them to iconic status – and we’ve featured some of the fruits of their labour here. We all know how product design by the likes of Jonathan Ive, James Dyson or Charles Eames look and work. Chances are you already own one, or at least want one.

But we’ve also included some great industrial designs that you may not already have seen – some of which are on the market, while some are still at a concept stage. So whether you’re a consumer hungry for the latest stylish gadget to kit out your apartment, or a designer yourself looking for inspiration, read on…

01. Mini Cooper

The original Mini influenced a generation of car designers

The original Mini influenced a generation of car designers

The Mini is a design classic that came about because of restrictions in fuel supply during the 1950s caused by the Suez crisis. Designer Alec Issigonis was tasked with designing a car that was more frugal than the large cars of the day, aiming to compete with increasingly popular German bubble cars like the original VW Beetle – itself a design classic. The original design became a true British icon, influencing a generation of car designers, and was revolutionary at the time. Its distinctively diminutive contours remain hugely popular today.

02. Coke Contour Bottle

Coke's bottle needed to be distinctive and instantly recognisable - even in the dark

Coke’s bottle needed to be distinctive and instantly recognisable – even in the dark

Instantly recognisable, the Coca-Cola contour bottle is a masterpiece in industrial design that dates back to 1915 when the Coca-Cola Company asked its bottle suppliers to design a new bottle that would be distinctive and instantly recognisable – even in the dark. Designer Earl R. Dean took up the challenge, and following instructions issued by his boss, aimed to come up with a design based on the ingredients of the drink. Unable to find any reference images for either the coca leaf, or the Kola nut, Dean instead used an image of a cocoa pod from his encyclopedia as inspiration, leading to the iconic ribbed bottle shape we know and love today.

03. Piaggio Vespa Scooter

The Vespa is a globally recognised icon of the Italian design aesthetic

The Vespa is a globally recognised icon of the Italian design aesthetic

The classic Vespa scooter design is associated heavily with the Italian design aesthetic, but it was actually heavily influenced by pre-World-War-II Cushman scooters made in the US and shipped to Italy by the Allies to act as field transport for paratroopers and marines during the war. It wasn’t until Paggio involved aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio that the now familiar scooter shape, missing the central supporting spar and allowing the rider to step through the bike to get on and off.

04. Hasselblad 500C Camera

Hasselblad's 500C Camera was its anchor product for four decades

Hasselblad’s 500C Camera was its anchor product for four decades

During World War II the Swedish government tasked Victor Hasselblad with designing a camera that mirrored a German aerial surveillance camera recovered from a downed plane. This camera was refined over the following years, eventually spawning the iconic 500C in the late 1950s. Such was the popularity of the camera, it became the anchor product for the Hasselblad company for the next four decades, and was used by NASA during the Apollo missions to the moon.

05. Alessi Juicy Salif

Phillipe Starck's design is abstract yet functional

Phillipe Starck’s design is abstract yet functional

Designed by Phillipe Starck in 1990, the Juicy Salif is rightly counted amongst the icons of industrial design and has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The citrus squeezer is cast in aluminium which is then polished, the design based on the shape of a squid and according to an account from the founder of Alessi was originally sketched out by Starck on a napkin while eating squid with lemon squeezed over it. It’s a perfect example of how the most abstract associations can inspire iconic design.

06. Edge of Belgravia Knife

Industrial design

Christian Bird’s futuristic design is a work of art as well as a superior tool

How often does a knife get included in the D&AD Annual? UK designer Christian Bird created a perfectly balanced industrial design that weighs up a sleek ceramic blade that never needs sharpening with an angular, soft touch handle. A work of art as well as a precision cutting tool, each knife is available in a limited edition run of 999.

07. Rocking Wheel Chair

Industrial design

This chair remains a conceptual design – we can wait to see the finished product

German industrial designer and concept artist’s Mathias Koehler’s fresh, bold take on the staple favourite of knitting grandmothers the world over curls round into a sleek, circular shape, enabling a fluid rocking motion that also powers a reading light at the top. It remains at a concept stage.

08. Dyson cyclone vacuum

Industrial design

Dyson has genuinely revolutionised the vacuum cleaner

A classic example of totally rethinking the way a staple household product functions. In the 1970s, James Dyson was inspired by

8 BASIC RULES FOR GOOD GRAPHIC DESIGN

First, we need to define the meaning of the term “good design”. So, there are two important aspects. It should attract attention as well as please the eye of the beholder and it must serve a purpose (that is, to convey the message). Nowadays, free design programs can be found online, but to produce a good design it is necessary to know certain rules that every designer uses while designing his visuals.

To improve your design skills, we bring you 8 basic rules for good graphic design.

#1 KISS

KISS has become a well-known principle that graphic designers apply to their layouts ever since. Keep it simple, stupid – is a phrase that was coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works, in 1960. The principle’s meaning isn’t difficult to understand and very similar to “less is more”. Don’t overcomplicate your design, keep it simple.

A clean and simple design is focused on the audience. With short attention spans and immense overflow of information, it’s necessary to be clear in your message. With this in mind, go to your layout and eliminate everything that’s not necessary. For example, more than three colors, more than two or three fonts, design elements that don’t transport any message at all or break a long text into paragraphs. Every design element needs to serve a purpose. Ask yourself if you need the element to understand the design.

Further to this, we come to the following rules, which will better explain how and why simplicity is essential.

#2 WHITE SPACE

The most important factor of good design is white space, or also called negative space. White space is the space between the elements in your design. Space that is not filled with text, graphics or photos. White space doesn’t have to be white. It can be a colored background or textured, as long as it doesn’t hold elements of design or content. Almost every designer faces the same problem – disagreement with the client about white space. While a designer knows about the advantages of negative space inside a layout, the client often feels like he’s not getting what he paid for. For the client, white space equals lost space. For the designer, white space is the rule of good design.

Clients usually require that every space is filled with information and elements. That makes it difficult to read, not enough emphasis is placed on what matters, and overcrowded visuals usually result in messages not reaching people. Try to avoid this situation. Suggest creating paragraphs and separating text through headings and subheadings in order to increases the readability of content and makes it easily scannable. The reader doesn’t have to search for important information because it stands out in your design. By leaving space around text and graphic elements, you not only create a hierarchy of those, but you can also put the main focus on the most important.

Below is a good example of a clean and simple design. The main message has been conveyed, and with this approach, people will be intrigued to visit our website to find out all the details.

White space good example

So, don’t be afraid to leave the spaces empty. This doesn’t mean your design is boring or unattractive. Putting too much into your design can confuse the viewer. An overload of information can distract from what is important and makes people turn away. We suggest that once you get the brief from the client, spend a couple of minutes thinking about what the information is essential to provide, and what message is important to send. Make one object of your design stand out from the rest. This is the main focal point, and to make this obvious to the viewer it should be separated into other objects through negative space.

#3 RULE OF THIRDS

Understanding the rule of thirds in design is relatively simple, and can make you a significantly stronger designer. So, how the rule of thirds works?

Using grid in your layout, divide it into three equally sized horizontal sections and three equally sized vertical sections, the resulting grid provides a sort of “roadmap” that helps you choose where to place your design elements. You will end up with 9 fields, and the spots where the lines intersect indicate the prime focal areas within your design. Bringing an element closer to one of these intersections will allow it to stand out more, while objects that are further away will receive less attention.

In the example below, you can see the orange point that shows where the lines intersect and where is the prime focal areas. We can see the computer screen placed on the left side and aligns with the upper grid. With that, we determined what the focus would be.

Rule of third examples

Audiences tend to follow a capital “F” shaped pattern with their eyes whenever they look at a design. The eye naturally starts at the top left section of the canvas, then moves down to the bottom left, back up to the top right, and then finally the bottom right.

The rule of thirds grid gives you the chance to give your graphic design a perfectly symmetrical appearance—but you’ll want to squash that instinct. The truth is that humans are naturally attracted to symmetry. While symmetry isn’t always necessary for good …

10 Principles Of Good Web Design

Principles Of Good Website Design And Effective Web Design Guidelines

In order to use the principles properly we first need to understand how users interact with websites, how they think and what are the basic patterns of users’ behavior.

How Do Users Think?

Basically, users’ habits on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits in a store. Visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at.

Most users search for something interesting (or useful) and clickable; as soon as some promising candidates are found, users click. If the new page doesn’t meet users’ expectations, the Back button is clicked and the search process is continued.

  • Users appreciate quality and credibility. If a page provides users with high-quality content, they are willing to compromise the content with advertisements and the design of the site. This is the reason why not-that-well-designed websites with high-quality content gain a lot of traffic over years. Content is more important than the design which supports it.
  • Users don’t read, they scan. Analyzing a web-page, users search for some fixed points or anchors which would guide them through the content of the page.
    Web Design Guidelines
    Users don’t read, they scan. Notice how “hot” areas abrupt in the middle of sentences. This is typical for the scanning process.
  • Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Very simple principle: If a website isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then designer failed to get his job done properly and the company loses money. The higher is the cognitive load and the less intuitive is the navigation, the more willing are users to leave the website and search for alternatives. [JN / DWU]
  • Users don’t make optimal choices. Users don’t search for the quickest way to find the information they’re looking for. Neither do they scan webpage in a linear fashion, going sequentially from one site section to another one. Instead users satisfice; they choose the first reasonable option. As soon as they find a link that seems like it might lead to the goal, there is a very good chance that it will be immediately clicked. Optimizing is hard, and it takes a long time. Satisficing is more efficient. [video]
    Principles Of Effective Web Design
    Sequential reading flow doesn’t work in the Web. Right screenshot on the image at the bottom describes the scan path of a given page.
  • Users follow their intuition. In most cases users muddle through instead of reading the information a designer has provided. According to Steve Krug, the basic reason for that is that users don’t care. “If we find something that works, we stick to it. It doesn’t matter to us if we understand how things work, as long as we can use them. If your audience is going to act like you’re designing billboard, then design great billboards.”
  • Users want to have control. Users want to be able to control their browser and rely on the consistent data presentation throughout the site. E.g. they don’t want new windows popping up unexpectedly and they want to be able to get back with a “Back”-button to the site they’ve been before: therefore it’s a good practice to never open links in new browser windows.

1. Don’t Make Users Think

According to Krug’s first law of usability, the web-page should be obvious and self-explanatory. When you’re creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks — the decisions users need to make consciously, considering pros, cons and alternatives.

If the navigation and site architecture aren’t intuitive, the number of question marks grows and makes it harder for users to comprehend how the system works and how to get from point A to point B. A clear structure, moderate visual clues and easily recognizable links can help users to find their path to their aim.

good website design sample

Let’s take a look at an example. Beyondis.co.uk claims to be “beyond channels, beyond products, beyond distribution”. What does it mean? Since users tend to explore websites according to the “F”-pattern, these three statements would be the first elements users will see on the page once it is loaded.

Although the design itself is simple and intuitive, to understand what the page is about the user needs to search for the answer. This is what an unnecessary question mark is. It’s designer’s task to make sure that the number of question marks is close to 0. The visual explanation is placed on the right hand side. Just exchanging both blocks would increase usability.

Web Design Guidelines

ExpressionEngine uses the very same structure like Beyondis, but avoids unnecessary question marks. Furthermore, the slogan becomes functional as users are provided with options to try the service and download the free version.

By reducing cognitive load you make it easier for visitors to grasp the idea behind the system. Once you’ve achieved this, you can communicate why the system is useful and how users can benefit from it. People won’t use your web site if they can’t find their way around it.

2. Don’t Squander Users’ Patience

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Graphic design history: 25 landmark design events

Graphic design history

The past 25 years have been rich in terms of graphic design history. We’ve seen monumental changes, and our sister magazine Computer Arts has been there to bring you the lowdown on everything that’s happened in graphic design and illustration. The magazine hit the newsstands in 1995, meaning a quarter of a century has passed, so it seems like the perfect time to take a look at how exactly the industry has evolved in that time.

In this article, we look back at some of the biggest moments, milestones, trends, and developments over the last 25 years, and to provide a broad perspective, we’ve asked the opinion of some well-known industry names.

For further exploration of what’s happening in graphic design, see our post on the hottest graphic design trends, and put them to use with our pick of the best tools for graphic designers.

What has changed since 1995?

“So much has changed since 1995!” says Neville Brody, one of the 20th century’s most famous graphic designers. “While the main changes have been technological – fast and large data transmission, video conferencing, actual-time responses, mass storage, processing capabilities, and portable computing power – the more invisible changes have come through cultural responses, leading to greater empowerment. We have a major self-publishing world now, on every level, and distribution models that allow greater scaling and fundraising.”

In his eyes, though, it’s not all been positive. “Brands have increasingly become homogenous storytellers, competing usually for the same demographic and market using the same tools, mechanisms, and content,” he says. “Media has at the same time become relatively utilitarian and homogenized. Ultimately, creative choices have been reduced to simple patterns and restrictive palettes.” (We explore this further in our post has branding become boring?)

For these reasons, Brody believes that “after 25 years, what’s really needed now is some new break-out thinking and creativity – real risk-taking and rule-challenging”.

01. Computer Arts launches

Graphic design events: computer arts first cover

Computer Arts were launched in 1995 (Image credit: Future)

The fashion world had Vogue. Advertising had Campaigned. Then in 1995, graphic designers and illustrators got their own, must-read ‘Bible’, as issue one of Computer Arts hit the shelves.

“I was a reader right from the start, as there was nothing else like it,” recalls artist and designer Brendan Dawes. Those early issues now provide a snapshot of the time, packed with advice on how to use exotic new tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator. As artist Jon Burgerman puts it: “It was there for professionals and students alike, offering insight and cover discs… like a friendly tutor who’s a bit too cool for college.”

The print magazine is now more geared towards idea generation, conceptual thinking, and design process. As Jamie Ellul, founder of Supple Studio, describes it, “Computer Arts today is a really good resource for reading in-depth project case studies, and hearing opinions from other designers and creatives.”

Marie Claire, FHM, Loaded and NME have closed, but Computer Arts are still going strong, and as influential as ever. As creative director Kyle Wilkinson says: “The number of young designers that Computer Arts has helped develop through advice, tutorials, and exposure must be countless.”

02. The web

Although the internet had existed in some form since the early 1970s, virtually no one outside of computer scientists and serious nerds had heard of it. But in the mid-1990s, a program called Netscape came to prominence and started to turn web browsing from a bafflingly complex task into something that was relatively achievable.

“In terms of design moments, there’s been nothing more impactful for me than the birth of Netscape,” recalls Laura Jordan Bambach, creative director and former president of D&AD. “It turned to play on MOSAIC and working in Hyper Card and Director into something that had a potentially unlimited audience. A space to create art, and a community in cyberfeminism that’s had a massive impact on my life. It also gave me my career – starting a business at university, designing and coding when it was still all done in Notepad.”

Bambach was very much ahead of the game here: most graphic designers wouldn’t be designing for the web for at least another decade. But Netscape, on which the modern browser Firefox is based, remains a key moment in an internet age that’s changed pretty much everything.

03. UX Design

Today, user experience, aka UX, is one of the most in-demand services from graphic designers. But back in the mid-nineties, it was something early pioneers were only just inventing, usually in total isolation from each other.

Graphic designer and professor Louise Sandhaus offers a typical example. In the 90s, she was hired as an art director on a project for Taco Bell, which wanted to electronically run all of its store ordering through a single touch-screen system, to make life easier for employees. “But the methodologies didn’t really exist,” she recalls. “User experience and user interface design had yet to go mainstream. It was the Wild West.”

User experience and user interface design had yet to go mainstream. It was the Wild West.

Louise Sandhaus

Initially, the visual design of the interface and the writing of the software were going to be conducted separately, but to Sandhaus, that seemed all wrong. “So I developed a methodology of sketched storyboards running through various tasks that allowed myself and the software engineers to develop the project together,” she …

Eco-friendly and Sustainable Fashionable Bags – City Kitty Design

Looking for that chic new bag, but want something a bit, well, greener? City Kitty has you covered, in style. From handbags, totes and messenger bags, all six styles are made from reclaimed materials, making each one unique with a clean modern design. Express your individual personality and go green with a Recycled Belt Bag

I happened upon one of these bags from an acquaintance who was very excited about the find, and had received multiple compliments on it. They are very well constructed, and i would have believed it to have come from a high end designer, imagine my surprise to find out it was made from repurposed vintage blankets, curtains, coats and belts! I had to find out more, so I went directly to the source, Sabrena Wright, the designer and creator of City Kitty Design.

How did it all begin?
About 8 years ago I started designing and making handbags for fun. About three years ago I started using old wool blankets and tooled leather belts to make handbags, a shop owner asked if I would be interested in making bags for her shop – this was the start of City Kitty.
Eco-friendly was paramount when I decided to start the company. I wanted to prove that reclaimed and recycled materials do not have to be made from plastic and do not have to look ‘trashy’.
The great thing about using reclaimed materials is that they have been used – there is history woven in the fibers. Every handbag looks new and modern yet each has its own bit of history.

What do you see for City Kitty’s future?
The main future goals for the business besides increasing distribution is to continue improving the handbag designs so that the bags are 100% eco-friendly – eliminating the use of metal fasteners and grommets and looking for new eco-friendly/sustainable materials. Next year I will be transitioning the brand from ‘City Kitty’ to ‘Sabrena Wright’ to best reflect the evolving quality and design. I have a few new designs that are not on the website yet, I just finished them this week. These are new designs for 2009 – a lot more hand-sewn leather details and the designs are more refined.

Where do you get your design ideas and inspirations?
I find inspiration everywhere and usually when I least expect it – from walking the dogs to looking at Indian artifacts in a museum – I don’t leave the house without my sketchbook. I am influenced by Le Corbusier – very much a form follows function kind of girl. In the world of handbags, I admire the third read – the design details – of Hermes and Henry Cuir.

What makes your bags eco-friendly?
The wool, cotton, linen, and leather used to make my handbags are a mix of pre and post-consumer waste and sustainable fibers (wool, linen, hemp). Larger scraps of leather are given to another artist to use for leather jewelry. I use refurbished vintage sewing machines to sew all of the fabric portions of the handbags, most of the leather is hand sewn using waxed linen thread. All of the paper marketing materials and product tags are printed on 100% recycled paper.